Siri launched in 2011 and can now be found on all modern iPhones and iPads. It’s a virtual digital assistant that uses natural language voice control and sequential inference to listen to what you want and provide the best possible information or answer it can provide. It can help you stay connected, organize your life, and get thing done both professional and personal. It can also do a lot of cool tricks… all you have to do is know what to ask!
1. The name’s Bond… No, not boned!
Siri will default to using your name and the name of your contacts. If you want to change that, tell Siri: “Call me ‘honey muffin’ ” or “Gwendolyn is my mom”. If Siri has trouble pronouncing a name or nickname, tell it: “That’s not how you pronounce ‘A Lie’!” and it will ask you for the correct pronunciation.
2. Cone of silence!
If you were out way too late, if you need to get some work done and people just won’t leave you alone, if all you want is a little peace and quiet, tell Siri: “Do not disturb”. If you want to go nuclear, you can tell it: “Delete all alarms” and even “Airplane mode”.
3. Are we there yet?
Not only can Siri take you where you need to go, it can tell you how long it will take you to get there. You can tell it: “Take me home” to get quick directions. “Walking directions to Starbucks” if you prefer sneaker to tire. Even “ETA” to find out how much longer you have to go.
4. Remember the… bacon!
Siri is the faster way to add anything to a Reminders list, and that means it’s the fastest way to add anything to a shopping, packing, party, or any other list. To get specific, tell Siri: “Add bacon to shopping list” or “Add bacon to packing list” (what?).
Thanks to Wolfram Alpha, Siri is great with numbers. For simple math, ask Siri: “What’s 10 times 10?” or “What’s the square root of 50?”. For tips, ask: “What’s the tip on $100″. For conversions: “How many kilometers in a mile”. For chance, tell it: “Flip a coin” or “roll the dice”.
6. What birthday…?
Instead of excusing yourself, racing upstairs, jumping out the window, and tearing off to the only open Quicky Mart, ask Siri: “When’s Kelly’s birthday?”, then: “Set a reminder” for the date or, f it’s already too late: “Buy an iTunes gift card!”.
7. Directed dictation
When you’re telling Siri what to type, you can dictate punctuation like “comma” or “elipses”, symbols like “hashtag” and “copyright sign”, and even emoticons: “smiley” or “winky”. You can format with “new line” or “new paragraph”, prevent formatting with “hyper no space space”, and get loud with “ALL CAPS”.
8. Keep current
Siri can set reminders, make appointments, send messages and email, Tweet or post to Facebook, but it can also keep you up to date. Ask Siri: “What time is sunset in Cupertino?”, “What’s the weather in London?”, “What’s on my calendar?”, “Planes overhead?”, “Pictures of the Golden Globes”, or “Trending on Twitter”.
9. Win fights and influence diets
Siri can quickly settle arguments, bar bets, and flat-out fights. Ask Siri: “Who starred in the Matrix?”, “Who won the last SuperBowl?”, “What did Apple close at?”, or “How many calories are in a Big Mac?”. And if you’re wrong and end up paying for dinner or a movie, Siri can find you tickets and book a table at a restaurant as well.
10. Do over!
If Siri gets something wrong, or if you realize you asked the wrong question, you can tel Siri to: “Change” things like dates and times. You can even tap the question you asked and manually type in different words to alter the query.
11. Goodnight, Siri
When HomeKit accessories start hitting the shelves this spring, we’ll be able to use Siri to turn off and shut down our homes: “Goodnight” or, my preference, “Crash the compound”. While we’re waiting, we can still get Siri to read us a birthday story. Just ask thrice.
12. Bonus: chit chat!
Siri has a sense of humor. Kids can talk to Siri like a virtual friend. Kids of all ages just have some fun. You can give Siri all sorts of pop culture references: “What do you think of Google Now?”, “tell me a joke”, or “Will you marry me?”.
13. More Siri and secrets
If you just can’t get enough of Siri, or you want to learn more of the secrets to iPhone mastery, check out our ultimate guides and secrets and tips pages. And if we missed any of your favorite Siri tips, add them to the comments below!
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Been waiting for Sony to start dishing out the $15 million in restitution for the 2011 breach that took its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services down back in 2011? Well, thanks to the outfit putting a claim form online, now you can start the payment redemption process. It’s limited to those who had either a PSN, Qriocity or Sony Online Entertainment account prior to the intrusion (May 15, 2011), and the payouts aren’t all that different from what the firm gave out as part of its “Welcome Back” program at the time. Of course, back then PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games and themes were a bit more desirable, but three months of PlayStation Plus is actually a bit more valuable now than it once was. Sony doling out the goods could still take a bit longer, though.
You see, there’s still a chance that the class-action suit will see an appeal come its May 1st Fairness Hearing, and payments won’t be made until the court grants final approval and any appeals are resolved. Until then, there’s always the PlayStation 4 for gaming — we’ve heard it’s pretty popular.
