Do you use your manners to your smart assistant?

Alexa might be our most thoughtful friend. As you may have noticed if you have an Amazon device running your smart home, Alexa is now testing out a ‘brief mode’, which allows us not to have to hear her say ‘ok’ every time we ask her to perform a task, instead emitting a short chime to signal that the job has been done. Seems small, but with the new follow up mode (allowing us to ask back to back questions with no need to reawaken her each time), it means we don’t have to hear ‘ok’ ‘ok’ ‘ok’ repeated 10 times. A lot less irritating, right?
Paying back the thoughtfulness to our A.I friend, in follow up mode, to end the conversation we just need a quick ‘thank you’ and Alexa will go back to sleep. All jokes aside, if Alexa is ‘thinking’ about our needs and wants, should be also doing the same? Should we be using our manners with Alexa? It would seem that the simple answer is no, as of course, Alexa isn’t a human and obviously doesn’t understand or appreciate manners. But, with follow up mode, it would seem that those who use Alexa are already at a point where they do use manners, and Alexa responds to the ‘thank you’ as a command to turn off. As much as it doesn’t matter whether we do or we don’t use our Ps and Qs in conversation with Alexa, Amazon is seemingly building this into the programming of their A.I. So even if using ‘thank you’ to us, is just another command, it does make us sound (and perhaps feel?) more polite. Thanks, Alexa.

Smart … JUICER?! is that necessary?

As a nation, we love to stay healthy. We love vegan, gluten free with a smashed avo on the top. And we also love juicing. As someone who owns a juicer, it already seems like a pretty simple process. We put the fruit (or whatever) in, it gets mushed (technical…!) and boom, healthiness in a bottle! So, what’s the deal with the NutriBullet Balance? Do we need to smarten up our juicers?
The answer to this lies in how committed you are to the whole juicing phenomenon in more than one way, really. The main draw with this product is the ability to connect your smart phone to the juicier and keep track of the calories entering your juices, because apparently just chucking in all the fruit you can find doesn’t always = good. It connects via Bluetooth and also has a handy built in scale. However, you have to weigh this against the price tag, which is pretty hefty at retailers in the US, at around $180, most probably exceeding $200AUD when it hits our stores later this year. This is very expensive in comparison to both other NutriBullets, and just normal juicers that you can pick up for much less than $100. The NutriBullet Balance could perhaps be a useful investment (if you can stomach the price tag!) for only the hard core juicers, who perhaps already use apps to track their calorie intake. However, for the rest of us, a smart juicer should probably doesn’t need to be on your smart home wish list!