I’m on my phone a lot. Lately, I’ve started growing increasingly annoyed at trying to read stuff on-the-go, which is something I do quite often. Trying to catch up on emails or the early news of the day during the morning commute is all fine and good when I’m on a bus, for example, but not so much when I’m making my way through rush-hour crowds. And if I’m heading to an assignment, it would be great if I could listen to past stories on the subject as I make my way there.
Pros: The voice is pretty great. The default is a fluid-sounding female voice, almost human-like. The intonations are fairly accurate too, for a robot. I tested it with a profanity-laced email and it was pretty great to hear it read out it in this sweet voice. You can also select a voice with a British accent for free. For money, you can apparently make it read you stuff in Barack Obama’s voice. (Bush is also an option.)
Cons: You have to copy and paste the text into the app, which means you still have to fidget with your phone, but it’s a step. It also limits the amount of text it will read at once. (Not sure what the exact limit is.)
I then Googled, and found out iOS5 actually has an option that will do exactly what I wanted — right at the screen of whatever you’re reading, without having to open another app. To toggle it, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection and turn it on. You’ll likely want to slow down the rate of speech a bit, as the default is pretty quick.
Pros: It only takes a couple taps to get it reading and you don’t have to open another app.
Cons: It’s in Siri’s robotic voice. (Total first world problem, I’m aware.) This option also doesn’t really work with Instapaper, which is really the exact type of thing it should work for. (For those who don’t know: Instapaper allows you to save webpages for later reading. On a smartphone, it essentially downloads a webpage, strips it of unnecessary formatting and saves a cleaned up (think print screen) version of it within the app for you to read later — even if you’re offline.) On other pages, you select Speak Selection by holding your finger on a block of text for a second, as if you were going to copy it. In Instapaper, it suddenly removes the “select all” option, and the drag-highlighting mechanism doesn’t work.
I’m going to play with these for a couple of days and see how practical they are. Can’t see anything being more simple than the Speak Selection option despite its flaws, though. In the mean time, does anyone have any other suggestions? Help, please. Don’t let me be this guy:
Still don’t think it’s nearly as cool as this one, though.
(Lots of spoilers, of course.)
…recommended videos about Gosling might then pop up on your YouTube homepage. Before, data collected at each of these services was kept separate. Users cannot opt out of this new policy.
Google policy manager Betsy Masiello says this is merely to streamline matters and that Google won’t be collecting any more data than it did before. Critics are concerned about whether this violates privacy rights — what will Google do with the new, super-thorough user profiles? — and what it will mean for Android users, who access much of the smartphone’s functions by signing in through their Google accounts.
Others still argue Google is upping its aggregation of user info to better compete with Facebook for advertising dollars. From eWeek.com:
Why does Google need to improve its social ad targeting? Because Facebook is already doing exactly this. As a result, Facebook is crushing all comers, including Google, in user engagement. This means users are spending more time on Facebook and seeing more ads, which allows Facebook to make more money.
Eight members of congress wrote a letter to Google CEO Larry Page asking for clarification on the changes. Among their questions:
Does Google offer users the option to permanently delete their personal information from its archives? If not, why not?
Does Google store or permanently delete user information once a user closes or deletes his or her Gmail account or Google+ account?
Does Google plan to offer distinct privacy protections for children and teens?
Again, Google users who have logged in to use its services cannot opt out of the new cross-service info gathering. But there are Google services that don’t require signing in to use (e.g. search and YouTube), and you can make it all a little less annoying by turning off personalized ads.
If you’re still nervous enough to consider abandoning Google for good, Gizmodo has compiled a list of Google service alternatives.
Via Murk Avenue:
“went to short dogs house,
they was watching Yo MTV
Yo MTV RAPS first aired:
Aug 6th 1988
Ice Cubes single “today was a good day” released on:
Feb 23 1993
”The Lakers beat the Super
Dates between Yo MTV Raps air date AUGUST 6 1988 and the release of the single FEBRUARY 23 1993 where the Lakers beat the Super Sonics:
Nov 11 1988 114-103
Nov 30 1988 110-106
Apr 4 1989 115-97
Apr 23 1989 121-117
Jan 17 1990 100-90
Feb 28 1990 112-107
Mar 25 1990 116-94
Apr 17 1990 102-101
Jan 18 1991 105-96
Mar 24 1991 113-96
Apr 21 1991 103-100
Jan 20 1992 116-110
Dates of those Laker wins over SuperSonics where it was a clear day with no Smog:
Nov 30 1988
Apr 4 1989
Jan 18 1991
Jan 20 1992
“Got a beep from Kim, and
she can fuck all night”
beepers weren’t adopted by mobile phone companies until the 1990s. Dates left where mobile beepers were availible to public:
Jan 18 1991
Jan 20 1992
Ice Cube starred in the film “Boyz in the hood” that released late Summer of 1991, but was being filmed mid-late 1990 early 1991 and Ice Cube was busy on set filming the movie Jan 18 1991 too busy to be lounging around the streets with no plans. Ladies and Gentlemen..
