All posts by Matthew

Tech We’re Using: When Using 5 Messaging Apps Is Not Enough

What could be better about the tools?

If you look at my iPhone screen, you’ll see Gmail, Google Calendar, Spotify, Google Maps, and Alexa for voice stuff, so I suppose Apple could improve its software. Operating system updates are like a periodic hazing ritual. I’ve mostly blocked out the switch to iOS 11, but sometimes I remember and the night sweats begin again.

You write about start-ups, and the successful ones are a signal for where the tech industry is heading. What tech trends do you see emerging?


Amazon’s Echo speaker in Ms. Benner’s kitchen. “I’m sort of lost without it,” she said.

Christie Hemm Klok for The New York Times

After Dollar Shave Club sold to Unilever for $1 billion, investors got excited about companies that make (hopefully) cool, new brands in old categories — like workout gear, makeup, shoes and pantry items — and sell their stuff directly to customers.

It’s not tech as we think of it — hardware and software — but the tech industry is trying to find ways to impact everyday activities like driving, eating and shopping. Basically it feels like venture capitalists are funding a large R&D lab for future Amazon and Walmart acquisitions. I’m not super hopeful about returns here, since these are lower-margin businesses than software companies. But some will get out the door fast enough to make money for early investors.

The Amazon Echo has also been a killer product, and it has reignited enthusiasm for voice-activated tech and for the internet of things, a world where all of our devices send information about us back to the internet to be mined by strangers for purposes we don’t know. Can’t imagine what could go wrong.

You’ve written extensively about gender discrimination toward women in tech. Do you think the situation is improving?

The fact that women and men are willing to talk openly about abuse, harassment and bullying is a huge improvement. People worry that men will now cut women out of business altogether, but they weren’t welcoming them into positions of power when everyone was docile and silent, so it’s obviously time to try something new. The conversations are uncomfortable, and the discomfort is also an improvement. Few people in power who feel comfortable with the status quo push for systemic changes that level the playing field.

Things are far from being solved, but venture firms are scrambling to hire women. They’re trying to invest in founders who are not white, male Stanford alumni. Will some of these women be bad investors and will some of these founders fail? Absolutely. And I hope they’re treated as kindly as the white guys who are dead weight at their venture funds and who mismanage their companies, but are given third and fourth and fifth chances. The change is always slow and imperfect, but it has to start somewhere.

Beyond your job, what tech product are you currently obsessed with using in your daily life?

Have I mentioned how much I love my Amazon Echo? I’m sort of lost without it. When I stay in hotels, I find myself asking inanimate objects to tell me the weather and play NPR and add carrots to my shopping list.

In addition to its being the greatest kitchen assistant ever, I’m increasingly asking Alexa to tell me my schedule, the weather and the news at the start of my day. I can see a day when my phone is the second device I interact with in the morning. My husband mostly uses it to listen to music. I know this because I can look on the Alexa app while I’m at work and see what he’s been playing. Low-key surveillance is good for relationships, right?

Snap sells camera-embedded sunglasses known as Spectacles. Are these a fad or here to stay?

Spectacles are already hanging out in history’s dustbin, but Snap has been super upfront about the fact that it sees hardware as a big experiment. If you believe you’ll have to try and fail a lot to make a killer product, it’s not a bad idea to work on fun, lighthearted and relatively cheap products that you can quickly learn from.

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Tech Tip: How to Add Emoji to Your Twitter Name

Q. How do you add emoji to your Twitter name?

A. You can add emoji to the name displayed on your Twitter account by editing your profile and selecting the characters you wish to use. Start by opening the Twitter app on your Android or iOS device, or by logging into your account on the web at

In the mobile app, tap your round account icon in the corner to get to the profile page and then tap the Edit Profile button. In a desktop web browser, click your personal icon on the left and then click Edit Profile on the next page. Once you select the Edit Profile button, you can change the customized text and images associated with your account.

Click the name displayed on your Twitter account and then insert your preferred emoji characters. On a mobile device, switch to the emoji keyboard included with Android or iOS. If you do not have a ready set of emoji built in into your desktop operating system, look for an online emoji repository like, where you can copy and paste characters into your profile or other documents.


Once you are on the Edit Profile screen for your Twitter account, you can change your displayed name or add emoji characters.

The New York Times

In addition to changing your displayed Twitter name — which has a maximum of 20 characters — you can update your account’s personal and header images, add or edit the short bit of biographical text shown next to your name, and adjust several other items on your profile. Tap or click the Save Changes button when you are finished.

You can also change your unique user name (the @yournamehere part of your account) in your Twitter settings without losing your existing followers. To do that, select your profile icon in the app or browser and choose “Settings and privacy” from the menu. Next, tap or click Account and then Username, where you can make your change — as long as the new user name is fewer than 15 characters and is not in use already by someone else.

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Tech Tip: Taking Control of the Control Center


Q. On the new iPhone system, where did the button for turning on AirDrop go when you swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen?

A. The iOS Control Center — that panel of icons you can quickly open by swiping up from the bottom of the phone or tablet screen — got a makeover with the release of iOS 11 in September. (iPhone X owners need to swipe down from the top-right edge of the screen to open the panel.) When you open the Control Center, press and hold the quartet of icons on the top-left side to pop open the full panel. If you have the 3D Touch feature, you can press firmly on one of the icons.

To turn on AirDrop in iOS 11, press (or press and hold) one of the four connectivity icons grouped together, left, to expand to the panel, right.CreditThe New York Times

The icon for AirDrop, Apple’s technology for wirelessly beaming files between iOS devices and Macs, is in the bottom-left corner of the expanded panel. The Personal Hotspot icon for turning your cellular data connection into a miniature Wi-Fi network is also visible in the full screen view.

