Saturday, February 23, 2008

Speechin' and talkin' and such

Seems that Microsoft is banking on computers not using keyboards anymore. According to an AP report, Bill Gates thinks that touchpads and speech will be how folks use computers:

"It's one of the big bets we're making," he said during the final stop of a farewell tour before he withdraws from the company's daily operations in July.

In five years, Microsoft expects more Internet searches to be done through speech than through typing on a keyboard, Gates told about 1,200 students and faculty members Thursday at Carnegie Mellon University.


That don't work well.

Not for me anyway.

I got OnStar in the car. And it includes a hands free phone.

You ever try to call someone on one of those things?

I was in the car and tried to call my sister. The Mean One.

Here's how it goes.

I press the OnStar phone button.

"OnStar ready."


"Please say the number you wish to dial."

I give out my sister's phone number. All 10 digits.

OnStar, when it isn't sure what number I say, uses "0" (zero).

It says, "9-0-0 0-2-0 3-0-0-5. Is this correct?"

It wasn't.

"Please say the number you wish to dial."

I try again.

OnStar says, "5-0-2 0-2-0 0-9-0-9."

That's even worse.

"Please say the number you wish to dial."

Once more, I try.

And OnStar thinks I said "9-1-0 4-0-0 0-4-5-9."

Which is wrong. Almost got the area code right.

"Please say the number you wish to dial."

Again, I give it a try.

And OnStar gets it all wrong again. And again. And again.

And this goes on and on for several tries.

OnStar doesn't seem to like my South Georgia accent.

It thinks 9s are 5s. Or sometimes, it thinks they are 0s. And, every so often, a 9 is a 9. But it's a crapshoot.

Other numbers, it doesn't like the way I say them, either.

Now, I may be wrong, but I suspect that OnStar has pretty good technology. And it has trouble with the way I say some numbers.

So, how will Bill Gates' technology work?

About as well as Windows Vista, I suspect.

And Windows Vista is one of the reasons I bought a Mac.


  1. It's gonna be tough searching for porn at work when you have to say out loud what you're searching for.


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