Help from Cortana

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714698

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Help from Cortana

  • funbi

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4992

    We recently got Google Home and I'm loving it. I would also have said I prefer to "push buttons" before and have seen these devices as encouraging laziness. Now that I've seen it in action I'd very much side with the efficiency it provides. We have it in the kitchen so while baking I'm able to call out "set timer for 20 minutes" instead of faffing around with my phone's alarm. We also use it to remember things, get the weather, ask the time, and play music in different rooms (and adjust the volume etc). And of course tell us jokes and sing songs. It's fun 🙂 The next step is to hook it up to the lights and dimmers.

  • Tom Gillies

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2738

    I don't have any of the "voice activated" things yet though I am interested in them. The problem for me is I'm "hard of hearing" ("Pardon. Could you repeat that" 😉 )  so things that speak to me, including people, can be a bit frustrating. I'm not against them on principle, it's just that I'm not that comfortable with something that "speaks to me". That's probably the opposite of many people.

    But! I do make considerable use of "things" which create reminders and prompts of various kinds. Some of the "things" are quite technical (a Project Management wiki, long-term schedules) and some are completely non-technical (like a year-at-a-glance wall calendar). I really like the idea of being able to step one level up and define threshold events and other criteria which would insert items into these lists - "Remind me to... in 3 months if I haven't done it in the meanwhile", "Remind me to ... if x > y"....

    The issue for me is always maintaining consistency and balance between longer-term overview, prioritisation and short term "this is what I'm doing today". I see tools like Cortana etc as being a really useful step towards providing real, "virtual assistants".

    Incidentally, I also see issues with even the stuff I use already regarding the balance between ease of access and security/privacy and they way we come to depend on these "crutches", but that is another different discussion.

    Tom Gillies
    LinkedIn Profile
    www.DuhallowGreyGeek.com[/url]

  • hjp

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1379

    Haven't used them myself. Have colleagues with iPhones who use and like the Apple variant. But I still consider this "nerd-zone": Only for the tech-interested and the gadget-addicts.

    My problem is two-fold: Yes to an assistent (and I can't afford the human kind). But No to the investment of time and mental energy into adapting a new way of working and living.
    Because like Tom Gillies write: An assistant is a crutch. It makes you dependent, whether it is human or virtual. Which begs the question: Do you dare to risk making yourself dependent of one? Are you rich enough (in terms of workability) to allow yourself an increase in production at the cost of a lower marked value (because there is actually less things you can perform in the workplace and in life, if your assistent suddenly "quit" - or becomes too expensive)?
    I don't like being dependent on things outside of my control. Yes, I have to live with it - but I still am not comfortable with this dependency creeping in on me.

    Another way of seeing an assistant is: Leverage!
    You can manage more, better, safer, and more consistent. Which has to be a good thing.
    And you can even leave out the dull work tasks, maybe. But you still have to know what they are and how to do them. And my experience is that after 4-6 months of not doing some mundane task, I tend to forget I ever did it...

    But what would I be interested in? Help to remember what I forgot!
    I don't need a process flow optimization algorithm to turn me into a human robot, just following orders from a machine all workday long. But it would be helpful to have a daily digest of questions I asked but never got a response to, of tasks I began work on but haven't touched for a long time, of routine things showing up in my calendar in the coming week (to help me with planning my time and provide clarity of the expected drain of mental power in the coming days). In fact: Anything that can leave my mind while leaving me in safe confidence that it will resurface when I need it to.
    The problem is: This is a crutch. And soon it will take me hours to digest the digest, leaving even less time to work and adapt new technologies.
    And if I have to call for the digest, I will forget to do so. But if it show up on its own terms, it will newer show up at a good time - because there is never a good time for being distracted from what I am doing and reminded of more work!

  • Dalkeith

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3648

    I use Alexa at home and it is just great for playing music. At the moment I haven't got it set up well for things like surfing the net and watching films , but if I could choose a film as easily as choosing music I would definitely use it. This is not a crutch for me  this is something that allows me to play music I wouldn't otherwise be able to find in my music collection.

    I think its quite a few years away from being useful at work - it can only handle simple commands and to be truthful I can only handle saying simple commands.

