Monthly Archives June 2012

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Siri, Apple’s D Student

By M Davies   /     Jun 28, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     4 Comments

My AT&T phone plan had an upgrade that I was waiting to cash in for some time.  Finally, two weeks ago, I made the trek to the AT&T store in the mall and upgraded my iPhone from the 4 to the 4S.  I decided to upgrade for two reasons:


1) My home button kept sticking on the 4.  This is a problem that several people complain of that have the iPhone 4.  Just do a Google search of “iPhone home button sticking” and you’ll come back with several hundred forums and help sites that are dedicated to helping others fix this problem.


2) My phone was out of space.  I had the 16 gig model of the 4, and I maxed out my storage space.  I had a ton of pictures, apps, and songs on there, but I couldn’t bare to part with any of them.  For this reason, I was missing out on several important app updates and even an iOS update or two.  I had no room left on the phone to download any of the updates.


2 1/2) I thought Siri would be cool to have.


As you know, the iPhone 4S has a feature called “Siri”.  Siri is a voice responsive personal assistant of sorts.  There are several commands that you can tell it, simply by pressing and holding the home button on your phone.  I’m sure you have also seen the commercials with Zooey Deschanel and others that demonstrate ways that you can use Siri in real life situations.  While I wouldn’t necessarily call those commercials false advertising, I wouldn’t call them exactly truthful either.  Siri is not as intuitive as Apple would have you believe.


Yesterday on WNEP, Bob Reynolds reported on a story about Apple iPhone’s Siri feature not being helpful in an emergency situation, by not being able to dial 911.  The video of it is embedded below.

My first thought after seeing this video on the news was that it was not dialing out because 911 is not in the address book of the iPhone.  So I made a test contact on my phone for “911” and attempted to have Siri call it.  I tested that and found the same result (below).


Siri flat out refuses to dial 911 (and also 611 and 411, basically any three digit number ending in 11), which I found to be unusual, and caused me to hit Google up once again to research why it behaves like this.


First and foremost, you should know that Siri is in “beta” as per the Apple webpage.  That means it is still a work in progress and Apple cannot make any guarantees on how the product can function until it is released from beta status.  As their website states “we’ll continue to improve it over time”.  During Apple’s last keynote, they revealed that iOS 6 will have enhanced Siri features.  As reported by Ars Technica (and photos taken by my elementary school pen pal Jacqui Cheng):


Third-party apps can now be launched with a command to Siri—for example, “Play Temple Run” opens the app. Users can also now tweet from Siri, a formerly noticeable hole in the Twitter integration throughout the rest of iOS. In addition to hands-free mode, Siri now has “eyes-free” mode, where the app doesn’t light the screen, but still reads responses out. Apple is working with BMW, GM, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Honda to bring a “Siri button” to their cars that will work with iPhones within the next 12 months.


IOS 6 is expected to be released sometime in the fall of 2012.  There is unfortunately no mention about 911 services in this article, so we won’t know for sure if that will be worked out in the new version until it is released.


That’s all well and good, but why the heck can’t Siri dial 911?  Back to Google I went….


I found these two Apple Support forums:


From the second discussion URL:


By design. Siri cannot make emergency calls as Apple has not instituted a method to authenticate the call and ensure it is not a prank, as millions have attempted to do since Siri launched. You’ll have to wait until “next generation” 911 is fully launched.


That is your answer right there, if you want to call it an answer.  Apple is afraid of people accidentally calling 911 or using Siri as a prankster.  How does a normal POTS line “authenticate a call and ensure it’s not a prank”?  Oh right…it doesn’t….it just dials the number, prank or not.  Apple should really come up with a better excuse than that.


Researching all of this reminded me of a video that fellow NEPA Blogger, Summer Beretsky, created several months ago after her fiance got the new iPhone 4S.  Summer blogs about Panic and Anxiety disorders, and she wanted to demonstrate how Siri would behave if she threatened to harm herself.  In this video our Hollywood starlet, Siri, is being her usual unhelpful self:



In closure, I wouldn’t count on Siri to be helpful in any type of emergency situation at least for the unforseen future.  IOS 6 may address the 911 dialing issue, but it may not.  If you are able to remain calm enough in an emergency to be able to operate a cell phone or normal telephone, I would suggest using the old fashioned method.  Dial 911 instead of relying on Siri to do it for you.  Relying on a computerized robot app that isn’t intuitive may take too long when a human life is at risk.

