Snips – The Latest In Voice Activation

Posted on: Wednesday, November 22, 2017

We are becoming more and more familiar with voice activation, and voice customization built into our favourite devices. It all started with Apple’s Siri, and has come all the way to Amazon’s Alexa and Window’s Cortana.

What’s the point of voice activation? It can definitely be fun, but the main point of course is to simplify our lives and make our connections with smart applications all the more efficient. Why pick up your phone and go through your entire contact list to call someone, when Siri could do it for you? Why open up your browser and search for a recipe to make for dinner when Cortana can do the same thing? And why walk across the room to turn on the radio when Alexa can play your music?

We have definitely gotten the hang of how to do things in less steps. That’s why many are interested in seeing what the new start-up, French company ‘Spins’ has to offer in the voice activation game. The main element here is that the company won’t be using a pre-existing voice application, but creating their own. And you will be the one creating and customizing the voice, as well as everything it is capable of doing.

Snips breaks their version down in four easy steps. First, you create your custom voice and pick the language(s) of your choice. You can name it too, so instead of saying ‘Hey Snips’, you can pick whatever name you like! Next, you can pick and choose between what type of applications you want Snips to help you out with. You can customize your own, or pick from Snips’ list of common items, such as music, timers, weather, etc. If you want more than the available options, Snips has thousands of choices to choose from, and it will help you create the codes. Finally, Snips makes it easy for you to hook your new assistant up to your mobile device or computer.


This Week’s Facebook Updates

Posted on: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Facebook is a company that is continuously coming out with new updates to keep up with other competing social media, and also to give their platform an edge that ensures users will continue to use it every day. This week, two new upgrades were made, and both are reflected in Facebook’s Stories.

Recently, multiple social media platforms made an update to add ‘stories’ to their home page – mimicking the commonly known and widely used Snapchat stories. Instagram was first to hop on the bandwagon, with Facebook following not too far after. However, the success of stories seems to be much greater on Instagram than on Facebook. Why? This could be due to a few different reasons – the audience, the general content, the follower vs. friend theme, and the like.

Now, the first new item added to Facebook Stories is within Groups and Events – a separate Facebook area that includes everything from party invitations, to business dinners, to networking events, clubs, teams, and everything in between. Groups and Events have members or a list of invitees, and they can be public, visible to the entirety of Facebook, or completely private, so that only members can see the content. The update here is that Stories will now be available within these specific groups, so for example, an invite to a Wedding under events can post multiple unique stories within that group, visible to attendees of the wedding – giving many different perspectives on the same night.

The second update affects Facebook and Facebook Messenger. Before, stories posted could be different between both of these applications, and there were some bugs with viewing different stories twice due to the overlap between the two apps. Now, ‘Stories’ covers the two, ensuring minimal redundancy and maximum efficiency for story viewing.

Be sure to check out these new updates, and stay ready for the next set of roll outs that will be coming soon.


An Uber Update

Posted on: Thursday, October 26, 2017

If you are a frequent Uber user like myself, you may have noticed the latest update that was added to the app yesterday. The app now allows users to input multiple stops along the way of their destination, for more efficient trips.

From past experiences and conversations with various Uber drivers, this should be a big improvement for the system. Before, if multiple people were riding in the Uber and each wanted to go to a different location, there were a few options. Riders were able to change the end destination of their trip while in the Uber, once getting close to the original destination. The driver would accept or reject the change, and the rider would be charged an additional fee for the new location. Another option would be to let your driver know that you are picking someone else up at one location, and set that as the final destination. While doing this, you would have the person waiting to be picked up call an Uber as the primary rider approached them. This is most definitely not a foolproof tactic and often did not work. These were the only options available to users if meeting in one place for all riders was not possible.

Uber drivers need to pay very close attention to their rating, which can be up to 5 stars. Rejecting or missing calls negatively affects a drivers rating, and confirming pick-ups has a positive impact. This app feature will make things much smoother for drivers and riders alike. The best part is that users will still be able to change the route or add/delete stops while driving.

So how does it work? Everything is the same as usual, except now when you hit the ‘Where to?’ button at the top of the screen, you can see a plus sign beside the end destination. The app will automatically input ‘Current Location’ as the pick-up point. Up to three additional stops can be added to the ride. At the bottom of the screen, there is a courtesy comment asking that users ‘Please keep stops to 3 minutes or less’. This will ensure drivers are not wasting time and idling waiting for a drop-off or pick-up to finish. It also states that stops occurring for longer than 3 minutes may cause an additional fee to be charged or the initial fare to change.


Synchronizing Different Email Accounts

Posted on: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In today’s world, there is a huge increase in the number of groups, committees, clubs, organizations, teams, and jobs that individuals take part in. Although this is a given with the fast-paced society that we live in, it can still be very difficult to organize oneself and keep track of everything happening in our calendars when there are only so many different ways to colour-code or separate tasks based on groups.

Email accounts can be an especially daunting thing to organize, let alone attempt to export into a compatible calendar. It would not be uncommon for an individual to posses a large number of emails. For example, a hotmail personal email, an outlook work email, a few different gmail accounts for clubs, etc. Many platforms, such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have calendar applications, and many are very sophisticated, yet still easy to use. Further, many applications allow users to access all their different email accounts on one platform, which seems like the perfect solution.

Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if these platforms were flawless? Even though they combine all accounts into one easy space, they are often slow to update, since they are not the primary receiver of the data.

Today, gmail announced an iOS beta that will test the compatibility with third party email accounts. If Google can master the platform, they could become the most widely used email app on iPhones. Google is currently looking for users to test the app with their other email accounts, and they can do so by filling out a simple form and agreeing to the beta terms and conditions. Stay tuned for the results!


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