iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

Summary: The more I use Siri the more I discover that the personal assistant can do for me with the iPhone 4S. Here are some simple areas that Siri is making a contribution in my daily life.

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Siri is the voice assistant introduced with the iPhone 4S designed to make the user's life easier. Through natural commands spoken into the phone, Siri jumps to provide assistance or information as required by the request. Siri isn't able to do everything, nor to understand some requests, but the technology is imnpressive in how often it works as intended. I find myself using Siri more and more the longer I use the iPhone 4S, and have run across some useful things.

Reminders. Siri works with the reminders in iOS5 to make sure you don't forget to do something. These are the first thing that most iPhone 4S owners get familiar with, and the longer I use Siri the more use I get out of reminders. I use it all the time for simple things.

My wife asks me to check the dryer in an hour and I tell Siri to "remind me to check the dryer in an hour". Today I told Siri to "remind me to turn the crock pot down at 3" and my dinner was saved.

I am getting good at not just using Siri for timed actions like those above, but for lots of other functions. I often tell Siri to "remind me to note fact A" for anything I would normally jot down on a post-it note. This is so easy to do I never forget simple things like this, now that I have a personal assistant.

Information requests. Like most folks I have become dependent on web searches to get information I need. Siri has assumed a big role in my quest for information, both searches I used to do on Google, "ipad 2 cases", and others that are less structured.

Sunday I wondered how my local NFL team's schedule looked the rest of the year so it was "Siri, show me the Houston Texan NFL schedule". Siri fired up a Google search that took me right to the remaining schedule I needed.

These are very simple examples, but I am gradually coming to depend on Siri to get me more specific information through Apple's integration with Wolfram Alpha. Preceding a request with "Wolfram" instead of Siri tells Siri I want her to use that service to look for the information I am requesting.

I am finding this useful in researching topics for writing projects, as well as stuff I am simply wondering about. "Wolfram, who played in the 1983 World Series" yields everything you want to know about that event. Every day I am finding I end up thinking about something like this and Siri gives me the exact information I am wondering. You can also preface a question with Bing or Yahoo, if you want those services to be used.

Sending text messages. I don't text a lot of people, primarily just family members. In the beginning I would tell Siri to "Send a text to Sheri" along with the line of text I wanted to send. As I used Siri, I realized she could learn how those who I text frequently are related to me. Now I simply state "Text my wife I will be running late" and after once telling Siri which contact that meant all future texts go straight to Sheri. I've done the same thing with my brother, daughter 1, daughter 2, etc. Since getting the iPhone 4S I find I text folks more often, due to how easy it is with Siri.

I also use Siri's ability to send text messages to tweet occasionally. I set up Twitter to allow tweeting via SMS, and trained Siri what number that was. Now I tell Siri to "Send a text to Twitter" followed by a short tweet. Nice and simple and totally hands-free. You can also configure Google+ and Facebook to allow you to post updates using this method.

Making phone calls. I use Siri more and more to initiate phone calls, especially in the car. I know I shouldn't make calls while driving but I admit I do that once in a while. It is so easy to tell Siri to "call my brother at home" and have the call started with no further action on my part.

The same method is good for getting contact information I need. Asking Siri "what is Matt Miller's address?" is a lot easier than manually finding it in the Address Book. I can even ask Siri what so-and-so's birthday is and get the date.

Setting alarms. When I need a more persistent reminder than the Reminders app provides, I now use Siri to set alarms to bug me. This is as simple as "Wake me tomorrow at 6:30" or "set an alarm for 6:30". That gets the nagging iPhone alarm set to disturb me appropriately.

Scheduling. Siri is especially good at scheduling meetings and events. "Meet with Bob today at 3" gets the appropriate event in my schedule. I really like the ability to ask Siri "What does my schedule look like on Thursday?" and having it shown. This is where the natural language of Siri really shines.

Siri is far from perfect, but as I use it more I am getting better at figuring out what type of natural language commands work best. I can state confidently that I am using the iPhone 4S and Siri more than I have used any other smartphone, because I am finding more things Siri can do for me all the time.

