Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fun With my Christmas iPhone 5s

I can't resist sharing my fascination over the capabilities of my Christmas present, an iPhone 5s.

We went yesterday to the Verizon store, and I upgraded to the 5s, and we installed Linda's phone number on my old iPhone 4, at least until her previous plan can be updated.  I had signed up for iCloud previously, and all of the apps and data (very important!) were transferred onto the new phone from the old phone.  That made the transition really easy!

I missed the introduction of Siri (voice activated knowledge base - ask a question, get an answer) and FaceTime (a phone to phone video conference) on the iPhone 4s and 5, so this has been a new experience for me.

It turns out that Siri doesn't know much about genealogy, but "she" knows how to search for information.  Here are some of my questions:

1)  What is genealogy?

2)  What is the number one genealogy website?

I don't agree with the #1 referral above.  My hope was that it would say Genea-Musings.  Not!

3)  Who is the number one genealogist in the USA today?

Siri missed on that fault I guess for putting USA and Today together in the question.

4)  Why did Frederick W. Seaver move from Massachusetts to San Diego in 1940?

It found my blog, but the specific post isn't the right one.

5)  Why did William Knapp move from Dutchess County New York to Woodbridge New Jersey in 1804?

Siri found my blog post about potential Knapp families, but didn't answer my question directly.

6)  Do you know Thomas J Newton's birthday and birthplace?

Siri has no clue on this one, she somehow found a date of birth for Jane Newton and calculated how old she was.  Why doesn't Siri know that I'm in Pacific time?

7)  Where are my ancestors hiding?

Siri tried to help - she found some blog posts and forum messages.

So that's fun.  I think that it has potential to help with relatively simple things - like county names, distances between places, finding definitions, etc.  At a minimum, there are links to Wikipedia and other resources for the user to click on and learn more about the subject.

I'll keep playing with it mainly for the novelty value.  Do you have suggestions for real questions?  What have you asked Siri about genealogy and family history?

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


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