by Curt Finch

Talk To Me, Siri

Nov 21, 20114 mins
Consumer ElectronicsiPhoneMobile

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

“What is the meaning of life?”

“Where is the best place to dump a dead body?”

These are just some of the enlightening questions you can ask Siri and to which you will receive an often-amusing answer. As if we really needed another time waster, right?

Siri is quite the belle of the ball these days. I don’t really get all of the brouhaha – my Android has been doing voice recognition for years. Nevertheless, the iPhone 4S brought the new and improved Siri function into the hands of consumers everywhere. Siri used to be a downloadable app, but it didn’t work as well as the new Siri.  You might be wondering how Siri can help your business – after all, you probably don’t have too many dead bodies that you need to dispose of.  Siri is incredibly effective for the business person on the go, especially in a car when you can’t type on your phone.  Let’s take a look at some important business features you can do completely hands-free with Siri.


“I Need to Schedule a Meeting”

You can ask Siri to help you schedule a meeting.  For example, tell Siri that you want to meet with your friend Ryan at Starbucks on Wednesday at 2 p.m.  Siri will pull up your calendar and confirm verbally that the meeting that it scheduled for you.  The combination of both a visual and audio confirmation allows you to make sure Siri understood what you said.  Siri also sends a calendar invitation to the person you are meeting.  Convenient, quick and simple.

“Email Bob to Let Him Know I’ll Be Late”

With Siri, you can easily write an email or text just using your voice. You will need to include punctuation when you dictate your email.  Siri will then write out the email and show it to you visually before getting your confirmation to send.  You can also send to multiple people at a time.

“Give me Jane Brown’s Phone Number”

Siri quickly searches through your contact list.  Let’s say you are meeting a potential client and their contact information is in your phone.  With Siri, you can look up the contact, text them that you’re on your way and get directions to where you’re going — all with just your voice.  Your drives will be safer and your days will be less stressful if you know exactly where you’re going and can keep the person you’re meeting informed of your status.

How Do I Love Thee, Siri? Let Me Count the Ways.

A cool feature of Siri is asking Siri, “What can you do?”  Siri will list out what it can do right then and there, helping to jog your memory of what you need to get done.

And Now for the Bad News…

It’s not all sunshine and roses with Siri, of course. For one thing, don’t talk too long or Siri might just cut you off.  If you have a brilliant idea, and it’s not short, Siri could delete the note you were creating.  A possible way to extend this time is to integrate Siri with the popular note taking app, Evernote.

Another of Siri’s weaknesses is its lack of understanding non-native English speakers. As this video shows, simple commands requesting the weather forecast and to read a text really cause Siri to take a wrong turn!

The main advantage of Siri is having an intuitive feature that can understand what you’re saying (most of the time) without having to use boxy, pre-programmed phrasing.  You use your natural speech to communicate with Siri.  Is it revolutionary?  Not really.  Look at Watson, he’s been around awhile.  But Siri is another great example of Apple taking advanced technology and putting it in the hands of the people.

Siri is listening – what do you have to say?