Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Central characters

By Randy A. Salas


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Some websites have more personality than others. Take the new face of search engines, Ms. Dewey. She'll be happy to help you, as will these other sites where you can interact with virtual characters.

Ms. Dewey

Ms. Dewey (www.msdewey.com) is Microsoft's new come-hither search engine. She's sexy, she's sassy and she talks during searches. "Keep asking questions," she says, in an obvious dig at Google. "The more you ask, the more I know -- and, soon, I will rule the world! Mwoo-ha-ha!" Ms. Dewey also will chide you for asking stupid questions and will quickly grow impatient if you dally -- "tapping" on the glass of your monitor to get your attention or playing a handheld video game while you ponder. I asked her, "Where is Minneapolis?" She replied with a smirk, "Ah, yes, 72 suburbs in search of a city." Then a text box appeared with links about Minneapolis. Google is better but nowhere near as fun -- or friendly.

Ikea's Anna

Anyone who has needed customer service at furniture retailer Ikea's website probably knows Anna (www.ikea.com; pick your region, then click on Ask Anna at the top of the home page), the redheaded, oft-blinking "operator" who supposedly has all the answers to your questions. "Before calling your local store, try asking Anna!" Anna doesn't speak; she answers your typed questions by text. In a recent "conversation," she told me I'd have to drive 30 miles back to the store to get a missing screw and then gave a nonsensical answer when I asked if she could mail it to me:

Me: You're not being very helpful.

Anna: I am the IKEA Online Assistant. How can I help you?

Me: That's exactly what I mean.

Anna: If I have unintentionally offended you, I apologize. How can I help you?

Me: Could I please talk to your supervisor?

Anna: I can only answer your questions regarding IKEA's products and services. For an issue like this, you'll need to contact our Customer Service department.

Me: I thought that's what I was doing.

Anna: Sometimes you have to trust your feelings, sometimes no ...

Me: Sigh.

Anna: Don't worry about it too much.

Red Zee's zebra

RedZee (www.redzee.com) is a fine family-friendly search engine that filters out porn and other inappropriate content so that kids can search the Web safely. Its mascot, a red-striped zebra, doesn't really interact with users. It just stomps its feet, shakes its head and smiles while waiting for input. It's just too cute not to include here.

A.L.I.C.E.

ALICE is the Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity (www.alicebot.org; click on Chat With Alice on the left), an impressive, award-winning "chatbot" that has influenced many similar online applications. Like Anna, she has a face but communicates by text. ALICE gives remarkably realistic responses but occasionally slips, for which I chided her:

Me: Some of your answers don't make sense.

ALICE: I try to be concise.

Me: There's concise, and then there's obtuse.

ALICE: There sure is.

Me: Too funny. I have to go now.

ALICE: Oh. See you later, Randy. Nice chatting with you.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Randy A. Salas is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Do you have a favorite Web site or a question about how to find something on the Internet? Send a note by clicking here.



Previously:

E-mail @ 35
Idle chatter
Funny money
Classic artwork in motion
For an unusual Thanksgiving
Your slip is showing
Best of the worst
Test your mind power
Remain anonymous

© 2006, Star Tribune Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles