Saturday, December 12, 2015

Siri's revenge

Aloha from Maui.  Four years ago when I was here this happened:  Here is a re-post from 2011. 

I’ve mentioned in the past how I've pulled my share of practical jokes. (My partner, David Isaacs and I wrote all of the Bar Wars episodes of CHEERS). Well, I’m not the only one in my family.

At the moment I’m still in Maui. I’ve become friends with one of the waiters at the Grand Wailea poolside burger shack. (He refilled my ice tea once. I love the man.) I told him my son Matt was due to arrive the next day and would he help play a prank on him? Matt is an engineer for Apple computers and as you can imagine, there’s nothing he loves more than people asking for tech support (myself included). So I said to my waiter chum, “When Matt comes tomorrow tell him you’ve got a problem with your Mac laptop and that I said he’d be happy to help you.”

Sure enough – next day, we’re at lunch, the waiter ambles by, and asks Matt if he’d look at his laptop. Although steam was escaping from his ears, Matt graciously said he would. At that point we let him in on the joke.

He said he would get back at me.

A few nights later my wife and I are at dinner with two other couples. I just got the new iPhone4S and am showing off the new Siri feature. I ask her when the Superbowl is? She didn’t understand the question. So I ask her again but with more of a ‘tude this time. I said, “When is next year’s Superbowl, bitch?”

She answers: “I don’t know, Jackass!”

You can imagine the laugh this got at the table.   Getting royally insulted by my iPhone.

And as we were driving home a new concern crossed my mind. Based on the input she receives, Siri “learns” things. Does she now just assume I'm a giant  asshole? I mean, calling me a Jackass was pretty rude!”   Was I forever to be hated by my cellphone?

Well, it turns out Matt programmed Siri to call me that. You can do that I guess.

Good one, Matt!  

I’m currently reading the Steve Jobs book. In it, I've learned he loved pulling practical jokes. I’ve always been proud that my son works for Apple Computer. But now I know, he really belongs.

For the record: Siri now calls me Kenny. At least to my face. Behind my back – God knows.


Stephen Marks said...

Great story but Steve Jobs was the jackass not you Ken. Only the good die young? Not in Steve's case. Ironic how a cancer got cancer. I'm guessing you are referencing Walter Issacson's book, he also wrote a really nice bio of Enstein which was actually readable for dummies like me and had hardly any, thank christ, math equations.

dougEfresh said...

Wow Stephen, what a horrible comment. Are you feeling better getting that off your chest?

Mike said...

The traditional test of a user interface is the Tourette's Turing test. The command "fuck you" should return "your place or mine". An elderly American couple, somewhat the worse for wear, first demonstrated this to me in 1981 with a PC running CPM. Also the first time I heard the phrase "since Doris Day was a virgin".

The other traditional test of a user interface is that the Sales Director must receive a profane & physically impossible request, left by a disgruntled employee, while demonstrating the product during an important sales pitch. First encountered circa 1990.

Stephen Marks said...

I guess Doug doesn't like Walter Issacson

Anonymous said...

Your son works at Apple? I'm surprised this blog doesn't charge $25 a month.
And that the readers don't brag to all their friends how much they visit.

mmryan314 said...

Most of our funniest stories come not from tv shows but from our dinner tables. I know mine do. And... like Steve Jobs or not, the company he founded employs 80,000 people. That`s a legacy.

Johnny Walker said...

For anyone wondering how Matt got Siri to call Ken a Jackass -- he would have changed Ken's address book entry for himself to "Jackass Levine". Now I guess you can pull this trick for yourselves :)

A comedian friend of mine added a shortcut to his wife's iPhone: A simple 'x' (kiss) became 'die in a pile'. He feigned ignorance as his wife got more and more confused and frustrated by her own texts.

Fun with iPhones!