Expecting people to speak their commands in public just seems intrusive and I don't understand companies trying to pretend it's a norm to sell their products. I really don't want to know what song the person next to me is listening to. That's the point of headphones.
People with visual disabilities often already have better tools to interact with their phones with privacy, and nobody minds people using voice for people with physical disabilities either (and these tools exist already too).
Related: it's about to be even more weird for everyone in the world named "Alexa".
The most awkward time is when the raise-to-activate doesn't work for whatever reason and I have to say the same thing again.
Only with these two pieces of info we can decide whether it's feasible to use voice assistants in a lab setting.
I think people quickly grasp the reason why I'm doing it -- we all wear gloves, so the benefits are obvious to my fellow labmates.
It's still a little strange when people just randomly start talking when I'm the only other person around.
With a friend, I then designed a silly “Kinesic Interface” wearable UI concept for ID Magazine that tried to solve this issue by using gestures that made some sense to both humans and the computer, i.e. take a photo by winking at the person, or change the volume by sticking your finger in your ear and turning as if you're cleaning your ear out to hear better.
Most people I know actually use them in the car frequently, but in public rarely.
Do people make phone calls in public and talk through BT? It's not really that different. Instead of saying "Yeah, how about next Friday" or similar, you say "Alexa, skip this song" and such.
And when you're walking, and e.g. ask for GPS directions or something your BT earbuds, it's even more normal...
In final analysis, unless you shout or something, nobody gives a duck...
And I described a scenario that would be annoying to me at least (random coffee shop person saying their song name out loud to play it instead of just using their phone screen). Maybe its just a matter of different cultures though . I'm from the southern US, so it's normal to talk to strangers and people judge others for manners.
Well, if you do it once (to set an album or playlist or single song to play), nobody cares. If you talk to cue every song to be played, sure you'll annoy someone.
"Hey Siri next song."
"Okay, calling Sam."
Happened three times before I stopped using voice commands altogether unless, ironically, my hands are free to correct it quickly.
But a less busy area while walking the neighborhood? Sure
I often wonder about this too. I intentionally avoid any voice commands in public as I find them distracting - even awkward as you mention. Talking to a computer as a means of input to me still feels strange, although I understand the many uses (cooking instructions with messy hands for example). I would feel really awkward asking Alexa to perform a task while waiting in a line at the bank though. I recently purchased a Google Home mainly for music in the kitchen while cooking and I still find it difficult to talk to it.
On a side note, with the growing popularity of the Alexa devices, I wonder if we are going to start seeing the "Alexa, <do something>" commands affecting other devices to the point of ruining these devices all together. Imagine sitting in a coffee shop making a command and several other people have these devices (in close proximity). I know TV shows/commercials/radios have already set off these devices in the past.
start workouts, set timers, shuffle music
you can only say "alexa" or "hey google" so many times until you feel dumb.
I can't even bring myself to use the voice control on my Apple TV even when I know I am completely alone. It is just way to awkward.
(*Siri capitalized by autocorrect.)
I use Siri — with the AirPods or Apple Watch — in the coffee shop I am usually at all the time. I live in Brazil, but have everything set to English, so maybe that is what helps me not feel awkward.
Jokes aside, I have been using voice commands more frequently in public and I've noticed most people are able to differentiate the tone you speak to AI vs. the tones you use to speak to people (irl or on the phone). Though, I still do accidentally troll bystanders once in a while.
Very likely going to buy these - I currently use Siri for hands free while I’m outside but these seem much more well integrated with the apps I use.
There isn't any actual reason this should be awkward other than your personal bias telling you you're doing something that is not normal - yet.
It offers "Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology" in wireless earbuds, when even Bose doesn't offer noise cancellation in wireless earbuds -- or anybody else as far as I can tell.
(AirPods, Bose SoundSport, Jabra Elite -- none do noise cancellation. Bose offers the larger QuietControl 30 buds , but the tech is still in a bulky "headband" connected by short wires.)
So... is "noise reduction" different from, or weaker than, the "noise cancelling" which Bose products already provide?
Or is Amazon actually somehow producing/licensing a product better than anything Bose itself sells, and for only half the price?
Something isn't adding up here... but I want it to be true, because I've been wanting a pair of genuine wireless noise-cancelling earbuds for so long now!
Sony already does:
And has these (which just had an extra connector cable, but are otherwise minimal):
And Bose has announced theirs:
Siri was launched Feb/2010, Alexa (Echo) Nov/2014. 4 yrs advantage. Today Alexa is much better ecosystem.
