Talking tech since 2003

These days it seems like everyone is on the run. Sometimes, it would be nice to have someone there to help take on the burden or help us with simple tasks like making reservations, checking scores, finding restaurants, and even getting directions.  Siri makes it easy for people to get tasks accomplished without having to bury our skulls in a screen for too long or even dare I say it, having to pay for a personal assistant.

Enter the stage, Siri to the rescue! Siri is not new for most users of the iPhone, but it is a very underused and sometimes misunderstood service. Siri is Apple’s answer to the personal assistant, a voice recognition system that can help users accomplish small tasks with ease.

Or as Apple describes it “Siri is the intelligent personal assistant that helps you get things done just by asking. It allows you to use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. But Siri isn’t like traditional voice recognition software that requires you to remember keywords and speak specific commands. Siri understands your natural speech, and it asks you questions if it needs more information to complete a task.”

Siri is available on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 (and will likely be available on future iPhone’s as well).  In addition to the iPhone, Siri is also available on the iPad (3rd Generation and beyond), iPad Mini, and iPod Touch (5th Generation and beyond). Please note that for the iPad (non 3G/4G/LTE version) and iPod, you must be connected to WiFi for Siri to function.

I’m not saying that Siri is the perfect assistant and can do everything, but it is an area that Apple has been increasingly focused on and is improving all the time. In addition, several car companies are now integrating the services into their vehicles. Chevrolet and Honda are trailblazing the way, with other companies following suit.

To use Siri, just hold down the home button for a few seconds (or the center button on your Apple EarPods). Once you hear the do-to-too jingle, you can start speaking your request in natural language (or robotic, if you are really bored).

Siri can handle a multitude of requests, from:

“How do I get to the Empire State Building?”

“I want some delicious Indian food.”

“What was the Philadelphia Eagles Score?”

“Make me a reservation at Cipriani at 8pm tonight.” (You must be a baller!)

“Send a message to Jeff, saying BestTechie is a great site for tech stuff exclamation point” (Yes, you have to say exclamation point, Siri will translate to !)

“When is Mom’s birthday?”

“Who is Miranda Kerr?”

“Play All The Small Things by blink-182.” (Requires that you have the song on your device.)

“Remind me to take the garbage out when I get home.” (You can even say a particular time, like at 7:15PM.)

“Tell me a joke” (Beware, it’s going to be a pretty corny joke.)

OK, ok… You get the idea.

If for whatever reason Siri isn’t working, it may not be enabled on your device.  To enable Siri, follow these steps:

  1. Click on Settings
  2. Click on General
  3. Click on Siri
  4. Make sure it’s ON
  5. Make any other adjustments that’ll make your life easier, such as the language you want Siri to use.
  6. P.S.: I know some of you are going to change the My Info setting so Siri will call you “Master.”

SiriSet

 

Well, what are you waiting for?! Give it a try, make your life a bit easier. Comment with some of your most interesting requests and Siri’s responses.

A really helpful video by Sharon Vaknin of CNET shows Google Now and Apple’s Siri in a side-by-side comparison.

 


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