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The company revealed a new shorter Echo, giving the device its first major upgrade after introducing it nearly three years ago.

Additionally, Amazon revealed Echo Buttons, which are Bluetooth-connected, multicolored buzzers that can connect to Alexa for games. They will cost $20 for a set of two.

A new 4K Fire TV device, priced at $69, was also announced, as well as the Echo Spot, essentially an Echo Dot speaker with a small display, priced at $130.

Sure you can’t officially buy one here in Australia yet but Amazon’s Echo are my digital voice assistant of choice for your smart home needs. Expect official availability to land as soon as those Amazon warehouse doors do – hopefully before the end of the year!

The new shorter, material covered Echo will set you back US$100 or if you go all in you can buy a pack of 3 for $50 off ($250). You can still buy the OG, it’s just been renamed the “Echo Plus” and has a new speaker and mic set plonked inside.

Google are holding an event next week where it’s expect they’ll reveal a new, smaller version of their Google Home and of course Apple’s HomePod shouldn’t be far off now either. The race is on!

Source: New $100 Amazon Echo, $35 Echo Connect lead giant Alexa update – CNET

In September 2015, the multi-millionaire engineer [Anthony Levandowski] at the heart of the patent and trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, founded a religious organization called Way of the Future. Its purpose, according to previously unreported state filings, is nothing less than to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”

I’m honestly not making this up, I swear!

Source: The Self Driving Car Whiz Who Fell from Grace | WIRED

Dyson is working on an electric car to be launched in 2020, according to the company’s founder James Dyson.

Details on the vehicle’s concept were scant, but Dyson did say that it would be unlike anything else on the market, as “there’s no point in doing one that looks like everyone else’s”. Dyson added that it would not be a sports car, nor would it be “a very cheap” car.

Fans, vacuum cleaners, hand dryers… CARS!

Not exactly what I’d personally call a logical leap in product evolution but hey who am I to argue with the billionaire fan wizard that is Sir James Dyson.

Announced with only slightly more detail than say, the Australian space agency, the Dyson EV is due in 2020. Currently Dyson are yet to… select a battery tech or manufacturer, secure production facilities (although they want them near their battery maker), have a design, have anything to show and no details on potential partnerships.

What they could say is that the car wont be cheap. Well none of their products are so that was kinda to be expected.

Can Dyson take on the car industry? Apple couldn’t.

Source: Dyson planning electric car by 2020 | ZDNet

We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

In what many are calling an move to satisfy Twitter’s most divisive small handed user Donald J Drumpf, they have today decided to roll out (to a select small group of users) the ability to create tweets up to 280 characters long, doubling it’s former limit.

The justification comes in the form of most western, latin based, languages using more characters instead of eastern symbolism to explain the same message. English users, the focus of their announcement, hit the limit with 9% of all tweets.

The announcement was backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in his extended 280 character tweet today.

Responses and user outrage can be plainly seen in responses to both his and the official Twitter account, many responses focusing on Trump and the controversy around whether his account should be banned for threatening statements.

Source: Giving you more characters to express yourself

[Rapper B.o.B] has started a GoFundMe campaign to find Earth’s curve and see if our planet is actually round (and not a flat disc hanging in space as flat Earthers typically believe).

B.o.B.’s campaign says the plan is to “launch multiple satellites into space” in order to observe, and try to disprove, what centuries of science and technology have already confirmed. All he needs is a small investment of $200,000 dollars (and launch approval, of course).

In a world where Donald Trump is president is it any wonder we have a growing campaign of “flat Earthers” stopping at nothing to disprove a millennia of science? I’d love to see the cross section of anti-vaxers and flat-Earthers. There has to be large overlap in that venn diagram surely.

“Prominent” (and those are huge, gigantic, C-grade celebrity air quotes there) flat-Earthers in addition to B.o.B whom are behind the movement include: Tila Tequila (reality star), Sammy Watkins (NFL player) and Kyrie Irving (NBA player).

Sadly this seems to be the exact demographic of people Americans love to listen to the most, proved by their currently elected President.

As of writing the flat-Earther’s satellite campaign has raised just US$500 of their $200k goal. Sadly $500 more than they deserve to, in my opinion.