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Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

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17 comments
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  • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

    4S is a bigger game changer than most realize ~ getting our fingers and eyeballs off the screen and executing tasks "powers of 10" faster. When this technology gets through initialization and moves to refinement it will redefine living with technology. Siri ~ Optimize by life...
    collonfox@...
  • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

    How do you get Siri to "remind me to note fact A" without giving also an irrelevant location or time?
    bobwesson
    • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

      @bobwesson Siri responds by asking me a time and I accept or change it.
      JamesKendrick
    • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

      @bobwesson Why do you need a reminder to make a note? "Remind" is always going to trigger the Reminders app (time or place). If you want to note, just tell Siri "Note ...." Besides the whole point of a note is "get this down now so I don't forget it later."
      Jaidit
  • Not enough info

    As a rabid wikipedia-er Wolfram Alpha doesn't give me enough information to satisfy my hunger for information.

    I can't just read facts about the 1983 World Series. I want to know why it's historically significant. I have to have the option to read about the histories of the teams, the bios of the players, maybe the History of the World Series.

    If I want the full Wikipedia, do I have to have Siri Google the thing, or is there a native way to have Siri pull real information via voice commands?
    MagnaCartaHG
    • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

      @MagnaCartaHG

      Yes, you can just say "Wikipedia World Series" and it will directly open the wikipedia world series page. I just tried it, it works.
      davide18
  • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

    I think you could offer some more detail here, as you are giving the impression Siri works fine all the time. How many times have you had to repeat or rephrase requests or the answer has been meaningless?

    I also talk to my WP7 phone and it also talks to me in the car when I receive text and phone calls allowing me totally hands free control for receiving and sending data. Voice control works throughout the OS and Bing Search with voice is also great.

    This all happens without me having to try and have a meaningful conversation with a pumped up version of ELIZA.

    "Siri is far from perfect"

    A little more info on how far from perfect it is would be nice ;-)
    tonymcs@...
    • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

      @tonymcs@...

      from my experience, it just needs a few more things integrated. Open table for one. But also it should allow you to open applications, etc. It's funny because it clearly understands your requests but apple decided to not allow you to open the apps for some reason. Hope that changes soon.
      davide18
  • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

    The WP7 voice integration is really nice, its not as 'animated' as Siri, but SMS, phone call, search and launching apps works great... Talking too much to the phone in public is not that cool. But the voice contolled setting of appointments and reminders with Siri is cool. Again this 'Siri' news is bit overblown... lot of average joes are now jumping up and down...
    owlnet
  • Siri and its impact

    I believe what apple has been able to achieve is to make a an AI assistant that understand human and not just take human commands like Android voice and Microsoft Tell Me
    Hence like the funny jokes it tells to owners is a remarkable way ahead of AI agents
    http://thetechnologycafe.com/siri-and-its-jokesmore-shit-and-funny-stuff-siri-says/
    samzbest@...
  • What happens when Wolfram fails

    In my experience of using Wolfram Alpha, the system often fails to give an answer. You just see a bar which repeatedly fills up. What does Siri report in this case? Does Siri do any preprocessing which makes the query easier for Wolfram?
    The Star King
  • James, can you try asking these questions?

    IBM Watson can apparently answer many of these questions. I'd be interestred to see how Siri/Wolfram fares...

    http://trec.nist.gov/data/qa/T8_QAdata/development.qa
    The Star King
  • Siri In the Future

    Siri has started the age of A.I.Siri is a robot with fleshy pink skin who looks and behaves exactly like one of us. Believe it or not we are very close to this dehumanizing scary possibility.

    http://www.siricrazy.com/siri-news/siri-in-the-future
    jayram22
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  • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

    the Siri is a joke and still has many bugs. This crap Siri does not repond back right. Also how's everyone iphone 4S problems of battery issues hahahahah i am glad i never gotten a iphone 4S has S stands for SUCKS. Windows phone 7.5 Phones are gaining momentum has i went to a ATT store and seen many people buying new windows phone 7.5 Samsung Focus S. It totally blows away junk buggy iphone 4s. I have feeling Iphone will fail next year has it will just copy cat other phones features.
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  • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

    hahahah did you see the NBC Today show. they were demoing the Siri on TV and saw Siri failed to repond back hahahahah what a joke has shows you total failure Siri feature is hahahahah
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  • RE: iPhone 4S: Getting along well with Siri

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