In almost any phone article on any website, you will find people fighting over what phone is better. These arguments range from iPhones vs Android phones to different Android manufacturers and every spot in between. Some of the people in these debates have good points while others do not, but regardless of the validity of each person’s opinion, you will see one word thrown around more than any other. That word is fanboy. You will see commenters say this to each other and to the writer of the article. However, people do not seem to understand what the term means and just attribute it to anyone who does not share the same opinion they do. This is completely wrong and we need to stop the overuse of fanboy towards those who do not share the same characteristics.
Who is a fanboy?
To decide whether to call someone a fanboy, we first need to figure out what exactly a fanboy is. The first sign you are talking to a fanboy is that they only buy a certain phone brand and do not have any reasons for that. Apple fanboys will often say that iPhones are the best because there is an apple on it. This same characteristic is also seen in fanboys of Android OEMs such as Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola. They buy their phones because it is a certain brand and nothing else. Another key sign that you are talking to a fanboy is that they think every other phone is terrible. Regardless of how good another phone is or how awesome a new feature on it is, fanboys of other phones will not say anything good about it. If a fanboy does compliment another phone, it will be backhanded. They will say something like, “That 2K screen is really nice, if you like a phone that cannot fit in your pocket,” or, “The thinness of that phone is cool, but you are just going to put a case on it”. The biggest giveaway that you are talking to a fanboy is that they will never admit that their brand makes a mistake. No matter how blatantly obvious the mistake is, fanboys will defend it as long as they can. Whether this is a protruding camera, large bezels, laggy software, or poor build materials, fanboys will not recognize these as flaws and rather commend them or say they do not exist or matter. If you are talking to someone who is exhibiting these traits, then you are probably talking to a fanboy.
Who is not a fanboy?
Now it is time to look at those who prefer a certain brand but do not fall into the fanboy category. While these people may only buy a certain phone, they actually have respectable reasons for doing so. Examples include people buy iPhones because they are integrated into the Apple ecosystem, or people who buy HTC phones because they love music and the HTC One speakers are fantastic. If they have good reasons for owning the phones they do, then they are not a fanboy. These phone users also respect other phones and are able to accept when another manufacturer does something better than their preferred company. It is also possible for them to like other phones even though they prefer a certain brand. Odds are, you will never hear someone like this claim that their brand is the best at everything. Another characteristic of these non-fanboys (for lack of a better term) is that they can accept it when their company makes a mistake. They do not try to overlook it or hide it because they know that all companies make mistakes. If you are talking to someone like this, then they do prefer a certain phone but are not a fanboy.
What kind of fanboys are there?
Now that we have determined who is a fanboy and who is not, we can move on to the different types of fanboys. The most common form of fanboy seen on tech sites is a phone fanboy. These are the ones that prefer a certain phone from a certain maker. You have iPhone fanboys, Samsung Galaxy Note fanboys, HTC One fanboys, Nexus fanboys, Moto X fanboys, and every fanboy in between. You can easily find them in the comment section of almost every article on every tech site. A less common type of fanboy is an operating system fanboy. These are people who prefer Android or iOS but do not have a certain phone that they are loyal to. Instead, they argue that their operating system is the best and every other one is terrible.
When is the word fanboy appropriate?
We have discussed who are fanboys, who are not fanboys, and what kind of fanboys there are, and now we are on to when the term fanboy is okay to use. The answer is simple – never. Sure, people are fanboys and they are relatively easy to spot; however, nothing good will ever come from calling someone else a fanboy. People should not be criticized because they prefer a certain type of phone or type of operating system regardless of their reasons. Be together. Not the same.
There are a zillion flashlight apps in Google Play, but I stumbled upon a really good one thanks to Ron Richards introducing it in the App Arena on TWIT TV’s All About Android show. It’s called Power Button Flashlight / Torch, and you’re probably already wondering what makes this better than any other flashlight app? A light is a light right? This one is all about how simple it is to turn on.
Turning on your flashlight is always a chore. You have to find the app, which is usually in the app drawer, and then you have to turn it on. Google has improved things by adding a built-in flashlight in Lollipop, while other manufacturers have offered the same. Still, you have to turn on your device, swipe down the notification panel, and press the flashlight icon. There has to be an even easier way right?
With Power Button Flashlight, all you have to do is tap the power button 3 times, and bingo, the flashlight turns on. What could be simpler? If your display is already turned on, then you tap the power button 4 times. You can even customize how many times you need to press the button. Turning it off is as easy as going to the notification panel, but for a mere $0.99 cents, you will be able to turn it off with the power button. There’s even a shake gesture option. You will also get the ability to modify how long before it automatically times out (default is 10 minutes).
I don’t know about you, but using a flashlight is not something that I use every day, but when you want to use it, you don’t want to fumble around looking for the app. This is simply the easiest and fastest way to fire it up. It’s free, so what do you have to lose? Once you see how easy it is, you won’t be able to drop that $0.99 cents fast enough to enable those extra features.
