Amazon Echo Dot review: as good as the Echo for one-third of the price

Small gadget brings voice control to almost any smart device in the home, while playing music, answering questions and telling you the weatherThe Amazon Echo Dot is essentially all the bits of an Amazon Echo that make it interesting, but without the speaker beneath it – and so it costs just one-third of the price.The Dot is one of three Alexa-enabled products from Amazon that puts the company’s voice assistant front and centre. Only two, the Echo Dot and the Echo are available in the UK: the third, the portable Bluetooth speaker called Amazon Tap, is only available in the US

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Genevieve Bell: ‘Humanity’s greatest fear is about being irrelevant’

The anthropologist explains why being scared about AI has more to do with our fear of each other than killer robotsGenevieve Bell is an Australian anthropologist who has been working at tech company Intel for 18 years, where she is currently head of sensing and insights. She has given numerous TED talks and in 2012 was inducted into the Women in Technology hall of fame. Between 2008 and 2010, she was also South Australia’s thinker in residence

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Internet of things set to change the face of dementia care

From digital assistants to ‘smart’ medicine bottles, a new wave of connected devices could help people live independently for longerSmart bottles that dispense the correct dose of medication at the correct time, digital assistants, and chairs that know how long you’ve sat in them are among the devices set to change the face of care for those living with dementia.Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales, and is thought to affect more than 850,000 people in the UK. But a new wave of connected devices, dubbed “the internet of things”, could offer new ways to help people live independently for longer

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Amazon Echo: the first 13 things to try

Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, is in more than 3m US homes via the Echo speaker. Now it’s available in Britain – but what’s the attraction?The very first thing you’ll want to do with your new Amazon Echo is learn a few basic voice commands. Saying “Alexa: stop!” will immediately cancel whatever activity is going on; to make music louder or quieter, say “Alexa: volume up” or “Alexa: volume down”

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I tried to do my shopping with Amazon Dash buttons so you don't have to

Doing your shopping by pressing buttons in your home sounds like a great labour-saving life-hack … and then you get 45 toilet rolls arrive in one goThe internet of shopping is finally here: magic-like buttons that when pressed have goods delivered to your door, without any need to log on to a website or get out your credit card. The branded Dash buttons are Amazon’s latest offering to make it easier to shop, so I bought a load of them to find out whether it’s the retail revolution we didn’t even know we were looking for.There is no Dash button for ordering Dash buttons, so I looked though the 40 or so available and found eight for things I would normally buy

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Britain’s cybersecurity policy needs common sense, not just cash | John Naughton

Announcements by the chancellor about funding are all well and good, but simple legislative action might have more effectOn Tuesday, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced that the government was “investing” £1.9bn in boosting the nation’s cybersecurity. “If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a tech business,” he said, “then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do digital business… Just as technology presents huge opportunities for our economy – so to it poses a risk

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Alarmed by Admiral's data grab? Wait until insurers can see the contents of your fridge

The company is to use Facebook data to calculate customer premiums. But even more invasive ways to monetise lives are coming with the Internet of ThingsAnybody who has been overcharged by an insurance company, denied a claim or given the runaround by an insurer’s customer disservice should shudder at the idea of insurers learning how to deploy the internet as a way of monitoring customers and using their online data to determine how much they should pay.The latest, inevitable news is that Admiral, one of the UK’s biggest insurers, is to use customers’ Facebook data to help calculate how much car insurance they should pay

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Can we secure the internet of things in time to prevent another cyber-attack?

Easy-to-hijack ‘smart’ devices just crashed some of the world’s biggest online platforms. Experts say it’s a wake-up call to improve security – and quicklySupport our fearless, independent journalism with a contribution or by becoming a memberCan the world wide web survive the internet of things? It’s a question many are asking after a vast attack on US and European internet structure last week, likely led by “smart” DVR players and webcams, that has left the tech industry reeling.And according to experts, unless hardware and software manufacturers band together to improve the security of the open internet – and quickly – more attacks are imminent

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Chinese webcam maker recalls devices after cyberattack link

An enormous DDoS attack was a network of hacked Internet of Things devices, many of which were made by XiongmaiChinese electronics firm Xiongmai is initiating a product recall after the enormous hacking attack that took down much of the internet on the eastcoast of the US and also affected Europe on Friday.The root of the attack, which took the form of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), was a network of hacked “Internet of Things” devices, such as webcams and digital recorders, many of which were made by Xiongmai. Continue reading

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Do you want your shower to help Russian hackers? | John Naughton

The internet of things has created a global network of devices vulnerable to cyber criminals – and no one wants to fix itM y eye was caught by a Kickstarter campaign for a gizmo called a SWON, described as “a connected conservation device for your shower”. You unscrew the shower head, screw on the SWON and then screw the head back on to it. From then on, water goes through the SWON before it reaches you

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