Advertising
Advertising

Being Productive With Siri, Your New Personal Assistant

Being Productive With Siri, Your New Personal Assistant

    The other day we detailed some of our favorite iOS 5 tips and tricks. Today we are going to look at the awesome things that you can do with Siri on the iPhone 4S (or if you are a hacker type, on the iPhone 4, too).

    Siri is very much a beta product, but can give the user some handy ways to do things quickly while not interrupting their workflow. First we will outline some of the quick things that you can do with Siri to get things done.

    Sending messages and emails

      It’s super easy to send messages and emails with Siri. First, activate Siri and say “Send email to” or “Send message to Rutherford, I will be late for the party”. Siri will understand this natural type of language and will respond with something like,

      “Here is your messages to Rutherford. It says, “I will be late for the party”. Ready to send it?”

      From here you can do a number of things. You can respond by saying “modify it” or “change it” to wipe out the message portion and start over. You can say “no” or “cancel” to cancel the message entirely. Or you can simply reply “yes”, “send it”, or “confirm” to send the message.

        One of my favorite ways to send text messages with Siri is to say, “tell Amy that I will be home in about 15 minutes”. The fact that I can say “tell Amy” is so natural that it reduces the friction between me and my productivity tool allowing me to simply use it.

        Advertising

        Calling businesses and other things

        To call a business or place that isn’t in your address book simply say, “Call Big Daddy’s Steak House.” Siri will respond, “I don’t see Big Daddy’s steak house in your address book. Should I look for businesses by that name?”

        Respond “yes” or “no”. If Siri finds it she will ask you if she should call the business. Simply respond “yes” or “no”.

        You can also find businesses and places in different towns or cities (only in the US for now) by saying, “Call ‘some business name’ in Houston, Texas.”

        Calling a number is as simple as dialing it out loud. “Call 8675309.”

        Taking notes on the go

          I don’t use the stock Notes app on the iPhone much (read: not at all) as I am a plain text kind of guy, but with the addition of Siri to the iPhone 4S, the notes app may deserve another look.

          To make a note with Siri simply say, “Note, this is a really important note!” A note will be created with that said text. To create a note with a “title” say, “Create a ‘inbox items’ note”. Siri will know that this is the “inbox items” note and then you can use that name to add to it with “Add, think about what to buy mom for her birthday to my ‘inbox items’ note”.

          Siri will “tend to” add this to your note that has already been started. I’ve had trouble with this one but when it does work (I’d say 8 times out of 10) it is extremely useful.

          Setting appointments, timers, alarms and reminders

          If you have noticed yet, I love just how conversational Siri can be. With that, setting appointments, timers, alarms, and reminders is one of the easiest things you can do with Siri. In fact, you may not even need to know the exact “syntax” to these things as just saying something like, “set a timer for 4 minutes” will produce a running timer.

          Advertising

          Calendar appointments

          Say, “Set up an appointment (or meeting) at 6pm next Monday with my wife.” You can even say something like, “set up a meeting with Mike Vardy every Friday at 3:00am”. This will make a recurring appointment in your calendar as well as invite Mike Vardy (as long as he is in your address book) to the meeting when you confirm it.

          Timers and alarms

          I use these all the time at work because they are so easy to do. Say, “setup a timer for 25 minutes”. Done.

          For alarms say, “set an alarm for tomorrow at 4:45AM”. You can even say something like “set an alarm for every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6AM”.

          Reminders

            We covered reminders in the last iOS 5 guide, and even though that Apple’s implementation of tasks is pretty great for a first stab, Reminders won’t be replacing my GTD system of choice any time soon. But, reminders gets much, much more useful now that I can create them with Siri.

            Setting up reminders for when I leave my house or when I arrive at work feels like I’m living in the 2000’s finally.

            To setup a reminder say something like, “set a reminder for when I leave home to remember to grag the TPS reports.” Or “set a reminder for 6PM tonight to stop and get my wife roses.”

            The “Hacks”

            OK, so all of the cool things you can do with Siri are awesome. But what about some things that aren’t supported out of the box? Take a look below for some of our favorites.

            Add a task to your favorite todo list app, notes app, etc.

              Adding tasks to services like Toodledo, RTM, or even OmniFocus requires a little setup, but is pretty easy to do. In fact, on the RTM blog they just posted a way to add tasks to the native Reminders app and have it sync with RTM. We are going to show you a more generic way to do this though that you can do with any service that allows email or text input.

