Sci-Fi coming true
I was having a little lie down on the sofa this afternoon and checking a few emails on my iPad. One of the emails that came in had information and a link about how to get better use out of Siri. I already have some experience in using Siri to set an alarm or to tell me the time in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, but getting more help to use it is good. The information today gave me some more examples about how I could use this voice technology from Apple on my iOS devices. It is quite often the case that when you haven’t used some technology like this for a while and you go back to it, that you just can’t help but be really impressed. It really is like living in the future, but now! Changing from one application to another by telling your computer what you wanted to do is very much like what we have seen in science fiction television programmes. Sometimes what we do now reminds me very much of what I have seen in programs like Star Trek and Blakes Seven. The people of the future don’t need to have keyboards any more and are quite happy to talk to their computer almost like it was a long lost friend.
Telling Siri how to properly pronounce things
I had already noticed that Siri made a bit of a botched job in pronouncing Wizardgold. It didn’t have any problems with David Allen but didn’t manage to get the last part of my Internet name correct. You only have to say “Learn how to pronounce my name.” Siri goes straight into your first name and asks you how to pronounce it. You say it, and you are then given three options as to which is the correct way for Siri to repeat back what it was that you said. If you play all three of them you will find that there are slight differences so you just need to choose the one that sounds the best. You just tap on select. If necessary you can also repeat the name and give Siri a second chance. After you have done your first name it moves on to your next name and Siri had no problems with that. Then we moved on to Wizardgold which I have added to the end of my name so that everywhere on the Internet I can be found as David Allen Wizardgold. Siri managed to get Wizard part okay, but it struggled with the word ‘gold’ in this context. When I had gone through the routine Siri told me “thanks for correcting me on that David I’ll pronounce it as ‘[David Allen Wizardgold‘ from now on.”
Letting Siri know who is who and what is what.
I said to Siri “Send message to my wife” and then I was asked to prompt Siri as to who might wife is. Siri won’t know unless you tell it specifically. I have also just set up Siri to know who my brother is – Siri asks me first who is my brother and I just had to say his name. Siri was able to get the name from my address book and asked me to confirm by wanted to have that name saved as my brother within this system. Following that, Siri said to me “okay, I will refer to (my brother’s name) as your brother from now on. Isn’t that just marvellous. So now I will be able to ask Siri to send messages or emails to my brother or my wife and it will know who I mean with out saying a name.
Get Siri to help you – All you have to do is ask!
Help is available from Siri on your iPad mini just for the asking. After you have said the word ‘help’ to Siri you get a list of things that you can do. So it will tell you that you can start a FaceTime call, use Siri to launch applications, set up meetings using the calendar as well asking for directions to wherever you want to go to.
I asked Siri to tell me how long it would take me to get to work. Siri told me that she didn’t know where I worked and so I spent a couple of minutes using the maps application to add the address for my workplace into my contacts card. How long does it take to get to work is what I then said to Siri and she replied – “getting directions for David Allen Wizardgold to work. It worked perfectly and I was impressed. Just like I was saying, it is like living in the future, but right now.
Getting Siri to read things to you
‘Read my last email message’ is what I said to Siri and I had my latest email that I had received read out to me. This could be very useful when you are driving and you want to get the latest information without having to take your hands from the wheel.
You have to keep on using Siri and it learns from what you ask and it also learns from any corrections that you tell it. You, can also learn stuff from Siri by asking it for interesting information such as how high is Mount Everest. You could ask for the date of birth of somebody famous or you could just ask for the ingredients for a recipe. You can ask Siri to give you definitions of words such as “What does mitosis mean?” The definition then gets read back to you. Siri really is a mine of information! BTW I am an avid user of Dragon Dictate on the Mac too.