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The future of AI gadgets is just phones



The future of AI gadgets is just phones

At any given time, there are between five and eight phones on my desk. And by “my desk,” I mean any combination of tables and countertops throughout my house. So when I watched the Humane AI Pin reviews start pouring in last week, I did what any logical person would do: grab the closest phone and try to turn it into my own AI wearable.

Humane would like you to believe that its AI Pin represents consumer tech at its most cutting edge. The reviews and the guts of the pin say otherwise: it uses a Snapdragon processor from four years ago and seems to run a custom version of Android 12.

“It’s a midrange Android phone!” I declared at our next team meeting, waving around a midrange Android phone for effect. “You could just download Gemini and stick this to your shirt!” Simple. Trivial. Give me 10 minutes, and I’ll have a more powerful AI gadget whipped up, I said.

Hardware is hard, y’all.

Ideally, I wanted an outward-facing camera and a decent voice assistant I could use hands-free. An iPhone in a shirt pocket was an intriguing solution but a nonstarter because a) none of my shirts have pockets, and b) Siri is just not that smart. Thus, my earliest prototype was a Motorola Razr Plus clamped to the neckline of my shirt. This, unsurprisingly, did not work but for reasons I did not anticipate. 


First off, you can’t download Gemini from the Play Store on a folding phone. That was news to me. But even once I’d sideloaded it and set it as the default assistant, I ran into another barrier: it’s really hard to use a voice assistant from the cover screen of a flip phone. The Razr wants you to flip the phone open before you can do anything aside from get its attention with “Hey Google.” 

The things we do for content.
Photo by Allison Johnson / The Verge

Running Gemini in Chrome on the cover screen actually got me closer to what I was looking for. But trying to tap buttons on the screen to trigger the assistant wasn’t working very well, and neither was operating Google Lens out of the corner of my eye. Also, Gemini misread “recycle” on a tube of toothpaste as “becicle,” which it confidently told me was an old-timey word for eyeglasses. It is not!

Prototype two was the same Razr flip phone running ChatGPT in conversation mode on the cover screen. This meant the app was constantly running and always listening, so it wasn’t practical. But I gave it a shot anyway, and it was a strange experience talking to an AI chatbot that I couldn’t see. 

I want an AI that can do things for me, not just brainstorm stir-fry ingredients


ChatGPT is a decent conversationalist, but we ran out of things to talk about pretty quickly once I’d exhausted my chatbot go-to’s: dinner recipes and plant care tips. I want an AI that can do things for me, not just brainstorm stir-fry ingredients.

I ditched the foldable concept and picked up a Pixel 8 and a Pixel Watch 2 instead. I set up Gemini as the default assistant on the phone and figured that would somehow apply to the watch, too. Wrong. I had one more card to play, though: a good old pair of wireless earbuds. Life on the cutting edge of technology, baby.

Honestly, earbuds might be the AI wearable of the future.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

You know what, though? It kind of worked. I had to leave Gemini open and running on my phone since Google doesn’t fully support Gemini Assistant on headphones. But I took a picture of a Blue Apron recipe I was making for dinner, told Gemini to remember it, and left my phone on the counter. As I moved around the kitchen, I asked Gemini questions I’d normally have to peek back at the recipe to answer like “How long do I roast the vegetables for?” and “How do I prep the fish?” It gave me the right answers every time.

What was more impressive is that I could ask it tangential questions. It helped me use pantry ingredients to recreate a seasoning mix I didn’t have on hand. I asked why the recipe might have me divide the sauce into two portions, and it gave me a plausible answer. And it did something the Humane pin can’t do yet: set a timer.


It wasn’t perfect. First, I had to unplug the Google Home puck sitting on the counter because it kept trying to butt in. Gemini also told me that it couldn’t play an album on Spotify, something that that Google Home speaker has been doing for the better part of a decade. The watch came in handy for that, at least.

What started as a goofy stunt has convinced me of two things: I really do think we’re going to use AI to get more things done in the future, and also, the future of AI gadgets is just phones. It’s phones! 

I love a gadget, but guys, I lived through the era of camera companies trying to convince us that we all needed to carry a compact camera and our phones everywhere. Phones won. Phones already come with powerful processors, decent heat dissipation, and sophisticated wireless connectivity. An AI gadget that operates independently from your phone has to figure all of that out.