              Advertising

              There are a bunch of web services that allow you to add items over email or even text message. Some of the ones that come to mind are Twitter, Toodledo, Evernote, OmniFocus, Remember the Milk, Springpad, etc.

              Let’s take Evernote for example:

              To send a note to Evernote from Siri setup a contact in your iPhone’s address book called Evernote. An even better thing to do is to setup two contacts. One with the First Name ‘Evernote’ and another with the first name ‘Ever’ and the last name ‘Note’. This will ensure that Siri won’t screw up recognizing when you say “Evernote”. Next, put your “send to Evernote” email into your Evernote’s contact info.

              After this activate Siri and say “Tell Evernote that I have to rethink the way that we are going to launch the site”. Siri will read it back to you and then you can confirm the send.

              This proves to be one of the most powerful things that I can get my iPhone 4S to do.

              Setting up Twitter

                It seems like a total misstep that Apple didn’t add Twitter support out of box. What’s even weirder is that Siri knows what Twitter is but just won’t help you out in Tweeting.

                Bad Siri.

                But there is a way to get around this. Make a contact called “Twitter” in your address book with the standard SMS number of ‘40404’. Also, you have to setup Tweeting by SMS on Twitter.com or over your phone by sending your password. After the initial setup, say, “tell Twitter that sending messages from Siri is awesome”. Siri should reply with her familiar “Here’s your message to Twitter. Ready to send it?”

                Advertising

                Set up adding to OmniFocus inbox with Siri

                  For you OmniFocus nerds out there, here is how you can send to your inbox with Siri (that is until the geniuses at The OmniGroup bring us something better). You need OmniFocus for your Mac with the Mail.app rules setup. Refer to this OmniGroup forum posting to set that up.

                  Next, set up an OmniFocus contact like I outlined above for Evernote. For your email address, use one that is set up in your Mail.app but instead of the regular email address, add ‘+omnifocus’ before the ‘@’ symbol. For example:

                  Your email is “my_email@example.com”. Use the email “my_email+omnifocus@example.com” for your OmniFocus contact info.

                  Now use Siri by saying “tell OminFocus that I need to grab some coffee when I go to the store”. The next time you sync with your OF database you should see your new inbox item.

                  Siri on productivity

                  Since we have only had a limited time with Siri, there will of course be more and more neat tricks uncovered as time goes on. But, I can already tell just how important this way of interacting with your iPhone will change productivity in the coming years.

                  I had a huge realization the other day when I had my earbuds in listening to music and programming. Something came to mind that was totally unrelated. I always have paper next to me to jot quick notes and reminders down and then come back to them to process. Instead, I long held my headset button and said, “tell OmniFocus ‘such and such that I needed to remember’”. Then I went back to listening to music and working. Later, when I was processing my inbox I realized that I captured something into my system with the least amount of resistance that I have ever experienced.

                  Now, I’m not saying that Siri is perfect. Not by any means. I’m also not saying that Apple has invented voice recognition and we should blindly follow and worship them. What I am saying is that Apple has provided consumers with the first accessible voice recognition and, dare I say, artificial intelligence that normal people can use. There can be a bit of a learning curve to get Siri to do exactly what you want it to do, but for the most part it is intuitive and extremely useful.

                  Good productivity tools are the ones that are useful and can stay out of your way. Siri accomplishes this task and I can’t wait to use it more and more in my everyday workflows.

                  More by this author

                  CM Smith

                  A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

                  5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better

                  Trending in Technology

                  1 10 Best Power Banks to Top up Your Phone at Will on the Go 2 35 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated) 3 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated) 4 19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020 5 19 Best To-Do List Apps to Keep You on Track in 2020

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Published on August 6, 2020

                  10 Best Power Banks to Top up Your Phone at Will on the Go

                  10 Best Power Banks to Top up Your Phone at Will on the Go

                  The alert beep for low battery serves as a death call when you’re running late for work or are out on the town and need to make a call. Luckily, a super convenient alternative to your regular charger and charging wires is available in the form of power banks[1]. Easy to carry, lightweight, and affordable power banks have become the perfect companion for every mobile phone. In order to assist you in making the right choice for the purchase of power banks, we have compiled a list of the best power banks to guide you.

                  Why Trust Us

                  The importance of a well-charged phone cannot be underestimated. Keeping this in mind, our team has gone through many reviews and product descriptions present on the most reliable tech websites. From the smallest and lightest portable chargers to those that come with several years of warranty, our featured power banks will not let you down and will be worthy of your investment.

