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Alexa to get a home guard mode

“Alexa I’m leaving.”

That’s all you have to say to activate Alexa Guard, a new feature from that lets your Echo devices use their microphones to listen for trouble, like glass breaking or a smoke alarm going off.  In case something were to go wrong while you were away from home, Alexa would notify you on your phone, along with a sample of the sound that triggered it.  If you are an ADT, Ring, or other home alarm system subscriber, notifying them too is also an option.

If you want, Alexa will cycle your smart lights on and off while you’re away to make it look like you’re home.

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Yep, it works!

With far-field microphones in every Echo device, Alexa is already a pretty good listener. Alexa Guard puts those mics to use by listening for the sound of glass breaking or the sound of alarms when you aren’t home.

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The Guard section of the Alexa app gives you a timeline of events as you come and go — along with the option to replay audio of potential concerns.

If you wanted, you could even broadcast yourself telling the potential intruder that you’re calling the police as a means of scaring them off.

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Alexa can’t call 911

Still as Amazon notes as you’re confirming setup in the Alexa app, “Alexa Guard is not a replacement for an alarm system or life safety devices. Amazon does not monitor Smart Alerts and cannot contact emergency services on your behalf.”

That last bit is really important.  Your Echo device at home hears the sound of your smoke detector going off, and Alexa sends you a notification.  Alexa won’t act on your behalf at this point the way a professional monitoring service would. It’s on you to see the notification and act accordingly.

That said, if you subscribe to a professional home monitoring service through ADT, Alexa will forward those Smart Alerts to them. With Ring, Amazon says that users can request dispatch of emergency responders directly from the Ring app if they are subscribed to the Ring Protect Plus plan. 

And if you’re using an Alexa-compatible home security system that she can already arm and disarm with voice commands, you’ll be able to set it so that happens automatically whenever you turn Guard mode on and off. And if you’re disarming your system, she’ll still ask you for a numerical PIN code before doing so. That’s a touch that saves you from needing to give two separate voice commands as you come and go. Just say, “Alexa, I’m leaving” when you’re walking out the door, then “Alexa, I’m home,” followed by your PIN code when you return.

Away Lighting is smart and simple

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You can use the Alexa app to view a list of the lights Alexa turned on and off during Away Lighting.

Along with listening for trouble, Alexa Guard will let the assistant toggle your smart lights on and off while you’re out to make it look like you’re home.

You can enable the feature with a single tap when you’re turning Alexa Guard on in the Alexa app for Android and iOS devices. Once you do, the app will list all of your smart lights, and include them all in Away Lighting by default. If there are any you’d like left out, just uncheck them.

The feature asks for your zip code when you’re setting it up — Alexa uses that zip code to know what time sunset is in your area each night. Away Lighting will only run when it’s dark out.

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New coupon code valid from Thanksgiving until end of Cyber Monday

You heard that right.  There’s a new coupon in town.  Your time’s up Dell!  The folks here at Bendy Computers have a special discount applicable to Hardware and Support Only.  Spend $30 or more in your cart, and get $10 off the whole cart.  Not applicable to sale items or in conjunction with other offers.  Just use coupon code turkeytime at checkout for this amazing deal.

Since you’ll be buying a heavy new computer, you’ll need to pay shipping still, but our site’s shipping calculator should be fully setup.  If you have any questions about your order, please use our Facebook Messenger found on our main page or any of the other contact methods, like twitter or telephone.

Facebook does work best though as it gets routed to one of four people automatically, or our robots.  Basically, anything that gives a phone a push notification and works on wifi since some of the team will be on wifi only in a remote location for Thanksgiving.  We still want to answer your questions, but even the best technology has it’s limit’s and in this case it’s the Sprint Network.

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Thinking Black Friday? Think Bendy Computers

It can be easy to think of big names like Dell, HP, Xbox, or Valve when buying holiday consumer electronics gifts this year.  With steep discounts on Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and the holiday season in general; it’s easy to forget about Small Business Saturday and small business’s year round.

