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Waking up to Alexa

Whether it’s bolstering your home security, watering your garden, or turning your lights on and off, smart technology is starting to fill our homes. For some it seems it can be too much like hard work to get off the sofa to even adjust the thermostat. Smart home gadgets now mean smart speakers can play music when you talk to them, you can turn the heating on before you get home, and a smart camera can alert you if there’s an intruder – or even feed your pet for you. However, for others this increasingly ubiquitous smart home technology does a lot more than simply adding a bit of convenience to our increasingly slothful lives. This was brought home to me at Christmas when I lost my brother Ian, aged 51, to complications of the genetic muscle wasting disease muscular dystrophy. He had ...

Siri: Why do you keep me hanging on the telephone?

For ten years I have been an Apple addict spending thousands of pounds on MacBooks, iPhones, Airpods, Watches, and Airport Expresses. I have had brief flirtations with other devices and software like Samsung and Windows 10 but quickly dashed back to the Apple ecosystem. I have always thought their products “just work” and their seamless integration with each other is a huge pulling factor. However, something significant happened at Christmas that for the first time has me questioning my loyalty to the mighty Apple. For me, it has smashed out that phrase by Steve Jobs boasting Apple products “just work”. The truth is they don’t any more, or not as well as they could and should. Apple software has been on a long, slow decline. Full of annoying little bugs, shortcomings, missing f...