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Why Doesn’t Microsoft Just Give Up on Cortana?

Cortana may soon recognize different voices, a feature Alexa and Google Assistant have had since 2017. Microsoft isn’t quite giving up on Cortana, but it’s slowly transforming Cortana into something other than a general-purpose digital assistant.

Who Even Uses Cortana?

Amazon has the Echo, Google has the Google Home, and Apple has the HomePod. But did you know that Microsoft has its own Cortana speaker? The Harman Kardon Invoke features Cortana. It hasn’t caught on. In fact, it’s so unpopular that it doesn’t even rank in market share analysis of smart speakers. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Harman Kardon sold 30,000 Invokes and Amazon sold 9.7 million Echo devices. Yikes.

So who uses Cortana? Every Windows 10 PC ships with a big Cortana box next to its Start button. Microsoft has said over 150 million people use Cortana, but it’s unclear whether those people are actually using Cortana as a voice assistant or just using the Cortana box to type searches on Windows 10.

Really—in a world full of open plan offices where people have keyboards, how many people are going to talk to their PCs, even if Cortana works well? A voice assistant is much less useful on a Windows PC than it is on a smart speaker or smartphone.

Microsoft hasn’t seemed serious about pushing Cortana in recent years, either. Cortana is still only available in 13 countries, while Amazon says Alexa is supported in many, many more countries. At the end of 2017, there were only 230 Cortana skills compared to 25,000 Alexa skills. Alexa now has over 50,000 skills, leaving Cortana in the dust.

Alexa Even Runs on Windows 10

Amazon’s Alexa is even beating Cortana on Windows. Many PC manufacturers have excitedly announced Alexa integration on their new PCs, and now there’s an official Alexa app any Windows 10 user can install to use Amazon’s voice assistant instead of Microsoft’s.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Chris Hoffman

5 of the Best Privacy-Focused Browsers for Android

privacy-browser-feature.jpgUnfortunately, in this day and age your personal data is worth more than gold. The result is that virtually everyone is trying to collect your information. As smartphones and other mobile devices have allowed us to extend our digital lives to any place at any time, we need to be hyper aware of data collection practices. Fortunately, there are a number of browsers that can help protect your sensitive data when using your Android smartphone. Related: 4 of the Best Web Browsers with a Focus on Privacy 1. Firefox Focus It’s fair to say that Mozilla’s Firefox Focus focuses on privacy. Firefox Focus automatically deletes all of… Read more

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ryan Lynch

The State Of PC Gaming In 2018


PC has never been a singular platform like, say, PlayStation or Xbox. Instead, it’s a series of disparate landmasses sharing the same turbulent sea.

Read more…

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Heather Alexandra and Nathan Grayson on Kotaku, shared by Harrison Weber to Gizmodo

IMAX pulls the plug on its dream of VR arcades


The company behind the biggest screens in cinema is giving up on bringing VR screens within a few inches of users’ faces. The company announced today in a SEC filing that it will be shutting down its three remaining virtual reality centers including its flagship location in Los Angeles.

Via the filing:

In connection with the Company’s previously-announced strategic review of its virtual reality pilot initiative, the Company has decided to close its remaining VR locations and write-off certain VR content investments.

The locations in LA, Bangkok and Toronto will be shuttered in Q1 of 2019 according to Variety.

After making a lot of noise about the centers at launch, the company seemed to realize pretty quickly that the economics just weren’t there. Previous to today’s announcement, IMAX had already shut down 4 of the 7 VR centers that had been opened.

A lot of virtual reality startups who were counting on the pipe dream resurgence of the American arcade scene are probably sweating a bit after today’s news. It was clear that IMAX’s efforts hadn’t been a raving success, but there’s a big difference between dialing it back and shutting it down.

Earlier this year, IMAX confirmed that it had paused work on a VR camera project it was developing with Google.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Lucas Matney

Google adds screen time management to Chromebooks

dims?crop=1600%2C1067%2C0%2C0&quality=85When Google brought its Family Link parental controls to Chromebook, they weren’t all that useful because there were limited options available. Now, Google is offering parents more tools to supervise how their offspring use their laptops.

