If Siri said hello to my parents

My mum recently got a new phone which is exactly the same as mine – a Samsung Galaxy Ace. Well, mine is on the Froyo build and hers is on Gingerbread, which is a newer Android version. I actually noticed the difference in the user interface as soon as I checked out her phone, but I didn’t really give it much thought. Well, duh, the OS versions are different… /bash

Anyway, that aside, teaching my mum to use a smartphone after having one with a keypad began horridly and only went downhill from there. She keeps getting stuck. I honestly don’t blame her; she sure knows how to use a touchscreen device (she uses a register at work) but I think that she just struggles getting used to one in which you can scroll and zoom and not just tap imaginary flat buttons. Many times I’ve had to teach my parents how to use some new piece of technology (or even less new, like my dad having trouble with most computers that aren’t his) and I feel a bit sorry for them, but I can’t help but become irritated. Of course, born in this new generation, and having a brother four years younger than me but also tech-savvy – having an immediate interaction with new technology is not really surprising.

It isn’t just parents or any “older” person who struggles, though – for I’ve been through the same states of confusion and worry when I’ve had to deal with a new piece of technology. I think my mum must think, “This phone is smarter than me, I wonder what it’ll do next.” Of course she doesn’t think it’ll make the perfect cup of tea, and for heaven’s sake, if she had an iPhone, she’d be asking Siri to make her coffee all the time – but she still remains in that state most of us are in when we encounter a new device, or even an operating system or, heck, a vehicle. On that note of Siri, by the way, our Samsungs also have the ability to understand our voices and print out in text exactly what we are saying.

For my mum, not so much. A garbled line of “the boy and then merry pool” was the phone’s translation to “Brandon is very rude”. I repeated this statement, with an equal amount of jest, to the phone, and it printed exactly, “Brandon is very rude”. It could be due to the fact that my mum has a slight accent, but let me tell you, she was amused by the phone’s interpretation of her words, and I proceeded to amuse her by beatboxing into the microphone, only to have it print “boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs”.

As I was saying, any new device. My boss is used to using a Mac, so of course when he encountered my highly-customised laptop with touchpad turned off, left handed mouse, RocketDock and just insanity everywhere, he got madly confused. Quite similarly, I was too, when I used his iMac and tried to scroll and it kept scrolling the wrong way. But, neither my boss or myself are “old”, and even the elderly will learn if they are keen enough. Somewhere down the line my mum will learn how to use her phone.

Today though, I simply cannot explain how she recharged her phone credit a month ago and claimed that it worked, when today she found that she didn’t have enough phone credit to call or message anyone. I found that she had in fact not charged her phone credit at all, at which point I requested her credit voucher (I used to get so annoyed that she kept those things, but now I’m thinking, thank goodness she did it just this one time) and tried it myself. She must not have done it correctly the first time because this time it actually recharged.

I have to say, she doesn’t seem all that happy with Optus’ customer service because she was hung up on twice while on the phone. I don’t know – both times, she was in the middle of talking. Her question had been answered, vaguely, and she was just repeating to check… and it was as if the person on the other end was sick of her babbling on or something?

Well, either way, I’m still going to Optus because I like their packages and they can actually give me internet data. /bounce

Comments on this post

I have heard that Siri isn’t too good about recognizing Accents, and at the moment, it’s more “American” friendly. It even has trouble recognizing American Southern accents… but Apple is sure picking up on it. I was watching this Video the other day as a matter of fact… http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/12/20/apples-siri-still-hates-british-and-southerners/ (I’m pretty sure that WordPress will mark this as spam, if so, BOO HISS).

Hahahahha well, I actually talked to my phone in a British accent (admittedly I can do one pretty well, though not a heavy one), and it picked up what I said. My mum tried Chinese and Indian accents and got a laugh out of it. Well, technology’s still developing. :P

I want to go with Optus too, they really have good plans. But the thing that worries me is their service quality: Ruben seems to have a lot of problem connecting to it with his phone, and if I change and takes ages for me to just load a few tweets I think I will get really annoyed. I would go with Telstra but they’re too expensive (their cheapest BYO plan is $59). I haven’t looked at Virgin yet, but I don’t know if they’re any good or not. /sigh

Teaching parents to use new technology can be a hassle. In the early days it was a bit frustrating to teach my mum how to use her laptop (I also was a teenager with a short temper) so it didn’t always go that well. I can’t imagine how it will if she ever gets a Smartphone haha.

