I don't really have any musing to offer you all this week, it's been far too busy and I haven't had enough sleep. So, instead, let's jump straight into what we're all here for. This week we have Cortana for iOS (finally), a GIF museum from GIPHY, updates to Google's keyboard on Android, and more.
Auto Voice (Update)
Free (with premium purchase): Android
A plug-in for the Tasker automation tool, Auto Voice is designed to let you do all that automation work with your voice - rather than using hands like some sort of peasant. This latest update is a big one, since it allows Auto Voice to connect to Google Home and Amazon Echo devices, so you can work that sweet automation magic into your existing gear. It also integrates natural language features with IFTTT, so you can link all the big names together in one place. The full version of the app is free for seven days, but after that you'll be restricted to four character commands. Unless you pay £2.59, that is.
Free (with subscription): iOS
Voice recorders are a dime a dozen these days, so what can Cassette do to make itself stand out? Quite a lot actually. It's got all the typical features you'd expect from this type of app, letting you record sound using the phone's microphone, make note of any important bits you know you'll want quick access to later, and easily share the final result with anyone else who needs it. Cassette also comes with built-in transcription, which gets a sizeable chunk of post-production work out of the way for you. It's not perfect, but then again no automatic transcription really is. Transcription isn't free sadly, and you'll have to pay a subscription depending on how many hours you want each month. Prices range from $10-$100 (£8.18-£81.80), which might seem reasonable if you only need a bit of transcription done here and there. Everything is kept encrypted during the transcription process, and it all takes place on your device rather than some random unsecure server somewhere in the middle of North Korea.
A third party GitHub client, designed to help you keep on top of things in the way that the official desktop client doesn't allow. It's got a news feed, a repository search, a list of trending repositories, the option to follow specific users, and view code with syntax highlighting. So if you're a big fan of GitHub's open source software offerings, this is one to try out.
Siri is great if you're into the whole virtual assistant fad, but she becomes a lot more useful if you use her on iOS and Mac. What if you have Windows? Never fear, Cortana is here. Thankfully this time she's not trying to take over the galaxy, and is instead determined to do whatever it is you need a VA to do. What makes her so great? Hell if I know, I personally virtual assistants are a waste of time, but if you're a Windows-using fan of the mini AI companions, having Cortana on your phone is going to make life a lot more consistent. Cortana has been out on iOS for a while now, but this week marks the first time Apple-lovers can officially get her in the UK.
Google's keyboard has had an update this week, bringing with it a bunch of new and interesting features that you might appreciate. First up is built-in Translate, which translates your text for you as you type and negates the need to keep jumping to and from a translation app. It's also introduced built-in emoji and GIF searching, for those times when mere words are unable to describe what's going on, seamless voice typing, and GIF recommendations in compatible apps. Keyboards aren't all that special, but at least Google is doing what it can to keep its own offering interesting.
There are a lot of things that can be done to tackle gender inequality in the workplace, and GenderEQ takes a very unique approach to that. Essentially it's an extra set of ears for meetings, able to distinguish between male and female voices in real time. By the time everything is done it'll analyse how much speaking was done by either gender, and show you a percentage for each. Privacy advocates will be happy to hear that it doesn't actually record anything, so nobody's going to be snooping on your top secret board meetings.
GIPHY Museum of GIF Art
GIFs are great, GIFs are everywhere. They're far better than anything emoji (or whatever those stupid things are called these days) can ever hope to be. So it makes sense that someone might want to document them as an artform, and it makes even more sense that GIF depository GIPHY is the one to do it. This is a virtual reality app that lets you experience an exhibit of GIFs in a 2D 360-degree environment, with the current selection categorised as 'Loop Dreams' featuring GIFs from 20 different artists. All you need is a headset of some sort, even a dirty cheap cardboard one will do.
Easily bored? Can never find something to amuse you and your short attention span with? Neverthink might be worth looking into, unless you're planning on going to the doctor to see if you have ADD. It markets itself as 'distraction on demand', and is clearly designed to keep people pacified watching an endless stream of online videos - a bit like television before streaming silently took over. Even the people behind the app admit that this is basically all it does, so if you need some distraction right now it's competing with Netflix to keep you satisfied.
If you're big on sharing links with other people, this app might make life easier and your communications feel a little bit less spammy. It uses the principles of read-later apps like Pocket and Instapaper, but uses them to collect interesting links and files you come across online and make them easily shareable with other people. Nice and simple really, and it doesn't really matter what the overall theme is.