Amazon Hardware looks promising..
 Starts at 20 seconds in @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDN2RRaY1po&t=20
I have the Bose QC30, and I'm a fan of the (neck)band, since it gives the earbuds somewhere to hang if I'm walking around and need to be aware of my surroundings, or need to interact with someone.
after getting used to the galaxy buds, i 100% prefer them. mostly because i sweat a lot when i exercise, and the band of the x3s would "glue" themselves to my neck and would make it really awkward to move my head.
Ah, I can't use my QC30 for exercise, since it keeps slipping to one side. It's great for coding/commuting though!
That being said, the colonization of the human body is a step too far for me. I will use a smartphone, I might even use Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat one day if they ever embraced more human-centered ethical design. But I will never, ever, ever allow a company to intervene between my physical senses and the physical world. That's the line I personally choose to draw, hopefully many others will draw it with me.
So no headphones in general? what about vision-correcting glasses? I'm very confused by this line you're drawing.
Eyeglasses, headphones, "dumb" hearing aids, all a-ok. Replacing vision or audio by a mysterious cloud product are over the line.
I'd argue that even smartphones and social networks distort the fabric of our perception, operating on dopamine feedback loops, sense-making, norms, and interpersonal relationships. These things are all deeply entangled anyway (if one goes full Luddite, but all one's friends have not, one is still captured heavily by tech in practice).
For those of who care, we have to draw whatever bright lines we can, no matter how arbitrary; for me, it's simply about having a clear line for what is private, and what is public (including anything living on cloud/FAANG, I treat as de-facto public). I want to have an intentionality with what I send over the wire, as opposed to sharing everything with the world as path-of-least-resistance.
I can see why you might think this line is a little restrictive and arbitrary. Collectively we've already gotten used to running so much software that we have little to no oversight over, so this seems like such a small thing.
You're posting on an on-line forum.
Social adds the graph, etc. We don't have a "social graph", or friends and followers on HN (except implicitly).
We had online forums for a full decade (more if you count Usenet/BBS/mailing lists) before we had "social media".
HN is social media. Maybe niche, but still part of the wad.
We have personas and profiles and comment on stories. Pretty social.
- Your "friends" are known and tracked
- The content you view is determined by your browsing history, ad tracking and that of your "friends"
- The composition of the audience that's voting is poorly informed and susceptible to non-critical thinking (YMMV)
On both of them:
- Stories are posted to maximize your outrage/other emotional response
- Content of stories rarely matches the titles
Social interaction and even a like button is not the problem. What the like button does is the problem.
I've found more acquaintances and friends (and even more) on various online forums and chats than on what people call "social networks" those days.
"Social" is about interpersonal communications. Ads and tracking are - arguably - irrelevant implementation details, not some inherent property of "social networking". User engagement is (and good communities always have it), but artificially trying to boost with ethically questionable profiling technologies and various dark patterns isn't.
Else, "European, male, dark eyes, had a small black moustache below his nose, was admired by millions in his prime, had artistic aspirations, had distinctive bodily and facial mannerisms" -- am I describing Charlie Chaplin or someone more ominous?
...beyond the similarities themselves, that is.
> It's the differences that count to distinguish things
By definition. But then again, if I'm comparing the impact of two dictators, it's probably not helpful to point out that they had different hair colors.
I think what you're really saying is that in a particular context, some properties are relevant, and others aren't. There's no point in pointing out that irrelevant properties are shared, but equally there's no point in pointing out irrelevant properties that are different.
In other words, people just have to be clear about what they're talking about.
Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter measure success by things like user engagement and time spent on the platform - and their design principles are optimized to max out those measurements. That's how they create more value for advertisers and make billions of dollars.
This site is a social experiment in creating civil online discussion. Facebook and co. are a social experiment in hacking human behavior to create compulsive users who consume advertising with (measurable, trackable, hackable) enthusiasm.
I don't think HN would get much buzz for an IPO. :)
From your analysis, it almost sounds like HN is more social than the behavior-hacking money machines. The big companies might own the most commonly used social media, but that hardly means their model is the only one.
I too will not welcome our amoral surveillance overlords onto or into my body. I hope that is a clear enough statement for people to understand.
Excellent point! You have gotten to the core of the issue. Mediated social interaction is not more social. It's just a way to harvest data. Mere "connection", in the language of FB who aims to "connect the world", doesn't equal better and more fulfilling communication.