Dude, they can’t be much worse than Vodafone. I want to shoot their carcasses. My brother is on Virgin as is my boss, but both say completely different things about them. It just depends, honestly. Every other person I’ve talked to on Optus hasn’t had a problem with reception.

Though, that said, people complained a lot about Vodafone’s reception but if I’m 100% honest, I don’t think I had any problems with it unless I was in (drurmroll) Hurstville (didn’t work at all, zilch, nada).

Virgin essentially uses Optus networks, and from my experience on it, you get better reception with Optus itself than with Virgin that uses Optus on VPNs. I think Optus is okay, overall. It it virtually non-existent over the holiday period because there are so many phones around and during a storm it can get shaky, but that’s only to be expected, really. :

My dad works in IT, so sometimes I go to him if I want to figure out something, most likely in terms of software installation and obtaining, though I can show him how to use his iPhone. :P My mum on the other hand has always resisted new technology so I don’t think she’ll be getting a new phone any time soon, unless her phone dies so badly she’ll have to replace it – in which case, she’ll probably use an old one I discarded.

I’ve always loved new technology. It’s something to explore and I find it really exciting. Maybe that’s why I have so many machines, although they all are a bit dodgy in some ways.

Oh wow, your post is actually very amusing to me! I can’t imagine if a family member and I have the same phone. It may annoy me a little. :)

My parents are the same, too, though my mom is more updated. My dad always ha problem on texting people and I should always help him for it. It’s the same as well – I can’t help myself but getting irritated.

I tried beatboxing using the voice input feature in my keyboard, and yes, it came out as ‘boobs boobs boobs’ LOL! XD My parents WILL find this amusing.

Just now my mom asked me why I chose this phone and what features it has. She always does this to ensure that I’m not wasting her money on gadgets LOL. /bounce

Your mom will get the hang of it, as you said. My dad has a flip phone–his first cell phone ever and he uses minutes on a phone card. I would think it would be trite and annoying, but that’s his choice. My stepmom uses one of those smart phones where you can buy it at the store and use it right away. I forget what they are called.

Btw, this is the Jess that keeps changing her journal xD. One of my new years’ resolution is to try blogging at one place under the same name for a full year–so far, it’s working. I’ve got both an Livejournal and Dreamwidth, which I update every few days. I’m hoping to stay active enough to try to find subdomain hosting soon.

That’s funny how your phone printed out the sentence about your brother and it turned it into something else. I had no idea the phones could do that. Mine’s a simple LG Envy and I want to save up for an iPod touch.

Nobody uses my computer, but then again I don’t know how to customize it like you do. I’m trying and falling flat. I tried that RocketDock and I had no idea how to use it…so I deleted it.

Customer service sucks nowadays. My dad had to call a store back during Christmas because they forgot a present and the lady was extremely rude to him, rude enough he called her manager and ranted about it. We got some free coupons from it, but really! Where I work, that never would have been tolerated.

Both my parents prefer to make calls rather than text. We get free minutes since we’re on the same network… but my mum and I are changing networks, and we’re all going to change eventually. My parents are too slow at texting!

My mum works in retail and has for many years. She knows that as someone serving a customer, you have to respect them and they’re always right, even if they’re wrong. It’s really dumb, though, especially if you get an annoying and rude customer. I still don’t think that staff should be rude at all though.

