Maybe you don’t understand all the hype around Siri. Maybe you don’t carry a phone that supports it. Maybe, like most other sane humans on the planet, you’re embarrassed at the thought of talking to your phone like it’s a person.

Whatever’s keeping you from learning how to use Siri, Apple’s personal digital assistant, you may want to rethink your stance if you’re lucky enough to have it at your disposal. You paid good money for that shiny iPhone, after all. What good is it if you’re not at least trying everything the device has to offer?

And besides, it’s cool. Like, really cool. Whatever your opinion of Apple and their host of products, you’ve got to respect their commitment to the wow factor. Very few companies could take something as bland as voice recognition and turn it into a minor cultural phenomenon.

If you saw any of the billions of commercials Apple took out a few years back — like the one with Samuel L. Jackson asking his phone ridiculous questions about “organic mushrooms from Arizona” — you’ve probably got a good grasp on how to use Siri. Press the Home button, ask a question or give an order, and that’s all, really. It’s not perfect by any means, but there’s almost no chance you’ll walk away from your first encounter unimpressed. Again, it’s all about the wow factor.

Setting a GPS-assisted reminder is a good example of how to use Siri like a pro. For example, you can have it remind you to call your wife when you get to work is not only possible, it’s super useful if you’re the forgetful type. Just say something like “remind me to [insert action verb here] when I get to [insert location of choice here]” and prepare to be in mild awe.

For those of us old enough to remember how crummy voice-operated phone systems used to be, it’s a very welcome change to watch a phone no bigger than a matchbox get a complex order right the first or second time around.

If you guessed there was even more enjoyment to be had, you were right. Siri’s far more than a personal planner. It also loves answering questions–even the really strange ones. Ask it why grass is green or the meaning of life if you want to get a little deeper than finding organic mushrooms. The answer’s almost guaranteed to be funny or helpful in some way, and you can always try again if something goes wrong.

The most important part of learning Siri is keeping an open mind regarding the stuff it can do. Don’t write a potential question off because you think it’s too complex. Anything capable of finding Mr. Snakes on a Plane his organic Arizona mushrooms deserves a little more respect than that. Think of some questions and fire away. You haven’t got anything to lose as long a nobody’s around to hear you talk!


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