I Wish “Virtual Assistants” Let You Add Custom Sources

I’ve occasionally played with the various Virtual Assistants. Siri I consider to be about useless. Cortana is probably one of the best, but still not close to “there” yet. Google isn’t bad, but is missing quite a lot.

One hallmark of VAs is to give you alerts about news items or sports or whatever. I turn off the sports stuff as best as I can, because I don’t give a crap about sports. But news alerts only come from “mainstream” sources. These are not sources I need, or trust.

Google Assistant finally showed up on my Note 5. I played around with it some, and went into the settings. As for news sources, it only gives you the typical ones: BBC, PBS, MSLGBTV, and the rest. I turned off all but Fox News. Then I tried a test. I said “Show me headlines from Breitbart.com”.

It showed me a Media Matters article ABOUT Breitbart. Total bullshit.

I’m glad for some of the alt-tech we have already. I was an early backer of Infogalactic. I got on gab.ai as soon as I heard about it. Somehow, at a time when the waiting list was two weeks, I had my account in under two hours on a Sunday. Right place, right time? There’s a new on called vk.com. So far, Matt Forney is the only person I know on there.

Gab is a replacement for Twitter. A lot of alt-right and conservatives that got kicked off Twitter have migrated over there. VK is supposedly a Facebook replacement. Both have a long way to go, but the fact that they exist is a good sign.

I doubt I’ll get kicked off Twitter, but I don’t use it much. I mostly just favorite some of President Trump’s tweets, and now Malik Obama. And a few others I see when I’m on there.

I hope we start getting some alt-right friendly software soon. I’d love a virtual assistant that can give me news alerts about President Trump that aren’t from the Huffington post. Let me select my own sources of news.

I have some Gab invites if you’re interested. Email me or leave a comment.

iPad Only?

I’ve been using Michael¬†Sliwinski’s application Nozbe for a couple of years. It’s not perfect, but what is? Wired had an article a while back about how it’s 2016 and why can’t we have a decent productivity app? There are tons and tons of productivity apps. Those that are powerful on the desktop either aren’t present or are pathetic on mobile. (MyLifeOrganized is an example). Those that are good on mobile don’t work well on a desktop type system (I consider laptops on that category- a full fledged Windows or Mac system). Nozbe seems to hit the high points and has a consistent user experience across all platforms.

Michael and a co-author wrote a book called iPad Only. I haven’t bought the book yet. Based on user reviews, I do not perceive it to be worth $10.

I have tried over the years to figure out a true mobile experience. That’s not easy for me though. I took a class a while back where I didn’t have much desk space. I brought my MacBook Pro the first day, but after that I used my iPad Mini with a BlueTooth keyboard the rest of the week due to desk space. It got the job done all right. Thanks to the integration of cloud storage, this helps, assuming you have a consistent Internet connection.

The iPad has definitely come a long way since the beginning. At first, it was pretty much a media consumption device and still very limited at that. Along the way, better apps and technology were integrated into the platform. Now it has Microsoft Office and other productivity apps.

I think the biggest limitation on the iPad at present is the fact that it is STILL run by a mobile operating system. While Microsoft has Windows 10, which even on their phones is a full fledged OS, Apple is still running mobile.

I’m convinced that the biggest revolution in mobility is a phone sized device that is a full-fledged computer. It has a full operating system, plenty of storage (at least 1TB), and is capable of docking to a laptop sized device or a keyboard and monitor for heavier duty tasks. And it appears such as device is here, or almost here: the HP Elite X3. The Lumina 950 and 950 XL have a similar capability, but not as much on board storage. No way you could keep your music library on it.