News you need to know
Amazon just surprised everyone with a crazy speaker that talks to you
It's like Google Now for your house! Amazon announced this quirky device with no warning this week that listens in your home for requests like "play me some Radiohead" or "what's the weather in Wellington" and can answer just like Google Now does. It's a little creepy that the device is listening in all the time and I'm not entirely sure how much utility it would really have for most.
Emoji are about to get a whole lot more diverse
Both Apple and Google engineers are working to make the Unicode Emoji standard more diverse, rather than just white faces; you should expect some new Emoji to land on your phone in early 2015.
Google Maps gets a makeover with built-in restaurant reservations
Android just got a gorgeous Material Design makeover and Google is now rolling out the fantastic new design language out across it's apps on iOS and Android. This upgrade is really great; Material Design fits in incredibly well on iOS and comes alongside other app overhauls.
Microsoft makes Office free for mobile
In a surprising move, Microsoft has made Office free for everyone on Android and iOS devices. The company is betting that it can get you hooked there and then can get you to pay for Office on your laptop or PC.
This is a huge change from Microsoft's historic stance that it would never give Office away for free. I expect even more surprising moves like this from Microsoft, like eventually making Windows free.
Taylor Swift drops music streaming services
A week after her new album dropped, Taylor Swift suddenly pulled all of her music from Spotify. The company publicly begged her to come back, but she's now said that she won't participate in streaming services because "I'm not willing to contribute my life's work to an experiment that I don't feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music."
I think she'll be back when she realizes that people will instead just go to YouTube and search for the full album there instead.
I'm terrified of my new TV
It's pretty hard to get a TV that isn't "smart" these days and these devices collect a whole lot more information about you and your habits than you might think. You might want to disconnect yours from the internet after reading this!
In centuries gone by, people used to wake up in the middle of the night to think, write or do other things, before sleeping again. Why did this change? I know I'm a bit of a night owl, so are we losing some of our most productive hours?
Why This Dog Makes $15,000 A Month
Remember the doge meme? This Shiba Inu is the most fashionable dog you might ever see and it's owner gets paid handsomely to dress it up and share pictures. The internet is weird.
The 36 People Who Run Wikipedia
An interesting look at the core group of people who contribute to Wikipedia from around the world and help keep the site running. Can you imagine living without Wikipedia anymore?
How Apple went thermonuclear on Samsung, erasing Android's primary profit center
A great look at how Apple has assaulted Android and cornered the market, resulting in Samsung's 74% slump in smartphone sales last quarter.
This Is Why Australians (and New Zealanders) Hate Starbucks
A great read on why Starbucks isn't doing so well in Oceania, where a great cafe can be found on almost any corner.
This app is an automatically updating address book that makes it easy to get the latest details for your friends as well as to share your own up to date information. I'm really digging this; contact management is something that I never get around to actually doing properly.