Reboot time: Words + rona + more words

It's not *just* smart speakers anymore.

Hi, y'all. Lee here 👋

Say hello to a reinvigorated newsletter from me (@lmcly) after I spent too long thinking about starting up a whole new one. And what a waste of time THAT WAS.

So here's the deal. Wakeword started out as being about that area where news meets voice tech or smart speakers. Now it's still voice tech and smart speakers, news too, but also various other bits and pieces that catch my interest through the week.

Why am I doing this? Because, to be brutally honest, I was finding it hard to bring myself to say something substantial and vastly meaningful every week — so I see this as a way of still being meaningful when I can be but keep something regular coming out.


🦠 How this > leads to > jokes about your rona slogan

Here follows a collection of some of the funnier photoshopped UK government coronavirus slogans since it was updated to Stay Alert > Control the Virus > Save Lives:

Real deep cut this one about how to mark a very dangerous nuclear dump for far-future generations that have evolved past the ability to understand all current languages.

Oh - and if you were considering cracking open the ol' image editor to make your own, can I recommend the font Frutiger 77 Black Condensed?

🔊 UK news listening up on smart speakers during lockdown, survey suggests

Time to shine, Alexa. Getting the UK through Isolation | Voxly Digital

It’s a survey of around 400 UK adults (commissioned by a digital agency that makes voice skills for smart speakers) which found they were using them more during the coronavirus pandemic.

It suggests that daily use for news (such as asking for BBC News’ interactive bulletin by waking your Alexa device and saying the words Play BBC News) is up from 39% to 60%.

Worth bearing in mind though that these adults were asked about this in March as the pandemic was starting to take hold in the UK, it would not surprise me if this figure dipped slightly through people getting burned out on the sheer torrent of news we’ve been dealing with.

🍝 Don’t let R-Patz-ta cook you Italian food

So he now takes hold of the bag that he’s brought from the corner store, out of which he produces the following:

One (1) giant, filthy, dust-covered box of cornflakes. (“I went to the shop, and they didn’t sell breadcrumbs. I’m like, ‘Oh, fuck it! I’m just getting cornflakes. That’s basically the same shit.’ ”)

One (1) incredibly large novelty lighter. (“I always liked the idea of doing a little flambé, like the brand name, with kind of burnt ends at the top.”)

Nine (9) packs of presliced cheese. (“I got, like, nine packs of presliced cheese.”)

Sauce. (Like a tomato sauce? “Just any sauce.”)

Robert Pattinson: A Dispatch From Isolation | GQ

This recipe goes about as well as you can imagine and you must read the article to experience the full horror of it.

🍻 An article that will make you want to drink a beer again in a pub

Rich, honey-sweet malt and an almost estery note reminding me—quite exceptionally—of Fuller’s ESB. Then there is a bitterness that just keeps going. There it is.

In Search of Pliny the Elder, in the Heart of Sonoma County, California | Pellicle Mag

This made my heart leap in a way that it hasn't for a while — and it made me all the happier to have a crate of beer (the Helles!) from one of my home county's breweries on the way to keep me going through the lockdown.

⚰️🕺 What it's like to be the world's biggest meme

BBC News Africa caught up with the coffin dancers who are part of one of Tiktok's biggest memes. It's like a 2010s Darwin Awards, but with EDM.

🖋 The words we use in an age of corona

many of the words aren’t new; rather, their use has become more frequent, their meanings shifted in the new context of the pandemic. “Social distancing,” “self-isolation” and “coronavirus” date back decades, even centuries.

Our Ever Expanding Virus Vernacular | The New York Times

Every time you use the words 'social distancing', a fairy loses its wings. Anyway, the World Health Organisation says you should be saying 'physical distancing'. I've been saying 'keeping away from other people to stop the virus spreading' in my news bulletins which, I admit, is longer but I think it explains the concept much better.

the word amid (AMID! WHICH IS BARELY A WORD AT ALL) was trending on Twitter for, frankly, an incredibly valid reason: It seems NO ONE can write a headline without it these days.

"Safer At Home" Vs. "Shelter In Place": Unpacking Terms We're Using During A Pandemic | Buzzfeed News’ Quibbles and Bits newsletter

Please can journalists stop using the word amid. No one else uses the word amid.


Cheers - feel free to pass this on to a friend, or tolerated frenemy, if you enjoyed it or click that ♥️ heart in the bottom corner.

Lee (@lmcly)