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Big Revolution: We have a name!

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Here it is: the newsletter has a proper name! Hopefully you like it. If you don't, you'll get used to
 
March 8 · Issue #11 · View online
Big Revolution
Here it is: the newsletter has a proper name! Hopefully you like it. If you don’t, you’ll get used to it. I’m not 100% set on the colour scheme yet though, so that may change before the official launch some time next week.

Big things you need to know today
- The next version of Android is out for developers to try. New features include redesigned notifications, better privacy, and support for iPhone X-style notches some manufacturers insist on adding to their handsets. 
- Windows 10 is set to get smarter. Microsoft has unveiled a new A.I. platform for developers.
- Magic Leap has raised another huge round of funding. The mysterious ‘mixed reality’ platform has taken on $461 million, mostly from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment arm. The company has now raised more that $2.3 BILLION before it’s even launched.
- More trouble for Snap. The company is reportedly laying off around 100 engineering staff. That’s still less than 10 percent of the department’s headcount though.
- The New York Times was left red-faced after an editor accidentally ‘corrected’ an article using a satirical Chrome extension.
The big thought
No really, what’s with the creepy laugh, Amazon?
If it wasn’t bad enough that some people’s Alexa devices are laughing completely unprompted, Amazon’s initial response to the press was disappointingly brief. “We are aware of this and are working to fix it.”
Occasionally, the Echo in my kitchen has spoken up unprompted, mishearing something someone said as a request to Alexa. It’s a surprise at the time, and a little annoying, but easily forgiven and forgotten. But laughing is worse. There’s something creepy and unsettling about even the thought of it.
Why on Earth would Alexa need to laugh anyway?
If it happened to me, I’d want a clear explanation of why it happened and why it will never happen again. We don’t want the technology in our homes to unsettle us. Having internet-connected microphones in your house is pretty unsettling as it is, but at least that’s self-inflicted.
Amazon later followed up to explain that the laughing was apparently caused by Alexa mishearing people’s speech as “Alexa, laugh,” but what about the times when people say they heard the laughter in a silent room? I feel there’s still something missing here.
It’s fair enough to want smart assistants for our homes, not haunted conduits to another dimension, so hopefully that’s the end of it.
One big read
Could you go two months getting no news from the internet? That’s what New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo did, relying instead on newspapers to find out about the world. He found the experience refreshing, and what he learned is worth reading.
I try a similar approach for a week every now and then – I heartily recommend it as a way of avoid the stress of soaking up every little bit of breaking news online.
Here’s an interesting piece to read afterwards about how the ‘real world’ is often just… nicer.
One big tweet
I’ll admit it, it’s tempting…
David Pierce
Life hack: Never check your voicemail. After a while it fills up, and then people can't leave you more voicemails, and then all the ones you have are like a year old, so you don't need to check them anymore anyway! No more voicemail.
7:52 PM - 7 Mar 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow! As ever, any and all feedback is welcome.
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