Tag Archives: Microsoft

Xbox One and Home Automation

Since May, we’ve been seeing stories about the Xbox One.  I’m not a console gamer so I’m not going to spend much (read that any) time talking about the games, the resolution, or the disk drives for those of you having hardware issues.   xboxone-300x215

The part of this story that interests me most is how the Xbox One is vying for a central role in your home.  With the built-in Kinect sensor the Xbox can recognize you when you enter the room and load your preferences.

And then there’s the voice control.  Tell the Xbox to turn on the television, to go to a specific channel, to search for channels in a specific area and there you are.  Want to search the web while you’re watching TV, no problem; split the screen and browse to your heart’s content.  Need to call a friend to arrange a meeting, or highlight a touchdown, you can connect with Skype.  Oh yeah, there’s supposed to be a lot of games available too.

This article from GeekWire goes over a number of commands and has a nice video showing the system in operation as well as a few times when the voice control wasn’t quite synching.  We’re assured that with the machine learning built into the Xbox, the voice control will improve over time.

Back to home automation, some of you will have seen an earlier post when I discussed the August Smart Lock.  With August, you use your smart phone to control who has access to your house.  What else will you be able to control by an app on your phone?  Turn on home security or climate control with the push of a button?

Or, in the Xbox scenario, what are you going to control by a spoken command?  How long will it be before the Microsoft folks also bring the Windows Phone into play to control the house while you’re out?

How are you going to vote, with your voice or your phone?






They Buried the Lead

After viewing a nice interview between Bill Gates and David Rubenstein of Harvard that you’ll find here, I realized that everyone publishing the interview completely buried the lead.

All the announcements talked about Gates acknowledging that the key sequence CTRL-ALT-DELETE, was a mistake.  They shouldn’t have required that sequence to start up a computer.

That was the most important thing they got out of a nearly hour-long interview.  Really?

Personally, I was much more interested in the evolution of the intense, driven 20-something computer software fanatic into a 50-something self-effacing philanthropist.  You hear stories from the man who casually refers to his friends Warren, Paul and Steve and how those real-life tales changed his life and the lives we all lead.

You seen the consistent playful byplay Gates had with Rubenstein and it brings a previously unsuspected humanity to the myth that time and wealth helped create.