Tag Archives: siri

BronyOS: Alpha Testing Confirmed For January

It had been confirmed that ModMCdl will begin Alpha testing BronyOS in January.

Continue reading BronyOS: Alpha Testing Confirmed For January

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Siri… Coming Soon to a Dock Near You.

Cables, chargers, docks and the odd pair of headphones. All accessories you can purchase for your Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod. Traditionally Apple has steered well clear of producing its own docks and complex accessories, happily let someone else deal with that.

Continue reading Siri… Coming Soon to a Dock Near You.

Meet Siri: Your Helpful Virtual Assistant

Ever wondered who played the voice of Apple’s Siri? Ever been stuck in a pub quiz where you’ve been questioned about helpful and annoyign virtual phone assistants? Well if you have – now you’ll be able to answer one more question, now you know who Siri really is…

Susan Bennett, an Atlanta based voice actor, has claimed she is the original voice behind Apple’s ‘life like’ virtual voice assistant. CNN commissioned forensic research into the audio clippings of Siri and compared them to extracts taken from Bennett – it turns out the claims are true.

But have you ver wondered why Siri sounds rather lippy, sarcastic or has some serious attitude problems? Susan Bennett explained why Siri sounds snippy and gave furthe insight into the development of the iOS assistant:

“There are some people that just can read hour upon hour upon hour, and it’s not a problem. For me, I get extremely bored … So I just take breaks. That’s one of the reasons why Siri might sometimes sound like she has a bit of an attitude. Those sounds might have been recorded the last 15 minutes of those four hours.”

As a vocie actor, Susan Bennett often records without knowing where the recordings may eventually end up – this was the case with Siri. Stating the recordings were taken back in 2005, two years before the orignial iPhone launch and a full 6 years before Siri launched! You might find it a little disturbing, imagine being her husband, it might ge a bit awkawrd. Bennett never even received an iPhone 4S in 2011, so had to go to an Apple store just to hear her own voice and said “it was a little creepy” to hear her own voice on a phone. Having been used to narrate for ATM’s, Delta Airlines and now a mobile – Susan Bennetts made her voice heard. But just how ‘creepy’ would it be to hear your own voice everywhere? Everyday?

Cortana leaves Master Chief for Windows Phone. Siri watch out

cortana-windows

Windows Phone isn’t normally something to get excited about, not saying you shouldn’t, but Microsoft has definitely been on the catch up over the last three years and Windows Phone hasn’t really led the market in any way. But this time it might be different. Throughout the Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft phone OS debate Microsoft has been the competitor without any voice assistant features. Soon this might change as the gaming world and mobile phone market merge and cross.

Back in June, an early beta of Windows Phone was spotted on eBay – installed on a Nokia Lumia, nobody really cared or noticed a system app named ‘zCortana’. Microsoft was clearly playing ‘clever’, the ‘z’ simply identifying that the product was still in testing. Now it has emerged that this app, zCortana, is in fact pinnacle to Microsoft’s Windows Phone strategy and in fact will help them tackle the likes of Google and Apple within the mobile market.

As we move towards the Windows ‘Blue’ release in early 2014, Cortana has made it into the news again. It is surprisingly simple, Cortana receives its name from the highly popular AI assistant from Halo, Cortana. With the ability to learn and adapt – Cortana features alongside Master Chief as a artificially intelligent assistant in the Halo series.

It seems that Cortana will be more than just an app within the Windows Phone ecosystem, but is more core and central to the entire system – a makeover of the entire “shell”. Outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer hinted at a AI type service linking together all its products under one system in his memo to staff: “a family of devices powered by a service-enabled shell.”

He went on to add:

“Our UI will be deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns more and more over time about people and the world. Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.”

Early indicators point to Microsoft developing a virtual assistant, similar to that of Siri on the iPhone, but instead of wholly sourcing information from search engines, will link together our services to “enable richer and deeper app experiences”.

We might get Cortana giving us deeper integration within every service that Microsoft offers, services such as maps, transport and more of Bing. You could just imagine the reply of your phone when you just miss that bus:

“It may be awhile before we find another ride home. You know that, right?”

And what happens when Windows Phone goes wrong? We’ve all had an app freeze or crash:

“Chief, I know I’m supposed to know what to do but…”—I always know what to do..I always..know..what to do! Just give me a second..”

Forgetting the Cortana related puns, Ballmer and Co have been touting a virtual voice assistant like service among Microsoft products since 2011. Stating that users will be able to tell their PC to print tickets and boarding passes, controlling several elements of the Microsoft ecosystem entirely with their voice.

Gamers are especially interested in how Microsoft market this new system, with Jen Taylor the voice behind the Halo Cortana – will they call her back in to remake the virtual assistant? Will they actually launch it as ‘Cortana’?  Will there be a blue face on your screen, listening, waiting for your evey question – a humanoid figure that you can converse with? Personally I see Microsoft on a win if they continue the ‘Cortana’ branding – linking directly to their successful Halo series; it may just attract the new customers Microsoft needs. Without hoping too much, we wish that Cortana will be more than a voice assistant or voice control. Following the theme from Halo, Microsoft may develop the AI as an adaptable and learning system that personalises to the user and gets better over time. This would far out rank the offering of Siri and even Google Voice. Cortana could give suggestions, alternatives and real information that you need before you’ve asked for it. Similar to Google Now but so much better with the Halo branding.

Whatever Microsoft do release, hopefully we won’t be disappointed and it lives up to the Cortana we all know and love. Microsoft have to ask themselves, would Master Chief use it?

NOW: Gold iPhone 5S, Nintendo 2DS and Good bye Dial-up

Have you been pondering about which colour iPhone you’ll want next? Do you think black is in? Well maybe you’ll think differently… Apple is expected to launch a Gold/Champagne iPhone 5S, will you take the plunge? Plus the latest iPhone rumours. Siri gets a bit narked with Glass. As well as Nintendo’s final hurrah. Will you miss Dial Up connections. The buffering awaits…