Siri Gets New Airline, Food Order and Dictionary Shortcuts, With More on the Way

Brian Heater reporting for TechCrunch:

There are five new Shortcuts available starting today. Most notable (depending on where you get your airline miles, I suppose) is probably the one from American Airlines. Saying, “Hey Siri, flight update” will provide you with information on your upcoming travel plans. […]

Caviar has a new Shortcut as well. It lets users check on food status or reorder frequent items, like, say, “order my usual pizza,” for those of us who are perfectly fine with the food related ruts we’ve dug ourselves into. Merriam-Webster, meanwhile, is adding a “word of the day” Shortcut, while Dexcom is bringing glucose monitoring to the smart assistant. […]

In the next couple of months, Apple will add Shortcuts from Airbnb, Drop, ReSound and coffee-maker Smarter. Those all join recent additions from Waze and Nike Run Club.

This is great. I was worried that this would be another Apple Siri feature that was introduced and never touched again for a year or two if ever. This makes me excited for the future potential of Siri and puts it closer to other digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant.

Amazon’s Press-To-Order Dash Buttons Are Officially Discontinued

Chris Welch reporting for The Verge:

Amazon’s Dash buttons are no more. The tiny stick-on buttons that allowed customers to quickly reorder popular household items with a press have been discontinued by the online retailer, as confirmed by CNET. […]

Existing Dash buttons will continue to function “so long as the public keeps using them,” CNET says. The company seems to believe that the smart home and its Alexa voice assistant have obviated the need for Dash buttons. Plus, some appliance makers have built the Dash Replenishment Service directly into their products to help consumers quickly reorder associated items.

Last month, a German court ruled that the Dash buttons violate the country’s consumer protection laws, claiming that the press-to-buy mechanism fails to provide enough information about a product’s price.

This sucks. I really like those little dash buttons, and I don’t want to buy an Echo just to get the same convenience that these little buttons provided. Oh well. C’est la Vie.

Disney Releases Full Aladdin Trailer

I was on the “Why isn’t the Genie blue” train. Be careful what you wish for I guess.

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The Los Angeles Rams’ Historic 2018 Season Ends in Heartbreak

The 2018 NFL season has come to a close. Like many of you, I didn’t expect it to end this way. The heartbreak was supposed to go to the other team. I believed the Los Angeles Rams would finally get sweet, sweet vengeance against New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick.

But here we are.

The confetti has fallen. The Lombardi Trophy has been presented. It’s heading back to Foxborough. Again.

Read more at Turf Show Times  →

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An ode to Los Angeles Rams P Johnny Hekker

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on of the most the under-appreciated players in the NFL: Los Angeles Rams P Johnny Hekker.

I know what you’re thinking. “Kristian, what do you mean underappreciated? I appreciate the hell out of him!” And I believe you! You, dear reader, are a Rams fan.

Read more at Turf Show Times  →

The FCC Lied to Congress About an Alleged Cyberattack and Didn’t Come Clean Until Now

Makena Kelly reporting for The Verge:

It’s been over a year since Ajit Pai and the Federal Communications Commission claimed that the agency’s comment filing system was subjected to a cyberattack during the height of last year’s net neutrality debate. But after waves of speculation from both the public and Congress, the commission has finally come clean.

The idea that the crashing of the FCC commenting system was cause by “bots” never sat well with me. It seemed like an easy way for Chairman Ajit Pai to explain away the massive show of support in favor of keeping the Net Neutrality rules in place. It turns out that was exactly the case.

How Matters of Trust Built and Broke Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi

Megan Crouse writing at

As heroes of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan and Anakin suffered not just the tragedy of their duel during the fall of the Republic, but also the aftermath, almost two decades of living on opposite sides of the galaxy-spanning war. So much has been written about them before, and about how Palpatine slowly and subtly chipped away at Anakin’s trust in the Jedi in general and Obi-Wan in particular.

The relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan is one of the great tragedies in the Star Wars universe. This article does a great job of exploring how that deteriorated over time and how Palpatine exploited it.