Good luck saving up for an iPod touch! They’re pretty cheap nowadays, or you can look on eBay or Amazon…

My mother SHOULD be pretty tech-handy seeing as she’s a software engineer and continually developing new software. For some reason working in such a dynamic and changing line of career has made absolutely no impact on her ability to cope with new technology. My dad bought her an iPad as a spontaneously present while he was out on a business trip in LA several months ago. Although she quickly became acquainted with it (let’s be honest, iPad basics are quiet self-explanatory once you get over that it’s a touch screen), she still looks like she’s a first time user and completely baffled by it. She insists on using only her pinky finger to lightly dab it and screwing up her face in concentration (which may be because her vision isn’t as good as it once was, granted) but she doesn’t look as at home on the technology as younger people do swiping away at their shiny smartphones and gadgets. I think there always will be a difference between the older generation and the younger generation when it comes to technology. I can’t wait until the ironic day when I’m forty going on fifty years old and can’t for the life of me understand the new gizmos of the day. I don’t own an iPhone or any fancy gadgets but if you ask me to work one, I can figure it out as if it’s a natural sixth sense. I guess we’re just more wired.

I think I’d personally be too scared to use Siri. I don’t buy into “the robot apocalypse” scenario but I’d rather try to cling onto my last precious whisps of sanity I have left and NOT talk to a phone. I’d just feel insane asking Siri questions. I just think younger people GET new technology.

My mum would probably look at me oddly if I beatbox for Siri. “What ARE you doing?” D: She’s not sure what beatboxing is and I’m not sure if boob humor is quite as funny when you have a career and a family. I sure hope so though…

hahaha if any of my parents bought themselves a phone with touch, i think it just would’ve been a matter of time before they returned the thing back and bought a “normal” one. i think they find it hard to keep up with the constantly new technology. they’re satisfyed as long as it works properly!! :D even they’re not good with technology i find it helpful that they’re good in other things so that we can help each other! :D

when i tried a mac for the first time i had trouble to navigate as well! the mouse wasn’t scrolling at all, and suddenly the windows flew across the screen and disappeared hahaha!! :D though i’m glad i’ve figured it all out now, it was fun in the start!! :D

thank you!! <3 yes my mom believes writing and reading english will help me improve. i read english every day now, and i almost write as well because of the web site :D

I happen to be one of the millions of people in the world with an iPhone. It was actually a hand-me-down from my brother. It’s pretty old, and all of the buttons on the side have fallen off. They’re the buttons that control volume and lock/unlocking, so occasionally it will increase the volume of the music I’m listening to without me touching it. It’ll go all the way up and scare the crap out of me. D: Time for a new phone, maybe? :P

Haha, my iTunes mostly consists of more modern music, so I just kinda went through all of it and chose the most colorful albums. But yesss, I will definitely add the ones you suggested! I can’t believe Abbey Road didn’t cross my mind! And Dark Side of the Moon – I absolutely adore that album!

Voice recognition is not that great these days. Google Voice is good at garbling what I say. And really, each major accent is going to need its own training dataset, which hopefully the companies can acquire and work on.

I’ve seen older people completely fail with technology, and I’ve seen older people (usually the ones who were with computers in the 80s) excellently hook up a system together. In time, everyone will know how to use a smartphone, and I’m glad that there are a lot of older people who are trying to learn how to use technology instead of just saying it’s a stupid toy for us youngsters to play with, as is the stereotype.

Windows + Rocketdock is halfway to a Mac, right? :P

Reading this reminds me of all those times I and my siblings had to teach our parents how to use various technologies. :P Especially my dad. It took him awhile to remember how to get on YouTube with the PS3 and I’d always have to help him, but now he’s a pro. xD Then, my sister had purchased him a HP Touchpad, so that was another thing for us to teach him. He still has a slightly hard time using that Touchpad, like when the WiFi gets wonky.

I used to get irritated too when I was the one trying to teach my parents how to use something, but after some time, they eventually remembered how to do it and no longer would need me.

God I hate talking to companies with shitty customer service. The other day I was talking to Straight Talk (a prepaid cell phone service) and I got so fed up with this dumb woman who kept running me around in circles that I finally demanded to speak to someone else. /ugh

I’ve never actually been able to just “play” with an Android phone. My best friend has one but he knew once I’d start playing with it that would lead to an end of us enjoying a movie and talking. Ha ha. I have been able to “play” with an iPhone – it did take a while for me to get used to, as I don’t have any touchscreen items at all. But I still say I’m happy with my blackberry type phone. The most I do is text, tweet and maybe read an email – that’s all, nothing too extreme, I’ll even take a phone call like once a month. Ha ha. I’ve always had to help every member of my family with new technology, I’m used to it now. Even my younger brother I’ve had to help with technology, which seems odd but he only uses technology when it’s a MUST.

