TIME Smartphones

Microsoft Windows Phone Ad Pokes Fun at Siri

Apple’s Siri virtual assistant seems equal parts nervous and impressed in the above video, as Microsoft’s new-ish Cortana virtual assistant breezes through a list of date- and location-based reminders before informing her owner that he’d better hop in the car so he can beat the traffic. Frequent Google users might be quick to point out that Google Now can perform similar feats, though this beef is between Microsoft and Apple.

The ad is reminiscent of Microsoft’s previous Surface Tablet versus iPad ads, though perhaps somewhat buried in this newest one is that the Windows Phone handset being used — the Nokia Lumia 635 — cost $129 without a wireless contract. The iPhone 5s shown in the ad costs $649 contract-free from Apple, for comparison.

Still, showing off virtual assistants makes for a futuristic demo, regardless of how often people in the real world actual leverage the features shown in the ad. Microsoft has infused the latest version of Windows Phone with a bunch of other neat tricks, too, so maybe it’ll show some of them off in future ads as well.

[The Verge]

TIME Computers

Apple Updates MacBook Pro Line, Drops Prices for Certain Models

MacBook Pro
Apple

More RAM, friends. That’s the real story here.

Apple has bumped its Retina MacBook Pro line to include eight gigabytes of RAM as the baseline for the 13-inch models. The 15-inch models sport 16 gigabytes of RAM, standard.

Think of RAM like a tool belt: The bigger the tool belt, the more tools you can have readily available when you need to use them. Or think of RAM like a desk: The bigger the desk, the more papers, pencils, tablets and calculators you can have within arm’s reach. This concludes today’s lesson on random access memory.

For those of you who are well-heeled, you’ll be happy to learn that the top-of-the-line 15-incher has gotten a $100 price drop. Its starting price is now $2,499. If you’re poorly-heeled, you’ll be happy to know that the non-Retina 13-incher has dropped $100. Its starting price is now $1099.

Processor speeds have been bumped across the Retina line as well, though the non-Retina version “has not been updated with faster internals and remains the same model introduced in June 2012,” as MacRumors reports.

 

TIME Diversions

Hidden Google: 10 Fun Search Tricks

Google
Michael Gottschalk/Photothek/Getty Images

You could work or you could slack off by trying all these tricks, taking an early lunch and napping in your parked car until 1:30 or 2:00. Totally up to you.

This is where the intro normally goes, but let’s be honest with each other about the nature of this relationship. You’re going to skip right over this part, skim the big, bold headlines, and maybe click on a handful of the blue links. There’s a chance you’ll be mildly amused but you’ll most likely blast a quick puff of air out your nostrils, annoyed that you’ve already seen most or all of these tricks before. You’ll eventually click away to some other site and we’ll never see each other again. We’ll always have this post, though. Thanks for the memories.

Do a Barrel Roll

Search for “do a barrel roll” without the quotes, and hold onto your desk for dear life. Cool, eh? Maybe you’re even a little nauseous.

But the old barrel roll trick isn’t the only Easter egg Google has up its sleeve. Here are several others:

Tilt/Askew

If you’re obsessive and/or compulsive, this trick isn’t going to sit well with you for long. Search for “tilt” without the quotes. Searching for “askew” accomplishes the same end-result.

Change it back! Change it ba-aaack!

Big Answers to Mind-Bending Questions

Search for “answer to life, the universe, and everything” and you’ll get your answer. It’s a real thinker. Of course, Douglas Adams fans knew the answer without having to search for it.

See also: “the loneliest number,” “once in a blue moon” and “number of horns on a unicorn” for a few other cool calculations.

Did You Mean…

Search for “anagram“—did you mean nag a ram? Or try searching for “recursion” instead. Did you mean recursion? Did you mean recursion? Did you mean recursion? Did you mean recursion? You meant recursion, right?

“As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way!”

It’s a Festivus MIIIRACLE! Google “Festivus,” and once you’ve taken in the wonder of this Google Easter egg, feel free to participate in the Airing of Grievances here in the comments section or indulge in the Feats of Strength with a family member, friend, enemy or stranger at your earliest convenience.

Zerg Rush

An homage to StarCraft, search Google “Zerg Rush” and prepare to protect your search results from a bunch of hungry Google O’s. Click them before they eat all your results. Hurry! Why are you still reading this?!

Blink HTML

Search for “Blink HTML” and OH SWEET BABY J, MY EYES! Brings back some fond memories of simpler web-based times though, doesn’t it? Just needs Bittersweet Symphony auto-playing as a MIDI file.

Party Like It’s 1998

As long as we’re going old-school with blink tags, want to see what Google looked like in 1998? Believe it or believe it, all you have to do is search for “Google in 1998” and you’ll be whisked away. Clicking the initial search results will return the archived versions of those pages, too.

Shake It

While we’re on YouTube, type “Do the Harlem Shake” into the search bar. Ah, memories of a meme from a couple years ago.

Try searching YouTube for these ones, too:

Break It

You can play a game of Breakout, wherein search results from Google Images morph into breakable bricks. Just search for “Atari Breakout” and click the Images tab or go straight to images.google.com and search for “Atari Breakout” there.

TIME How-To

Video: How to Properly Delete Your Android Phone or Tablet Data

Here's an extra step to ensure it's safe to get rid of your old Android device.

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