‘Tis the season for holiday cheer. Google Home and the Amazon Echo are supposed to take some tasks off your hands, but they’ve also got some cute tricks up their sleeves this Christmas. Here are a few ways your voice assistant can make your holidays merry and bright.Last-minute mince piesAmazon’s Alexa used to have the market cornered when it came to voice-assistant shopping. Provided you have an Amazon Prime account and have voice purchasing enabled, you can ask her to add an item to your shopping cart and review it in the app. But Google recently partnered with Target for its Google Express program, which lets you order items and have them delivered either the same day or within three days (depending on the item). Amazon has same-day delivery service with Prime Now, where available.If you want to brave the stores yourself, you can simply ask Alexa or Google home to add the roast beast or Merlinpeen meat cubes to your shopping list, and then … [Read more...] about Just say the word to get some help from Alexa or Google Home this holiday season
Win big or go home
In the past, the days and weeks leading up to the Super Bowl season were a great time to get a prior-year TV for a steal, but this year is a little different: Stock on the good TVs is dwindling fast, so finding a quality TV on the cheap is a little more challenging than ever before. Still, if you know what to look for — and lucky for you, we do — there are still some lingering deals that will satisfy that urge to have a shiny new big screen to watch the big game on.If you act fast, you can nab any of these solid TVs before Superbowl LI streams into your living room:The Samsung KU7000 is as close to a slam dunk as you’re going to get this year. It’s not a picture of perfection, but it’s got 4K resolution, solid HDR, excellent color, all built into a nearly bezel-free, ultra-thin package. Want to make your friends a little jealous? Get the 65-inch for $1300, or save a little and get the 55-inch for just $900. Screen size55-65″ … [Read more...] about Go big and go home with one of these huge 4K TVs for Super Bowl LI
We’re still a few weeks away from the presentation of this year’s Academy Awards, but the Screen Actors Guild handed out their awards over the weekend to honor the performances deemed the best of 2015 by the actors’ peers.This year’s SAG Awards spread the love around with honors bestowed upon a wide range projects, genres, and roles, with only two actors managing to leave the ceremony with a pair of trophies. Still, despite quite a few awards going to predicted winners, there were also a few surprises among the honors handed out during Saturday’s ceremony.British actor Idris Elba was the only actor to take home a pair of individual SAG Awards during the ceremony, after winning both the “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role” award for his role in the Netflix-produced feature Beasts of No Nation and the award for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or … [Read more...] about Netflix and Idris Elba win big at 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards
For the first time in a decade, Nintendo has our attention again. On October 20, it showed off a radically different game console.Much like the NES, N64, or the Wii, the Nintendo Switch is unlike anything else on the market. You can play on a TV, but also snap a portable tablet out and take with you on the go. On top of that, the portable system has a large screen, kickstand, and detachable side controllers.Nintendo’s new console is not only innovative and fun looking, it may be the most practical piece of gaming hardware I’ve ever seen. It is also a gamble. As a professed Nintendo fan, thinking about it gives me that uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I can see it as a huge hit or a massive flop. That fear means Nintendo is doing something right again.While the rest of the industry is fixated on making gaming more solitary through virtual reality and pushing pixels on 4K Ultra HD TVs, Nintendo is going against the grain. … [Read more...] about Nintendo is back on its game, and the Switch proves it
The 74th annual Golden Globe Awards honor some of the best projects and performers from the past year of movies and television. Along with being a boozy and relatively loose affair, the event typically has a few surprises in store for pre-show prognosticators.With Jimmy Fallon as the host, this year’s ceremony showered honors on Whiplash director Damien Chazelle’s modern musical La La Land, which took home a Golden Globe for each of the seven categories in which it was nominated. Along with being named the year’s best movie (in the comedy or musical category) and awarding trophies to both its stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the film also took home Golden Globes for its director, screenplay, and original score, and original song, City of Stars.On the dramatic side, Moonlight was named the year’s best drama film, with Manchester by the Sea star Casey Affleck and Elle star Isabelle Huppert named the year’s … [Read more...] about ‘La La Land’, ‘The People vs. O.J.’ win big at 2017 Golden Globe Awards