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How to Host Your Own Minecraft Server

minecraft-feat.jpgMinecraft is still a very popular game, and a big part of the appeal behind it is the ability to host and run your own servers. It’s surprisingly simple to host a Minecraft server, and you can get one running quickly. This guide covers one of many ways to get a Minecraft server running, but this method is one of the simplest and most stable server setups possible. Before You Get Started If you’re just planning to run a Minecraft server on your local network, this isn’t a concern, but if you want people to be able to play on your server over the Internet,… Read more

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Nick Congleton

Scammers are sending bomb scares to nab BTC


A new scam is making the rounds that promises to disrupt countless offices and schools. The scam is simple: the scammers send an email threatening to detonate a bomb if they don’t get a certain amount of Bitcoin within a specified time frame. Because there is little upside to ignoring a bomb threat at this point in history, entire offices are now being evacuated as this scam spreads.

The scammers usually send something like this:

My man carried a bomb (Hexogen) into the building where your company is located. It is constructed under my direction. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it is not able to damage the supporting building structure, but in the case of its detonation you will get many victims.

My mercenary keeps the building under the control. If he notices any unusual behavior or emergency he will blow up the bomb.

I can withdraw my mercenary if you pay. You pay me 20.000 $ in Bitcoin and the bomb will not explode, but don’t try to cheat -I warrant you that I will withdraw my mercenary only after 3 confirmations in blockchain network.

Here is my Bitcoin address : 1GHKDgQX7hqTM7mMmiiUvgihGMHtvNJqTv

You have to solve problems with the transfer by the end of the workday. If you are late with the money explosive will explode.

This is just a business, if you don’t send me the money and the explosive device detonates, other commercial enterprises will transfer me more money, because this isnt a one-time action.

I wont visit this email. I check my Bitcoin wallet every 35 min and after seeing the money I will order my recruited person to get away.

If the explosive device explodes and the authorities notice this letter:
We are not terrorists and dont assume any responsibility for explosions in other buildings.

This particular address is empty and the address changes with each email. The NYPD reacted to these threats and noted that they are not credible.

Please be advised – there is an email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment. While this email has been sent to numerous locations, searches have been conducted and NO DEVICES have been found.

— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2018

At this time, it appears that these threats are meant to cause disruption and/or obtain money. We’ll respond to each call regarding these emails to conduct a search but we wanted to share this information so the credibility of these threats can be assessed as likely NOT CREDIBLE.

— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 13, 2018

The FBI wasn’t so certain and recommend vigilance.

FBI: “We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country … As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”

— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 13, 2018

Ultimately scams like this one do more harm than good and are rarely credible. While nothing is impossible, please take a moment before panicking if you receive one of these emails.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: John Biggs

How to Import a Word Document into Google Docs


Someone send you a Word document, but you don’t have Word? Giving up on Word and making the change to Google Docs? No problem; Google Docs lets you easily import Word documents. And while it might not support some of the more advanced features and formatting of some Word documents, it works pretty well.

How to Import a Word Document into Google Docs

To view a Word document on Google Docs, you must first upload the file to your Google Drive. Open Google Drive, click “New,” and then click “File Upload” to get started.


Navigate to your file(s) and then click “Open.”


Alternatively, you can drag and drop a file from your computer directly into the web browser for an easy upload.


Once your file uploads, right-click it, point to “Open With” on the context menu, and then select “Google Docs.”

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Brady Gavin

Twitter releases 2018 Transparency Report including policy violation stats for the first time


Twitter released its biannual Transparency Report on Thursday outlining current trends in government information requests, content removal requests, and other privacy matters regarding the network.

This year’s report marks the thirteenth time in the company’s history that Twitter has expounded on its privacy practices in such tremendous detail. The new report also expands on the type of data Twitter is making publicly available.

In a blog post published in tandem with the Transparency Report, Twitter explains that for the first time ever, along with government requests for information and content removal, the company has included stats on the enforcement of Twitter’s own policies. Read more…

More about Twitter, Data, Copyright, Transparency Report, and Government Request

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The Article Was Written/Published By: (Deleted account)

Laptop Keyboard Not Working? Here Are Some Fixes

laptop-keyboard-not-working-header.jpgYour laptop keyboard is a vital ingredient in what makes a laptop a laptop. It’s part of the overall portability package that you pay a premium for, and when it stops working, suddenly that shiny laptop of yours looks a bit redundant. Why does this happen, and how do you stop your laptop keyboard from messing up? Here we show you the most common problems and solutions. Related: How to Fix Microphone Not Working Issue in Windows 10 Laptop Keyboard Hardware Not Working The first thing you need to do is hone in on exactly what the problem with the keyboard is. Is it a… Read more

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Robert Zak

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