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Virtual Assistants

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NEWS
January 2, 2000 | DAWN FALLIK, BALTIMORE SUN
Donna Gunter helped plan a Hawaiian-theme wedding for a client in New York from her home in Texas. Amy Catherine McEwan worked from her Frederick, Md., home with companies in Russia, Virginia and California to coordinate a publication. Beverly Jones found a bed rental company for one client, organized a home-mortgage closing for another and took over e-mail management from a Baltimore business owner who does not know (and doesn't want to know) how to turn on a computer.
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WORLD
January 31, 2012 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
D'ye want me tae spaek more clearly, Siri? Aye, ye would. The Scottish have long been accustomed to ridicule and bafflement over their accents from their fellow Brits, who strain to decipher words like "cannae" and "daftie" (for the record: "can't" and "fool"). But you'd think that Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant in Apple's latest iPhone, would take a nice Scottish brogue in its stride. Think again. Since the phone debuted in October, many of the Scots who rushed to buy it have discovered that their new "smart" gadget can't understand them.
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MAGAZINE
September 29, 2002 | GINNY CHIEN
The phrase "virtual assistant" may suggest a digitized sci-fi entity living in your computer that never needs a coffee break. But meet Jenny Riley of Orange County, a very real "VA" who uses email, video conferencing and other online tools to handle administrative responsibilities for Kern County-based boss Eric Mack. Rather than replace his client services manager of five years when she moved to Minnesota in 1997 and then to Orange County a year ago, Mack set her up with a home office.
BUSINESS
December 4, 2011 | By Rosanna Xia
It's the new iPhone's signature feature: a female virtual assistant named Siri who can take dictation for a text message, check your calendar or look up nearby restaurants, all using voice commands and with no need to lay a finger on a keyboard. But in real life, Siri isn't always as smart as she comes off in Apple's TV ads. Richard Stern of Pittsburgh recently asked Siri where the movie "Moneyball" was playing, hoping to find a showtime. Siri responded: "I do not understand moneyball.
BUSINESS
July 10, 2009 | Emma L. Carew
Michael Hanik used to have 12 employees, a warehouse and trucks to run his medical devices catalog company. But four years ago, he turned to the Internet to look for ways to reduce overhead costs for his Rockville, Md.-based Total Medical Systems. He now has just three employees on the payroll but as many as 50 contractors working for him, some of them known as virtual assistants.
BUSINESS
December 4, 2011 | By Rosanna Xia
It's the new iPhone's signature feature: a female virtual assistant named Siri who can take dictation for a text message, check your calendar or look up nearby restaurants, all using voice commands and with no need to lay a finger on a keyboard. But in real life, Siri isn't always as smart as she comes off in Apple's TV ads. Richard Stern of Pittsburgh recently asked Siri where the movie "Moneyball" was playing, hoping to find a showtime. Siri responded: "I do not understand moneyball.
WORLD
January 31, 2012 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
D'ye want me tae spaek more clearly, Siri? Aye, ye would. The Scottish have long been accustomed to ridicule and bafflement over their accents from their fellow Brits, who strain to decipher words like "cannae" and "daftie" (for the record: "can't" and "fool"). But you'd think that Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant in Apple's latest iPhone, would take a nice Scottish brogue in its stride. Think again. Since the phone debuted in October, many of the Scots who rushed to buy it have discovered that their new "smart" gadget can't understand them.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2011 | By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times
Automation ? long a force in agriculture and manufacturing ? is accelerating in the retail sector, a trend that could hamper efforts to bring down the nation's stubbornly high jobless rate. In an industry that employs nearly 1 in 10 Americans and has long been a reliable job generator, companies increasingly are looking to peddle more products with fewer employees. Shipping and warehousing workers are being replaced by robots that can process packages more efficiently than humans.
BUSINESS
March 15, 2010 | By Karen E. Klein
Dear Karen: I need help in my new business but can't afford an assistant. What are my options? Answer: Entrepreneurs who lack funds or space for employees often use virtual assistants. Paid $20 to $70 an hour, these assistants -- working outside the office -- perform such tasks as e-mail management, social media marketing, research and trip scheduling, said Priscilla Walker at Your Dependable VA, a virtual-assistant firm in Silver Spring, Md. More information can be found through the International Virtual Assistants Assn.
NEWS
May 20, 2001 | SUSAN VAUGHN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Home-based entrepreneurship is attracting growing numbers of recruits to its ranks. These "open-collar workers" come from a variety of backgrounds: lifelong entrepreneurs, homemakers, downsized workers, graduate students, stay-at-home parents, homebound disabled people and retirees. But their goals are similar: to be their own bosses, work flexible hours and devote their efforts to projects they love. It takes an industrious risk-taker to be a successful home-based entrepreneur.
BUSINESS
July 10, 2009 | Emma L. Carew
Michael Hanik used to have 12 employees, a warehouse and trucks to run his medical devices catalog company. But four years ago, he turned to the Internet to look for ways to reduce overhead costs for his Rockville, Md.-based Total Medical Systems. He now has just three employees on the payroll but as many as 50 contractors working for him, some of them known as virtual assistants.
MAGAZINE
September 29, 2002 | GINNY CHIEN
The phrase "virtual assistant" may suggest a digitized sci-fi entity living in your computer that never needs a coffee break. But meet Jenny Riley of Orange County, a very real "VA" who uses email, video conferencing and other online tools to handle administrative responsibilities for Kern County-based boss Eric Mack. Rather than replace his client services manager of five years when she moved to Minnesota in 1997 and then to Orange County a year ago, Mack set her up with a home office.
NEWS
January 2, 2000 | DAWN FALLIK, BALTIMORE SUN
Donna Gunter helped plan a Hawaiian-theme wedding for a client in New York from her home in Texas. Amy Catherine McEwan worked from her Frederick, Md., home with companies in Russia, Virginia and California to coordinate a publication. Beverly Jones found a bed rental company for one client, organized a home-mortgage closing for another and took over e-mail management from a Baltimore business owner who does not know (and doesn't want to know) how to turn on a computer.
BUSINESS
April 24, 2012 | By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times
BEIJING — Fuel-efficient vehicles are the rage in the United States, but in China gas-guzzling SUVs are looming large. Automakers including Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group, Daimler and Land Rover are seizing on soaring popularity for the vehicles here, tailoring new models for Chinese consumers, and in some cases shifting manufacturing to China. Chinese drivers purchased about 2.1 million SUVs last year, according to LMC Automotive, a figure that's expected to double by 2014.
MAGAZINE
February 3, 2008 | Steffie Nelson, Steffie Nelson is a writer based in Echo Park. She has written for the New York Times, Variety and Monocle. Contact her at magazine@latimes.com.
Not long ago, the blogosphere was smirking collectively about the news that a "busy" L.A. executive had placed an ad on Craigslist, seeking to hire a ghostwriter to compose "masculine but romantic" e-mails for him on online dating sites. Have a laugh, but should anyone be surprised? In an age when time-pressed urbanites can hire help to handle all manner of daily details such as walking the dogs and shopping for clothes, why not outsource your love life? It's much less messy when you can retain a pro to compose your Match.
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