“The big challenge was: How do you bring the monster to life?”There’s no disputing Season 5 of Game of Thrones was its biggest and baddest yet. Just ask Lady Emmy, who bestowed the international phenomenon with a record-shattering 12 awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage, as the incomparable Tyrion Lannister), and Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (David Nutter, for the action- and emotion-packed Episode 10, “Mother’s Mercy”).Never one to rest on its access laurels, HBO wasted no time in making the entirety of Season 5 available in Digital HD a full 6 months before it receives a physical release on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2016. Viewers can access their favorite digital platforms right now to feast upon every S5 episode, in addition to exclusive bonus features such as The Weapons of Dorne and A Day in the Life, which encompasses what happens across a single day of shooting in … [Read more...] about Game of Thrones’ Ian Beattie looks back at the bloody, award-winning season 5
InstallationThe short answer is that TVs are easier to install. Large TVs may be heavy and little fragile, but they’re simple to place in a home theater set up, and easy to use. Plus, they act as a great unifier for your devices and equipment, since everything plugs directly into the TV itself and, in most cases, is even controlled via the TV’s remote. Unless you’re mounting the TV to a wall, installation is relatively painless. And even if you do opt for the wall-mounted setup, you’ll be able to complete the project on your own. Should you need an installer, their job will be quick and cheap.Projectors can be complicated, and require more effort and planning to install. The first issue is your screen. Will you be painting a wall, setting up a free-standing screen, or opting for a motorized screen that will need to be attached to your ceiling or wall? Regardless of the method, you’ll need to be sure you have the necessary space — those screens … [Read more...] about Projectors vs. TVs: Which big-screen should rule your home theater?
For this last column of 2006, I thought it would be interesting to look ahead to 2007 and explore the battles that are to come. The three big ones are the Battle for the Digital Home, the Battle for your Pocket, and the Battle for Your Lap.The fighters include Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HP, Dell, Gateway, Sony, AMD, Intel, Linux supporters, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Research In Motion, Cisco and IBM. We are not talking lightweights and the battles will be long and likely bloody.The winner(s) will be those that can focus unerringly on real customers to provide the solutions the market does not yet know it wants but will lust for once it realizes it wants them -- rather than competitors that may be clueless.There are a number of battlefields in the digital home. In order, they are distributed music, distributed video, and home automation/security. The players we tend to watch very closely are traditional consumer electronics vendors like Sony and Samsung, and the emerging class of … [Read more...] about OPINION The Three Big Tech Battles of 2007: Who Has the Edge and What Is the Winning Strategy?
The federal government's IT force is aging, and this year will see half of those employees retire, reports say. Additionally, the public sector has retained many of its legacy systems at the same time as private-sector industries have walked through fire and burned through considerable funds to upgrade their antiquated systems, integrate their data sources and build new audit trails.At this late stage in the game, federal agencies feel several pressures, and the simplest relief may be outsourcing. With this option, no new employees need to be screened, hired and salaried; no requests for proposals on new systems need to be floated, evaluated and decided upon; and no new taxes need to be extracted from American citizens."We've just finished our first review of the first-quarter deals that were won in the outsourcing marketplace. Certainly the government is growing in outsourcing. Four of the largest eight deals we tracked were in government -- two in applications management, one for the … [Read more...] about Are Government Jobs Going to Foreign Workers?
Earlier this week I planned to focus this column on saying farewell to Google+. Then Google suddenly announced something much bigger. It is splitting itself into several different companies under one master brand called "Alphabet."Splitting up is what Google has needed to do for several years. The idea of creating a master brand makes enormous sense for a company like Google, which is an octopus with many arms. However, it is only right if it is done correctly. Some companies attempt it and win big time, but others fail.A master brand is a top-level brand above all other brands. One of the most recent examples of success with a master brand is AT&T. A decade ago, SBC -- a smaller local phone company based in San Antonio, Texas -- acquired AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular. Then it made AT&T its master brand with other companies operating under it.Over the last decade, it has grown and entered many different spaces, with companies that include AT&T Mobility, Gigapower, … [Read more...] about ANALYST CORNER Will Google Win the Alphabet Game?