Do You Have What It Takes to Be the New Siri?


Siri is not a woman who lives inside your phone but a computer programme organising your life.

Siri is now in need of some new writers to put together jokes, witty banter, and other various bits of human-sounding things for Siri to say.  Apple posted the job on LinkedIn, so get your résumé together.  They clearly need some sort of a new writer, because if they really think “Siri’s known for ‘her’ wit, cultural knowledge, and zeal to explain things in engaging, funny, and practical ways,” then they’re more out of touch than anyone guessed …


Franciscan Friars want you to text your prayers


Just a month after Pope Benedict XVI launched his official Twitter account, other representatives of the Catholic faith are giving new meaning to the term, “religious text.”

The Holy Name Province, self-described as the largest group of friars in the USA, announced that they are now accepting prayer intentions via text.

Called “Text a Prayer Intention to a Franciscan Friar,” the program encourages participants to text the word “PRAYER” to 306-44, according to a release. Senders will then receive a welcome message inviting them to submit their prayer intentions. After they are sent in, participants will receive another text confirming that their prayer has been received and will be prayed for.

Father David Convertino, executive director of development for the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, said in a statement:

“With technology changing the way we communicate, we needed to offer people an updated way to ask for prayers for special intentions and needs either for themselves or others”

I see this as a great use of technology, an organisation which has existed for years, which many would see as irrelevant offering a connection in a thoroughly credible manner. Do you think text messaging is a good way for religious bodies to connect with their followers? Discuss in the comments below.

iPotty entertains toddlers during toilet training


Hannah and I have recently been toilet training Daniel, our oldest, he’s done really well, but I wonder if this invention would have helped him or just distracted him, and I’m clearly not the only one thinking that, with Wired asking the same question.

The makers of the toilet don’t want parents to worry about any damage to their tablet — the training potty comes with a clear cover to put over the iPad, as well as a splash guard for boys. The potty can also be disassembled for easy cleaning, CNET reported.

iPotty with iPad

Daniel loves the iPad and is very proficient with it, and quite happy playing with it for a long period of time, but I’m not sure I would pay $40 to have a potty to which it could connect.

What do you think, is this a good invention or an over priced bit of plastic?

YouVersion Bible Reading Notes 5 million plans completed

YouVersion logo

YouVersion first launched Reading Plans in 2009, and since then people have used the Bible App to complete 5 million Plans!  That’s no small achievement!

It is an app I always recommend to others, the flexibility of different versions, the variety of reading plans that allow you to engage whether you like to read, listen, or watch your daily selection make it the go to Bible reading app.

Below is some visual data to help put the numbers in perspective:


Would you make your child sign a parent-child contract when giving them a smartphone?

Yesterday I blogged on how a 13-year-old’s iPhone came with an 18-point contract from Mum.  There’s been lots of discussion on the web about this, so I’m intrigued to hear what do others think:

Game over for PlayStation 2

Playstation 2

It looks like “game over” for the PlayStation 2.

After selling more than 153.6 million units over 12 years, Sony Computer Entertainment of Japan has announced that it is discontinuing the console, with no new shipments slated for retailers. (This is only for Japan at the moment, though it’s likely the European and American markets will follow suit.)

With PlayStation 3 development in full swing, and several new games on the way for 2013, the decision makes sense. But the PlayStation 2 had a long shelf life and introducing a number of game franchises and sequels that have enthralled millions of casual and hardcore players alike.

The PlayStation 2 debuted in 2000 and spent several years competing against Microsoft’s Xbox system, Sega’s Dreamcast console and Nintendo’s GameCube. The system launched in the U.S. with 29 games, including landmark titles like the snowboarding game “SSX” and the arcade driving game “Ridge Racer V.” Eventually it would see even bigger and better games through both long-awaited sequels and original titles.

The PlayStation 2 was also the place to find several big-name sequels. Polyphony Digital’s “Gran Turismo” racing series became more life-like than ever before, with exquisite visuals and realistic gameplay that made you feel like you were really behind the wheel. (It would become the go-to simulation for car drivers all over the world, working in collaboration with Logitech’s state-of-the-art Driving Force GT Wheel.)

Rockstar Games managed to make its “Grand Theft Auto” games better than ever before, between such best-selling hits as “Grand Theft Auto III,” the 80’s based “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City” and the urban-based “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” all of which sold well into the millions.

When the PlayStation 3 came out in 2006, Sony shifted its focus to that new hardware, but kept the PlayStation 2 on the market, lowering it to a $100 price with various pack-ins. (Depending on where you bought it – you could get “Lego Batman” and “Toy Story 3″included). It continued to sell well throughout the years, and some developers continued to make games for it, like EA Sports with its “Madden” franchise. But by the time 2012 rolled around, no new games were slated for it, and the writing was on the wall.

13-year-old’s iPhone comes with 18-point contract from Mum

Janell Hoffman of Cape Cod, Mass., said she wants to ensure that her son, Greg, does not abuse or become addicted to technology so in giving him an iPhone for Christmas, she also made him sign an 18-point contact which for example, controls when he must turn the phone off for the day and forbids ignoring calls from his parents:

Greg Hoffman’s Christmas present came with strings attached ­– 18 strings, to be exact.  The 13-year-old’s mom made him sign an 18-point contract before handing over his new prized possession: an iPhone.

“Oh my God. My first reaction was ‘Why? Why did she really have to do this?’” Hoffman told ABC’s “Good Morning America” of the iron-clad list, which dictates when and how the teen can use the smartphone.

“Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn!” Hoffman’s mom, Janell Hoffman, writes in the agreement. “You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.”  The first rule reads: “It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?”

Janell, of Cape Cod, Mass., writes in the agreement that she created the list to show Greg that he can “coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.”.  “What I wanted to do and show him (is) how you could be a responsible user of technology without abusing it, without becoming addicted,” the mother of five explained to GMA.

The contract stipulates when Greg must turn off his phone for the day and where he is allowed to use it. It also forbids the teen from ignoring calls from his parents or using the phone to hurt others.  Other rules in the agreement prohibit Greg from using the phone to look at porn or to send and receive “pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.”

If Greg fails to follow the rules, the phone will be taken away, Janell warns in the contract.  “I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come,” she adds.  “Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you,” the contract later continues. “Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without Googling.”

Cellphone etiquette has become a major source of concern among parents as more and more teens put smartphones on their wish lists.

Here’s Janell Hoffman’s full list of rules for her son, originally posted on her blog:

Dear Gregory

Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?

2. I will always know the password.

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”. Not ever.

4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person ? preferably me or your father.

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone. Merry Christmas!