All items tagged with "Siri"

Cloe is Siri with a human touch — and a life

Cloe, a concierge service that provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe

Cloe, a concierge service that provides recommendations and answers to texted requests, is currently working her magic in two major cities. Photo: Meet Cloe

New app Cloe is a dutiful concierge service you can text to request a good jazz club or microbrewery and get an informed, cheery response in a minute or less. Think of the mad research skills of Siri with the personality of Samantha, the AI operating system from the movie Her.

Need a tailor? Cloe may ask if you need a custom shirt made or just a button sewn on a jacket before she sends you a recommendation based on where you are standing at that very moment.

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Apple is getting into search? Pleeease

Could an Apple-branded search engine disrupt the established likes of Google?

Search? Don’t make us laugh. Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple needs to go a long way before it thinks about launching its own search engine. Smartphones? Sure. Tablets? Absolutely. Search? Fuggetaboutit!

As much as we all love Apple, nobody can deny that its search products are oddly bargain basement in quality. iTunes discovery is horrible, the App Store is abysmal and Siri’s painful.

Could Apple fix it? Sure it could, but it’s going to take a lot more than one poor new employee to do it. Here are the worst offenders when it comes to all things Apple Search:

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Blind Redditor pays $1,000 to have Siri read the news

I can't wait to get my hands (and ears) on Sireader. Photo:

I can’t wait to get my hands (and ears) on Sireader. Photo: Philip Tennen

Want to see something neat to start off your day? How about a Siri RSS reader?

RSS readers, as most readers will be aware, are great at aggregating news headlines from a variety of different websites that get updated throughout the day. While they’re useful tools, they’re less than ideal for blind or partially sighted users, however.

With that in mind, one blind Redditor recently announced that they were posting a $1,000 bounty for any developer who could create a jailbreak tweak capable of not only keeping track of RSS feeds, but also getting Siri to read them out loud.

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Apple leases extra office space to boost its Siri team

Apple is Siri-ous about virtual assistants. Photo: Apple

Apple is Siri-ous about virtual assistants. Photo: Apple

Apple is beefing up its Boston office, with an aim to expanding its Siri voice recognition team. Documents filed with local authorities show that the company has leased around 11,500 square feet of office space on the 13th floor of One Broadway, an office tower owned by MIT and located on the outer perimeter of the university’s campus in Cambridge, MA.

The added space gives Apple room to bring in an extra 65 people to work on the project, although a local job search for the area doesn’t yet show anything.

Apple has been steadily growing its Siri team over the past few years — recruiting employees formerly from companies like AT&T Research, Microsoft, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, BBN Technologies and others for its speech team in Cambridge.

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7 things Steve Jobs would have hated about Apple today

"You like me, they really like me!" Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

Steve Jobs started Apple in his image. But would he like everything about it in 2015? Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

A lot has changed at Apple in the years since Steve Jobs died. While much of it is good (record-breaking iPhone sales, work on the new Apple campus, the stock-split leading to new share price highs), it’s unavoidable that one or two (or, indeed, 7) things would slip through the cracks, which Apple’s notoriously perfectionist late CEO would have hated.

The recent publishing of a patent for an iOS stylus — an accessory Jobs was vocal about opposing — got us thinking about other aspects of Apple, circa 2015, that likely would have rubbed the company’s late CEO the wrong way.

Here’s what we came up with.

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Siri: Your personal resolution wrangler

Let Siri help you keep your New Year Resolutions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Let Siri help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I asked Siri to set a 6:30 a.m. alarm so I could get this article written before my morning spin class. And that got me wondering what other things the young woman on my iPhone 6 Plus could do to help me meet or exceed my plans to dominate in 2015.

After my wake-up alarm, I told Siri to “call me ‘Champ.'” What better way to get our relationship started than to establish a motivational nickname? I was going to go with “Tiger” or “Hero” or “Shnoogems,” but decided “Champ” was the least embarrassing if Siri shouted it out in public.

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Give your Mac a voice-activated self-destruct sequence

You can tell your Mac to self-destruct with this simple trick. Photo: Jacob Salmela

You can tell your Mac to self-destruct with this simple trick. Photo: Jacob Salmela

Worried that the cops might bust in your door any minute, or simply really paranoid? How cool would it be if you could initiate a self-destruction sequence for your Mac using only your voice, just like Captain Picard would use to destroy The Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation?

Well, awesomely, you can. And it’s pretty easy to do!

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Siri uses sick rhyming skills to dis Cortana

Siri

Microsoft has assaulted Siri with a wave of ads pitting the popular digital assistant against Windows Phone’s Cortana, and while Siri repeatedly gets topped in areas like traffic alerts and reminders, she’s got some secret rhyming skills Cortana can’t top.

To showcase Siri’s mad ability to flow like lava, hip-hop producer Skeewiff featured her skills on his latest track “Know How.” Turns out Siri had the busiest rhymes ever made by man after all, and she’s got some harsh words for Cortana and Google Now.

Check the rhymes below the break:

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How Siri became a 10-year-old autistic boy’s best friend

A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.

A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.

In Spike Jonze’s film Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a Siri-like “digital assistant,” played by Scarlett Johansson. But falling in love with Siri doesn’t just happen in the movies. In The New York Times, there is a beautiful piece about a 10-year-old autistic boy named Gus whose best friend is Siri.

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For drivers, Siri’s screwups are worse than fiddling with a phone

siridistraction

Siri’s so distractive, AAA had to make a fourth category for it. Photo: AAA

Three out of four drivers in America believe that using hands-free technology like Siri is a safer way to cruise the highway than fiddling with buttons and knobs, but a surprising study from AAA found that using Siri on the road is actually dangerously distracting.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tested the distraction levels of a number of hands-free solutions from auto-manufacturers that allow drivers to compose messages, change the radio, and navigate complex menus with voice commands, and found that trying to chat with Siri while driving is more distracting that composing a text.

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