I don’t think usenet was social media
You aren't missing out on what you don't know about. You are enjoying life without it.
usb-c connectors are (8.4mm x 2.6mm) whereas micro-a is (6.85mm x 1.8mm) and micro-b is (6.85mm x 1.8mm)
It might just be a matter of simplicity, since USB-C seems to have a larger surface area for the spec, but I don't really know if that's the case.
Some topics here talk about paranoia about government spying before and after the Snowden revelations. Some talk about privacy issues and there are people decrying companies for emphasizing ad revenue and ignoring privacy.
And yet after all that some people seem motivated to virtually sprint into an ecosystem where a company that doesn't care about you as anything more than a revenue stream is trying to sell you an always-on microphone.
I know several people with listening devices in their home. Each time it's been demonstrated to me, you know what they do? They ask it to tell me the weather.
That said, the headphones do make sense. Seems everyone is trying to avoid any sense of being around other humans as often as possible. Better to isolate yourself from the outside world when you're forced to go about whatever rat-race life you live than be forced to interact with society.
The TV remote has a mic.
The outlet has a mic.
The earbuds have mic(s).
and so on.
I mean, I get it, they want me to talk to Alexa, so it can figure out how to sell me more junk.
But seriously, I do not understand the desire to be listened to 24/7. I do not want a live mic in my home, nor in my pocket when I run, nor anywhere else it's not necessary.
It’s hard to get my phone out while running. Not impossible but an annoyance. This removes an annoyance so that’s a nice option.
That being said, as an owner of both the Bose QC35 and the Apple Airpods, I'm curious to see how this fits a use case. The over-ear Bose headphones have just enough comfort for its noise-canceling that I can use it for work and flights, and the Airpods I use for workouts - and intentionally don't want it to block out too much noise so when I'm running/biking I can be situationally aware. Am curious what upsides and downsides of these two niches it'll hit.
I just bought airpods yesterday, and tried running with them for the first time today. I couldn't run more than 30 seconds without them falling out of my ear. (Kind of disappointing after spending $200)
I also have a Bose over the ear headphone. Too clunky for running.
These Amazon buds actually look like they could be better than Airpods for running. Looks like they have the "suction cup" type of design, which usually do a much better job staying in the ear when moving around.
With that said, try some Powerbeats Pros. They're the Beats version of Airpods, and frankly, I like them better. At $250, they're pricey as hell, but they sound better and they stay in better. With ear hooks and a collection of different sized buds, it eliminates trying to make a "one size fits most". If you don't have "Airpods ears", the Powerbeats are probably quicker to insert once you know the "trick" to getting them in. I always to have to fiddle with Airpods a bit to get them to sit right. Powerbeats: stick 'em in with that little twist of the wrist, sorted. And the Powerbeats have physical volume buttons, the lack of such being my one annoyance with Airpods.
I find that if I buy the old foam covers, they fit in my ear a little better and I can still close the case over them. It gets in the way of some of the sensor operation though.
The amazon buds look like they will fit more ears.
Depends on the ear (and maybe sweat levels)? Mine have never dropped that way.
A funny quote: "No highs, no lows, must be Bose." And here is a link for further reading: http://web.archive.org/web/20130121081646/http://www.intelle...
They just want good enough sound, and Bose give that. But what they excel is noise cancelling -- and it's irrelevant if they don't "publish any measurement data" as tons of outlets measure them, and have repeatedly crowned them kinds in the area (with the exception of the latest Sony MX1000M3).
Can you provide a link to the measurement done by "tons of outlets"? Thank you!
It appears they were mainly interested in testing noise cancellation and not sound quality. If that is the case, then my gun range ear muffs beat Bose hands down!
No, but did you miss where I wrote: "But what they excel is noise cancelling -- and it's irrelevant if they don't "publish any measurement data" as tons of outlets measure them, and have repeatedly crowned them kinds in the area (with the exception of the latest Sony MX1000M3)."
As I already said from the start, people who buy the Bose don't really car for the lower SQ, their main benefit is the best-of-class NC. What I wrote is that many outlets reviewed them and agree of the best-of-class NC.
>As I said my $10 earmuffs beat Bose at NC. :-D
They don't make calls or play music at the same time, so that's a moot point.
I used to think spending $350 on QC 35 II's was stupid, but after using a friend's pair on multiple flights and on walks outside I decided to get the $400 NCH 700. It costs more than the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S I use in the US, or Pocophone F1 that I use elsewhere, but they're so worth it (I use them 10hrs+ per day, so after a single month the price is quickly approaching $1/hour.)
Looking forward to TfL finally rolling out cell coverage from 2020 though. Long time coming.