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Tablet drama

By M Davies   /     Jun 27, 2012  /     Technology Hates Me  /     1 Comment

There seems to be a lot of news today surrounding tablets.  I was going to Tweet about it, but I didn’t feel like all of it would fit into 140 characters plus my phone is dead and my charging case broke this morning.  I guess I could use the web client, but I hate it.  Work with me here, people.


First, the Google Nexus tablet was unveiled today.  Watch the demo below:

Mashable thinks the Nexus could take on the Kindle Fire (sold by Amazon).  The price point is extremely competitive: the 8GB model will cost $199, while the 16GB device will be priced at $249. Google is taking pre-orders now and will ship the Nexus 7 in mid-July to the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.  Personally, I didn’t really see anything that excited me.  I really don’t like the Android OS, no matter what form it comes in.


In the same breath, Ars Technica is reporting that a Judge barred the sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1 in the US for violating a design patent for Apple’s iPad.  What I found most interesting about this particular article was that the patent may be invalid in light of discovering a concept video of a tablet newspaper put out by Knight-Ridder several years ago.  As you may or may not remember, Knight-Ridder owned the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader from approximately 1997 to 2006 before selling it off to another company.  Check out the video below:

Neither me or my husband own a tablet yet and honestly do not see the need for one.  I have a laptop which is very portable, a smart phone and an iPod.  I feel like if we did purchase a tablet, the kiddos would get more use out of it then we would.  They love the Angry Birds, these kids today.  My MIL and SIL both own the Nook and love it.  They are heavy book readers.  I like to read too, but I enjoy a normal book.  I’m in front of a computer screen for enough hours a day, I don’t need to be on it to read a book as well.


At any rate, it should be interesting to see how the new tablet and lawsuit drama plays out.


Stay tuned.

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By M Davies   /     Jun 26, 2012  /     Family, Into the Void  /     3 Comments

Today is my 7th Blogiversary, controversy not withstanding.  I was nearly dooced halfway through this journey, by my employer at the time (Big Red Telephone Company).  My first post can be found here.  I’ve blogged for much longer than 7 years, but I deleted the content from my first Diaryland journal.  However, I never deleted the journal itself.  I keep it active to redirect previous readers to my new URL.  I’ve owned my own domain for even longer than that.  My first few posts talk about my journey with pregnancy and being a first time mother.  My daughter is now 7 bratty years of age and I have a son who will be 6 next month.


I have had 9 different jobs since I started this blog, not including the labor of love I perform on NEPA Blogs as one of the contributors.


I’ve had 3 different vehicles since I started this blog.


I moved to another house while authoring this blog.


This blog and I have been through some serious shit together, and with any luck, we’ll be through more.  I have no intention of stopping any time soon, despite my recent silences.



You only get one ride on this Merry Go Round of life, make the most of it.


Just blog.

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NEPA BlogCon Launch Party is TONIGHT!

By M Davies   /     Jun 22, 2012  /     Community Service, Events, NEPA  /     1 Comment

(Mirrored Post from NEPA Blogs)


The Squirrel Girls of the Fearsome Foursome of NEPA BlogCon would like to invite you to their website launch party this evening from 5-7pm at the River Grille in Plains.  Directions and a menu can be found by visiting  RSVP on the Facebook event page here.


Disclaimer: This event is to get people pumped up for the actual BlogCon but this event is not the BlogCon itself :)


We’re ready to launch our website (*ahem* and give one of those super cool press releases about our event! Come get a drink and enjoy free appetizers, door prizes, and cool people!


The Launch Party is a free event but there is a suggested $5 donation. All proceeds benefit 2 local charities (The Arc of Luzerne County and the NEPA Veterans Multicare Alliance). But you don’t have to pay it! And we won’t make you feel guilty if you don’t!


Come socialize with the Fearsome Foursome, Michelle, Mandy, Karla and Leslie.



(Click above image for bigger pop-out version)

NEPA BlogCon is a day long conference held on September 29th at LCCC that’s so much more than your average “Hey, let’s talk about blogging,” event. If you’re looking to learn the REAL scoop behind what makes the blogosphere the place to be nowadays, then this is the event for you. Besides offering you a chance to network with your fellow post slingers, NEPA BlogCon will include panels and sessions related to blogging and Internet things. Don’t worry if you’re not old hat – NEPA BlogCon is for bloggers of all walks of CMS. Not a blogger? This may be the perfect event to get your start with.


We hope that we’ll see you tonight!

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