I’m the first to admit when something isn’t going right, and our marketing and sales aren’t going right.  Facebook ad’s are not delivering the clicks, sales, add to carts, or even the blog reads we expected.  So I switched us to Google Ad’s.  This may limit our demographics targeting and other features Facebook gave us, but people search for new desktops and new software on Google.  At least when I search for something, I do it on Google.

That being said, share our posts at the very least, and please comment on our articles, register an account to get the latest news, and if you need a desktop or want to get a digital game for a digital dude or dudette; please think of us.

Also, spend $30 or more and get $10 off your cart, excluding sale items until the end of cyber monday.  Just use coupon code turkeytime at checkout!

Happy Thanksgiving,

The Team at Bendy Computers.

Damian G.

Ben I.

Delilah J.

Forrest J.

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New Advertisement Running on Facebook

We’re running an advertisement on Facebook for our games to improve sales and brand awareness in time for the holidays. For the price of a hot lunch a day at Damian’s new delivery job, he can fund this with his wages for us for quite some time until sales takeoff organically.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you see our ad and have an opinion or see a correction that should be made, We want our spending to be effective.
Please enjoy your holidays and give people the gift of tech and games.  You can buy the games here.
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All Software $1 for 1 Week Only

All three of our games, that’s right, all three; are just $1 each for one week only!  You get to choose between, “All Lives Splatter” the classic human frogger game.  You could dodge objects as a car on the infamous, “Hell’s Highway”.  Or try and collect worms without getting poisoned in the new “Turtle Time”.

Offer ends 10-28-18.  Card or paypal accepted only.

Buy Now

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Launch of affiliate program for software

On the Internet, use of coupon codes to provide customers a discount is common.  But what you may not realize that this code belongs to someone else, an “affiliate”. This person gives you a code, you get a discount, and they get some sort of credit to their account, a giveaway, or cash. The business the affiliate is associated with gets a sale, and pockets the difference between the price the customer pays, minus the discount and affiliate incentives.

Our plan is simple, give us your contact information , and we’ll give you a code. It gives you the games we made for free so you can test them.  Then, you get a different code to put on anything your heart desires, such as twitter, YouTube, or Facebook. The customer gets $1 off. The developer gets 25% of the sale price, after discounts.  The affiliate gets 25% of the sale price, after discounts. The remaining 50% goes to a general fund for future projects and expenses.

For instance, A customer uses your code to buy a $10, game and gets a dollar off.  The price is $9, so you get $2.25, and the developer gets $2.25. $4.50 goes into the general fund.

If this sounds like a good idea to you, message us on Facebook, our twitter, or send us an email.

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Be Careful when updating Windows 10

Although Microsoft has now decided to charge for Windows 10 for new users, that has not improved the quality of updates, patches, and hotfixes to the operating system. In fact, Microsoft has just warned all Windows 10 users that its latest upgrade may permanently delete their personal data.  Microsoft’s statement comes after Windows 10 users took to Reddit and other sites to warning others to postpone the major 1809 update. The warnings from testers and the general public were ignored.  Even the fanboys couldn’t pardon this.

There is no information on how or why the data loss occurred and Microsoft has not provided any timescale as to when the 1809 rollout will resume.  Windows 10 users have long demanded Microsoft give them greater control over updates, and this is just the latest in a string of incidents. Notably, in January Windows 10 updates turned PCs with AMD hardware into bricks with the “spectre meltdown problem”, while a major April update was pulled after reports it was causing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death.

That said it is the automated and permanent deletion of user data which is, without doubt, the number one nightmare scenario of any user on any platform. If you weren’t already, now would be a very good time to invest in a backup solution.

You can get one here.

Reports from Microsoft’s Feedback Hub of problems with the update, courtesy of twitter.