And you know what looks a lot less doofy than a pin with a laser on your chest? Earbuds. People willingly wear them throughout the day right now. And the doofy factor definitely matters when it comes to wearables. I’m having a hard time seeing how a separate gadget can beat the humble phone plus a pair of earbuds or something like the Meta Ray Bans. Maybe there’s room in our lives and our pockets for dedicated AI hardware — the gadget lover in me is all for it. But I think it’s more likely that we have all of the ingredients we need to make good AI hardware right in front of us.

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Leak: the Asus ROG Ally X will have twice the battery at 80Wh and two USB-C ports



Leak: the Asus ROG Ally X will have twice the battery at 80Wh and two USB-C ports

While we already knew the Ally X was shooting for double the battery life by including a larger pack, VideoCardz has leaked marketing materials that confirm it’s literally doubling the capacity to 80 watt-hours, up from the original 40Wh pack. And yet, the handheld only weighs an additional 70g (2.5oz) and is just 5mm thicker, a bit thinner than my hands-on estimate. It’s 36.9mm (1.45 inches) thick in total, versus the 32mm (1.27 inches) of the original.

That’s partially due to a thinner fan design: 23 percent smaller, with 50 percent thinner fins, according to the leak, yet with 10 percent increased airflow.

Aside from battery, the most welcome spec might be the addition of a second USB-C port with USB4 speeds. VideoCardz says it replaces the proprietary eGPU port that Asus included previously but doesn’t say if we can charge from both the top and bottom now. (I would expect so since Asus taped up both the top and bottom of the engineering prototype I touched to keep me from sussing ports out.)

As we’ve reported, the Ally X shouldn’t have much increased performance over the original, with the same Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip and seven-inch 120Hz VRR screen, but VideoCardz also corroborates the rumor that it’ll come with 24GB of faster LPDDR5 memory, giving it an additional 8GB of overhead to share with the GPU that could possibly lead to a slight improvement in games.

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Stop thinking about retirement by tapping tech to rediscover what gets you excited



Stop thinking about retirement by tapping tech to rediscover what gets you excited

Even if you’re retired or well into your career, it’s never too late to learn a new skill. And because you don’t need to go back into a physical classroom to learn those skills anymore (something that can be very anxiety-inducing for some people), taking the leap to study may be much less daunting when you can do it online.

Whether you’re looking for a career change, want to stay relevant at your current job or are looking for something to do post-retirement, why not try something new?

There are so many websites that offer low-cost or even free courses where you can advance your skills on your own time without having to borrow thousands of dollars or change your routine and dedicate yourself to it full time.


Two women looking at computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)



What are the highest-paying jobs in 2024?

If one of the reasons you’re looking to learn a new skill is that you’re interested in a higher-paying job, that’s understandable. Or maybe someone younger than you is asking for advice, and you want to give them some tips on what they can pursue. Perhaps you’re just curious about what the highest-paying jobs are these days. Whatever the reason, it’s good to be current on these questions.

Though year after year doctors, lawyers, accountants and electrical engineers are at the top of the list of the highest-paying jobs, that’s not always the most realistic career path for everyone, especially if you’re looking to skill up quickly for a career change or a hobby. In either case – or maybe you’re just curious – here are the highest-paying jobs in 2024, according to several sources like Yahoo! Finance, Indeed and U.S. News Money.

  1. Loan officer: $192K
  2. IT manager: $164K
  3. Financial manager: $140K
  4. Marketing manager: $140K
  5. Sales manager: $131K
  6. Software developer: $127K
  7. Computer network architect: $127K
  8. Actuary: $114K
  9. Information security analyst: $112K
  10. Scrum master: $106K
  11. Data scientist: $104K
  12. Tax manager: $130K
  13. Real estate analyst: $90K
  14. HR manager: $79K
  15. Virtual assistant: $75K
  16. Digital marketer: $67K
  17. Life insurance agent: $67K
  18. Freelance writer: $59K
  19. Customer service representative: $59K
  20. Translate/interpreter: $58K
  21. Graphic designer: $56K
  22. Online fitness trainer: $53K


WOMAN with laptop

Online fitness trainer at work (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)


Do you need an education to do these jobs?

