Google Home Mini Isn’t Ready

Google Home Mini Isn’t Ready

Last year, I wrote, “Google Home is the most frustrating device I’ve ever reviewed.”

I saw potential in Google’s future but they weren’t executing on simple things. I was getting error messages with things like playing Spotify music. But the problem that bothered me most was that Google Calendar couldn’t be controlled through Google Home, even though Alexa devices could do this!

Google Home has matured since its inception in late 2016. The significant issues I faced have been resolved, and now both assistants are on a level playing field.

Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are excellent devices.

Google’s basic smart home integrations from big companies (Nest, Ecobee, Philips, WeMo, IFTTT) work just as well as Alexa, with better setup and configuration. Google’s has superior intelligence, a nicer minimalistic design and a better speaker.

It should be an easy call, but no audio out, Bluetooth out, or Sonos integration on Home Mini is a killer for me.

Who should get Google Home Mini?

  • Anyone in the Google ecosystem (even just Chromecast owners).
  • Anyone using the small assistants as an add-on piece just for smart home tasks (only the assistant’s voice will be played on the speaker).
  • Anyone who is fine with slightly better than smartphone audio quality for their music (Home Mini isn’t good for music but is way better than Dot).

Home Mini is a much better as a standalone option, but that’s not how these are supposed to be used ideally.

Echo Dot is still the king and for the masses. You’ll get more integrations, ability to buy things on Amazon, you can set up customized routines, and you can use your own speakers.

And when Dots are $30 during the holidays and other Amazon events, how do you pass up buying a few?

Windows 8′s secret logon screen revealed

Windows 8′s secret logon screen revealed

Earlier, GeekSmack reported on registry keys confirming that Windows 8 will have a second, tile-based shell for tablets dubbed “Immersive”. Now, Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott have revealed the logon screen for this shell, which GeekSmack can independently confirm as real despite some misinformed rants about this being an April Fool’s day joke.

What this reveals to us is basically a Metro-inspired logon screen, akin to that of the Windows Phone. The display showcases the date, day of the week, icons for power management, and ease of access stuff. Rafael also notes that Microsoft will be building on this lock screen, allowing for a “pattern unlock” for tablet users similar to Android, and audio controls for music so you can easily control music playback whilst your tablet device is locked.

Rafael and Paul are sure to be revealing more of the hidden bits in Windows 8 throughout the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Apple’s 30-pin dock connector to support DisplayPort, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt?

Patently Apple has discovered that Apple has been granted a new patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office.The patent reveals what appears to be a new dock connector that can support both DisplayPort/USB 3.0/Thunderbolt.

Apple has been granted a powerful patent that packs quite the wallop. Somehow they snuck a secret patent application through the system for an all-new high speed connector that will combine at least USB 3.0 and DisplayPort. Although the patent illustrates an iPod as being one of the first to adopt this, the patent clarifies that it’s for all future Mac hardware as well.

However, it isn’t clear if this will be backward compatible with the current 30-pin connectors.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Beta 2 screenshots surface, leak imminent

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 Beta 2 screenshots surface, leak imminent

WZOR, the Russian enthusiast site that’s been responsible for many leaks of Office 2010 and Windows 7 builds during their development have stated that they will soon leak Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 build 14.0.0.100326. While they are yet to leak the .dmg file to the Interwebs, they did post up a nice and lengthy screenshot gallery, and all of the images WZOR published are enclosed in this post for your viewing pleasure.

The file information according to WZOR is as follows:

BUILD: 14.0.0.100326
FILE: microsoft.office.for.mac.2011.beta-2.dmg
SIZE: 625,145,015 byte
SHA1: E0AC5320A3F07E4C406C9C1DD74DF1921B577CD1
MD5: 048E76275918997112AB1A4F8EFBB72B

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, announced on February 10th, 2010 promises to bring an array of new features to the table that will give Mac users an improved Office experience. One of the biggest visual changes with Office for Mac 2011 though is that Microsoft Is bringing the Ribbon UI to the Mac, with Office 2011 taking advantage of this interface like its Windows counterpart. On the functionality side of the spectrum though, Office 2011 will have improved co-authoring tools thanks to the Office Web Apps; now, you will be able to work on a Word, PowerPoint or Excel file from an array of locations, allowing you to collaborate with others to bring these documents to life.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 is expected to touch down later this year. Below are screenshots of the build that WZOR is expected to leak in a short while:

Sinofsky: Build 7046 Is Latest Build

I’ve been emailing my Windows 7 feedback and concerns to Steven Sinofsky, most of which are stated in my earlier editorial here on GeekSmack. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Windows 7 is a bad OS whatsoever; I’ve been using it as my main operating system for a while now on my personal PC and laptop, but I definitely think that it needs more time to mature, and that in Microsoft beta programs more bugs need to be fixed. I mean, sometimes I feel like if the “mass” media and blogosphere didn’t make such a big deal out of the UAC issue, for instance, it wouldn’t have been fixed.

So, Sinofsky and I were emailing on this matter back and forth, and I asked him for a comment on everything said. Here’s what he had to say:
I have to be honest and say that it is awkward to comment because you’re sort of suggesting we’re not doing the best job we could in engineering Windows 7 and then asking me to defend against that assertion. Quite the contrary we are incredibly focused on building a great release and incorporating feedback from the beta. We have received an amazing amount of feedback, many suggestions for new features too, during the beta—over 500,000 suggestions just from the Send Feedback button (which is only one of many feedback mechanisms). Putting that in perspective it is 500 suggestions for each and every developer on the Windows team, just since beta! That is clearly a lot of interest in refining Windows 7, even if a very significant portion of these are suggestions for entirely new features. We take all of them very seriously.

