Oxymoronic……Not-So-Smart Phone.

Posted: February 18, 2014 in Family, Humour


In the last week or so, I have discovered a totally new oxymoron. As you may know, an oxymoron is ‘a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction with each other’, Some common oxymorons are ‘awful good’, ‘bitter sweet’, ‘found missing’, and my personal favorite ‘civil war’, although I just like the oxymoron, not the activity.

But thanks to my youngest son Mackie, I have not only discovered a new oxymoron, but have lived it and fallen victim to it. And this oxymoron is…..Smart Phone.

‘How is this an oxymoron?’ you ask with incredulity while dipping your Oreo’s in your milk. Well, a smart phone is supposed to be just that: a smart phone. And for the most part, since I’ve had one, it has been. I can surf the internet on it, check my emails, text my wife, clients, kids, and friends, play games, check stocks, and watch Netflix. Oh, and I can make phone calls with it. Mustn’t forget that. So, pretty smart.

And then, along came Siri.

Siri, an innovation by Apple, is ‘Siri is a built-in “intelligent assistant” that enables users of Apple iPhone 4S and later and newer iPad and iPod Touch devices to speak natural language voice commands in order to operate the mobile device and its apps. Users can speak commands — and receive audible confirmation from Siri — to send messages, place calls, set reminders, operate iTunes and more.’ In other words, it can help you manage you iPhone by using an intuitive algorithm to help make choices for you. It can find restaurants for you based on your likes and dislikes, and a whole plethora of things should you have the wit to use it. Which I hadn’t. I really didn’t see the need, to be honest. And so for years now I have carrying around this assistant, blissfully unaware of its existence.

And then last week, as Mackie was watching me email myself a reminder to do something (which I find quite handy now that I am old and forgetful and, uh….something else I can’t remember), he asked me why I don’t use Siri? And so he showed me. He asked me what reminder I would like, and so I told him I needed to remember that the hockey game Canada was playing in was at noon, and to not forget to go watch it with my dad. And sure enough, at noon, my phone chimed my reminder of the game, which by then I had completely forgot about, and thus got to watch an awesome game with my dad instead of swearing about it at around 4:30.

Neat, huh? I could totally get into this. I mean, I’m a busy guy. Instead of pulling over and emailing myself messages, one press of the button, a few words, and voila!! Never forget again. Right? To be honest, half the emails I sent myself I couldn’t figure out anyways, due in part to fat fingers (what the heck is ‘don’t forget the fdes’?) and also autocorrect (one memorable message told me to ‘pick up the possum pimples’. Needless to say I did not.)

I immediately set myself a bunch of reminders for the next couple of days.  I was excited. Just keep my iPhone close by, and I won’t miss out on meetings, tasks, or forget to feed the dogs.

I did not realize, however, that although the idea of Siri is smart, it didn’t mean that Siri was smart. Apparently you have to specify a.m. and p.m. for these reminders. And dates too, forr the next three days (and nights) I was receiving reminders at all hours. My wife began thinking I was either running around or buying a bunch of stuff on e-Bay behind her back. And the problem was I not only didn’t know how to correct the reminders, I couldn’t remember which reminders I had set to remind me.

And so I am back to emails and post-it notes. I am going to ask Mackie for a training course on how to use Siri again because I think it has a lot of potential. And Smart Phone is now my new oxymoron.

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