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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.