Learn How to Use Siri in the New Book Take Control of Siri

Tc siriWhen Take Control Books ran a customer survey last summer, asking which Apple software products people would most like to read about, Siri got the most votes. In keeping with their theme of giving you what you’ve asked for, they are delighted to announce our latest book, Take Control of Siri by former Macworld editor Scholle McFarland! This book is the definitive guide to Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant across all platforms—iOS, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and even HomePod. If you own any Apple device with Siri support, this book will tell you everything you need to know about being more productive, saving time and effort, and having fun with Siri. And you may be surprised at how powerful Siri has become since its early days!

This book is a terrific resource. Here’s just a tiny sampling of what’s in this 138-page book:

  • The numerous ways to activate Siri (by touch or by voice)
  • How to personalize Siri by telling it about yourself, your contacts, and more
  • How to use Siri with AirPods, wired earbuds, or third-party headphones—or in your car
  • How to ask Siri about sports, math and conversions, time, food, movies, people, stocks, the weather, jokes, and random facts (including follow-up questions)
  • How to control music (on any device, with or without an Apple Music subscription)
  • Techniques for using Siri to get directions, set reminders and appointments, send messages and email, and take notes
  • Ways to use Siri to search for files on your Mac
  • What Siri can and can’t do for you on an Apple TV or HomePod
  • How to make and use Siri Shortcuts on an iOS device or Apple Watch
  • Everything you need to know about your privacy where Siri is involved

In addition, Scholle has made a series of videos to go with the book, showing you exactly what happens as you use Siri. (Two are ready right now, and eight more will be available in the coming days.) You’ll get to see and hear how to make the most of Siri (as well as its sense of humor).

Get Take Control of Siri now.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 71: How to Securely Dispose of Hard Drives

A Messages prank, Google getting caught with a hidden mic, and password managers have flaws. And we discuss destroying hard drives creatively.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Apple Music’s Recommendation Algorithm Is Drunk

Apple Music’s For You recommendation algorithm can suggest some interesting music, but it seems to be stuck in a loop of confusion for me. Today, in the Fridays’ Albums section, two of the four quartets of albums are just wrong.

The first one is this:

Tindersticks

While the top two albums are indeed records I like a lot, and I do like David Byrne’s music, I HAVE NEVER LISTENED TO TINDERSTICKS. Apple Music is constantly showing me “Because you listen to Tindersticks” in this section. I had to look up the band; I’d never heard of them. I have never listened to them, unless, somehow, a song of theirs came up on an Apple Music radio station I played.

The problem is that they keep telling me I listen to this band but I don’t know anything about them, and now I don’t care. Is “Tindersticks” paying Apple Music to be featured this way? Has someone hacked my Apple Music account to play music by this band? Is it a typo for Teruhisa Fukuda, whose latest album I have listened to a number of times? I make a Recently Played playing in my iTunes library going back 5 years, and THERE IS NOT ONE SONG BY TINDERSTICKS.

Okay, that’s the first. But the second today is this:

Canned heat

I know Canned Heat, I’ve heard their music. I remember 🎶 “I’m going to the country, la-de-da-de-da-de-la-la.” It was in the Woodstock movie, right? I may even have owned that album when I was a teenager. But, like Tindersticks, I HAVE NEVER LISTENED TO CANNED HEAT ON APPLE MUSIC. I checked my Recently Played playlist. Again, it’s possible that one song came up in an Apple Music radio station, because tracks you hear there don’t show up as recently played. And, to be honest, none of the four artists in this quartet are bands I particularly care for.

This is really annoying, like all those recommended albums that I dislike but still get more recommendations for the same artists. This makes me wonder if Apple Music is possessed. Possessed by evil spirits who like Tindersticks and Canned Heat.

Book Review – Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us

It started with six pieces of Lego. Dan Lyons, former Newsweek technology editor, as well as writer on the HBO series Silicon Valley (and former Fake Steve Jobs), meets a Lego “Serious Play” trainer who asked him to make a duck in 30 seconds. He fretted, then worried, wondering if it was all a trick, before finally presenting his duck to her. It turned out that it didn’t matter what he did, that it was all just a game, a way to jump-start conversation. And that left him rattled.

In his book, Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us, New York Times bestselling author Dan Lyons critiques how this sort of “Serious Play” activity is all the rage in Silicon Valley, as startups and tech companies mess with the heads of their employees. He criticizes how it looks like a “cult of happiness,” which is facilitated through a new way of working.

And if you’re not in Silicon Valley, it’s coming soon to a company near you.

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.

Fujifilm UK Discount Code

I bought another refurbished lens today from Fujifilm. I’m in the UK, and they have an extensive refurb store, in parallel with their direct sales of new gear.

After the purchase, they gave me a link to share with friends that provides a 5% discount on any order from the Fujifilm online store. Apparently I will also get a 5% discount on my next purchase, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

If you do use Fujifilm cameras and are in the UK, check out their store. I’ve bought several lenses from them, and they are usually around 25% off. I’ve not bought a body or full camera, but the discounts are similar.

How to Know When It’s Time to Hire a Content Marketing Manager

Every business lives or dies by the way it communicates. Whether it’s advertising, press releases, social media, email marketing, or blog posts, the best way companies can get the message out about its products or services is via digital communication.

Content marketing covers a range of communication techniques on digital platforms: from blog posts to Instagram, from Facebook to the newsletters you send out to current or prospective clients. And effective content marketing cannot be improvised; rather, it is taking over from advertising in many cases, and requires a solid strategy and quality content.

In the early stages of a business, your marketing manager will probably oversee all this work. But as your business grows, you should consider hiring a content marketing manager (or content associate) who can take on the essential task of copywriting.

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.