Saturday, October 22, 2011

Take a note, Siri

It may be some measure of the chaos in my life at the moment that I viewed the three hour drive down to Virginia yesterday as a contemplative moment. Time shifts are still plaguing my days and nights. Not just the physical desynchronosis of jet lag, but all the things that were put aside when I went to Japan (meetings, papers to grade, essays to finish drafting, Crash's college essays to read, The Boy's chemistry questions to answer, did I mention the meetings?) have popped back into this time line. It seems as if I still need to live the last two weeks of my life here, despited having lived those two weeks already in Japan.

My talk for the conference had been put together before I left, but I was still mentally rehearsing and polishing it on the way down. I wanted to talk out a couple of the transitions and remind myself to add a few bits here and there. In days past I would hit the speed dial on my phone and record 30 second tidbits to be transcribed by the mysterious souls inside Jott. Transcripts would appear in my email, jogging memory, jumpstarting writing.

Now I have Siri (yes, I caved and have a new iPhone — my old one being old enough that AT&T doesn't even give it away for free anymore). I held the button on the phone and asked Siri to "Take a note." We had a brief argument about what I wanted to do, but finally she conceded, "I can do that for you." I dictated away in spurts, trusting that her chipper, "Got that." meant my ideas were safely drifting in the cloud, waiting to descend on me when I had a keyboard handy. I ended and had Siri email the notes off to me. And this is what I said?

"What else to think about the purpose of writing or reading about Jesus is on right track oneself integrating the table I want to bring with the idea that template basis.they've the burning layers on the BlackBerry."

Oh dear. I couldn't decode most of the notes, I tried reading them aloud, to no avail. (The last reference to burning layers is to a quote from Teilhard de Chardin.) Siri is a beta release. I can tell.

More about the talk (Melville, Moby Dick, Gloucester and flame) when I catch up to myself!


  1. Sounds like the voice-recognition program that transcribes my voice mail. Sometimes it translates the poor transcriptions into Spanish (that appears to be random).

  2. enjoy Virginia. reading this I thought about how I always feel that my first science class usually gets the worse lecture of the day. It is like they are practice for the second one.

  3. Michele,

    I was "introduced" to Siri yesterday at my friends' house.

    Barry is the proud new owner of an iPhone4S. "What do you want to ask it?" he said. His wife said, "Ask her who your wife is." He asked and got the answer, "I don't know." He typed in "My wife is Terry" and asked the question again. Siri immediately got it right, saying, "Your wife is Terry." Barry then said, "Call my wife." Siri came back with, "I don't know which to call. There are 11 of them."


  4. Paul, that made me laugh aloud!!

    Barb, I think random Spanish might have been more understandable?!

    Wayne, I'm always thinking how if I had a lecture to do again, what I might say differently. And for all that, I forgot to say anything about de Chardin in the talk. Maybe next time?

  5. Oh dear. Did you talk about Thomas Kuhn instead? (I have not read.)