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Amazon Alexa's will try to guess what you want based on questions – MobileSyrup

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Amazon has announced that new features are coming to its Alexa voice-activated assistant.

Alexa will now be able to infer a user’s goals even when they aren’t directly expressed. Amazon gives the example of a customer asking, “How long does it take to steep tea?” The latent goal here would be setting a timer for steeping a cup of tea.

Amazon offers another example (seen above) related to the weather at the beach and viewing a remote camera.

This feature seems to only be available with your language option set to U.S. English, though it will likely launch in Canada at some point in the future like most new Alexa functionality.

While some might find Alexa guessing what you want based on questions useful, others will likely be irritated by the feature requiring Alexa to ask the user extra things.

In July, Amazon launched ‘Alexa Conversations,’ making it easier for developers to add sophisticated conversational experiences to Alexa skills. This seems to be an advancement to this feature.

Source: Amazon

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COVID-19: Two more Stratford retirement home residents die – Canada.com

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Outbreaks in long-term care and retirement homes across Canada account for the majority of the country’s COVID-related deaths and represent one of the largest gaps to emerge in its response to the pandemic.

“I think that’s the main lesson to be learned from this pandemic,” said Saverio Stranges, chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. “We can’t ignore the need for investment in those settings.”

About 80 per cent of Canada’s first wave COVID-19 deaths are linked to outbreaks in long-term care settings. It’s the highest percentage among 16 comparable countries, according to a study Stranges and two Western colleagues cite in an article published in the American Journal of Public Health, which explores how lessons from the 2003 SARS pandemic inform Canada’s response to COVID-19.

“Canada’s learned a great deal from SARS in terms of public health infrastructure,” he said. “But because SARS did not really hit long-term care facilities . . . I think COVID-19 has really revealed the vulnerabilities within those settings, which have been historically underfunded . . . not just in Canada, but I would say in many Western countries.”

As of Monday, there were 160 active outbreaks in the province’s long-term care and retirement homes, where 989 have been reported since the onset of the pandemic, Public Health Ontario says.

Of the province’s 3,505 COVID-19 deaths, including 19 Monday, 3,350 were people over the age of 60, a demographic experts warn is at higher risk of severe consequences of the virus if they are infected.

That isn’t likely to change during the second wave, Stranges said, which begs the question whether officials should have provided more protection to long-term care facilities prior to the current surge in cases.

“The same happened in Europe,” he said. “People wonder, should governments have made major improvements between the first and the second wave? Realistically, you can’t really change things dramatically in a manner of a few months, and that’s the sad reality.”

cmontanini@postmedia.com

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Apple giving away up to $210 gift cards for Black Friday – MobileSyrup

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Starting on November 27th, Apple Canada will start giving out free gift cards of varying amounts with iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch and several other Apple store purchases.

Depending on what device you get, the Apple Store gift card amount varies. Apple has a ton of products that include gift cards, but it’s not sharing how much each gift card is worth until the 27th. If you’re curious about how the deals will likely shake out, you can check out our Apple Black Friday post from last year.

Therefore, if Apple doesn’t share how much the gift card that comes with AirPods is worth, we can assume the card is likely going to be between $20-$30. Last year MacBook Pro models and other Macs came with a $280 gift card, so this year these items will likely come with the $210 gift card.

Items included in the deal are listed below:

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone XR
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • AirPods
  • AirPods Pro
  • AirPods with Wireless Charging
  • iPad Pro
  • iPad mini
  • MacBook Pro
  • iMac
  • Apple TV HD
  • Apple TV 4K
  • Beats Studio Wireless
  • Beats Solo Pro
  • Beats Solo 3
  • PowerBeats Pro
  • Powerbeats High-Performance

All of the above items will come with an Apple Store gift card between November 27th and November 30th.

It’s also worth mentioning that this offer can’t be stacked with the company’s Education discounts.

Source: Apple

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Apple to extend fee waiver for paid events due to pandemic – RFI

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Issued on: 23/11/2020 – 21:34Modified: 23/11/2020 – 21:33

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San Francisco (AFP)

Apple said Monday it would extend through June 30 a waiver on app fees for paid events such as tutoring and fitness classes, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

The move is aimed at helping pandemic-hit instructors and performers to continue using iPhone applications for virtual classes and events at no cost.

Apple had initially agreed to a waiver until December, amid concerns raised by Facebook and others seeking to help people whose in-person classes and events have been canceled due to the global health emergency.

“As the world fights Covid-19, we recognize that adapting experiences from in-person to digital continues to be a top priority,” Apple said on its developer website.

Apple said the move affects the “in-app purchase” requirement for these services, and that it chose to give those affected more time to adapt in light of the pandemic.

Facebook earlier this year asked Apple to skip its usual 30 percent cut of transactions in mobile apps prior to enabling the social platform’s streaming application to be used to create, promote and host paid events from concerts and theatrical performances to yoga classes and cooking lessons.

The move comes amid increasing scrutiny of App Store fees, which are set at 30 percent in most cases, by developers and antitrust enforcers who argue Apple is abusing its dominance of the marketplace.

The iPhone manufacturer said last week that developers who make less than $1 million from selling apps on its store will see Apple’s revenue bite cut to 15 percent.

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