Link to Video

Works Cited

Kelly, G. (2018, October 07). Microsoft Warns Windows 10 Has A Serious Problem. Retrieved October 6, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/10/06/microsoft-windows-10-update-lost-data-upgrade-windows-7-windows-xp-free-upgrade/#400438406fa4
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Blog posts now monthly instead of daily

Due to blog posts being shorter, hurried, and less special, I’ve decided that from now on, there will only be one blog post a month.  This is to reduce the pressure to write every day, and deliver longer and richer articles with the possibility of videos with animations, diagrams, audio snippets, and more.

If something catches my attention, or is requested or needs our opinion, we’ll of course write about it, but no promises can be made.  Creating new software titles, providing remote services, and maintaining a proper work life balance are other more important tasks; these tasks now have more energy that can be devoted to them.

Please share our Facebook posts and comment on them.  We encourage a healthy debate, but please do not resort to name calling or violate our bill of rights or other policies.

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Telltale Games Showing Telltale signs of Closing

On 9/21/18, Telltale Incorporated laid off the majority of its staff, leaving only 25 of it’s 250 employees, and canceled most of the games it was making.  Multiple Telltale employees stated that they had been laid off.  The let-go employees were informed that they would not receive any severance package. The Wolf Among Us: Season Two, Game of Thrones: Season Two and the untitled Stranger Things game were cancelled until further notice with development basically ceasing due to a lack of staff to make the games, while the remaining team would finish the final season of The Walking Dead.

Telltale Incorporated, dba Telltale Games, is a video game developer based in the us. The company was founded in June 2004 by Kevin Bruner, Dan Connors and Troy Molander, initially employing staff from what was LucasArts. Telltale’s business model revolves around serial storyline based titles, and the company is best known for games based on existing ip franchises.

Most of Telltale’s products are adventure games based on licensed properties from film, comics, television, and other video games already existing games. Their initial games followed more traditional adventure game approaches with the player solving puzzles to progress.

The software title they are best known for, The Walking Dead, based on the comic book series and television series by AMC, introduced a more narrative-directed approach.  This type of game play allows the user to essentially choose their own game, much like a goosebumps choose your own adventure book.

Possible explanations include issues with business creditors, insufficient cash-flow, loss of a major investor, poor sales, or poor product quality.  Whatever the case is, it just goes to show you that game development isn’t a stable career.  More people make games, more games fail.  It’s a well known truth that game programmers are also underpaid and overworked, especially towards a ship date.  Just because a job is a “Dream Job” doesn’t mean employees should be fearful of workplace issues like layoffs, cost cutting, or H1-B replacements.  In my opinion, globalization has gone too far and hurt the domestic economy.  Cheap goods flood in, and jobs flood out to cheaper labor pools when tariffs are low, or free trade agreements are in place.

Works Cited

For Immediate Press Release. (2018, September 21). Retrieved September 21, 2018, from https://twitter.com/telltalegames

 

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Microsoft Windows Internet Browser “Warning”

Microsoft is testing a “warning” for Windows 10 users not to install Chrome or Firefox. Microsoft is in the final stages of testing its October update. Testers have spotted a pop-up that appears when you try to install a rival web browser. “You already have Microsoft Edge – the safer, faster browser for Windows 10” says a nuisance message that appears when you run the Chrome or Firefox install files.

While the messages can be dismissed, they’re yet another example of Microsoft infesting thier products with annoyances. This change escalates Microsoft’s war against Chrome even further. Why Microsoft thinks it’s a good idea to include this garbage is beyond me, but it may only make people install Chrome just to spite Microsoft.

Works Cited

Warren, T. (2018, September 12). Microsoft tests ‘warning’ Windows 10 users not to install Chrome or Firefox. Retrieved September 20, 2018, from https://www-theverge-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/9/12/17850146/microsoft-windows-10-chrome-firefox-warning?amp_js_v=0.1#amp_tf=From %1$s&share=https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/12/17850146/microsoft-windows-10-chrome-firefox-warning