is finally available for beta testing. It's not a "fully open" test and they send you a link with a generic user/pass combo after you register your email. I assume this is to limit bot traffic and gauge interest. Still looking forward to the in September, and more than likely I'll be using the new @popey voice. I'm still using the original ap voice on my Mark1, and it wouldn't feel natural to use anything else.

I can't say this is super surprising. I kind of suspected it was inevitable after the hire of Michael Lewis to replace Joshua Montgomery as CEO. Lewis seems to have done a good job since he came on board, so I'm looking forward to seeing where goes next. Best of luck to Joshua Montgomery and Kris Adair in their future endeavors.

Sounds like things are still on track for the Mark2. The date hasn't slipped (so far), and Mimic3 sounds really interesting. This update includes a demo of Mycroft integrating with in a completely offline but still voice driven system. Honestly, this is the goal for me. A voice driven environment where not one component of it requires an actual Internet connection, just local network. No one needs to know my front door is unlocked but me.

Looks like is still expecting to hit their September 19th shipping start date, though they do make me nervous when they say things like this: "The remaining open parts are only held up as we assess a few potential improvements (camera and display)." NO. You're 4 years late. Stop screwing with things and ship a damn product! There's always going to be an improvement here or a tweak there. JUST SHIP THE PRODUCT.

This is why I'm so supportive of 3rd party services like . This app isn't even required. It's a shortcut, and it still has a billion installs. Google listens to billions of people, all the time. The amount of data this allows them to gather on everyone, not just users of their devices, is unfathomable.

Today on the Mattermost Mark 2 chat, Mycroft CEO Michael Lewis posted this:

"A percentage of every production run will go to fulfill Rewards and Perks. The % will vary depending on the rate of production, but the minimum expectation is 500 units total per month, and at least 10% of that will be rewards and perks. It's not what we'd prefer, but it's what we can realistically do."

There are 2245 backers on Kickstarter. That means it may take as long as 4 more years for some people.

put out a short little demo video of it's Mark II unit interacting with Home Assistant. It's pretty interesting the integration they've accomplished. Significant improvement over the Mark I, and the GUI elements of the Mark II play nicely. Sorry about the YouTube link....

"At this time, we can’t commit to shipping rewards and perks before orders. But as production increases we will include more as fast as we can. If you want to order a Mark II at the current full price, we’ll bump your order to the front of the queue along with the priority reservations taken on our website."

I love . I really do. I just wish they didn't make it so hard.

Looked like AI has finally announced their shipping date for general order Mark IIs. The price is pretty high though. $300 American. Still, if you've got $300 laying around and you'd like to support a voice solution that doesn't track your every move to sell you something, integrates easily with Home Assistant, and looks vaguely like a Mac Plus, I'd highly encourage you to take part. Fingers crossed they can hit their date.

An interesting article this morning from goldyfruit on how to deploy Mycroft virtual assistants using . For those unfamiliar with (which I talk about constantly), it's an open source virtual assistant that can (when paired with 3rd party solutions like Home Assistant) can control your smart home by voice similarly to the Echo or the Assistant. Just with less spying. In fact, the whole stack can be run locally.

Finally got the CLI version of working tonight. I'm going to have to burn all this down and start from scratch again to make sure I know how to do it. I'm working on the WebChat version so I have an idea how to get that working. Then I'm going to move up to something voice driven. That would come in really handy for the . Much better than having a full blown version of core running on it.

Maybe I'll find some time this weekend to try this out. I really like the logic behind this project. I know not everybody is in to person assistants, but is really the way to go in my book. takes what Mycroft has built and adds a wrinkle to the implementation that I think will really help move it along.

OK, is starting to confuse me. I supported the Mark I when it was first crowdfunded in April of 2016. I don't remember EXACTLY when I got it, but I supported the Mark II in February of 2018, so we can safely assume I had it by then. That's ~2 if I'm rounding.

Mycroft AI's recent update to the Mark II says they're "targeting July 2022 for our first production run". That'll be over four years if they hit the mark.

What is the big malfunction here? Why so long?

I'm actually surprised by this. If I had to make a guess, I would have chosen Google's hands down. I would have said that Amazon has the more annoying of the two as it tends to "suggest" things much more often than Google's Assistant does. Regardless, this is exactly why I'm such an advocate for .

Just rebuilt my with the KDE image instead of the version. Of course, the first thing I did after that was install . Honestly, it works really slick. Even the GUI works for the most part. My biggest complaint is the speed. I might as well put the order in for the right now.

Why didn't they do this sooner? That's a good question, but better late than never.

is asking, "Are there ways that we can do even better? If there are privacy focused platforms or software that we don’t already know about, let us know."

I figure this kind of question is right up the alley of this community.

MycroftAI just announced that they've chosen Aztech for manufacture of the Mark II. That's good news, but they included some not so great news with the annoucement.

"Assuming no surprises, we expect to have all parts for NPI and the first production run by Q2 2022."

Don't get me wrong here. I love , but the Mark II is a Raspberry Pi with a custom daughter board in a custom case. It's what most people on HackADay do on their weekends. Q2 of 2022 makes it almost four years late. 😠

I've been a fan of for a while now, but I recently learned some things they're involved with that I was completely unaware of. Maybe that's my fault for not paying attention, or maybe they could use some help in the PR department.

They've scored a contract with for various "space" related projects which sound interesting.

They've been working with Tree Industries on EA to develop voice technologies for classrooms.

For those that are interested, Co-Founder Joshua Montgomery is hosting an AMA on Facebook Live (ewww) on Friday at noon Pacific time zone.

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