The other part of the challenge in answering to your assertion is that when you say we’re rushing or rushed, it implies we are behind schedule or trying to finish ahead of schedule. Neither of those are true. As we talked about at the PDC, we will have a Release Candidate after the Beta and then RTM—this was reiterated in a blog recently as well, again with no change at all in the plan. And of course, our development partners such as OEMs and IHVs, as described at the PDC and in the post, continue to receive builds frequently. Recently we’ve seen people talk about “RC Builds” and the like. First, all builds since the beta are RC builds since by definition that is the next milestone. But by far the most humorous element has been that the build numbers blogged about are higher than our current build. Today’s build is 7046, but it hasn’t completed yet 🙂

Stay tuned for some discussion of the changes we have made based on the feedback…there are hundreds of changes based on all those suggestions and of course many fixes based on the telemetry we have been receiving.

This email was received on 1:09 AM EST, and that’s 10:09 PM Redmond (Pacific) time, so I don’t know if he meant that 7046 was Thursday’s build or if it’s Friday’s build, but the reason that we weren’t able to find out the build tag yesterday was because it hasn’t been compiled yet. This confirms it; Build 7048 DOES NOT exist yet.

Firefox 3.5 surpasses IE7 market share

Non-profit Mozilla and its Firefox 3.5 Internet browser have managed to dethrone Microsoft and its Internet Explorer 7 browser. This comes as the first time that Firefox has beaten out Internet Explorer in browser market share as a single version.

As the chart released by StatsCounter show, Firefox 3.5 has spun past all other Internet browsers in user choice as a single version. Internet Explorer comes in first, however, with 55 percent of the market share with all versions combined.

Mozilla’s browser ended the week with 21.93 percent of the market share. IE7 came in a close second with 21.20%. The successor to IE7, Internet Explorer 8, comes in third with 20.33 percent, with IE6 coming in fourth.

Combined version’s market share still shows Internet Explorer as the king of web browsers with 55.42 percent of the market share. Firefox ended with 31.95 percent so it still has a little while to go before it surpasses Internet Explorer completely. Perhaps publicity of Firefox 4 will bring them ahead of the Microsoft-branded Internet browser?

Opera managed to lose points from it’s share decreasing it from 2 percent in June to 0.94 percent now, letting Safari 4 bring in just over 3 percent.

Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 now available to download

Firefox 4.0 Beta 1 now available to download

Firefox 4.0 beta 1 is now available to download and try out. This first beta version allows users to see what’s coming in Firefox 4.0 and give feedback on what they like or dislike. There’s more to come and new beta versions are scheduled to be released every two to three weeks.

Firefox 4.0 beta 1 includes a boatload of new features and improvements over the most recent stable version (3.6.6) and also in Windows 7 or Windows Vista the Menu Bar is replaced with a single Menu button.

Find the list of improvements inside.

  • New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!
  • HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.
  • Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.
  • Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) – when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.
  • Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.
  • HTML5 Parser: Run the best Web apps of today and tomorrow – if a user’s browser doesn’t support HTML5, they still won’t miss out on your content.
  • WebSockets: Build real-time, online interactions like gaming and chatting.
  • IndexedDB: Use structured storage in your Web applications to speed them up or provide offline support.
  • Web Console: Peek into dynamic websites with this experimental “Heads Up Display” play” analysis tool.
  • Simpler Add-On Development: Authors can create Add-Ons that don’t require a restart to install, develop their Add-Ons more quickly using the new powerful Jetpack SDK, and safely connect to existing libraries using js-ctypes.
  • For a full list of Web technologies supported by Firefox check out our “big chart o’ features.”

iMac Touch Shown Off in Apple Patents

The patent above, as recently revealed by Patently Apple, shows that Apple are looking into a touchscreen variant of the iMac. But with a twist, more so, a tilt. The stand itself has a hinge built into it that allows the screen to fold backwards to an almost flat position, at which the accelerometer inside will detect and boot into iOS mode, rather than OS X mode which is the mode it’ll boot into in regular iMac positioning.

Updated: Twitter suspends parody @ceoSteveJobs account

Updated: Twitter suspends parody @ceoSteveJobs account

Today, it appears that Twitter has suspended the ceoSteveJobs Twitter account, which had approximately 460,000 followers and over 650 tweets at the time of deletion.

Back in January, it turns out that Twitter received a complaint about the account from Apple, in which Apple noted that the account is inviolation of Twitter’s parody account policy as it didn’t clearly state in the account name that it was a parody. Thus, it could be mistaken for a real account (which it was, by a considerable amount of people).

While it is unknown whether specifically the account was suspended for that reason in particular, we have reached out to Twitter and are awaiting comment on the matter.

UPDATE: It appears that today, Twitter has brought the account back from the pits of suspension, under the new name of @fakeceoSteve.

Pre-order your iPad 2 now!

Yesterday, Apple annouced that pre-orders would start at 1 AM PST but it seems like you are able to order an iPad 2 now! Go order one now 🙂 ! Estimated shipping date for iPads are from March 18 – March 25th.

Online orders will ship within 3-5 days, and you are currently limited to two units per order.

Update: Apple has extended shipping estimates for new orders out to 2-3 weeks for all 18 models