The ONLY day where:
Yo MTV Raps was on air
It was a clear and smogless day
Beepers were commercially sold
Lakers beat the SuperSonics
and Ice Cube had no events to attend was…
JANUARY 20 1992
National Good Day Day
Jan. 31 UPDATE: Vulture reached out to Ice Cube for comment on this fantastical piece of nerdery. His reply, via publicist? “Nice try.”
Don’t know what the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or Protect IP Act (PIPA) are, or why they’re so controversial? Gizmodo has a pretty thorough overview here.
In a nutshell: It is legislation — SOPA in the U.S. House and its counterpart PIPA in the Senate — that aims to stop online piracy, copyright infringement and illegal downloading, such as the illegal file-sharing of music and movies, for example. In and of itself, not a bad thing.
Here’s the problem, which the National Post has articulated so nicely:
Not only would SOPA and PIPA force American website operators to police every single piece of user-generated content on their sites — an impossible job with potentially huge liability costs. The bills would also allow copyright holders to obtain unopposed court orders, forcing Internet companies to block access to foreign sites that are alleged to have violated U.S. intellectual property laws. Court orders could be used to prevent advertising and online payment companies from doing business with foreign sites and to prevent search engines, such as Google, from linking to certain content.
Even more worrisome is the fact that SOPA and PIPA would give the U.S. government the direct authority to block entire domains and blocks of IP addresses. Canadians should be especially concerned about this, since the legislation treats all dot-com, dot-net and dot-org domains — as well as all North American IP addresses — as “domestic Internet protocol addresses” that would be subject to U.S. law. [My emphasis -AW] The bills would employ the same practices used by authoritarian regimes, such as China and Iran, to censor information and quash dissent. Ironically, they would also outlaw the technologies that foreign activists use to evade censorship, including those developed by the U.S. government.
SOPA and PIPA directly target the very aspects of the Internet that make it powerful and worthwhile — the ability to share and link to information that can by published by anyone, anywhere. That would be reason enough to oppose the legislation. But there’s more to the story.
The debate over SOPA and PIPA draws a clear line between new media and old— and between entrepreneurship and reliance on government intervention. On the one side are the opponents of the bill — organizations and companies that are products of the self-starting Internet age, such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, Wikipedia, WordPress and the like. On the other side are the dinosaurs advocating for the bill, including the motion picture and recording industries, which have been slow to adapt to the realities of the Internet, and would rather lean on government to provide them protection, than come up with innovative new business models that would be attractive to modern consumers.
On Wednesday, several major websites including Wikipedia, Google, WordPress and Reddit will blackout some, or all, of their sites in protest. See what that looks like here.
ProPublica has a pretty handy graphic showing who in congress supports and opposes the legislation. As of early Wednesday morning, they had 80 for and 31 against, although the New York Times reported Republican senators Marco Rubio (a PIPA co-sponsor) and John Cornyn — on ProPublica’s “supporters” list — announced they would no longer back it, changing the figure to 78 for, 33 against.
As Cornyn said on his Facebook page: It is “better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong. Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time.”
10:30 a.m. UPDATE: Reps. Lee Terry and Ben Quayle, also co-sponsors of the bill, have also said they will withdraw their support for SOPA. In the Senate, Roy Blunt has withdrawn his support for PIPA, saying it “is deeply flawed and still needs much work.” Won’t be able to update this too frequently throughout the day, but I’m hoping the figure keeps changing.
6:30 p.m. UPDATE: ProPublica now has it at 70 supporters and 64 opponents.
8:20 p.m. UPDATE: 68 supporters, 71 opponents
Jan. 19, 9:45 a.m. UPDATE: 64 supporters, 108 opponents