Source: B.o.B has started a GoFundMe to prove the Earth is flat – CNN

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High Sierra has arrived for all users, and brings the Apple File System to the Mac for the first time, while introducing support for a variety of other standards such as HEVC video, HEIF image encoding, and Apple’s Metal 2 graphics platform supporting technology like external GPUs.

macOS 10.13 High Sierra is now available as a free download from the Mac App Store. Here’s what you can expect to find once you install it.

macOS 10.13’s biggest change is the introduction of its all new file system; rather systematically named the “Apple File System” (APFS). The new APFS has been designed as a system for the modern ages of devices and is in use across Apple’s entire product range from Apple Watch to iPhone and now desktops & laptops. Not everyone will be converted however. Fusion drive owners for example will not be converted initially, a full-proof migration path still being worked on. There are also cases of some older drives not being supported too.

Other note worthy additions include a move to H.265 video codecs with HEVC support. A long overdue move that today’s hardware is more than capable of dealing with.

A new version of Apple’s graphics hardware systems Metal 2 allows the use of the WWDC demonstrated external high-end GPUs on the Mac.

Lastly, Apple have put developers on notice saying that High Sierra will be the last version of macOS to support 32-bit applications. Similar to iOS which has already dropped 32-bit support with iOS 11, macOS is shifting to a new age.

AppleInsider has a video detailing a lot of the new features and goes into changes made to some of its included applications like Safari & Photos too.

Source: Apple releases macOS 10.13 High Sierra with APFS, Metal 2, new Safari, Photos improvements

…limitations in watchOS 4 make it impossible to deliver standalone podcast playback with the basic functionality and quality that people expect.

Marco Arment, creator of the popular Overcast podcast iOS app, extensively details WatchKit’s limitations and how it can’t realistically be manipulated to produce the app we all so desperately want.

Reasons vary from file transfer nerfing, lack of streaming audio functionality but are nailed shut for Marco with the Watch’s inability to play audio in the background. As a result, syncing, a primary function when listening to podcasts across multiple devices, can not be achieved.

It’s an interesting, albeit sad read.

Source: What we need from Apple to make standalone Apple Watch podcast apps – Marco.org

A giant step for iPhone.
A monumental leap for iPad.

iOS 11 sets a new standard for what is already the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. It makes iPhone better than before. It makes iPad more capable than ever. And now it opens up both to amazing possibilities for augmented reality in games and apps. With iOS 11, iPhone and iPad are the most powerful, personal, and intelligent devices they’ve ever been

The new iOS 11 update has been made available overnight. A 2GB download it will of course require you to have double that space available on your upgrading device. The update comes ahead of the release of the iPhone 8, available this Friday.

tvOS11, available to update through the Apple TV’s “System” icon introduces a number of new features as well as 4K support for the release of Friday’s Apple TV 4K.

The fantastic gents at 9to5mac have a great guide detailing all the new features available in tvOS11.

 

Source: iOS 11 – Apple

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Many of the estimated 100,000 plus vending machines that operate in Australia will unlikely be ready to accept Australia’s new $10 banknote when it enters circulation this week, according to the national vending association.

Meanwhile, the operators of pokies, betting terminals, parking meters, ATMs, change machines, self-service checkouts and car washes are racing to get their equipment ready to accept the note on time.

Let this be a warning to you before you shove your fancy pants new $10 note into some machine and it doesn’t like it, or even worse eats it!

Coles & Woolies both think they’re ready with their self serve checkout after completely missing the boat with the $5 update.

Not sure who carries cash or pays with it at a machine these days anyway? I’ll do a single poll of my mum to make a blanket comment about the 60+ crowd and get back to you all.

Source: The hidden cost of the new $10 note – Finance – Software – iTnews

Samsung is finally allowing us to disable the Bixby button, to an extent. The latest Bixby updates add a new toggle which lets you decide whether or not Bixby Home should be launched when the dedicated button is pressed. This can also be configured from the Bixby settings menu.

Even Samsung see the writing on the wall for their assistant at this point surely? Sadly their update only lets you make the button completely dead instead of letting you re-map it to something useful. There is of course a bunch of 3rd party software out there in Android land that allows you to do this.

Later Dixby.

Source: [Update] Samsung finally lets us disable the Bixby button – SamMobile

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