The How-To-Talk Edition Monday, March 27, 2017

Researcher Hopes To Teach Infants With Cochlear Implants To Speak – With An App, by Richard Chirgwin, The Register

Think about what happens when you talk to Siri or Cortana or Google on a phone: the speech recognition system has to distinguish your “OK Google” (for example) from background noise; it has to react to “OK Google” rather than “OK something else”; and it has to parse your speech to act on the command.

And you already know how to talk.

The Swinburne University team working on an app called GetTalking can't make even that single assumption, because they're trying to solve a different problem. When a baby receives a cochlear implant to take over the work of their malfunctioning inner ear, he or she needs to learn something brand new: how to associate the sounds they can now hear with the sounds their own mouths make.

Homegrown App Provides Lone Workers With Sense Of Security, by Lina Giannarou,

A Greek software company based in the northwestern town of Ioannina is having a global impact thanks to a new app protecting lone workers. “Lone workers” is the term used to describe employees who work in isolation from others, without close or direct supervision of any sort, human or electronic. They include office cleaners, truck drivers, machine operators, maintenance personnel, postal delivery officers and security guards, among many others, and their numbers are rising worldwide. It is estimated, for example, that in the UK alone, lone workers represent 22 percent of the total workforce, due mainly to new technology that allows distance work, coupled with the rising costs of renting and running an office.

The phenomenon is shaking up the labor market but also creating new needs in the area of worker safety. Lone workers often perform tasks that can become routine, exposing them to more risks than people who work in an environment where there is close oversight and other workers who will notice if something goes wrong. The biggest challenge is that they have no one to turn to for help in the event of an accident or, say, an attack. In some cases, such as train or truck drivers, such incidents put other lives at risk too.


BeatsX Review: Just As Magical As The AirPods, But More Comfortable And Convenient, by Susie Ochs, Macworld

The button-less AirPods are too reliant on Siri or the controls on your phone. If you are all-in with Apple gear, either is a fine option, but the BeatsX has the comfort, long battery life, and convenient charging that give it the edge.


Drake’s More Life Was Streamed 300 Million Times On Apple Music In Its First Week, by Micah Singleton, The Verge

So how did Apple manage to break a record with an album that's also available on Spotify, with only 20 million users compared to Spotify’s 100 million? The answer, according to the Apple Music team, is the power of Beats 1 and OVO Sound Radio.