Telstra hung up on my Mum so she went with Optus who were awesome to her. I go into a store and talk face to face because I find that easier especially if I just the tech jargon, because then I get to speak to an actual technician who gets what I am saying which is nice.

My Mum drove me up the wall when I taught her how to use Windows. I was ready to throw her laptop out the window and her with it!!

Heh and what it thought your Mum said. That’s totally amusing. I am with Telstra because it seems to work better here with the iPhone 4. And my iBook and iPad … No complaints from me, but I think ALL phone services need better training on their phones because their customer service is disgusting in all areas. And I won’t put up with anyone being rude to me. Especially when the majority of the time I know more then they do. THAT annoys me the most. 💥

I have the HTC Vivid, which is the newest version of the HTC, and I believe it runs on Gingerbread as well. There are differences in user interface but I’m not sure if it would look different when customized with themes?

My dad is the one that has trouble with the touchscreen, because his fingers are too big. :P My parents still use Internet Explorer if I don’t force download Chrome for them, but other than that I don’t think parents, guessing ages 45-50 since you’re about my age, are the worst when it comes to learning new technology. Last, last summer I had to teach my grandmother how to use a laptop. O/_O

So the Samsung Galaxy Ace has that iPhone 4S voice control thing? It must cost a lot then. That’s really funny “Brandon is very rude” can go to “the boy and then merry pool”! I always have fun playing with the iPhone 4Ses in the stores. I would give you an example of my mom’s if I can remember. =(

My mum has thin fingers but she was so confused as to how people with large hands could possibly type on a touchscreen phone. :P My parents are just over 50, though, and I guess it could be worse. I think my parents are just confused. But when I talk to the elderly couple next door they seem like they could be so much more patient with my explanations compared to my parents. Hahaha.

Also, since my dad recently had problems on his computer with IE, I kept telling him to get Firefox and went into a long explanation about how IE was causing all his problems, and he finally got it. XD

Hellooooo :).

Haha when I first looked at your blog, I saw the words ‘Froyo’ and ‘Gingerbread’ (no idea why I was attracted to those particular words) and thought it was about food (I am now craving frozen yoghurt and gingerbread D:. Probably not a good combination). Now that I’ve actually read your blog, I’m amused at the fact that the different versions have food-related names :P. Man they update so fast D:. You didn’t get your phone *that* long ago D:.

My mum would DIE with a smart phone. She gets confused with my slide phone. Eg. ‘Lilian, if your phone rings, how do I answer it?’…Me: ‘OMG Mum…IT’S LIKE THE EASIEST PHONE TO ANSWER, you just SLIDE IT!’ Hahaha but then again, I would also die with a smart phone like that. SO CONFUSING @_@.

LOL at your Samsung phone thing…app? Hahaha! I wonder what happens if you whistle at it XD. I’ve heard that Siri is terrible with accents D;. Like if you have a Chinese accent and you say ‘Wok’, Siri will interpret it as ‘Walk’? D:. Technology is not foolproof!

I’d be lost trying to use your laptop too. Like MAAAAAAAAAAAAAJORLY lost D:. Rocketdock is cool though :D.

How rude of Optus to hang up on your Mum :(. That’s TERRIBLE customer service. But at least they didn’t try to telemarket all this crap at her (‘Go on this plan!’…’Get this new phone’…’Do you want to upgrade to the new iphone 4s?’)…and THEN hang up D:. LOL if someone did that to me, I’d change survivors. Hope optus treats you guys better than Vodaphone :P.

