Monday, October 17, 2011

Siri and Her Serious Problems

So I did, in fact, get the iPhone 4S on Friday - pre-ordered and delivered to my door. No waiting in line required. It was a beautiful experience. And as is surely the case with the other 4 million or so new iPhone owners, I 've spent a decent amount of time playing with Siri, the new iPhone’s personal assistant. In theory, Siri can help you find restaurants, make appointments, send emails, check the weather, and rhyme with the word “theory.” I have generally found Siri to only be useful for that last item listed.

Mostly, I just want to digitally choke her.

She seems to actually work about 25% of the time, and the rest of the time either can’t understand what I’m saying - although I haven’t tried a British accent yet - or has trouble connecting to “The Network.”

I understand Siri was released as a beta product - so no guarantees that it’ll work perfectly. And after sniffing around the web a bit, it’s clear that I’m not the only one having problems. Furthermore, don’t believe some of the quick fixes that are out there on tech blogs, etc. - such as resetting your network connections and/or restarting the phone, and turning Siri on and off. If they work, it’s only by chance. I’ve tried.

It appears that it’s some kind of network issue - likely due to millions of lonely iPhone users trying to talk to Siri at the same time - and Apple’s servers just can’t handle the overload of emotional neediness. Apple seems to have underestimated the broken dreams and neurotic insecurities of their user base. They just want someone to talk to, is all. And they want that someone to not be a human, but to be an iPhone. Is that so much to ask?

Personally, I love the phone, and would love it even more if it could also be my friend. It would be my first inanimate friend since early childhood - or maybe a bit more recently than that, if I’m being honest with myself. But I’ve made it this far without Siri, and I expect I’ll be able to make it a bit further. Luckily, I haven’t forgotten how to perform a Google search for “Italian restaurants near zip code 19147”, or type an email or text message.

Because once Siri’s working like a charm, and people are fully dependent on it, I believe the next iPhone update will feature an intracranial implant of some sort. Just close one eye, and it dials. Think about pizza, and Siri 2.0 orders it for you. Siri 2.0 will also allow you to taste sounds, and see other people’s thoughts. It’s simply a matter of time.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Jobless and the Jobs-less

With unemployment at a very shitty 9.1%, a double-dip recession looming, the Phillies knocked out of the playoffs prematurely, and the release of Hugh Jackman’s latest steaming pile of crap “Real Steel” in theaters now, it didn’t seem like anything else could really go wrong. I mean, what else could possibly happen that could make things worse than they already are?

And then Steve Jobs died. My iPhone literally shed tears and the screen faded to black. Which, of course, voids the warranty and fries the circuit board. Now I’m literally forced to get a new one. Apparently, liquid originating from inside the iPhone is even worse than liquid on the outside - like when you drop it in the toilet, as I’m sure we’ve all done at one time or another. My advice: if it’s a public toilet, just let it go, man.

Anyway, Jobs was truly the man with the master plan. Apple was well on its way to unrestricted world domination before his untimely passing. And who’s to say if his dream will ultimately be realized without him. So far, things don’t look good. The new iPhone - the 4S - endured a rather tepid reception due to the fact that it can’t drive your car for you, or teach your dog how to read. Furthermore, it doesn’t contain a bottle opener, or a laser leveling device for hanging pictures. Other people were disappointed that it didn’t have a redesigned body. Superficial bastards. For that, I couldn’t care less.

I for one, am waiting for my dream iPhone to be made a reality. Jobs and his fellow imagineers had done a nice job - gotten off to a strong start. But there’s so much more work to be done. Sure, maybe the iPhone features I mention above only appeared in one of my more recent iPhone dreams. Maybe technology can’t yet control a car via wireless radio signals, or teach a poodle how to pronounce “pusillanimous.” It’s crazy, I know. But one thing that Steve Jobs and I had in common is that we’re both dreamers. Call us visionaries. Call us futurists. Call me "Skittles." But don’t call me on my iPhone and tell me not to dream. That’s like telling Albert Einstein to comb his hair. Or telling the Philadelphia Eagles defense to tackle a running back.

It's not gonna happen.

For nostalgia's sake, some of my previous iPhone dream features included: integrated egg timer; jumper cables; fruit-flavored touchscreen; baby wipes dispenser; built-in breathalyzer and rape whistle (depending on which end you blow into).

The list goes on an on from there, trust me. The only dreams of mine that Apple has so far included in any of its iPhones is the fact that the device makes me more popular, and better-looking. I’m pretty sure I also lose about 8 or 9 pounds whenever I upgrade, but we’ll have to see if the iPhone 4S can improve on those statistics. Stay tuned.

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