                  1. Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Portable Charger

                    As the best power bank the market offers, Anker PowerCore has a battery of 10000 mAh, which can charge three and a half iPhone 8 or two and a half galaxy s8 charges. The power bank has PowerIQ and voltage boost technologies, which can charge your phone in no time. Large size-to-capacity makes it a convenient item to carry in your pocket.

                    To ensure the protection of your device, this power bank from Anker comes with a multi-protect safety system. The box also includes a portables charger and micro USB cable. You can carry it around safely with the included travel pouch. An 18-month warranty and friendly customer service are also included to give you a perfect power bank experience.

                    Pros

                    • Large size-to-capacity ratio
                    • High-speed, universal charging
                    • Red, blue, black color options
                    • One of the smallest and lightest portable chargers on the market

                    Cons

                    • Qualcomm quick charge is not supported
                    • The battery may not work well after some time

                    Get this power bank here!

                    2. INIU 20000mAh Power Bank

                      Made of top-quality materials, the INIU Power Bank charges your phone 1.4 times faster with UPower+ technology. It works smartly by identifying your device and simultaneously increasing the current output. What’s great is that you can charge two devices at the same time. INUI recognizes its place as the thinnest lightweight power bank on the market.

                      The paw indicator on the power bank illuminates its remarkable design, and it includes a flashlight inside, which can be used in emergency conditions. You can charge the power bank quickly with a micro USB or a type-C cable. Consequently, it’ll save you the hassle of finding the specific cable for a charge. INUE comes with a three-year warranty to give you peace of mind.

                      Pros

                      • Thin and lush design
                      • Dual 3A output
                      • Flashlight included
                      • U Power+ technology

                      Cons

                      Advertising

                      • It doesn’t come with a pouch
                      • Standby time is less than six months

                      Get this power bank here!

                      3. Miady 2-Pack 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger

                        An all-in-one power bank solution for your needs, Miady includes two 10000 mAh battery packs. The power bank contains two USB output ports with an equal amount of current distribution. While one can charge 2.4 times for iPhone X, 3.6 for iPhone 8, and 2.2 for galaxy S9, you won’t be needing a socket anytime soon.

                        You will be able to charge the power bank in 5 hours at 5V and 2A. Miady contains a reliable Lithium-polymer cell, and you can also carry the power bank on a plane. It can power off and on automatically if the device is disconnected for 30 seconds. This portable charger is compatible with 99 percent of smartphones and is one of the cheapest power banks available on the market.

                        Pros

                        • One of the best-value options compared to its rivals
                        • Efficiently distributes current output
                        • Vibrant color options like yellow and purple

                        Cons

                        • Not suitable for big devices like the iPad

                        Get this power bank here!

                        4. Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger

                          Anker 20100 mAh Power Core offers a huge amount of battery capacity. As one of the best power banks on the market, the 20000 mAh battery capacity can charge an iPhone 8 almost eight times or an S8 five times. In addition, the power bank can hold a charge for up to seven days, so you don’t have to plug it into the wall again and again.

                          You can use the voltage boost and power IQ recharge to charge a phone efficiently and quickly. The power bank is also pocket-friendly and certified safe as it ensures protection for your smartphone or tablet and you. Its dual-device output enables you to charge up to two devices at the same time. Anker is made out of premium material to give you the best durable power bank on the market.

                          Pros

                          • High-speed charging
                          • Huge 20000 mAh capacity
                          • Enormous 4.8-ampere output
                          • Certified safe

                          Cons

                          • It may start charging slowly after a few months of use
                          • Qualcomm quick charge is not supported

                          Get this power bank here!

                          Advertising

                          5. Anker PowerCore 13000mAhPortable Charger

                            Another Anker, the Anker PowerCore 13000 Portable Charger offers a huge battery capacity in a sleek design and has the ability to charge an iPhone 8 up to 5 times and an iPhone X or an S9 three times. You can also charge your phone or tablet with the two high-speed ports that are included. Anker comes is a smaller size than that of a wallet and is one of the best lightweight power banks compared to its battery size.

                            Anker is 30 percent lighter than most other power banks. Power IQ and voltage boost technologies are included for fast-charge devices. Power IQ also identifies devices to calibrate the charge to your phone.  Anker has surge protection technology and short circuit prevention. You can rest assured that it will take care of you and your devices. Plus, you are covered with an eighteen-month warranty.

                            Pros

                            • Power IQ technology
                            • Super high capacity
                            • Red, black, blue, white color options

                            Cons

                            • No Qualcomm quick charge
                            • Wall charger is not included

                            Get this power bank here!

