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L&T: focus on infrastructure and more infrastructure… Tatas moving out of urea production... Modi storms Silicon Valley Preserving for the future Airlines in India: cost and space Recognition to role of NBFCs.... Which side are you, Montek? Adapt Vajpayee dinner diplomacy Paytm karo... More Shakthi to Das’ elbow How Air-India loses customs... Towards speedy justice Roaring Ro-Ro facility The Swadeshi Trump An inexplicable neglect Make standards certification mandatory... Valli, they are more marginalised Things happen by accident and not by design... Solar thermal shines… When online building permits work…. When Ratan Tata visited SRM Bihar elections - the Rajaji formula worked When small is no larger beautiful.. GM Technology at last! The Jan Dhan bonanza Welcome GST EEC at the National Media Centre No engine for this car Funding the un-funded Permanent secretariat for TN GIM SoA @ 80 The nuclear option The rise and fall of Annamalai University Where is Rajaji? Readers' Mail Silver Years of Madras Musings Of course, Gujarat is vibrant A friendly business group Scientists urged to take up farmer-oriented research Why this malaise in medical education? Return to king coal for urea... A proud Madrasi Quality silica from Neyveli Chennai and Kolkata miss opportunity to grow as Delhi and Mumbai Mu Sigma – is no more Robber barons everywhere Medical costs hit the roof... L&T- the specialty of special purpose vehicles Cement prices continue to rise… Where a state respects its litterateurs… West Bengal: mindless malignancy Tribute – Manikam Ramaswami CII projects higher growth… Kudos to NDTV... Banning booze... The why of tax incentives IPL - no surprise this scam China invests in India IPL type auction for VCs? Sri Lanka votes for change Quality education through the PPP mode Naidu will soon build a new Hyderabad Odisha: spectacular win by Naveen Patnaik CSR and CMI: promise of another Srinivasan Ramanujan... When TN politicians can emulate Kerala's There was flood of milk. Reason: no milk commissioner! He continues the focus on social amelioration Noble nonagenarians... A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… No Maha Koottani in TN... Wise Presidents Don’t seem to feel the pulse… Gas is the way forward Boy, can you beat these? Muffled voices for merit… Vibrant Gujarat An enemy’s enemy is a friend The balancing act Tax agriculture The power-full Hindujas Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits... Land reclamation from sea appears cheaper! The few handicaps... A C Muthiah – his munificent bequeaths to science Making ‘my Amaravati’... Modi and the lady Shaming of Tamils by Tamil farmers at Delhi Adharma of opposition politics A professional at the helm of IRDA... Bihar – Nitish Kumar adopts the Lalu model Fall in crude prices help in oil sector reform Cutting the nose to spite the face TGS- The king storyteller The sea- saw battle continues... Not just in-laws (and outlaws); they’ve renowned academics at the helm! Breaththrough in malaria control An informal presentation - analytical, forward locking... Padma Bhushan for A Ramakrishna Telangana in top gear… Sweet news for TN sugar mills Lalu’s envy, India’s pride A glass full of corruption IAS invades NDDB... F C Kohli - his concerns all embracing For whom the bell tolls? Streamlining mandatory third party cover MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways Fuel for thought Fortune for Indian Airlines More Shakti to resource mobilisation... Put expensive assets created to use... Varuna (rain) in 2015; Vaayu (air) in 2016. Chennai devastated More heat than light Welcome changes that testify to Jayalalithaa’s return to health Alexa – Talking Wikipedia Sweeter prospects for sugar When the President was rendered homeless… Nuclear power at the nucleus B H Kothari - a tribute Convulsions in The Hindu Cleaning Ganga – relocate tanneries and install electric crematoria Haul over the coal Colour-Chem’s colourful KRVS Kulandai was a giant Godspeed, Chief Minister JJ Music happens Building loyalty through the stomach Polls and promises The rise and rise of KCP New IT products of Ramco in the pipeline… WTO Meet: resolved to meet again The brown list of Venkitaramanan The star of Spencers is no more Tatas moving out of urea production... Welcome focus on core competence Why land prices zoom in TN? Five star activism stalls development activity Tribute Build close rapport with business leaders Shipping woes of Chennai companies S V Raju – a ‘good’ true liberal Parliament in paralysis... …and of a popular trade leader TN – agglomerate land holdings without alienating ownership Diamond jubilee of Egmore Samskrt School This scant respect for Law Air Asia India will set new benchmarks for budget travel to the lack of interest on the part of these to focus on original research. This despite the much lower costs of such research in India. The industry which thrived on the protection of a closed economy and the advantage of a vast domestic market, has failed to organise its evolution on healthy lines Eternal support for capitalisation of PS banks The ‘Jayanthi Tax.’ Remembering Indira Sivasailam... A welcome initiative by the judiciary EVM is tamper-proof Tough task taking states together Computation of GDP – conundrums continue Should we change the official year? Pharma – overdose of copying A Grand Finale for SN’s MS centenary at the US… TN accounts for the largest recruits by the IT sector Demise of a media baron... Inflation: are we emulating Argentina and Brazil? Shale gas and its shallow future Delhi is distant For whom the MIDS bell tolls? Protest masters... TN-leverage strength of BHEL, NLC... Whistle-Stop Tour of Raghuram Rajan Lesson from Chandrababu Naidu Tribute – UCAL Selvan… R Sridhar steps down as CEO of Shriram Capital Secularism and anti-Hinduism When nations steal growth from one another… The Ports’ Pasha expands into Tamil Nadu No mega rail project for Tamil Nadu Increasing non co-operation of state leaders Russi Mody – a tribute CRS, a jewel among managers, is no more. Rahman at CIC Revive development banks... Tribute – M V Murugappan PPP mode for upgrading Corporation Hospitals Plummeting profits of PSBs Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara The Gulf aviation boom Rs.1600 crore paper board plant of TNPL Discoms deserve better… TIAM turns a full cycle Excel Generators provide the vital back-up Moily’s bold thrust The ‘Ayyo-yes’ is no more Poor quality of university VCs Gay abandon in pricing Reliance’s TV – 18 ready to launch Tamil News Channel Limit foreign borrowings to hi-tech, export potential projects... London, London Narayan Another Indian music maestro at the UN Naidu’s return augurs well for Seemandhra Shanti and Sadhana through Music Like Hinduism: many paths to reach God... Revving up the manufacturing sector Waning interest in public discussions… A think tank for Chennai Insurance companies bleeding, yet no decision on increasing FDI limit! Align crops to agro climate endowments… TELANGANA at last…BUT Maximising the micro pricing … CIPET hqrs to stay at Guindy – for the present? ONGC at KG Basin All eyes on Sankara Nethralaya Mersal magnified Strengthen the base... He saved millions from starvation... Kinetic Karnataka S Ramanathan – a versatile musician, musicologist Intellectual of rare qualities Poor representation for Kerala and TN in Cabinet A rich pool of talent not utilised…. Delhi is distant… Editor's Notes Engineering seats go abegging Marketing expert Balagopal is no more Focus on quality of power - its only around 170-180V Come elections, come advertisements... A more liberated TN… Multi-faceted Venkat A yen for wastage… Delhi returns to BJP Editor's Says Measuring roof tops in terms of KW/MW Contrarian cousins Infrastructure funding – lessons learnt PC’s preference for professionals Small units prefers to remain small... Road development slows down Wanted: a second airport for Chennai Auto components surge… Solar, solar everywhere … Fortune 500 review Dr C Rangarajan returns to Chennai GNS - 100: our first subscriber Liberal imports idling indigenous capacities Delhi Chalo... More tributes to GR Online not in line with brick and mortar businesses...
 