That’s why they named them after treats/desserts! There’s Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich… actually that’s all, Ice Cream Sandwich is the newest version. Notice the pattern? ;)

I suppose they do update pretty fast but the good thing is that the system is stable, and I guess that’s all that matters. :P

My mum was so confused trying to figure out how to answer her phone. You just have to slide the green button on the screen. It’s alright though, when I first received a phone call I thought the green button just had to be pressed… but no, you had to slide it. xP

We had Optus knock on our door once and offer us some broadband service, and I said I wasn’t interested in what they were selling. The idiotic man said he wasn’t selling anything and just kept telling me all this information. It was just a trick, he was trying to sell something, because he said, “well, here we have this package…” 🤬

I tried to teach my parents when it comes to new tech. too xD and sometimes i got irritated. haha!~ :3 maybe because when you have tried to teach them on the next day or other day they are struggling again on a same situation. LOL. and I feel very sorry to them too. I just don’t know why o.O anyway. your mom got a cool phone! xD hehe. I always want to have a Samsung galaxy xD though I am still contented in my phone right now. /bounce

Ah, Optus. ‘Tis a love hate relationship, but ever since they let me convince (bully) them to upgrade our internet data allowance mid-month to my very lovely 500GB plan, I’ve decided they’re worth the hassle to put up with.

Try my family and their computer-using abilities (my brain is getting befuddled and using dodgy terminology because for some reason I’m tired as bacon, bear with me :P). I had to spend two hours on the phone to my grandma the other day explaining how to copy and paste. She’s had a computer for upwards of ten years now, she should be able to do this by herself. Instead, she seemed amazed that it was even a function and repeatedly couldn’t comprehend its complexity. And yet she still tries to convince me to teach her something like ripping audio from a YouTube video. She’s struggling to open her browser.

I’d hate to see what it would be like to spring smartphones on them :D

That thing with the voice recognition is very funny. I’ve only tried it on Siri when I’ve been wasting time in the Apple Store, but I find that it doesn’t pick up my voice very well either… not sure why. I’ve got a very slight British accent from excessive watching of Misfits and other lovely British shows, but really, there’s nothing too strange going on about my voice. Naturally, I BLAME THE TECHNOLOGY! /angry :D

Thanks for your comment and the support <3

Technology is such a different language, and it proves it when we actually have to read the manual to figure stuff out. “Translation please!”
I wonder if older folks would attempt to learn a new language as in Romanian or something. If not, that really makes me understand why it is so hard for them.
For me, I kinda wish my mom used email less, because she emails me five or six things a day for chores and what not and I don’t want it in my inbox. I’d rather five or six pieces of paper. What happened to paper and pen, is my question.

Pretty amusing with the beatboxing. /um

I agree. I get easily irritated when someone is less tech-savvy than me, but I have to try to keep calm. xD Technology is very helpful, but it can also be annoying at times. Like when your iPhone’s mute device breaks making it unable to stay on silent mode, and when you set it to silent mode, it vibrates every time you touch it because it thinks your touching the button. :/

My mum is absolutely rubbish with technology. I’ll teach her something and then within the half hour she’ll forget lol, so I just give up. I get quite excited with new technology and want to try everything out, but sometimes in a massive hindrance especially when I need to get things done and the computer crashes x_x umph.

Haha, I’m getting an iPhone in March, I hope that Siri can understand my proper London accent, I bet your mum is having a ball with her phone.

PS. I’ve sorted out the links and things on my site so you should be able to comment now.
Take care xo

I actually never knew my phone had that voice recognition thing on it haha; when I first read your blog, I tried it out. It’s not brilliant but I had a fun playing with it for a good hour or so. :P You learn something new everyday!

Mine is Gingerbread too; I didn’t know yours was Froyo, so that could explain why it’s different on my phone to take a screenshot? I don’t know. I actually never knew there were different names for them until I looked, pah.

I recently taught my mum how to use a laptop and boy was it hard work. She thought Google itself was a completely different browser to Internet Explorer, that somewhat amused me greatly. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I guess it applies to the older generation in some ways? :P One day our own children will be trying to teach us about new technology, and they will obviously get frustrated too. :B

It took me a while to get used to my new phone though; after having a BlackBerry (and before “non smart-phones if you like) it was hard adjusting to a touch screen and I still get frustrated with it now. I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it in no time. xD

Asdfgh, I hate it when professional companies hang up on you, so damn rude. I’m with Virgin and whilst their customer service is absolutely shit, they have really good deals and overall are pretty good. Good luck switching over to Optus though! :D

Be back to return your comment, my laptop is about to restart – damn Windows updates. XD

Ha, I am trying to keep up with your posts. I usually give up after a while, though. :P

Your tastebuds do change as you get older, apparently. My parents keep telling me that they hated vegetables when they were young but as they hit their 20’s, they loved it and I would too… I doubt that somehow. :P Only veg I like is raw carrots. XD I remember when I was younger, I had dinner at a friends house and her mum was REALLY strict and she made me eat all my dinner but she put peas on my plate and I hated them – I was swallowing them whole so I wouldn’t taste them LOL.