    Work often consists of complicated iterative instruction sets which is aided with things like intellisense - I think these systems are still probably tens of years away from something like that. For my own area of expertise I would be unlikely to use an expert system. For areas that I am not expert in... probably would - a doctor medical expert system yes definitely would use them.

    In my work I can see lots of specific uses for things like AI with regard to some very simple massive repetitive tasks which we just don't do at the moment because we don't have the manpower and no one with sufficient knowledge has really decided to take a look at them yet. I can think of digitising things like buildings from aerial photos would be really good for instance. I know quite a few individuals are experimenting with this at the moment. and given the steps forward with driving I think it could be solved today (google maps have got to be working on this already)

    I have written my own personal applications which help me with things like notes on projects, people that I come in contact with and deadlines- I don't doubt that these are very much repeats of some of the applications that are available in the market place BUT I like the ability to personalize mine plus they are learning devices something which is important to me. I regularly choose the hard way of doing especially when starting a new topic because if I do need to hire in help it gives me a much better idea of what is and isn't good value.

  • chrisn-585491

    SSCoach

    Points: 15846

    Cortana is more annoying than MS Office's Clippy. All day yesterday my Windows phone Cortana was showing me the 80th anniversary of some fantasy book when I was trying to research Zen and paravirtualization.  I DON"T CARE. QUIT WASTING MY TIME.  :crazy:

    Then when at work I'm trying to bring up a CLI utility through the search feature in Windows 10 and Cortana pulls up Edge with consumer ads. S**G OFF CORTANA,  GET OUT OF MY WAY! :alien:

    I'm not going to mention the crazy replacements that AutoCorrect brings up. :crying:

  • Robert Sterbal-482516

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2784

    I have to admit that I've played Jeopardy with Alexa and listened to the news and a few podcasts.

    I too find that being able to set a timer with my hands full is invaluable. So is scheduling a calendar event without having to look back and forth between screens. A quick review of my calendar has also helped me stay on track.

  • roger.plowman

    SSChampion

    Points: 10120

    I dunno. Voice is a SEVERELY limited bandwidth channel. It's slow, prone to numerous potential error conditions, and just plain tiring to use for extended periods.

    Yes, there are certain *very limited* niches  where voice commands are handy (such as making a phone call while driving) but they are very limited.

    Besides, since voice command for things like Alexa need server-level computing power guess where all your queries end up? That's right, in the hands of advertisers and (perhaps) hackers.

    So, no. Generalized voice command systems ala Star Trek isn't really practical--or safe, given the privacy concerns.

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 124968

     I've seen some interesting interactions with Slack, including one company that allows limited developer access to systems through a Slack bot that handles some provisioning work, including raising and closing a ticket, without requiring human interactions.

    Our organization has an internal Slackbot channel that allows users to query the status of processes or status of a server. For example:

    dba, what jobs are running on [server1] ?

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • jay-h

    SSCoach

    Points: 18801

    funbi - Friday, September 22, 2017 1:31 AM

    We recently got Google Home and I'm loving it. I would also have said I prefer to "push buttons" before and have seen these devices as encouraging laziness. Now that I've seen it in action I'd very much side with the efficiency it provides. We have it in the kitchen so while baking I'm able to call out "set timer for 20 minutes" instead of faffing around with my phone's alarm. We also use it to remember things, get the weather, ask the time, and play music in different rooms (and adjust the volume etc). And of course tell us jokes and sing songs. It's fun 🙂 The next step is to hook it up to the lights and dimmers.

    My wife has Google Home and it's interaction with conversation is embarrassingly stupid.

    Recent example: Google gave the weather and advised that a hurricane statement applied to our area. We waited, but nothing further was said. So she asked 'what's the hurricane statement' and got the answer 'according to Wikipedia, a hurricane statement is ....' 

