On Siri, Privacy and Consistency


Apple talks often and proudly about respecting its users privacy, about not sharing or storing information ‘in the cloud and about using machine learning and algorithms on the users device.

About not sharing or storing information ‘in the cloud. About using machine learning and algorithms on the users device.
Yet despite all talk of privacy and machine learning, Siri is dependent upon Apple’s servers to decipher spoken instructions.
This dependency on server based processing has a negative impact Siri’s effectiveness. On anything less than wifi or a 4G connection Siri is often unable to recognise speech.
I now drive to and from the office and I thought Siri would be a great tool for capturing thoughts and tasks as I drive. Much of my route takes me through the English countryside, where connections range from 4G to GPRS and everything in-between. At least 50% of the times I attempt to use Siri it fails, or I receive the message that my watch will tap me on the wrist when it is ready – it never does.
So why if Apple is so keen to process information on devices is Siri completely dependent upon ‘the cloud’? Having Siri process speech on the device would improve it’s effectiveness and usefulness.
Hell, it might “just work”.

Todoist Focussed View

Todoist Focussed View

I recently tweeted this image of a focussed view with in the task app Todoist. Since doing so I’ve been asked the same two questions – how do you do that and where can I get that wallpaper?

To get the focussed view in Todoist is so simple:

  • Resize the Todoist window horizontally, at a certain point the sidebar disappears and you are left with a window focussed on whatever list or view you have open.
  • Make the window wider again and the sidebar returns.
  • To access other views or lists click or tap the ‘hamburger‘ or menu button in the top left corner.

And as for that gorgeous wallpaper? I downloaded it via the app Cuto, so I am assuming it’s royalty free – download a copy.

Ernest Hemingway “Write With a Pencil”

ernest hemingway

“If you write with a pencil, you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to. First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it, and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. That is .333, which is a damned good average for a hitter.”

– Ernest Hemingway

This Is Not My Beautiful House

I love this brilliant little sketch from my talented daughter, makes me smile every time I look at it.

Notes – a Life Story, a Love Story

Wonderfully analogue – surprisingly moving.

Via — The Cramped

Power = Knowledge

I am what is known as a “knowledge worker”. I don’t make or create anything tangible; in the old days I might have been called a “paper pusher”, these days “pixel pusher” is more accurate.

I’m employed for my expertise and experience, and for my leadership and management skills – all rather cerebral and intangible.

Today I am working from home as we are having a smart meter fitted, which means no electricity and therefore no internet connection1.

The removal of power and connectivity suggests that rather than knowledge being power, power is in fact knowledge (work).

Modern (knowledge) working is absolutely dependent upon computers and the internet and therefore electricity.

Electricity is the new steam in the post-Industrial Revolution world of work.

  1. I may live on the edge of the most modern city in the UK, but we’re still waiting for the mobile networks to install masts within a workable distance. So we have a mobile signal that is sufficiently weak enough to be worse than no signal at all. One of those signals that lulls into thinking you might possibly be able to use it, only to snatch away the connection at the last minute.