You can talk to your computer or phone

Did you know that, more and more, you can just talk to your computer to do things?

Historically, computers have generally been difficult to use.  But they’ve recently gotten easier…you can often talk to them now.  So get out there and say “OK Google, Hey Siri, Hey Cortana” and see how many phones and computers you can get to respond at once.  You can’t get everything accomplished by talking yet, but it’s pretty impressive sometimes.


On an Android phone or tablet, you can tap the little microphone button and say things like “navigate to Smiths”, “set a timer for 15 minutes”, “remind me to water plants in 1 hour”, “note to self: buy milk”.  Similarly, you can click the Microphone at while using the Chrome browser.  You can also set these up to respond to you saying “OK Google”.


On iPhone 4S and above, you can hold the Home button and talk to it.  (I think you can also set it to respond to “Hey Siri” or just hold it up to your ear too, assuming you have that set up.)  Then you can ask it, “how do I right-click in OSX?”.  (I never get tired of that joke.)

Windows 10

And now Windows is getting in on the game with Windows 10.  Once you get things set up in Windows 10, you can just say “hey Cortana” and say things like “start calculator”, “play music”, or “show me pictures of dinosaurs”.  For some reason, it doesn’t respond to, “shut down”.  I wonder why?

If you update to Windows 10 in the next year, it’s free.  This assumes that you have a laptop with a mic, a headset, or some other kind of microphone.  This won’t work if you have no mic.  Once Windows 10 is installed, click the little search bar in the lower left and set it up.  You might have to click the little microphone icon down there and set that up.  You’ll also need to set up voice activation by going to the start menu and typing Cortana to go to Cortana settings.  Enable the “hey Cortana” feature.  Once you do this, it’s pretty funny to say “hey Cortana” in a room with many PCs.


Come on self-driving cars!

I see articles like this and get so excited about self-driving cars.  I hate driving.  It’s such a waste of my time.  (Maybe it’s because I drive a boring 4-cylinder Kia?)  I could be doing a thousand useful things in the car, but I’m sitting there in the daily drudgery, fear, and frustration of the daily commute.  As this article talks about, the reason it has to roll out so slowly and carefully is liability…none of the car companies want to be the first to be sued in a self-driving car injury or death.  I’d still rather drive next to a self-driving car than another driver like myself.

Nice network packets…it’d be a shame if anything were to happen to them.

As Comcast (and now Verizon) start charging Netflix for the “privilege of sending data to their customers in a timely fashion”, Netflix should start adding a “Comcast peering fee” to the bills of their Comcast customers and a “Verizon peering fee” for their Verizon customers, etc.  This would at least make the general public more aware of the charges.  It would also avoid charging people extra at ISPs that are actually doing what their customers pay them to do.

The secret to depositing checks with the Bank of America app

A little while back, I downloaded the Bank of America app for my phone so that I could deposit checks with it.  A neat idea, but it only seemed to work about 1 out of 7 times.  You’d keep having to re-take the picture.  I’ve finally figured out the secret…take the check outside and take the picture in direct sunlight.  It’s just that easy!  :)

they’re listening!

From some things I’ve been doing at work, I finally learned why customer representatives so faithfully follow their scripts on the phone.  There’s a program listening for them to make all of the required statements in their script.  If they fail to do it, the computer alerts their supervisor and they get in trouble.