[..] including the ability to mute the mics with the Alexa app.
- Custom firmware
- API's / SDK's
- Custom services / frameworks to orchestrate in-out-around vendors ecosystem (IFTTT?)
Not really enough to get at the gears of it. Is Alexa, by itself, the kind of ecosystem a startups would want to devote to? I imagine to make a really good Alexa product, it tends to be very specialized, and it's risky to be stuck with just one market.
Not to say Amazon's future isn't looking prosperous, but they control the APIs, the commission/royalty fees, etc. Whose to say 10 years from now, they wake up and say, you know, Alexa isn't financially viable anymore, your hardware has no site to connect to, and Alexa just shows the red loop/line of doom?
 https://developer.amazon.com/docs/alexa-voice-service/api-ov... I guess there's this.
Oh, you mean, whose to say that they won't pull a "Google", and kill off one of their products/services? ;-) (BTW, i fully agree with you!)
So, Echo spies. We know that. And now we're (the at least 117 upvotes so far) OK with putting Echo directly into our ears? And barely anyone in the comments section seems to care either... what is going on in here?
>Hands-free with Alexa – Echo Buds work with the Alexa app to stream music, play Audible audiobooks, make calls, or get directions—just ask.
"A recent large study by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) exposed large groups of lab rats and mice to RF energy over their entire bodies for about 9 hours a day, starting before birth and continuing for up to 2 years (which is the equivalent of about 70 years for humans, according to NTP scientists). The study found an increased risk of tumors called malignant schwannomas of the heart in male rats exposed to RF radiation, as well as possible increased risks of certain types of tumors in the brain and adrenal glands. But some aspects of this study make it hard to know just how well these results might be applied to cell phone use in people. For example, there was no clear increased risk among female rats or among male or female mice in the study. The doses of RF radiation in the study were also generally higher than those used in cell phones (ranging from 1.5 W/kg to 6 W/kg in rats, and 2.5 W/kg to 10 W/kg in mice), the animals’ entire bodies were exposed, and the amount of time they were exposed was longer than most people typically spend on the phone each day. The male rats in the study exposed to RF waves also lived longer, on average, than the rats who were not exposed, for unclear reasons. Because of this, the NTP has noted that the study results cannot be directly applied to humans. Still, the results add to the evidence that cell phone signals might potentially impact human health."
"The 13-country INTERPHONE study, the largest case-control study done to date, looked at cell phone use among more than 5,000 people who developed brain tumors (gliomas or meningiomas) and a similar group of people without tumors. Overall, the study found no link between brain tumor risk and the frequency of calls, longer call time, or cell phone use for 10 or more years. There was a suggestion of a possible increased risk of glioma, and a smaller suggestion of an increased risk of meningioma, in the 10% of people who used their cell phones the most. But this finding was hard to interpret because some people in the study reported implausibly high cell phone use, as well as other issues. The researchers noted that the shortcomings of the study prevented them from drawing any firm conclusions, and that more research was needed."
Not sure if true, but I've read Apple has disclaimers about this for health.
These buds have microphones, obviously.
I do not want my voice captured by random folks on the street without my consent and sent to Alexa.
How will opt-in looks like for such systems?
You would be surprised how often I see the Alexa device lighting up because it thinks some dialogue on TV has triggered its “Alexa... “ behavior. The number of false positives is not small. At least once per day.
Fortunately, I don’t think the device asks “sorry, I didn’t catch that” anymore since they added quiet mode.
That's a LOT of shaming, when here I thought we were already shaming people quite sufficiently/too much... :-/
Honestly, never quite got the hate on Google Glass - they merely made it obvious and convenient, what so much accepted technology already does anyway :-/
Echo Frames... apparently, not enough shaming;)
So yes, I think clearly saying "I think you are stupid for wearing google glasses and I will not have a beer with you as long as you do" is a mature response. At that point they have to decide if they want to have google glasses or friends.
Disagree. If I had a friend who seriously called me stupid, I'd think they're an asshole, not mature. I'd say "I don't feel comfortable around that device, would you mind putting it away while we have a beer?" is mature.
Making something about someone else, or trying to control others' actions, is not mature. Communicating your needs and concerns is where it's at.
Amen. Thankfully, hackernews are the smart people.
As to whether it's appropriate... social opprobrium can often be a less worse way to deal with a problem than ignoring it or going to the law.
And it could be positive; when someone dislikes how a person is behaving, they tend to form a caricature of that person. By confronting them, they're forced to deal with a real person who will defend their behavior, and it tends to replace that caricature with a more nuanced view.