ICYMI: March 24, 2016 Microsoft

ICYMI: March 24, 2016

Happy Thursday! The robots are rising, but they seem pretty cool about it IDK.


The biggest story of yesterday and why you should care today: Microsoft continues to push out products that rely on machine intelligence for self-improvement. Exhibit A: the How Old Do I Look? robot. Exhibit B: Tay, the chatbot that data mining built and machine intelligence will improve. According to Microsoft:

Tay is an artificial intelligent chat bot developed by Microsoft's Technology and Research and Bing teams to experiment with and conduct research on conversational understanding. Tay is designed to engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation. The more you chat with Tay the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you.

Since the 'bot was developed for the 18-24 demographic, it has its own Snapchat and Kik accounts, as well as a Twitter account for outreach to the 25-to-29 set. If you want to chat her up, just remember: Tay can create a “simple profile” about you to personalize your experience, and Microsoft keeps your chat logs for up to a year if you don't ask to have them deleted. Your bot BFF can eventually use your words against you. 

ETA: As of 8:45 a.m. PDT, Tay was taking a break. Why? As the Washington Post reports, it took less than a day for Internet trolls to teach the AI to praise Hitler and advocate for genocide.


The most useful tech news and how-tos:

Easily pull out the images from a Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint file.

Reduce three common distractions in the Microsoft Word interface.

Organize Google Drive like a pro.

Any one of these 12 Chrome extensions might be just what you were looking for, from calendar management to emoji keyboards.

And use this Chrome extension to save something to Google Drive.

Still unsure what you can do with Amazon's Alexa? Try one of these -- ordering pizza, ordering a taxi or going shopping.

Use any one of these five free anti-malware products for your PC.


The most amusing tech news:  Following on the news of Microsoft's chatbot Tay, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the parody account SecuriTay, a stream of computer security advice in the voice of Taylor Swift.


What we published yesterday: 

Four Ways to Improve Battery Life on Android — When it comes to battery life, the struggle is real. It’s the bane of existence for any smartphone user, particularly in the fragmented world of Android.

Apple Decides 600 Million PC Users with 5 Year Old PCs is a Sad Fact — Phil Schiller doesn't seem to grasp how often civilians in the non-tech sphere upgrade their hardware.

How do I get Redstone on my Windows 10 Mobile Eligible Device? — With the release of Windows 10 Mobile to some existing Windows Phone 8.1 handsets that means eligibility for testing Redstone builds of Windows 10 Mobile opened up to 18 new handsets.

Hardware Options to Move Up to Windows 10 Mobile— There are some decent hardware options currently available to officially get on Windows 10 - here are a few examples.

Amazon Applies Deeper Surface Pro 4 Discounts for Limited Time — While Microsoft is pricing some a select number of its Surface Pro 4 models at $100 off, Amazon.com is providing even deeper discount on some of the Surface Pro 4 editions Microsoft isn’t even touching.

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