That’s probably true, some people do say things like that for attention. /shrugs

My mum bought me a different gluten-free bread yesterday and it’s not half bad! :D You are making me hungry but I’ve eaten SO much today, like I can’t even move, aha. Pasta is the shiz!

Luckily my mum has never made me peel garlic, and good job too. :P James seem pretty neat with stuff like that haha! Potatoes suck; my mum can peel like 10 in about 2 minutes, she amazes me.

Thanks for the tip. ;) I’ll definitely give it a try next time I have boiled eggs. :D I sometimes have hard boiled eggs, but I’ll leave them for a few hours to cool down, peel the shell off and slice the egg up, nomnomnom.

That is pathetic, not everyone needs the toilet at lunch. It’s stupid that your mum had to convince them he had to go when he needed to go, though. They should just let kids go when they need to go, especially at such a young age. My teacher wouldn’t let me go to the toilet once and I wet myself, I was like 6 years old haha. :(

I like when it gets dark early, but I hate that it takes forever to get light in the mornings. I can imagine how hot it is there right now; we’ve had a mild winter this year which is pretty lucky, although, I would prefer it if it snowed, wah. :(

You don’t need to reply to this if you don’t want to, by the way. /hehe

ohhhh man it’s the same EXACT thing with my parents! @_@ i feel your frustration but it’s good that you know where your parents are coming from. it makes me worry how i’ll be in the future, haha! i have a smartphone myself but i feel i still don’t use it to it’s fullest. i only recently started using it’s GPS system :x

hahaa but that’s funny! i do the reverse of what you do — i type crazy stuff and let the phone repeat it. it’s unnatural intonation patterns are hilarious XD and i know how your boss must feel COMPLETELY X_X i use Windows and whenever i have to go onto my friends Mac, i’m like UHHHHHH OKAY SO WHERE DID THE PROGRAM GO?! X_X

Trying to introduce my mum to my Galaxy S2 was a pain too, and now after she saw the Galaxy Ace, she told my dad that she wants one. I immediately backed out of tyring to teach her, hahah. I remember one incident where my mum called me from home (I was in university at the time) just to ask me to teach her how to send an email, lmfao. I was, like, “Ma, you called me just for THAT?!” I suppose it’s harder for them to understand because there were no such thing as touch screens back when they were at our age.

But then again, it is true what you said. I mean, when my friends had an iPhone (the first generation), I was so excited and was, like, how the hell do you read the texts when you view it on the browser? Lmao. I still get really confused using a Mac :S

I don’t think this confusion only applies to older people. It applies to us too, especially when we’re not familiar with the interface and features. :)

Oh man, old people with new technology is just a bad mix. Occasionally midly entertaining, but generally baaaaad. Still, I’m no better, trying to use my friends laptops when I’m so used to my own, it’s a nightmare.

Have a good 2012!

Hi Wuggs!

Yeah, older people and technology. i guess it’s the way we’re sort of better than them at finding information in a digital environment, hoho. :3

The more features something has, the more likely something can go wrong. /sweato hopefully your mum’s problem gets resolved soon

Siri could be quite clever; not really capable of being innovative but they’re trying hard, they are. /eee


When it’s our turn to get older, like our parents, do you think we’ll treat technology that way? I hope not. I hope that growing up around technology will make it easier for us around new stuff when we get older.

I saw a feature on tv about how Siri doesn’t do well with anyone who doesn’t have an American accent. I wonder why. I think the Google Voice thing learns the more you use it, so I’m sure it’ll get your mom after enough practice.

My mom actually knows how to use my laptop now! I’m so proud of her. She only uses it for Facebook, but it’s a step, right? :P