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    I still struggle to understand why people with more than 3 working fingers even want one of these devices. Seems to me that the easiest “potential mechanisms to improve the privacy of smart speakers” are waste disposal services.

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      I guess it’s a personal preference? I personally don’t find mobile phones very convenient either, but for some reason a lot of people do 🤷‍♂️ I think it would be far more effective to think about how to improve the privacy of these devices rather than just say “don’t use it”, because that usually doesn’t really work.

      Aside: these sort of devices have been featured in science fiction for ages; the most famous example probably being the computer in Star Trek. But now that the “future is here” it all turns out it’s slightly less rosy than imagined 30 years ago.

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        I don’t like mobile phones either. Maybe I am just a modern luddite. I also have an issue with laptops, and wireless anything. Yes I suppose I am getting old.

        On the other hand I can envision (even design) virtual assistants, laptops and mobile phones that I would like, they just aren’t on the market. Wireless peripherals however, unless you can get a battery with infinite life I am not interested.

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        My Alexa dot “Origin story” is that I won one at a caption competition at work. I put it in my kitchen, where it’s proved to be a good kitchen timer. Compared to most such devices it is able to keep track of multiple concurrent timers and will tell you which one just went off. I also find it convenient to set timers using my voice while my (more than) three working fingers are covered in dough or blood or soap.

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          Cooking is one of the best applications of voice-based control, since (for me) most of the time I’m cooking my hands are occupied or even dirty, so that I can’t/don’t want to touch my recipe book/iPad/whatever.

          The problem I see is that most people wouldn’t consider buying a dedicated timer if it had the same features. I don’t have a home-assistant at home (and wouldn’t buy one only for kitchen timers) but I probably also wouldn’t buy a voice-controlled non-internet-connected timer just for kitchen work.

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          All the same, I want one running on my computer without cloud connectivity.

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          While the content is very interesting, I find the formatting atrocious (on FF ESR at least).