Alexa – Talking Wikipedia

Soon after landing in the US on a recent visit, I was struck by an innovation that has become ubiquitous, the Alexa voice-activated, always-on, internet-enabled Assistant. The moment I entered my daughter’s home in New Jersey, my six-year-old grandson sprang a surprise: he commanded Alexa to play a piece sung by M S Subbulakshmi.  In less than a couple of seconds, Alexa complied with soulful music by MS!

Alexa, a product of Amazon.com, is diminutive: a 3” wide cylindrical gadget that is just 8” tall. Alexa is among the latest wonder devices that have taken the power of Internet search and added a layer of voice activation to it. You can just talk to it in your normal voice and the always-on microphone converts your voice into a digitised format to go to the Internet and reconvert that to a voice that provides the answer. Imagine, if you will, call it  a “talking Wikipedia.”

Not only can it instantly answer how high Mount Everest is or what is the square root of 3969 but newer skills over the past year have made Alexa a lot more intelligent. It can now play word games with you, control home lighting and temperature through voice commands, organise shopping lists and find your misplaced phone by making it ring.

Voice-activated technology certainly has come a long way. Alexa doesn’t even require any ‘voice training.’ It can recognise almost any accent and diction. The challenge now is for the parents to stay one step smarter than their kids who can always seek answers about pretty much anything from Alexa!

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