The Siri hacks continue, with Apple's voice control system now capable - unofficially at least - of managing Spotify on your desktop. The handiwork of mobile developer Simon Maddox, the plugin reacts to natural artist requests, such as "Spotify, play me some Nirvana", and automatically queues up songs.
It looks like Belkin has a handy gadget for iPhone users on the way that will really let you take advantage of the upgraded 8-megapixel optics on that shiny new iPhone 4S for group photos and self-portraits. The device is called the Belkin LiveAction Camera Remote and it has just made a visit to the FCC.
Roku is adding a dedicated Pandora button to the remote controls for its streaming media set-top boxes, allowing for one-touch access to the internet radio service. The Roku 2 XD and Roku LT models will both get the new remote sometime this month, adding another option alongside the existing homescreen shortcut. According to Roku, Pandora remains the most popular music channel the STBs offer.
For those of you who've not yet seen this little device in action, I definitely recommend you head below at least for the video of it being controlled by its creating group's CEO, for this is Sphero, and there is basically nothing like it in the world. When I was a kid, I had a remote-controlled monster truck that had a bit of trouble doing much other than running along the sidewalk. Later there was the three-wheeled monster that was supposedly unable to get caught on its side - oh I caught it, alright. Now there's this, what's literally a sphere which I can control from my Android or iOS device, and it's up for pre-order right now. What more could one ask for?
If there was one day this month that I would call the oddest for news, it would be today, ladies and gentlemen, and the show goes on with a robot that takes the place of Ultima creator Richard Garriot at his downtown Austin game development company Portalarium. If you've seen the show Big Bang Theory or are familiar with the Qbo open-source robot (with Android) you know that the idea for having a robot surrogate doing all your daily activities for you isn't a brand new idea. Indeed it wasn't even Garriot who made the robot in question here, he's simply using it. Instead its the combination of the fact that the creator of one of the most famous online multiplayer games has a robot doing his bidding and the fact that he once had it represent his mother at his own wedding.
Turn down the lights and turn up the heat: it's sexy time, and your thermostat is crooning Barry White songs at you. Controlling the temperature of your AC or heating is not usually something we give more than a few moments thought to, but if stealth startup Nest Labs - led by ex iPod chief Tony Fadell - has its way we'll be cooing over a tactile, glowing eye, the Learning Thermostat, that responds not just to our prods and twists, but historic usage patterns and even weather forecasts.
OCOSMOS' OSC9 tablet PC has gone up for pre-order in the US, with the 10.1-inch slate - billed as being the thinnest Windows 7 tablet around - expected to begin shipping at the end of November. Priced at $649 from Dynamism, the OSC9 runs a 1.5GHz Oak Trail Atom Z670 processor, 2GB of RAM and offers a choice of 16GB or 32GB of flash storage, all fronted by a 1280 x 800 10.1-inch display. It also supports an optional "Smart O-Bar" screen-toting remote.
What if you had a robot that could roll around the office, speak with your coworkers, and act as your eyes and ears when you're 10,000 miles away? How about if that robot's control system was simply an Android app you could download for free? We've been covering the open source Qbo robot project for quite some time now, and this is without a doubt probably the most awesome advancement the project has made in its relatively short history - if you ask your narrator, that is. You must simply download the app, identify yourself and connect, then control away!
I am a sucker for remote controlled toys. I have seen a bunch of RC toys that are controlled by a smartphone recently. Most of that stuff is for the iPhone and I have used a helicopter and an RC truck that you can control from the smartphone. A new toy has turned up from a company called Desk Pets International. The toy is called the TankBot and it's a little gadget that looks like a cross between an army tank and a robot puppy.
Logitech has announced the Harmony Link, turning your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or Android device into a universal remote. Pairing an WiFi-enabled IR blaster dongle and custom apps for each platform, the Harmony Link can replace up to eight remotes and supports macros such as "Watch a Movie" to automatically turn on your HDTV, Blu-ray deck, surround system and - if you have a fancy intelligent lighting rig - dim your lights too. The iPad app also includes personalized, in-app TV listings.