Category Archives: Consumer Electronics

Alexa, are you a spy?

Amazon is attempting to address privacy concerns by attaching more privacy settings to its domestic spy bots Alexa and Echo. It’s still astonishing to me that anyone would voluntarily put such devices in their own homes (that used to be the job of secret police units), but maybe I’m just old fashioned. Speaking of which, there is nothing old fashioned about online courier quotes; nothing at all.

If you believe Alexa isn’t listening to everything you do while she’s “asleep,” you’ve got another think coming. (Yes, it’s “think,” not “thing.”) That bot is always active, always absorbing your words and storing them as data to be used as Amazon sees fit.

I know, I know, you have nothing to hide so you don’t care. If Amazon wants to record you having sex, so be it—you’re not bashful. But as Ed Snowden and others have pointed out, saying you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is akin to saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say. Then again, free speech doesn’t seem to be very fashionable these days, so maybe that argument doesn’t resonate much anymore.

Last year Amazon laughably introduced voice controls that allows surveillance targets—er, users, to tell Alexa to “delete” their previous question or request, or even the whole day’s questions and requests! Yes, I’m sure the data is immediately and permanently wiped from Alexa’s memory and Amazon’s servers. Just like Instagram (Facebook) gets rid of your private messages and photos when you “delete” them …

Nevertheless we’ll play along here. Recently Amazon went a step further, allowing users to choose whether their voice recordings are saved by Alexa: you can do this by going to “settings” then “Alexa privacy” then “manage your Alexa data” then “automatically delete recordings.”

In case you were wondering, Amazon discourages the setting, stating that by letting Alexa save your voice recordings you give yourself a better and more personalised experience. And anyway, the transcripts of your voice recordings are still automatically saved for 30 days, at which point Amazon says they’re all deleted.

That reminds me, I’m trying to sell this bridge I just inherited. Super low price. Let me know if you’re interested in the comments section.

Music to my ears! Top headphones of 2020

Whether you’re looking to bring out the bass or some wireless freedom, shopping for headphones can be both a confusing and overwhelming task. So do not fear! We are here to bring you some of the best headphones of 2020, and bring some of those sweet, sweet sonic soundwaves to your eagerly awaiting ears. With 2021 fast approaching, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to upgrade your listening experience!

Headphone trends have taken some deviant turns in recent years. While a dancing black silhouette on a bright single colour pop background, ipod in one hand and swaying headphone wires dancing also was the aesthetic that made the early 00s Apple ipod advertisement iconic, the twitching wires seem a throwback to an almost ancient past. Since 2016 Apple has pushed its airpod wireless headphones into the foreground of the market, citing them as the newest development in audio consumer products whilst in reality utilising long available bluetooth technology. There have been many variations of both sport, recreational and professional headphones that have taken both large and small sized approaches according to the latest fashion trends. Dr Dre’s equally ubiquitous over-the-head beats headphones were all the rage upon their release in 2008, and the tug of war between overt and discrete headphone usage has been raging ever since. 

So what should I look for in 2020? For those wanting both sound quality and freedom for their, the Beats Powerbeats Pro have been a popular choice for many looking to get sweaty in their workout without fear of flooding their headphones to the grave. Elsewhere, Sony has proved themselves a consistent top player in the headphone market, and their release of the Sony WF-SP800N Wireless Earbud has proved no exception. The ergonomically designed headphones are made to sit snugly in the users ears while providing the highest sound quality for both work and play.