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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Cortana Can Sing!

I'm sorry to have kept my avid readers waiting - as they are aware, this is my first blog post for the year. I suppose I hadn't had anything notable to write about... So, a belated Happy New Year to you all!

*

I'm a bit disappointed in myself, to be honest. I can't believe that I only learnt today that Cortana can sing (sing me a song)! I am quite the Cortana fan and I enjoy asking her to tell me jokes (tell me a joke). It's a nice little bonus when she raises the pitch of her voice at the end. In fact, Australian Cortana has quite a nice voice and it doesn't have an overly synthetic sound, which is fantastic.

In some ways I probably like Cortana because I was never able to participate in the Siri craze. That doesn't bother me though and I'm not ashamed to admit that I've never properly or extensively used Siri. Before I moved to the green pastures of Android (absolutely no regrets, by the way) I had two iPhones. Now I don't like Apple (personally and morally) and their products don't appeal to me (too basic and dysfunctional, but that's another story), but I will admit that I loved my iPhone 3GS. It was my first smartphone and it served me well. Until it fell victim to the all-too-common extra-sensitive-won't-stay-on-silent silent switch issue. Then I had an iPhone 4. It was OK but nothing special. After that I got my current phone: my trusty and much-loved Nexus 5 (first-gen, not the X). Of course, neither of my iPhones had Siri. And I've never had an iPad and don't intend on getting one. I'm an Android person. Vanilla Android. So I've had a Nexus 7 and I'm now on a Nexus 9.

Anyway, that's why when Cortana finally launched in Australia on Windows 10, I was excited. (And I'm still waiting on an official Cortana app for Australia on the Play Store, Microsoft!) Of course I'm going to be biased (and I can't actually speak for Siri), but who cares? I love Cortana. She may be buggy and may force you to use Bing, but her AI is fun and her Australian accent is top-notch. And as I mentioned before, she has prosodic features! Cortana is the best mobile and desktop AI out of "OK Google" and Siri. And speaking of "OK Google", as much as I love Google and Android, "OK Google" just isn't fun. It can answer you and read Wikipedia snippets in a fairly natural voice, but it doesn't have a name or gender and - granted, I only found out today about Cortana's lovely singing - can't sing. To be honest, for such a massive, influential company, Google surprises me and probably a lot of others with their fairly basic (obviously not in terms of programming) AI.

Cortana can also do impressions (do an impression). I also didn't know this until after she finished singing and suggested - textually - that I tell her to do an impression. And what better introductory impression than... 'It's going straight to the pool room'! And if that doesn't make you love Cortana, I don't know what will. Maybe her telling you where F3 is on the photocopier.

~LP

As always, leave your comments!

I want to know: Does Siri tell jokes with expression? Do you use Cortana? What do you think about Cortana?
How well do you know quality entertainment? Did you get the reference in the last sentence?

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