Thurrott Daily: November 7

Thurrott Daily: November 7
The eternal battle: Cat v. rodent.

Tech tidbits from around the web.

11/7/2016 10:04:46 AM

A few days behind on some of this, sorry…

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Get an additional game with the purchase of any Xbox One S bundle, starting at $299

Microsoft revealed that US-based customers who buy any Xbox One S bundle through November 12 will get an additional free game.

From November 4 – 12, when you buy any new Xbox One or Xbox One S console bundle, you also get a new game of your choice, starting at $299.

To take advantage of this offer, head to participating retailers including Amazon, Target, GameStop, Best Buy,, and Microsoft Store.

Limbo is now available for Xbox One Backward Compatibility

Neowin reports:

Microsoft added another title to the list of Xbox 360 games that are backward compatible with the Xbox One today, Limbo. This is the second title to be added this week, with Blue Dragon being added on Tuesday.

Xbox One Backward Compatibility is beginning to close in on 300 games, with the 250 milestone being reached in mid-September.

I need to fire up Limbo again. I’ve never finished it, and it was made by the same folks behind Inside and features a similar creepy vibe.

Microsoft Selfie arrives on Android

Android Police notes the arrival of Microsoft Selfie on Android. (It first shipped on iOS way back in December 2015.)

Microsoft Selfie lets you take a photo with the front-facing camera on your phone and beautify it in one click. Microsoft says that the app “intelligently considers age, gender, skin tone, lighting and many other variables” and then takes the average photo shot with your average camera of your average face (not a direct quote) and makes it better. “Enhanced” and “natural” are two words used in the description, though I have trouble understanding what constitutes “natural” in an algorithmically edited photo.

You can download Microsoft Selfie from the Google Play Store.

Here’s the list of games that will be optimised for PS4 Pro on launch day

The PlayStation Blog talks up the PS4 titles that have been optimized for the new 4K-sort-of-capable PS4 Pro.

Next Thursday, 10th November, sees the launch of PS4 Pro, our most powerful games console ever. Offering enhanced performance via boosted CPU and GPU, with resolution up to 4K, HDR imaging technology, and faster, more stable frame rates, it’s the ultimate way to enjoy your favourite videogames.

We know you’re eager to find out which titles will be the first to take advantage of the increased power and performance of PS4 Pro. The following 30+ titles will be optimised for the new hardware on launch day. Some games have updates to add Pro support, while more recent titles like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare have Pro enhancements built into the base game. We’ll keep this list updated should additional titles be confirmed.

In addition to the titles [optimized at launch], more than 45 games will be optimised for PS4 Pro by the end of the year, including Watch Dogs 2, Killing Floor 2, The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy XV, with the likes of Nioh, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard and For Honor to follow in early 2017.

Further to that, all first party software launched in 2017 and beyond, including Gravity Rush 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Days Gone and Gran Turismo Sport, will enjoy the benefits of the world’s most powerful console.

Check out the post for the full list.

PlayStation Vue is now available on PCs

And speaking of Sony, the entertainment firm’s cord-cutting solution is now more broadly available. Engadget explains.

After coming to Android TV last week, PlayStation view has arrived on Mac and PC browsers, meaning it’s available on just about every device you can think of. It’ll work on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge and even Internet Explorer 10+ browsers, Sony says. The web service has some “unique features,” including a mini-player that you can shrink to the corner of a browser window while you look for more content.

PS Vue is an streaming service that includes live TV channels from NBC, Fox, ESPN and others starting at $30 a month, though availability depends on your zip code. It’s much like Sling TV, though the basic Vue package is $10 more. However, you do get more stations in total, and can buy channels individually or upgrade your subscription to get more.

You can learn more here.

Samsung is working on its own digital assistant

The jokes write themselves, but it’s true. Samsung is working on its own digital assistant. Reuters tries to make sense of the insanity.

Samsung said on Sunday it would launch an artificial intelligence digital assistant service for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, seeking to rebound from the Galaxy Note 7’s collapse and differentiate its devices.

The world’s top smartphone maker in October announced the acquisition of Viv Labs Inc, a firm run by a co-creator of Apple Inc’s Siri voice assistant program. Samsung plans to integrate the San Jose-based company’s AI platform, called Viv, into the Galaxy smartphones and expand voice-assistant services to home appliances and wearable technology devices.

Samsung is counting on the Galaxy S8 to help revive smartphone momentum after scrapping the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7, which will hit its profit by $5.4 billion over three quarters through the first quarter of 2017.

Just what we need. More of this baloney.


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Conversation 20 comments

  • 2706

    07 November, 2016 - 9:14 am

    <p>I surely can’t get enough of them. Hopefully Twitter is working on a personal assistant as well.&nbsp;</p>

    • 1139

      07 November, 2016 - 9:28 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#24865">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/Jeff.Bane">Jeff.Bane</a><a href="#24865">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>I want to have one personal assistant per platform. Cortana on my computer, Alexa on my home device, Xbox on my Xbox, Google Assistant on my phone. Siri in my car. Let’s get it all fragmented.</p>

      • 2706

        07 November, 2016 - 11:10 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#24876">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/Vuppe">Vuppe</a><a href="#24876">:</a></em></blockquote>
        <p>Facebook M likes your idea.</p>

    • 339

      Premium Member
      07 November, 2016 - 11:42 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#24865">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/Jeff.Bane">Jeff.Bane</a><a href="#24865">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>Pretty sure that Twitter’s&nbsp;personal assistant was called Tay…</p>

      • 442

        07 November, 2016 - 2:01 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#24923">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/Brumfondl">Brumfondl</a><a href="#24923">:</a></em></blockquote>
        <p>"Pretty sure that Twitter’s&nbsp;personal assistant was called Tay…"&nbsp;&nbsp; LOL, so it’s keyword will be "Oh Tay…"?</p>