The quick answer? No, not necessarily. But it will take some skill leveling up. You can get some of these roles by educating yourself online or enrolling in online courses. And these courses don’t typically ask you for a degree to enroll.


Why? They understand that a person might want to learn new skills for many reasons. Of course, if getting a higher-paid job or wanting a promotion is your reason for learning a new skill in the first place, then certainly having some college education may help you land one of these jobs sooner.


WOMAN taking class on laptop

A woman taking an online course (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)


Where to take online courses

 There are several excellent online platforms where you can continue your education, acquire new skills and explore various subjects. Here are some of the top online learning platforms.

edEX: Ideal for tech enthusiasts and career-minded individuals seeking courses from top universities on subjects like AI, coding and data analytics.


Coursera: Perfect for those looking for university-level courses, specializations and degrees from renowned institutions worldwide, with financial aid options available.

Udacity: Ideal for aspiring programmers and tech enthusiasts seeking hands-on experience and industry connections through Nanodegree programs.

LinkedIn Learning: Suitable for professionals looking to advance their careers with courses on leadership, marketing and project management with personalized recommendations and LinkedIn integration.

WOMAN ON computer

A woman taking an online course (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)


What if I am late in my career or near retirement?

Then, yes, you can take one of these courses (or many of them). Again, the whole purpose of online learning is to make it accessible to everyone. So, even though there may be other students in your cohort who are younger or at a totally different stage of their careers or their lives, don’t let that hold you back.


Learning a new skill, even if you’ve been in your career for decades, can help you stay on top of your game as new tech and trends roll in. If you’re a parent or a grandparent, learning a new skill can help you relate more to your children as they grow and pursue their careers. And, if you’re near retirement or already retired, learning a new skill helps keep the mind sharp and maybe even gives you the education you need to start a new venture.

man on phone

Man on his phone and computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

How to choose the best online course for you

Choosing the best online course depends on several factors. Understand the reputation of the course, the length of time you have to complete it, whether courses are asynchronous or synchronous, your learning styles, budget, etc. 

You can look at reviews, talk to students who have taken the course, and find out who in your network has attended one of these programs and ask about their job prospects. Again, it all depends on why you’re taking the course in the first place. If you just want to do it for fun, perhaps you’ll join a course taught by a favorite celebrity on MasterClass.

Learning from home

A woman learning from home (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)



Kurt’s key takeaways

Learning new skills isn’t only for recent high school or college grads. It’s for anyone. Going “back to school” has never been easier with online courses. No matter your age and your intention, there is a course – and platform – out there for you.

Have you or anyone you know advanced any of your skills using one of the methods above? What about a friend who took an online course as a hobby? What was the experience like? Let us know by writing us at

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.


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Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:

Copyright 2024 All rights reserved.

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Microsoft Bing issue takes down Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and ChatGPT search features



Microsoft Bing issue takes down Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and ChatGPT search features

Search capabilities for ChatGPT, Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and other platforms aren’t working properly right now due to a Microsoft outage that appears to be related to the Bing application programming interface (API). Sites and services are either completely unavailable or only intermittently responding at the time of publication.

The issues — which began around 3AM ET — appear to be linked to Bing’s API and any service that relies upon it. While Microsoft’s own web search engine Bing was also seemingly affected earlier, according to Techcrunch, the service now appears to be correctly loading search results.

Search engines like DuckDuckGo relying on Bing’s API are displaying error messages.
Image: DuckDuckGo

Other search engines like DuckDuckGo and Ecosia, which rely on Bing’s API, are unable to load any search results. Microsoft’s Copilot is also experiencing similar issues, displaying a loading loop that prevents users from accessing the service. ChatGPT, which allows Plus subscribers to perform web searches, is similarly displaying an error message when users attempt to make a search enquiry.

Microsoft has acknowledged the loading issues with its Copilot service, saying it’s “working to isolate the cause of the issue.” Meanwhile, Microsoft’s service health platform doesn’t flag any other service outages currently. OpenAI and Ecosia have confirmed that they are experiencing issues with their platform’s search features, and OpenAI says it’s also investigating the issue.


This story is developing…

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