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Alexa Blueprints will DIY you straight to the dark side

Alexa Blueprints will DIY you straight to the dark side

I'm a luddite when it comes to our future AI overlords, but when I saw how fun Amazon Alexa Skill Blueprints were, I gave in. Or at least I expect to give in a little bit. When I'm able to customize Alexa's responses to my questions, that's where I change a tune. When I "see how easy it is to create a skill with blueprints," I sort of lose my mind and go into silly mode.

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Amazon Fire TVs aren’t a Best Buy for everyone

Amazon Fire TVs aren’t a Best Buy for everyone

Best Buy and Amazon announced a partnership today for the former to sell the latter's televisions in-store. In physical, brick and mortar Best Buy stores, Amazon will sell their Amazon Fire TV smart television sets. But if what I've experienced with Fire TV devices over the past several years remains true, I recommend you steer clear of the whole lineup.

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This is your next phone (but here’s one better)

This is your next phone (but here’s one better)

Today we're having a peek at the current state of the mobile industry by-the-numbers to find your next smartphone. We're using the most recent sales numbers for the smartphone market in the United States, working forward from the most recent quarter, fast-forwarding to now. What we've got is a pretty good idea of what you'll most likely have in your pocket next.

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Say “Delete Facebook” to Google AIY Vision Kits

Say “Delete Facebook” to Google AIY Vision Kits

Today you can buy a DIY device from Google that'll let you build your own tiny computer. These little kits are called AIY Voice Kit and AIY Vision Kit, complete with "Made by you with Google" stamped on their sides. But wait, didn't you just delete your Facebook because they weren't up front about all your data they were using to serve you advertisements? Hold on here just a minute!

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Android Auto Wireless reminded me of Google’s big Pixel mistake

Android Auto Wireless reminded me of Google’s big Pixel mistake

Google enabling Android Auto Wireless is great news, but Pixel phones' lagging behind iPhone in one key area does put the brakes on how useful the update is. Putting down your smartphone while you're behind the wheel is safety advice all of us would do well to remember. I just wish I could put my Pixel 2 XL down on a wireless charger when I do.

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Facebook’s fate is skepticism even when it’s innocent

Facebook’s fate is skepticism even when it’s innocent

A new leak on how Facebook uses AI to predict users most susceptible to advertising has thrown trust in the social network back into the spotlight. The company has not been shy in discussing its work on artificial intelligence, which it uses in numerous ways to filter what it believes its users will be most interested in - and will keep them coming back for more.

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New Gmail redesign: 3 reasons we’re excited

New Gmail redesign: 3 reasons we’re excited

Gmail is, alongside search, one of Google's most popular core services, so it's hardly surprising that there's plenty of interest when it comes in for a redesign. Problem is, while new features can be exciting, there's always the risk that change for its own sake just makes dealing with your crowded inbox even harder. Happily, from the leaks we've seen that's not the case - read on for the three things we're most excited about the new Gmail.

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Can Apple bring itself to save HomePod?

Can Apple bring itself to save HomePod?

HomePod was meant to be Apple's triumphant splash in the smart speaker market, but the reality has been a little less rewarding. Official sales numbers still haven't been shared - and, most likely, never will - but reports this week suggest demand for the Siri-powered speaker has been a fraction of what Apple predicted. Ironically, though, there are a few fairly straightforward ways that HomePod could be improved. Apple could even do some of them without needing to change its hardware at all. The question is not so much how Apple could do it, really, it's if Apple could.

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Fuchsia OS: Google doesn’t need a third wheel

Fuchsia OS: Google doesn’t need a third wheel

Google is not one to shy away from throwing anything and everything at a wall to see which ones stick. It has admittedly given birth to some highly successful products but has also resulted in a few false positives. But as big as Google may be, it doesn't have an infinite amount of resources, especially human ones. And as a skunkworks project becomes more and more official, more and more resources might be diverted away from those that need them even more. That might soon be the case with Fuchsia OS, the third Google operating system it doesn't really need.

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LG needs more than fast software updates: What users really want

LG needs more than fast software updates: What users really want

Given its relationship with Google over three Nexus phones as well as its past track record, you'd think LG was one of the better Android OEMs when it came to software updates. That's why it was a bit surprising to see it get a failing grade in Computer World's Oreo upgrade report card, and that was just for the latest Android release. LG has just announced a strategy that will thankfully remedy that situation but it will need more than just timely updates to salvage its smartphone business.

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This Battle Royale bandwagon can only be a good thing

This Battle Royale bandwagon can only be a good thing

Earlier today, LawBreakers developer Boss Key Productions announced a new battle royale game called Radical Heights. With PUBG dominating headlineslast year and Fortnite taking over the reins for 2018, it's no wonder developers want to try to capitalize on some of the hype by creating battle royale games of their own. Boss Key is almost certainly one of the first of many, many developers that will try to capture some of the obviously huge market for battle royale games over the coming months and years.

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Apple may be overthinking the new Mac Pro

Apple may be overthinking the new Mac Pro

The new Mac Pro should be easy for Apple, and the fact that it isn't is making people worried. A modern workstation has a lot in common with a workstation a decade old, or two: the fastest components available in a form-factor that doesn't tie you down. If there's one thing we know about Apple, however, it's that if there's an easy way to do something, or an alternative way that could be considered more elegant, it has an uncontrollable desire to chase the latter. The recipe envisaged by some of the more vocal would-be Mac Pro buyers seems a lot more straightforward.

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