AI assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google and Cortana all bring canned humor to go along with their helping virtual hands. We talked to one of the writers behind the jokes, and then had several comics evaluate each assistant’s material to see which one came out on top.
Has Apple been listening to its critics? Maybe, based on Dana Wollman’s first impressions of macOS Mojave. While it might not be bloated with show-stopping new features, this release with Dark Mode, Continuity Camera, group FaceTime calls and Stacks shows how Apple is paying attention to the way people use its devices, instead of forcing users into new habits.
The Outlander PHEV is a solid hybrid SUV with all-wheel drive and impressive pure-electric range that’s also a bit dated on the inside and has an infotainment system that’s better left alone.
Now that Tesla has worked out some of the kinks in its Model 3 production, the prices are coming down and getting more flexible. If you’re in the US or Canada and have reserved a spot in line, your pre-order should open up shortly. The cheapest model currently available will still cost at least $49,000, but now it’s $1,000 cheaper to add AWD and a second motor. Also, the starting price for a faster Performance trim sedan has dropped to $64,000, now items like an upgraded 155 MPH top speed, carbon-fiber spoiler and 20-inch rims are optional.
Those who enjoy chronicling their daily outfits or want a bit of fashion advice and don’t mind an algorithm or complete stranger telling them what to wear will find the Echo Look useful. It can double as an Alexa speaker, too, but the audio quality isn’t good enough for music streaming.
Meanwhile, as part of a preliminary report on a Model S crash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NTSB investigators revealed that a piece of the EV’s lithium-ion pack reignited twice despite firefighters dousing it with water and foam. It first reignited when crews were removing the car from the crash scene, and again when it arrived at a storage yard.
Twitter has begun to acknowledge that it has persistent problems with spam accounts and it has been working on ways to fix these issues. Now it says machine learning has helped it identify potentially spammy or automated accounts and said that soon, new users will have to verify either a phone number or email address when they’re created. To help keep those accounts in the right hands, it’s also rolling out support for the use of hardware USB keys for login verification.
Tana Mongeau, a YouTube star, was angry that popular YouTube convention VidCon has refused to grant her a Featured Creator badge and decided to take matters into her own hands. She attempted to set up her own rival convention called TanaCon, held across the street from VidCon, on the same days. But planning is hard. The venue could handle about 3,000 guests. Mongeau had stated that she’d sold around 5,000 tickets. A lack of any line organization meant the venue filled to capacity quickly, and, once fans got inside, there was nothing to actually do. The programming was sparse, and the venue was just one hallway and a ballroom. Attendees were understandably furious; Mongeau claimed that as many as 15,000 people were waiting in line to get in the con. Early in the afternoon, the fire marshal showed up and shut down the con because the number of people in attendance was a fire hazard. Needless to say, the second day of the con didn’t happen. MatCon plans have also been put on hold.
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