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15 Awesome Things You Didn’t Know Siri Can Do For You

15 Awesome Things You Didn’t Know Siri Can Do For You

In the world today, our portable devices are increasingly sophisticated. Among the more impressive current features is voice command technology. iPhone users are likely familiar with Siri, the Apple voice command platform, but many remain oblivious to some of Siri’s best features. Luckily, all it takes are a few key phrases to master the incredible things Siri can do for you.

Raise To Speak

Typically, a user activates Siri by pressing and holding the Home button on the iPhone. If you’re a fan of simplicity, you can toggle a feature called “Raise to Speak”. Visit Settings>General Settings>Siri, then slide the Raise to Speak button to the on position. Instead of bothering with the button, you can now put your iPhone to your ear and Siri is automatically activated. If your phone is locked, you need to hit the button once to wake up the screen so Raise to Speak will work. Additionally, this feature is deactivated when you’re in a call.

Post To Twitter Or Facebook

Another great thing Siri can do for you is post to social media accounts. Make your day easier by simply saying “Post to [Twitter or Facebook]. Siri then asks what you’d like to say. Dictate your post, then send when Siri confirms your message. Keeping in touch has never been easier, but so far, Siri only recognizes commands for Twitter and Facebook.

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    Search For Tweets

    In addition to tweeting for you, Siri can search Twitter too. Simply ask “Search Twitter for [subject or person]”. Siri immediately responds with a list of relevant tweets, from users across the site. Another trick Siri can do to make your day more efficient.

    Change It

    Sometimes Siri can misunderstand you, especially when dictating long messages. Should Siri read back your message and the wording is wrong, just say “Change it”. Siri will immediately go back to the previous prompt so you can reenter your message. This is a helpful thing Siri can do for you, eliminating the need to edit a message by turning Siri off, then asking to email or text the contact again.

    Siri Can Do Math

    Not only can Siri solve quick math questions, Siri is surprisingly effective with complex problems as well. Ask Siri to solve problems by saying “What is [math question]”. You can also use this feature to help calculate a tip in no time at all. Not only will Siri tell you how much to tip, but also the total cost of your bill with the tip added. Lastly, Siri can do quick decisions on the go. Simply ask Siri to roll a dice or flip a coin for an instant result.

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      Save Directly to Evernote

      If you’re an Evernote user, you can save new Evernote documents without even unlocking your phone. Simply add your unique Evernote mail-to address into your contacts (found in your Evernote account details). Next time you’re hands are busy and you need to remember something, ask Siri to send an email to Evernote (or whatever you named the contact). Dictate your email then send, and your details are instantly saved as a new document on your Evernote account.

      Location Based Reminders

      Sure Siri can set alarms and reminders, but did you know that Siri can set reminders based on where you are? One of the cooler things Siri can do for you, location based reminders mean you’re never too busy to stay on task. First, make sure Location Services are enabled for Reminders under Settings>Privacy>Location Services. Then, add the locations you need to your contacts. Tell Siri “[Contact] is my home”. Repeat for work, school or any other frequent location. Now Siri can do reminders for when you leave or arrive somewhere. For example, tell Siri “Remind me to call John when I leave work” to have the reminder go off when you’re done with your day.

      Convert Measurements

      Similar to Siri’s math abilities, Siri can be an effective unit converter. Ask Siri any unit amount and the unit you’d like to convert it to for a quick solution. Not only will Siri give you the result of your conversion, but a short list of additional conversions as well. Having Siri do your conversions is much faster than looking up units the conventional way, plus gives you related information you may need anyways.

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        Remember Relationships

        If you’re tired of dictating a contact’s full name every time you want to message or call them, Siri can remember who they are by relationships. Under Settings>General Settings>Siri, make sure you’re own contact information is entered. Then, activate Siri and say the name you’d like to connect a relationship to. For example “Pete Morris is my dad”, or “Jane Sommers is my boss”. Siri will ask you if you want the relationship saved – select yes. In the future, you can ask Siri to contact your wife, mother, friend or boss without using their name.

        Pronounce Names Correctly

        One of Siri’s other features is learning how to say a name. If Siri butchers a friends name, or chronically can’t find a contact when your pronunciation differs from the system’s, don’t panic. Decide which contact you would like to change the pronunciation of, then ask Siri for their phone number. When Siri replies with the contact’s number, simple say “That’s not how you pronounce [name]”. Siri will then give a few pronunciation options, and you can choose which one to use in the future.

        Search Emails

        Another great thing Siri can do for you is save time when looking for an email or note. For example, ask Siri to “Find email with my new schedule”, or “Find email with Friday’s Documents in the subject line”. You can also use this command to have Siri find emails from certain contacts, or search your notes.

        Check Dates

        Along with a math and conversion whiz, Siri is a master of dates and holidays. Ask Siri when a holiday happens for a quick answer that includes the day of the week. You can also ask how many days until a certain date, if you don’t like counting on your fingers.

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          Make Reservations

          Siri uses Yelp when you ask for details for a certain restaurant, but is also capable of connecting to OpenTable. This is a huge advantage, because OpenTable allows you to book reservations directly. Tell Siri to make a reservation at your preferred restaurant to easily access OpenTable. For example, say “Make a reservation for tonight at 8pm at Vic’s” to hear what’s available on the restaurants OpenTable page. Siri uses your location to help determine which restaurant you’re looking for, so mention the city if the restaurant you need a reservation with is not nearby.

          Easily Access Settings

          Tired of thumbing through your seemingly endless settings panel? Siri can do better. To save time, simply ask Siri to open specific settings. Siri can open the vast majority of your settings options with simple commands. For example, you can say “Open wallpapers and brightness”, or “Open mail settings”. Similarly, ask Siri to open an application, and your phone immediately switches to that screen.

          Find Airplanes Above You

          You can easily check the status of a flight by asking Siri and including the flight number. However, another fun thing Siri can do is give information on planes above you right now. An especially fun activity with kids, simply ask what flights are above you right now to see a complete list of visible planes. Siri gives the flight numbers as well, if you’d like to find out where these flights are headed.

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            Featured photo credit: Kārlis Dambrāns via flickr.com

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            Alicia Prince

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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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