Thursday, April 30, 2015


I’ve been looking forward to talking to my computer since I was a kid. The ability to do so with our Smartphones has been around since 2010 but has really become indispensable only for the last couple of years. I’m always a bit surprised at the amazed reactions of people when I whip out my phone to ask a question and the phone speaks a bet-winning answer. Y’all really need to get up to speed. You’re missing out on some awesome. So, this article is for those of you who are still old school.

Voice capability comes in many flavors. iPhone users have Siri, Windows phone users have Cortana and Android users have Google Voice. They each have strengths and weaknesses but all work essentially the same.

So without further adieu, here are some cool commands that you really should be using: First, navigation. You can speak, “Navigate to Orange Beach, Alabama” or “Navigate to home” or “Navigate to 116 East Mobile Street.” You can also speak, “Where’s the closest gas station (or Italian restaurant or doughnut shop)?” or “Give me walking directions to City Hardware” and it shall be provided.

Location based reminders are really cool. You can tell your phone to “Remind me to pick up a gallon of milk at Publix,” or “Remind me to steal a ream of paper when I get to work,” or “Remind me to take out the garbage when I get home.” Your phone knows when you arrive at Publix or work or home and will remind you a few minutes after you reach the destination.

Speaking of reminders, you can simply speak, “Remind me of my haircut appointment tomorrow at 2:30pm,” or “Set calendar appointment for July 4th, pool party” and you will be reminded to party on that date and time. You can say, “Set timer for 4 and a half minutes” to cook a perfect steak.

When speaking a text or email, you can say “comma”, “period”, “exclamation point”, and “question mark” at the appropriate points and appear to be smart.

And of course you can relegate complicated math to your phone such as “How many quarts are in a gallon?” or “What’s 95 degrees in celsius?” or “What’s 420 times 714?” and get an instant answer without even bothering your brain.
I have no idea.
You can open apps on your phone. For example, while exercising or driving, you can speak, “Play music” or “Play playlist workout music” and your phone will play whatever’s stored on your phone. You can also say, “Launch Pandora app (or Spotify or whatever music app you use)”. You can also ask, “Who plays this song?” Your phone will listen and provide an answer.

You can speak, “Send a text to Tammy I love you baby” (which is usually followed by a “What have you done now?”). You can speak, “Send an email to Joe Blow, subject beer, message body, bring more beer to the game” and not only will that email be properly composed but beer will magically appear.

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