Forget HAL, the computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey," or JARVIS, the robotic butler of fictional billionaire Tony Stark. With a voice command like this, a homeowner can activate a Bluetooth-controlled lock through Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, August Home, the smart-lock maker, announced Thursday. The team up between August and Amazon is another step in expanding how "smart" a home can become at a reasonable price. Though gadgets to control, for instance, a house's lights, thermostat, and audio system, have been around for decades, they could only be operated at first through personal computers and control pads, and eventually tablets and smartphones. Amazon popularized the voice control of smart homes when it released Alexa in 2014.
A recent Refinery29 piece by lifestyle editor Cait Munro confirms what we seasoned homebodies have always known: Staying at home is cool. That declaration is based on a recent survey from market research firm Mintel that suggests almost three in 10 young millennials (people aged 24-31) prefer drinking at home because it takes too much effort to go out. And they're not alone--55 percent of Americans of all ages would prefer a night in with a glass of rosé over a bar crawl. The survey participants cited everything from wanting to drink in a relaxing environment to a desire to save money as the impetus behind their general aversion to bars and clubs, but the millennials Munro interviewed herself offered another rationale for the shift from the streets to the sheets: online dating. What Munro calls the Netflix-and-Chill factor can be accurately described by this quote from Jenifer Golden, "a self-proclaimed'older millennial' and one half of the duo behind the podcast It's Complicated" who says, "It's the whole dating idea of Netflix and like, I'm going to sit on my couch, watch all of the things that I could possibly watch and drink all my wine from Trader Joe's.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has reshaped the company since taking over two years ago. Windows is still important, but it's no longer the only platform that matters: Microsoft is releasing software and supporting app development for Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and even its old enemy Linux. The infighting and aggressive dismissal of competitors is mostly gone. And Nadella has embraced cloud computing -- the idea that some customers don't want to run their own technology but would prefer to outsource it -- turning Microsoft into the clear No. 2 in the category after Amazon. We caught up with Nadella fresh off the company's Build conference for developers last week in San Francisco and ahead of the new Envision conference for business leaders, which kicks off Monday in New Orleans. Matt Rosoff: There was a lot of talk last week at Build about chatbots and artificial agents and "conversation as a platform." That idea is not new, right? I think I heard Bill Gates talking about it 15 years ago.
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We've all read a lot of online dating profiles in our time, but you've probably never read one as heartbreakingly good as this one. Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who is terminally ill with ovarian cancer, penned a stunning essay for this week's Modern Love in the New York Times in which she glowingly recommends her husband, Jason, and urges someone to swipe right on him. It's as beautifully written as it is soul-crushingly sad. Perhaps that's not surprising, since Rosenthal is the bestselling author of many classic children's books -- Little Pea, Spoon, and Duck! From her deathbed, she lovingly details many of Jason's wonderful qualities ("he can flip a pancake"), and in the process paints a picture of their happy courtship and 26 years together.