Five Fun and Useful Things to do with Siri

Five Fun and Useful Things to do with Siri
Siri gets quite a lot of flack for her many imperfections, which is a bit unfair considering the program is still in Beta. Here are some tips and tricks on how to get more out of Siri or just have more fun using it.

Tell Siri About Your Family
To increase Siri's usability you can introduce her to your family. This means that when you say things like, “Remind me to call my sister”, or “On Tuesday at 1pm I'm having lunch with dad” she will know who you're talking about.

You can do this in two ways – either tell her verbally “Darth Vader is my father” and she will link the two, or you can go in and edit the contact directly, assigning nicknames.

Lots of Verbal Options

One configuration you can choose, is to have Siri fire up automatically when you bring the phone to your ear. This gives you some clever options. When the keyboard is visible – showing the microphone icon – you can raise the phone up to your ear and, after hearing the beep, speak. Siri will take your speech input and convert it to text. For example, when you get a text message, just tap inside the reply box, and speak into the phone. Be sure to enunciate so Siri gets the words correctly, and you're good to go.

This set-up will also let you search for apps by voice. It requires a couple of button presses, but it’s quick nonetheless. Just press the home button, either once or twice, to bring up Spotlight and speak the name of the app you’re searching for, then tap the app in the search results list and you’re done.

Second Chances
The option of fixing what you said, or correcting Siri's interpretation of your speech, is always available. Just tap the talk bubble that represents what you said. When you do, the bubble turns white and the keyboard appears. This allows you to type directly into the bubble. You can edit your request directly or tap the microphone button on the keyboard to re-dictate your request. Tap Done to finish.

Sometimes Siri's dictation processor will add a blue line under a word in the text you have spoken. When you tap that word, you will be presented with alternative interpretations of your speech. Select the correction you'd like to use, or edit/dictate a replacement.

Before you send a text on its way, you can have Siri read it back to you. Say "Read it to me" or "Read it back to me." When you are satisfied with your text or email message, you can say “Send it", and Siri will do so.

My Name is Inigo Montoya
You may have noticed that sometimes Siri refers to you by name during some of your conversations. If you have a nickname you prefer, or if you just have a quirky sense of humor, you can tell Siri “Call me Professor Xavier”.
Siri's Love Affair with Wolfram Alpha
If you're unfamiliar with Wolfram Alpha don't worry, it's not a new Twilight character. Wolfram Alpha is an online answer-engine. Unlike a search engine that proves a list of web pages to answer questions, it answers factual queries directly by computing the answer from structured data. Siri is set to utilize Wolfram Alpha's crazy awesome databases, just say the word “Wolfram” (pronounced “Wolf-rum”) before your question. Here are some good ones:
  1. Create unique strong passwords with the command: “Wolfram password” and Siri will give you an 8-character password.
  2. Roll a random number: "Wolfram, random integer" and Siri returns a random value between 0 and 1000. "Wolfram, random number" provides a 0 to 1 floating point value.
  3. Nature facts: "Wolfram, what is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” Unlike a lot of men, Wolfram has no problem admitting if it doesn't know the answer: “There is unfortunately insufficient data to estimate the velocity of an African swallow (even if you specified which of the 47 species of swallow found in Africa you meant).”
  4. Convert text to Morse code (hey, you never know when you may need Morse code): "Wolfram, what is Morse code for 'I'm trapped in a movie theater watching Twilight"
  5. Keep your girlish figure: "Wolfram, how many calories in a latte?"
  6. Cheat at Poker: "Wolfram, what is the probability of a full house?" For a random five-card hand, it's apparently 1 in 694.

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