Technology with Rich DeMuro

Tech Updates: Siri-like “Sherpa” App, DMV Emails & MyTime Appointment Website

California’s DMV can now send you email reminders when it’s time to renew your car registration  Once you sign up you’ll get a reminder 30 days before your payment is due, then one more 7 days before the deadline. Due to some probably archaic regulations, even if you sign up for the emails you will still get paper reminders in the mail. So much for going green.

Here’s how to sign up:

  • Register as a user on DMV’s website
  • add a vehicle, vessel or motorcycle to your personalized account
  • “opt in” to receive email reminders

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A new website called MyTime is sort of like OpenTable but for all types of appointments including haircuts, massages, pet grooming, car detailing, yoga, manicures and more. The neat thing here is twofold: you can search for a date and time that works for you and actually book online (I love the convenience of this). Additionally, the site features dynamic pricing so off-peak or  appointment times in danger of going unused could be cheaper.

The biggest issue I see here is brand loyalty. People might be hesitant to try a new nail place, salon or pet grooming place just because they have an open date and time. Still, there is lots of potential for growth here, especially if retailers you already know and love get on board and you can simply use the site to book and manage all of your appointments online.

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A popular virtual voice assistant in Spain has made it’s way to the United States. It’s called Sherpa, and it’s kind of like Siri but for Android. Sure, there are lots of these virtual assistant apps out there (including Google Now built into Android) but Sherpa seems to work fast and well for a wide variety of natural language commands.

You can ask Sherpa a bunch of stuff like sports scores, weather reports, update your Facebook/Twitter status, make appointments, read emails and much, much more.

My favorite command I’ve discovered so far: ask Sherpa to play a song, any song. It will immediately start playing on your phone without searching or downloading. Try “play Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows” and see what happens. (Insert your own song choice for a personalized experience)

Sherpa is a free download from Google Play.

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