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions

Jeff Maysh reporting for The Daily Beast:

On August 3, 2001, a McDonald’s film crew arrived in the bustling beach town of Westerly, Rhode Island. They carried their cameras and a giant cashier’s check to a row of townhouses, and knocked on the door of Michael Hoover. The 56-year-old bachelor had called a McDonald’s hotline to say he’d won their Monopoly competition. […]

Like winning the Powerball, the odds of Hoover’s win were 1 in 250 million. There were two ways to win the Monopoly grand prize: find the “Instant Win” game piece like Hoover, or match Park Place with the elusive Boardwalk to choose between a heavily-taxed lump sum or $50,000 checks every year for 20 years. […]

Inside Hoover’s home, Amy Murray, a loyal McDonald’s spokesperson, encouraged him to tell the camera about the luckiest moment of his life. Nervously clutching his massive check, Hoover said he’d fallen asleep on the beach. When he bent over to wash off the sand, his People magazine fell into the sea. He bought another copy from a grocery store, he said, and inside was an advertising insert with the “Instant Win” game piece. The camera crew listened patiently to his rambling story, silently recognizing the inconsequential details found in stories told by liars. They suspected that Hoover was not a lucky winner, but part of a major criminal conspiracy to defraud the fast food chain of millions of dollars. The two men behind the camera were not from McDonald’s. They were undercover agents from the FBI.

This was a McSting.

This story is incredible. It’s not light reading by any stretch; you’re going to need to set aside a good 30 minutes to get through it, but it is quite the tale. By far the weirdest thing I’ve read in a long time.

Disney gets shareholder OK to acquire Fox movie and TV studios, and stake in Hulu

Mike Snider reporting for USA Today:

Disney, which owns the Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel brands as well as its own live-action and animation studios, will now add to its portfolio the historic 20th Century Fox studio, which has produced such classics as “The Sound of Music,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Patton,” “Alien,” “Titanic,” “Avatar” and the original “Star Wars” film.

This is huge. Disney now has even more content with which supply it’s streaming service. And as Mike notes, this also means that now Disney owns the rights to “Star Wars: A New Hope”, the only Star Wars film Disney didn’t receive with it’s purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012.

Marvel Studios will also get back the rights to the wildly popular X-Men and related characters. I’m sure Kevin Feige is has been hard at work figuring out how to roll them into the MCU since this deal was initiated last November.

Star Wars: Episode IX Cast Announced

The Star Wars Official Blog:

The role of Leia Organa will once again be played by Carrie Fisher, using previously unreleased footage shot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” says Abrams. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.

Along with Mark Hamill returning (Ghost Luke‽) and Billy Dee Williams reprising his role of Lando Calrissian, this little nugget was the most interesting. Fans, or at least I, had been wondering how they would handle the character of Princess Leia.

Now we have our answer.

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Through successes and setbacks, Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff pushes forward

The hype and expectations surrounding the Los Angeles Rams and starting quarterback Jared Goff in 2018 is pretty amazing considering where things were just a year ago.

Goff was the #1 overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and is now considered a sleeper candidate for MVP in the 2018 season. During a sit-down interview held Monday, July 9th, by Thuzio Executive Club, the young QB discussed his road to the NFL and how he’s able to persevere when things go badly.

Read more at Turf Show Times  →

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2018 LA Rams Roster Preview: CB Nickell Robey-Coleman looks to show why he’s the slot-god

Los Angeles Rams CB Nickell Robey-Coleman proved to be arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the game last season. Playing in 15 games last season as a slot/nickel CB occasionally getting bumped to the outside, he made 49 tackles, two interceptions, had nine defended passes, and forced a fumble.

Read more at Turf Show Times  →

Vox Media to Begin Licensing Publishing Technology Chorus

Benjamin Mullin reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

The company is beginning to license Chorus, the technology that underpins the portfolio of sites it owns and operates, including The Verge, Vox and Recode. The deals would allow other publishers to use the technology for creating articles, monitoring readership and distributing content on social-media platforms, among other things, in exchange for a recurring fee.

Chorus is the platform I use over at Turf Show Times. This isn’t targeted at independent bloggers like yours truly, but this will be awesome for larger publishers who are looking for something better than WordPress or MovableType and have the money to cover the licensing fee.

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2018 Los Angeles Rams Roster Preview: TE Temarrick Hemingway is ready to write the next chapter of his career

Los Angeles Rams TE Temarrick Hemingway was looking forward to a break out sophomore season under new Head Coach Sean McVay, but life had other plans.

Hemingway suffered a broken fibula in the loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the third preseason game, ending his 2017 season.

Now healthy, will he be able to climb the depth chart to a number two spot, or will he further solidify his number three spot?

Read more at Turf Show Times  →

Government Presses Apple and Google on Data Collection Practices

House Energy and Commerce Committee Press Release:

The Energy and Commerce Committee today sent letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Larry Page to probe the companies’ representation of third-party access to consumer data, and the collection and use of audio recording data as well as location information via iPhone and Android devices.

I think the government is going to find out just how different these two companies’ views on privacy really are.