Come comment on this article: Here’s the only flashlight app you will ever need
You might not be happy that Google isn’t fixing a web security flaw in your older Android phone, but the search giant now says that it has some good reasons for holding off. As the company’s Adrian Ludwig explains, it’s no longer viable to “safely” patch vulnerable, pre-Android 4.4 versions of WebView (a framework that lets apps show websites without a separate browser) to prevent remote attacks. The sheer amount of necessary code changes would create legions of problems, he claims, especially since developers are introducing “thousands” of tweaks to the open source software every month.
Ludwig suggests a few things you can do to avoid or mitigate problems, though. For a start, he recommends surfing with browsers that don’t use WebView but still get updates, like Chrome (which works on devices using Android 4.0) and Firefox (which runs on ancient Android 2.3 hardware). Hackers can’t abuse the vulnerable software if you’re not using it, after all. The Googler also tells app creators to either use their own web rendering tech or limit WebView to pages they can trust, like encrypted sites.
The advice should help if you’re either a tech-savvy user or write apps. However, it still hints that quite a few people will remain at risk until those older releases of Android ride into the sunset. Many Android device owners aren’t aware of alternatives to the stock Android browser, or can’t easily get them (you have to jump through hoops to install Chrome if you can’t use the Google Play Store, for instance). Also, there’s no simple way to tell whether or not an app is using WebView. The chances of an attack are low if you’re careful, but it could take a long, long while before the majority of Android gadgets are truly safe from WebView-related web exploits.
Source: Adrian Ludwig (Google+)
The Microsoft Store website is currently holding a special sale on most models of the Surface Pro 3. The sale ends at the end of the day today, but until then four of the five versions have a $75 discount.
Most Blu-rays and DVDs these days come with filmmaker commentary tracks, but it isn’t too often you get to hear a game developer give play-by-play while running through something they created. That’s the thrust behind the latest episodes of Double Fine Productions‘ “Devs Play” YouTube series, spotted by Polygon. Here we have one of Doom‘s co-creators John Romero playing a handful of maps from the legendary first-person shooter that runs on basically any platform. He breaks down everything from the work that went into differentiating it from id’s other FPS Wolfenstein 3D, how the team used texture irregularities to denote secret rooms and even how he’s watched speed runs that not even he can replicate. Oh, and he designed the first level last, incorporating everything he’d learned throughout the other missions to make the initial one the most interesting.
Perhaps best of all? Seeing just how enthusiastic Romero remains about the game some 22 years later. Well, that and his luxurious mane of course. There are 10 episodes total running between 10 and 20 minutes each, and we’ve embedded the first clip below. Each is presented in 1080p60 and makes for excellent Chromecast material, if you ask us.
Windows Central Roundup: Top Windows 8 Games
We are taking a slight change of pace for this week’s roundup. Instead of focusing on apps for Windows Phone, we are going to take a look at a few of the top rated Windows games.
An HP Stream 8 tablet was left under the tree with my name on it this past Christmas. While my Windows Phone is my primary device for gaming these days, I’m finding the 8″ Windows tablet can hold its own rather well. I think in many respects a tablet is more amenable to gaming than a laptop or desktop, especially when touch screen controls are in play.
I’ve plucked four gaming titles from the Windows Store (plus a few honorable mentions) that I have found to be nice gaming options when you need the elbowroom a tablet offers. Many of these gaming options are available for your Windows Phone and I’ll add the download links with those titles for the Windows Phone Store and make not if the version is available for low-memory Windows Phones.
When dealing with fixed allocations of monthly data usage, conceivably, a conscientious customer will ration their consumption in the first part of the month, and may inadvertently find themselves with an abundance of packet communications remaining for the latter half. In a typical situation, this is all-but-wasted. When T-Mobile announced that it was going to be allowing users to “roll-over” their data into the following month via its Data Stash service, it seemed like a breath of fresh air; all the more so when AT&T followed suit.
Verizon Wireless, however, has no intention of giving its customers this benefit, nor does it care how many (if any) people defect out of disgust. The company’s Chief Financial Officer, Fran Shammo, was quoted in an interview this past Thursday as saying, “We’re a leader, not a follower.” The CFO then further hammered in the point by adding that, “We did not go to places where we did not financially want to go to save a customer… and there’s going to be certain customers who leave us for price, and we are just not going to compete with that because it doesn’t make financial sense for us to do that.” Bold words, to be sure, but then again given the company’s recent performance results, it can afford to make such claims.
This makes for a rather interesting situation, as typically when one carrier introduces a major game-changer, the others follow suit to cash-in. See the whole $0 down, monthly installment-based structure that has become a mainstay at several carriers these days. Still, while T-Mobile is inclined to take bold initiatives and do things that its competitors wouldn’t dream of, the company has recently fallen under greater scrutiny as to just how far/long CEO John Legere can maintain this type of business strategy.
At the end of the day however, Verizon customers must now simply accept the situation and hope the company has a change of heart eventually.