The iOS 11 software also allows users to personalize the look of the Control Center panel by adding the icons for apps and utilities used most. You can also leave others off the screen. To choose the icons you want to see, go to the iPhone’s home screen, tap the Settings icon and select Control Center. Tap the Customize Controls option, and on the Customize screen use plus and minus icons to add or subtract the listed shortcuts from the Control Center screen. You can rearrange the order by dragging the items in the list up or down using the icon of three gray lines to the right of each control.

Later, when you are using the Control Center, you can find additional shortcuts with some icons — if you are using an iPhone with 3D Touch. For example, press and hold the Camera icon to get a quick menu of shortcuts for taking a selfie, recording a video of other photographic functions. You can adjust the intensity of the flashlight beam by pressing the flashlight icon or see your last Apple Pay transaction by pressing the Wallet icon. Not every Control Center icon has a shortcut menu, though, so you may have to poke around to find the ones that do.

Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

Apple Postpones Release of HomePod Speaker


Apple introduced its HomePod speaker in June and had said the product would ship by the end of the year.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is putting the brakes on the arrival this year of HomePod, its much-ballyhooed rival to Amazon’s Echo smart speaker.

On Friday, the company said it would postpone the release of HomePod to early 2018. Apple introduced the speaker this year and was originally set to ship it next month, but the company said it was still working on the product.

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers,” Apple said in a statement.

The postponement deals a setback to Apple in several ways. The company is already behind rivals like Amazon, which pioneered the market for speakers that can be controlled with voice commands and artificial intelligence with the release of the original Echo in 2015. The Echo, along with the virtual assistant Alexa, became a surprise hit.

Now Apple will also miss out on selling HomePod during the holiday shopping season, the most lucrative time of year for electronics makers. That may enable rivals to gain even more traction with their products.

Amazon recently released a family of new Echo products with lower prices. The standard-size Echo speaker costs $100, significantly less than its $180 predecessor.

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Check Out the Nominees for The Game Awards 2017


The Game Awards will be airing on December 7th this year, and the nominees have all been officially announced. There are many different categories this year, such as Best Performance, Best Student Game, Best Chinese Game, and many more. But most people watching the show will be looking at one award in particular: Game of the Year. The contenders for this biggest category include Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Horizon Zero Dawn, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

The entire list of nominees can be read below:

Game of the Year

Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Super Mario Odyssey

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Persona 5

Horizon Zero Dawn

Best Game Direction

Wolfenstein II
Resident Evil 7

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Super Mario Odyssey

Horizon Zero Dawn

Best Narrative

What Remains of Edith Finch
NieR: Automata

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Wolfenstein II

Horizon Zero Dawn

Best Art Direction

Destiny 2

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Persona 5

Horizon Zero Dawn

Best Score / Music

Destiny 2

NieR: Automata

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Super Mario Odyssey

Persona 5

Best Audio Design

Destiny 2
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Resident Evil 7

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Super Mario Odyssey

Best Performance

Melina Juergens, Hellblade
Laura Bailey, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Claudia Black, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Brian Bloom, Wolfenstein II

Ashly Burch, Horizon Zero Dawn

Games for Impact

Please Knock on my Door
Night in the Woods

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Bury Me, My Love

What Remains of Edith Finch

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Best Ongoing Game

Rainbow Six: Siege


Grand Theft Auto Online

Destiny 2

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Best Mobile Game

Super Mario Run
Old Man’s Journey

Monument Valley 2

Hidden Folks

Fire Emblem Heroes

Best Handheld Game

Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World
Monster Hunter Stories

Metroid: Samus Returns

Fire Emblem Echoes

Ever Oasis

Best VR / AR Game

Superhot VR
Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Lone Echo / Echo Arena


Resident Evil 7

Best Action Game


Destiny 2


Wolfenstein II

Best Action / Adventure Game

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Assassin’s Creed: Origins

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Super Mario Odyssey

Horizon Zero Dawn

Best Role Playing Game

South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Final Fantasy XV

Divinity: Original Sin 2

NieR: Automata

Persona 5

Best Fighting Game

Tekken 7
Nidhogg 2

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Injustice 2


Best Family Game

Splatoon 2
Sonic Mania

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Super Mario Odyssey

Best Strategy Game

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
Tooth and Tail

Total War: Warhammer II

Halo Wars 2

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Best Sports / Racing Game

Project Cars 2
Pro Evoltuion Soccer 2018

NBA 2K18

GT Sport

Forza Motorsport 7


Best Multiplayer

Call of Duty: World War II

Splatoon 2

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Destiny 2

PlayerUnknown’s Battleground

Most Anticipated Game

The Last of Us Part II
Red Dead Redemption II

Monster Hunte World

Marvel’s Spider-Man

God of War

Best Independent Game

Night in the Woods


What Remains of Deith Finch

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Best Student Game

Level Squared


Falling Sky


From Light

Trending Gamer

Steven Spohn
Mike Grzesiek

Guy Beahm

Clint Lexa

Andrea Rene

Best eSports Game

Rocket League
League of Legends


Counter-Strike: Global-Offensive


Best eSports Player

Kuro “KuroKy” Salhei Takhasomi
Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu

Nikola “NiKo” Kovac

Marcelo “coldzera” David

Lee sang-hyeok “Faker”

Best eSports Team

Team Liquid
SK Telecom 1


FaZe Clan

Cloud 9

Best Debut Indie Game

Slime Rancher
Mr. Shifty

Hollow Knight

Golf Story


Best Chinese Game

Monument Valley 2
jx3 HD



King of Glory

You can vote for your favorite games on the
official website. Which games do you want to see win? Which games did you not expect to see as nominees? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Source: The Game Awards