Siri Is My Very Annoying Personal Assistant

Siri Is My Very Annoying Personal Assistant

I love her, but sometimes I wonder why

Technology

Screenshot by Author: Siri can’t help me

I often get very annoyed with Siri when she tells me that she can’t do something that should be very simple to do.

For example, my Apple watch can’t set multiple timers. That ability is said to be coming with watchOS 8, but it’s ridiculous that we’ve had to wait this long.

On my iPad which is currently running the iPadOS beta, asking for more than one timer is confusing. I can say “Set a ten minute rice timer” and then say “Set a 15 minute fish timer”. My iPad will say “There is already a ten minute rice timer. Replace it?”

However, if I say “Set a ten minute rice alarm” and follow that with “Set a 15 minute fish alarm”, the iPad obediently sets both without complaint. That’s just dumb. If it can set multiple alarms, why not multiple timers?

The HomePod Mini’s will allow multiple timers without any backtalk. Why can the Mini’s which are not running any beta OS do that but other devices cannot?

Inconsistency, thy name art Siri!

I’ve sworn at Siri on Carplay when she would not tell me what is on my calendar today. She would tell me how many appointments I had, but not what they were. More recently, “What’s on my calendar today” or “What’s on my schedule today” will usually (but not always) speak my schedule.

But Siri is my pal

“Take me home” is a Siri command I hope everyone knows. But how many of us know that “Take me to my younger daughter’s house” will also work? How about “Call my wife at home on speaker” when I do not want to call her on her iPhone?

“Facetime my uncle” will ask you who your uncle is and remember it after that. If your spouse has a home phone, a work phone, and a mobile phone, you can say which one to use.

By the way, you do not have to shout at Siri. I can whisper something and she’ll usually pick it up.

I can’t see!

Have you ever set your screen brightness so low that you can’t even see it? “Turn brightness up” or “Make screen brighter” fixes that in an instant.

“Volume up” is all you need to say to crank up the speaker. “Flashlight on” works, even on your watch.

Things I use almost every day

“Where is my wife?” That does require setting up “Find My” first, but it’s very handy when a spouse is out shopping and you wonder if they are closer to home yet.

“Tell my wife I’ll be there soon” will send an iMessage or text to my wife. So will “Ask my wife do we need milk?” when I am out and about.

As I don’t have a calendar in my head, “What day is September eighth?” or “What’s the date next Sunday?” are frequent utterances. Please don’t tell my sisters that I have to ask “When is my older sister’s birthday?” and also for my other sister. I do remember the months!

Calendars and reminders

Most people don’t use Siri to set Calendar events. Alarms are much easier, even when a bit more complicated. “Set an 11:00 Alarm every day” is simple enough, but how about a calendar event that repeats on the third of every month? It surprises some people that you can say “Schedule call my sister every Wednesday at 7:00 AM until December” but it doesn’t quite work right. That creates an all day event that repeats until December. More frustrating is that I’ve never found a way to tell Siri to create the event anywhere but the Tasks calendar.

A reminder like “Remind me to call my sister every Wednesday at 7:00 AM until December” works except does not set an ending date.

Although I haven’t looked at it, it might be possible to create a Shortcut to ask for the details, but that’s probably a bit tricky as well. What I do instead sounds weird, but it’s just this:

“Tell Tony Set up a repeating reminder on the shared calendar about calling your sister”

That doesn’t set up anything, but it does send me an iMessage that I will look at later. Or I might tell Siri to create the Calendar event and also tell her to remind me to edit it later. I’ve found it’s just not worth the frustration when trying to get Siri to create complicated things.

Mail and texts

Siri can find email about something or from someone but it will only read out the subject line, not the text. I have read that “read my last email” will do what I want, but I’ve never had it work.

Siri can read my texts. I can say “Read texts from my older sister” or just “Read my texts” for new messages. Why not email?

Webpages

I get really annoyed when I want to find something out while driving. I can get things like a stock quote but not the price of gold. She could certainly find web pages for the price of gold, but won’t read them to me.

You can set up text to speech accessibility and get some things to read, but it’s not a great way to do anything. Apple could improve this greatly. At the very least, Siri could offer to read the first few words of web results for things like the price of gold or any other thoughts that cross your mind while driving.

OK Google

Google is better at some things, but inconvenient to use. I have to first tell Siri to “Open Google” and then say “OK Google”. You can’t do that with CarPlay although you can be attached to CarPlay and do it directly on your phone. That can get very clumsy and confusing if you want Siri for some things and Google for others.

A Work in Progress

Yeah, that’s what Apple has been telling us for years, but so many utterly stupid things still don’t work. For IOS 15, Apple says “Siri does more than ever. Even before you ask” but honestly, little of the “more” will change my life.

So Siri, I love you, I need you, I really do, but there are times where you frustrate me enough to swear at you. Instead of just saying “I won’t respond to that”, maybe you should ask if I’d like to send our latest exchange to Apple so that they might understand what made me so angry?

Just a thought, Siri, just a thought.

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