    Really helpful. Sounds like the start of a Groucho Marx routine.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • funbi

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4992

    jay-h - Friday, September 22, 2017 8:55 AM

    funbi - Friday, September 22, 2017 1:31 AM

    We recently got Google Home and I'm loving it. I would also have said I prefer to "push buttons" before and have seen these devices as encouraging laziness. Now that I've seen it in action I'd very much side with the efficiency it provides. We have it in the kitchen so while baking I'm able to call out "set timer for 20 minutes" instead of faffing around with my phone's alarm. We also use it to remember things, get the weather, ask the time, and play music in different rooms (and adjust the volume etc). And of course tell us jokes and sing songs. It's fun 🙂 The next step is to hook it up to the lights and dimmers.

    My wife has Google Home and it's interaction with conversation is embarrassingly stupid.

    Recent example: Google gave the weather and advised that a hurricane statement applied to our area. We waited, but nothing further was said. So she asked 'what's the hurricane statement' and got the answer 'according to Wikipedia, a hurricane statement is ....' 

    Really helpful. Sounds like the start of a Groucho Marx routine.

    Yeah there's definitely a technique to asking and a few glitches to be ironed out, I guess it would help if it remembered the most recent question and treated subsequent ones as follow ups. Maybe that's in the development works? We also have trouble getting to the right music track at times - usually to do with our accents or not remembering song titles properly!

  • Rod at work

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 33089

    I like personal assistants, such as Cortana. However, my work environment makes it difficult for me to use Cortana. I personally don't like bothering others by speaking to any personal assistant. However, I work in a cubicle farm, so anyone can hear any conversation I have on a phone or with Cortana. I'm just more worried about bothering my co-workers, so I don't actually speak to her. However, I'll still use her in just typing in the commands. And at least in my work environment I'm one of the lucky ones, in the fact that I can have Cortana on my system. We've got one older tech support fellow who just hates change, of any sort. He deeply resents the fact that Windows XP has gone out of support. ("Windows XP was good enough for me in 2001. It's good enough for everyone.") Since the higher ups have decreed that we'll standardize on Windows 10, we're slowly getting all XP systems replaced. Once this fellow upgrades any system he does all he can to get rid of anything new, like Cortana, notifications, etc., just so that he can get back to his beloved XP like experience.

    At home I use Cortana more extensively, but even there I don't use it as much as I'd like. I've got a small home. I've got 2 small computer desks next to each other where my wife's desktop and my desktop sit, both running Windows 10. Sometimes when asked Cortana something, both machines will respond. It is funny. Guess Cortana is just trying to be helpful.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714698

    Eric M Russell - Friday, September 22, 2017 7:16 AM

    Our organization has an internal Slackbot channel that allows users to query the status of processes or status of a server. For example:

    dba, what jobs are running on [server1] ?

    That's interesting.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714698

    hjp - Friday, September 22, 2017 4:10 AM

    But what would I be interested in? Help to remember what I forgot!
    I don't need a process flow optimization algorithm to turn me into a human robot, just following orders from a machine all workday long. But it would be helpful to have a daily digest of questions I asked but never got a response to, of tasks I began work on but haven't touched for a long time, of routine things showing up in my calendar in the coming week (to help me with planning my time and provide clarity of the expected drain of mental power in the coming days). In fact: Anything that can leave my mind while leaving me in safe confidence that it will resurface when I need it to.
    The problem is: This is a crutch. And soon it will take me hours to digest the digest, leaving even less time to work and adapt new technologies.
    And if I have to call for the digest, I will forget to do so. But if it show up on its own terms, it will newer show up at a good time - because there is never a good time for being distracted from what I am doing and reminded of more work!

    That's a good use, if the bugs are worked out. I often want to get reminders or notifications of x if y, or perhaps z. Or did I already do x?

    There aren't good times, but it's the same thing with humans.  They remind you and interrupt you are poor times., so I'm not sure there's a good use case. I do think over time I'd learn to periodically query a device to ask about anything outstanding.

  • Luis Cazares

    SSC Guru

    Points: 183526

    And when you think that getting an assistant is a good idea. You might want to think twice and remember to add some security to its functionality.
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/4502204/parrot-alexa-shopping-online-amazon-buddy-african-grey/

    Luis C.
    General Disclaimer:
    Are you seriously taking the advice and code from someone from the internet without testing it? Do you at least understand it? Or can it easily kill your server?

    How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help: Option 1 / Option 2

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