Skype and PowerPoint Make Huge Accessibility Gains; Bose Enters the Augmented Reality Space; More in Five for Wednesday

photos of hotel lobby and airport terminal


Welcome to Five for Wednesday, our weekly round-up of tech-focused news.

      1. Microsoft stalwarts Skype and PowerPoint are able to display captions and subtitles in real time, matching the capabilities of Google Slides and other applications. These changes are a huge win for deaf users and others with hearing loss.
      2. Bose’s new augmented reality (AR) glasses are audio-only, and the company suggests they will be useful for context-aware audio-based tours. Can anyone imagine a REALTOR® using these to supplement their presence during open houses and walkthroughs? We can.
      3. If using Amazon’s Alexa has become part of your daily routine, check out these 12 new things she can do.
      4. Volkswagen is the latest vehicle manufacturer that’s pumping the brakes on making cars with combustion engines. Electric cars are definitely in everyone’s futures.
      5. Lastly, a great article on the new crop of productivity apps (and suites of apps) competing to make your and your team’s work-life easier.

Some Thoughts about Public WiFi; Black Friday and Chromebooks; More in Five for Wednesday

photos of hotel lobby and airport terminal


Welcome to Five for Wednesday, our weekly round-up of tech-focused news.

      1. You should always, always, always be careful when using public wifi, but this article argues that for most of us, it’s ok to relax a bit. (The article contains some solid safety tips, so even if you’re in the “Free hotel wifi? No way!” camp, read on.)
      2. It’s hard to navigate the large number of Chromebook models and configurations. Here’s a guide to what you should be looking for on Black Friday if you’re in the market for a new machine.
      3. Microsoft is making a number of its products password-free. What’s the catch? You need to use a hardware key and some another form of authentication. Still, though, for those who don’t practice good password hygiene, this is pretty awesome.
      4. With large commercial spaces like shopping malls languishing, there’s no shortage of ideas for how to reuse all those square feet. There’s even a start-up that will put pre-fabricated housing inside old malls. (Reaction here in CRTLabs ranged from “cool!” to “ewww.”)
      5. We have no fifth item this week, other than to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and to thank you for reading and for your RTs.

Samsung’s Foldable Phone / Tablet Is Real; Google’s Home Hub Reviewed; More in Five for Wednesday

two origami birds


Welcome to Five for Wednesday, our weekly round-up of tech-focused news.

      1. While not yet in production, the existence of Samsung’s rumored foldable phone has been confirmed. What looks like a normally-sized Android phone unfolds to become a (roughly) 7-inch tablet. If this is done and received well, look for all sorts of experimental form features for phones in the coming months.
      2. Here’s a thorough review of Google’s Home Hub, right before the holidays 🙂
      3. If you’re a Google Maps user who’s always envied some of the features of Waze, these developments should make you happy.
      4. If your office has, or wants, to improve its green profile, here’s something to aspire to: the greenest office in the world.
      5. No REALTOR® if ever going to escape email, but here’s an interesting way to tame it.

Fighting Robocalls; New Google Gear; More in Five for Wednesday

two robots talking on the phone


Welcome to Five for Wednesday, our weekly round-up of tech-focused news. Lots of Google information this week!

      1. Time will tell if Google’s new approach to fighting all those annoying robocalls to your cell phone will pay off.
      2. Not wanting Apple to dominate the product announcement headlines, Google just held their most recent product event. Here’s the important stuff you need to know.
      3. Wondering how the new Pixel Slate tablet compares to Surface and iPad tablets? Stop wondering; we’ve got you covered.
      4. This will surely interest busy REALTORS®: the creator of Android is building a phone with serious AI capabilities to (among other things) “mimic the user and automatically respond to messages on their behalf.”
      5. We’ve said it for a while: augmented reality (AR) is here to stay, and here to shake up homebuying and staging. Apple’s acquisition of several companies demonstrates a serious interest on their part.

IKEA Dreams About Autonomous Vehicles; Amazon Makes a Big Investment in Housing; More in Five for Wednesday

illustration of robot driving a truck filled with produce

      1. When is a self-driving car not a self-driving car? When it’s a self-driving meeting space, or a farmers market, or myriad other things. IKEA’s got some ideas.
      2. Amazon has made a big investment in prefab-home builder Plant Prefab, which suggests “a potential new avenue of smart home development, experimentation, and expansion.”
      3. Office 2019 for PC and Mac has been released. It’s been updated, but has fewer features than the cloud-based Office 365.
      4. Using blockchain to ensure the safety and provenance of the food we eat is really gaining traction; learn how Walmart and IBM’s partnership will help curb the spread of E. coli..
      5. The Android OS recently turned 10. Here’s a great timeline of how much it has changed since 2008.