  • 5531

    07 November, 2016 - 9:34 am

    <p>Wait, is this baloney because digital assistants are baloney or because a Samsung digital assistant is baloney?</p>

  • 1816

    07 November, 2016 - 9:47 am

    <p>I would pay $2.99 for a Thurrott digital assistant!</p>

    • 2

      Premium Member
      07 November, 2016 - 10:03 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#24880">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/DaddyBrownJr">DaddyBrownJr</a><a href="#24880">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>LOL it would mostly just berate you.&nbsp;</p>

    • 5767

      07 November, 2016 - 10:53 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#24880">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/DaddyBrownJr">DaddyBrownJr</a><a href="#24880">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>Yeah but I already paid $64 for the real Thurott Assistant.</p>

      • 5234

        07 November, 2016 - 12:17 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#24903">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/MutualCore">MutualCore</a><a href="#24903">:</a></em></blockquote>
        <p>And look what it got you….</p>

  • 421

    Premium Member
    07 November, 2016 - 10:05 am

    <p>I wonder is Samsung’s Viv will scream "duck and cover" just before you washing machine explodes…</p>

  • 5510

    07 November, 2016 - 10:20 am

    <p>Wow…30+ titles to be optimized for the PS4 PRO. To paraphrase one particular blogger…."That’s what WINNING looks like."</p>
    <p>I was actually thinking of buying an Xbox One S during the holidays, but I am not sure if it’s going to be worth it. I might just have to get the cheaper "original" Xbox One, which will probably sell for $149 this holiday season, if I really want to play those Xbox One exclusives. BUT….probably not, because that whole Playstation ecosystem seems to be a much better and safer entertainment investment.</p>
    <p>As I get older (40+), I have to start facing the facts, I don’t have time for these things anymore. After all, I am a legal professional, who spends most of this day at the office or some remote location doing depositions and such. I just don’t have the time to operate multipile consoles. Perhaps back in the day, I would try to build my own VR/AR PC System, but who has the time for that and why would anyone want to subject him or herself to that kind of work, when it’s already out there, ready-made, for everyone to experience now. Not later, NOW.</p>
    <p>NOW, the reviews for Batman VR has been absolutely FANTASTIC. If people think that the PS4 has been great,NOW, then the PS4 PRO will probably be even better, since they say it will enhance the VR gaming experience.</p>
    <p>Then, there is the Playstation Vue. The idea of a flat rate television service for up to 5 devices (I think) is an incredible deal. For me personally, that’s network tv in the living room, bedroom, on my Android, on my Android tablet, and possibly on my Surface (when I get it).</p>
    <p>All in all, what is happening with the Playstation is exciting. After all, technology is supposed to help simplify our lives, right? Why go through the burden of having multiple platforms, when one is clearly better than the other. What, for the controller? No, to make life simpler and more enjoyable. The best part, is that it can mostly all happen NOW. Not tomorrow, NOW.</p>

    • 7644

      07 November, 2016 - 12:13 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#24892">In reply to </a><a href="../../users/Bats">Bats</a><a href="#24892">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>I’m waiting for PixelJunk Shooter to be optimized…</p>

  • 5510

    07 November, 2016 - 10:46 am

    <p>I don’t understand why Paul thinks this baloney? Does he not see the big picture or where Samsung is going with this? Let’s put it this way, "OK ViV, ….get me a glass of ice water… much longer til spin cyle is done?….raise the thermostat ten degrees higher."</p>
    <p>Not just that, but Samsung needs this for the Galaxy phones, if it plans to break away from Android in favor of it’s Tizen OS.</p>
    <p>The appliances part is actually the one that excites me the most being that Samsung has so many appliances, that this new AI can interact with. Is it not reasonable that this can actually be done? Case and point…Google’s NEST.</p>
    <p>Not so long ago, Brad was hoping for a Microsoft version of the Google Home/Amazon Echo for the kitchen. My response was, that unless that MSFT product can do something new and special that the others can’t, like cooking a meal (or something similar), it’s not going to be successful enough for anyone buy. Well, it looks like Samsung is getting closer to that. I understand that their AI might not have the ability to cook anyone anything anytime soon, but at least we are probably heading in that direction. If there is a company that can do it, it’s Samsung. Then who knows,…LG will follow and partner with Google to do the same.</p>
    <p>This is exciting stuff,…..until, all the appliances and machines rise up and kills us all.</p>

  • 5767

    07 November, 2016 - 10:53 am

    <p>Exploding Samsung Assistants!</p>

  • 7644

    07 November, 2016 - 12:12 pm

    <p>It’s not baloney per se. I’m sure Samsung has the critical mass to do a Korea-specific digital assistant, maybe some other nations. Outside of that, yes, it’s baloney.</p>

  • 1377

    Premium Member
    07 November, 2016 - 12:41 pm

    <p>Maybe the Samsung AI will be specialized in detecting when Samsung phones are about to explode.</p>

  • 5400

    07 November, 2016 - 1:59 pm

    <p>I read the next to last paragraph too fast. I thought you mentioned the Samsung fire-phone. Maybe it’s good that Amazon doesn’t sell the fire phone anymore. Who would’ve thought that it would be more successfull (or less unsuccessful) than Samsung’s "version."</p>

  • 1466

    Premium Member
    08 November, 2016 - 2:02 am

    <p>The Squirrel is so cute Paul, he’s no rodent. :)</p>

  • 996

    Premium Member
    10 November, 2016 - 3:19 am

    <p>Is the Samsung Assistant a pseudo-warning system so the phone will cry out&nbsp;at you, "Warning, device is rapidly&nbsp;exceeding acceptable levels of heat and flames."</p>

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