Monday, October 07, 2013

Siri needs real documentation. Here's some.

COBOL was written for "managers". Unlike FORTRAN it was supposed to be readable and useable by non-programmers. Same thing for SQL. And AppleScript.

All of which are harder to use than C or Python or any number of well documented and rational programming languages (ok, SQL isn't as bad as the other two).

Siri reminds me of AppleScript. It's supposed to be a conversational companion, but as of 2013 it's an artificial form of conversation full of "magic words" like "Cancel" and incantations and capabilities that must be memorized in one form or another.

Yeah, Siri hasn't lived up to my early brainwashed enthusiasm. She can generate passwords (via Wolfram Alpha), but you can't copy the $!$#@$ strings.

Alas, contrary to my expectations, Apple isn't giving up on Siri. If anything, Apple's doubled down. You can't search iOS settings from Spotlight, but you can search from Siri. [1] It's widely assumed Siri will be required to use Apple's iWatch.

So we need to learn it, which means studying the documentation. There's a fair bit on the web (not much on Apple's web site of course), but I wanted a book.

Turns out there is one - Talking to Siri: Learning the Language of Apple's Intelligent Assistant - Erica Sadun, Steve Sande. It's $7+ on Kindle, $9 on Play [2]. I glanced at a few pages, learned/relearned 3 new things, and bought it. (The next edition won't be available until March 2014, so for iOS 7 used the book and Sadun's TUAW update.)

Between the book and the links below I'm writing my own Siri notes (in Simplenote of course). Siri is one foreign language I need to learn.

PS. My personal (Simplenote) Siri notes are public at 

See also

- fn -

[1] A mind-boggling omission. Does Google have a patent on searching settings?

[2] Play DRM can be removed - so worth the $2 to read it via Google's web pages, iBook, and BookReader

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