                            6. GETIHU 10000mAh Portable Charger

                              GETIHU offers high-quality power banks with their 11 years of experience in the market. The GEITHU portable charger has a certified Lithium-ion battery, which gets it the approval for airline travel. With the help of an LED display, one can know how much battery is left. You can quickly charge up to two devices with 4.8 Amperes at the same time.

                              High-speed charging is accompanied by a smart IC to auto fit your smartphones. It can work with both big and small Android devices. GEITHU can easily fit inside your bag as it is slim and portable. Choose to take it with you with the travel pouch and feel comfortable taking it everywhere as it has a three-year warranty.

                              Pros

                              • LED display with the battery percentage
                              • The 4.8-ampere charges two devices simultaneously

                              Cons

                              • The LED display may not show the correct amount of charge left

                              Get this power bank here!

                              7. Anker PowerCore 26800mAh Portable Charger

                              Advertising

                                Anker PowerCore offers a massive battery, which makes it one of the best power banks on the market. The 26800mAh worth of charge can charge phones more than six times. It has three USB outputs so that you can charge three devices at the same time. Power IQ and voltage boost make the high-speed charging available for all three devices.

                                You can charge the whole power bank in 6 hours. The two micro-USB inputs double the recharging speeds. It is light and durable, which makes it the best companion for your travel needs. The multi-protect safety system protects you and your devices. Friendly customer services and an 18-month warranty are there to provide you with the peace of mind you need when you get the Anker PowerCore.

                                Pros

                                • Triple device charging
                                • Dual-input power bank charging
                                • Superior safety
                                • A week’s worth of power

                                Cons

                                • Performance may decrease over time
                                • A bit heavy due to the big battery

                                Get this power bank here!

                                8. RAVPower 16750mAh Power Bank

                                  RAVPower offers a vast battery of up to 16750mAh in size. It can charge your iPhone 11 two and a half times, S10 for 3.3 times, or an iPad for a full charge. With a current output of 4.5 amperes, it can charge up to two smartphones at the same time. You can quickly charge the power bank with a two-ampere charger in about 9 to 10 hours.

                                  The flashlight is included in the power bank for emergency use. RAV is also tested against high temperature. Its iSmart technology tests your device for the optimal current value needed. Premium batteries comprised of lithium-ion can charge a device more than 500 times.

                                  Pros

                                  • Impressive 16750mAh battery
                                  • iSmart technology

                                     Cons

                                  • It does not hold a charge well over time

                                  Get this power bank here!

                                  9. RAVPower 15000mAh Power Bank

                                     

                                    Advertising

                                    RAV power bank features a controlling IC and iSmart technology. These come together to offer a fast charge for your smartphone or tablet. You can take your iPhone 11 from 0 to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. iSmart 2.0 can adjust according to your charging device and offers the necessary current. It’s possible to charge up to three devices at the same time with three outputs.

                                    The portable charger can be charged within 4.7 hours with the ultra-fast charging, thus saving you 40 percent recharging time. RAV can fit comfortably in your pocket or your hand. An LED digital display shows you exactly how much charge is left inside. High-end lithium-ion batteries, along with protection technology, give you peace of mind wherever you take this power bank.

                                    Pros

                                    • 30W total tri-output and fast recharge
                                    • Led digital display

                                    Cons

                                    • Weighs a bit more than most power banks

                                    Get this power bank here!

                                    10. LANLUK 25800mAh Power Bank

                                      The LANLUK 25800 mAh portable power bank can charge your phone 5 to 7 times, and it is perfect for any type of work that you are heading out for. You can charge up to two devices simultaneously with the help of two outputs.

                                      The high-quality lithium A+ polymer battery is used to give you peace of mind as the power bank protects itself from overheating and overcharging. The portable charger is compatible with nearly all the phones and tablets. 18-month customer service is available to give you even more peace of mind. It is an all-in-one power bank solution for your needs.

                                      Pros

                                      • High capacity battery
                                      • Highly compatible

                                      Cons

                                      • Not permissible on planes

                                      Get this power bank here!

                                      Bottom Line

                                      Choosing the best power bank is a bit hard task as there are many types of power banks available in the market. The one that you’d like to choose must depend on your needs. If you will go out for a long hike or a long trip with no power socket input, then the one with a bigger battery will be useful. However, if you need a solution to charge your phone while in the office, then something with a lightweight and durable design will be a better choice for you.

                                      Choose one of the best power banks from above and never worry about your device dying again.

                                      Featured photo credit: Steve Johnson via unsplash.com

                                      Reference

                                      Read Next