Skip to main content

Getting Siri-ous

When I first got an iPhone that supported the Siri voice-controlled assistant, I thought it was a bit of a gimmick. I did the usual stuff of asking it 'What is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything?' and other silly questions. And then for a long time I didn't touch it. Which was a shame, because I have discovered it is really useful.

The thing is that I often think of something I need to do or remember while I'm out walking. It's one of the reasons I like walking the dog or going to the post office - I get my best ideas in the process. The natural thing to do is to stick something in my diary, or make a note... but it's a bit slow and fiddly on the move, especially if you've only one hand free. With Siri it's a piece of cake. In fact for quite a lot of entries, like the one I made to demonstrate the feature for this blog post, it's quicker to use Siri than it is to do it by hand, even if you are sitting at your desk.

What I said to Siri was 'Schedule tomorrow 9am blog post about Siri.' It came back with the response you see in the photo, offering me the meeting and pointing out I already had something in my diary at that time. All I had to do was press or say 'Yes' and the item was in my diary.

Of course like any voice recognition there are some words it will struggle with. But it's not bad at all, and for this kind of thing it really is very impressive. You can also do things like call someone or text them, find out where you are, get a route to a location and all sorts of other things, just by talking. I was truly sceptical, but with a little practice I wouldn't be without it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope