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My day with Siri

Lex Friedman | Oct. 3, 2012
I admit it: I love Siri. It helps that I work from home, so I can talk to my phone without inhibitions. It doesn't hurt that I generally crave pseudohuman contact. But the real reason is simply that I find Siri so useful. And in iOS 6, Siri has become even more useful than it was before.

I admit it: I love Siri. It helps that I work from home, so I can talk to my phone without inhibitions. It doesn't hurt that I generally crave pseudohuman contact. But the real reason is simply that I find Siri so useful. And in iOS 6, Siri has become even more useful than it was before.

The iOS virtual assistant has learned to respond accurately to a variety of new instructions. You can now use Siri to get information about movies, sports, restaurant reviews, and reservations, in addition to testing its know-how regarding weather, stocks, and the like. You can also use Siri to post to Facebook and Twitter, launch apps, and get directions--and that's all in addition to its ability to set timers, send messages, perform searches, and more.

I now find myself using Siri throughout the day, for a wide variety of tasks and queries. Here's how one such day might go.

Morning routines

First thing in the morning, I wake up to one of my kids clomping into my room. Siri can't help with that. But when it's time to figure out what to wear, I generally ask Siri two questions. "What's today's forecast?" (or some variation) comes first. (You can phrase that question and many other comments almost any way you want, and Siri will understand; you don't have to memorize one specific way to phrase a question.)

Once I know how warmly to dress that day, I find out what kinds of clothes I should put on. The key factor is whether it's a normal working-from-home day or a day when I might actually interact with other human beings. So I say, "Show me today." That instructs Siri to present a list of all the events on my calendar for the day.

Armed with that intel, I'm off to shave and shower. Inevitably, at some point--often during the toothbrushing portion of my ablutions--I'll remember something I forgot to do the night before. So I once again turn to Siri: "Remind me to put the DVD in the mailbox at 8 a.m."

The workday begins

It's rare that a workday of mine gets under way without a reminder or two from the night before beeping on my Mac and iOS devices, something like "Write the Siri story"--almost undoubtedly a reminder I set via Siri.

While colleagues formally schedule most of our office meetings in our shared calendaring system, someone occasionally sends out an email instead. Even though Fantastical is in my menu bar and Calendar sits patiently in my Dock, I often turn to Siri for help instead: "Put 'Call with Dan' on my calendar for 1 p.m. Pacific Time today."

 

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