MUSINGS Smart money’s on Siri


Smart money’s on Siri

Diary of a home bird
Ciara Galvin

The fear of God was put through me by a headline in one of the national newspapers last week. It’s not what you think, those talented brewers in Clonmel are still producing cider and Pat McDonagh has not pulled his beloved Supermac’s franchise out of the south Mayo area. Well, hey, any of those becoming a reality would be a tragedy in my eyes.
The headline read: ‘Generation gap narrows as over-55s make fastest switch to smartphones’. My mind said: ‘It’s only a matter of time before the roomies make the leap’.  
In the ’90s my father was one of only a handful of people we knew who had a car phone. Granted it was the size of half a NASA space station, but it was still the most technologically advanced thing I had ever seen. When he would return from work in the evenings I would go out to the driveway, hop into the car, and ring my best friend’s house phone, just because I could. (Don’t think the male roomie’s employer was best pleased.)
Since then, pops has upgraded to many’s the Nokia. His current one belts out Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny be Good’, to which he still immediately asks the room ‘I wonder who that is?’ before  looking at the screen.
In recent times, questions about smartphones have surfaced, triggering my initial fears.
Only last week, he picked up my iPhone 4S for a look. While he did not realise he was holding it upside down, he seemed to get the gist of it, before asking ‘And tell me this now, is that an iPhone? I was looking at a Samsung iPhone in the shop the last day, what are they like?’
After a crash course in explaining that Apple makes iPhones, which is a type of smartphone, and that Samsung makes completely different smartphones, the conversation ceased. Not to be too hard on the male roomie, but technology has never been his strong point.
A number of years ago, the process of him recording a voicemail message on his work phone resulted in colleagues and customers getting more than they bargained for.
After the professional message came a long pause, followed by, ‘Ciara, how the hell do ya (expletive expletive) stop this thing … beep’.
As I was oblivious to pop’s recording difficulty, the message was left on his phone for a number of weeks before my sister rang him and heard the rather unorthodox voice message.
When asked why he’s thinking of investing in a smartphone, the male roomie says ‘Well ya know, I might want to go on ‘the google’ and look up the golf results’, which leads me to believe that, in the same way that I could have rung my friend from the house phone instead of dad’s carphone many years ago, he wants to look up golf results on a phone instead of the PC because ‘he can’.
Then again, could a smartphone ease my woes? Perhaps Siri (the iPhone’s inbuilt intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator) could tell Dad how to navigate instead of yours truly while eating brekkie and getting ready for work, as happened one morning last week.
And maybe Siri could explain to the male roomie how to make a fruit salad without my sarcastic tone. ‘Dad, you get fruit and you put it in a bowl’.
Well, here’s hoping.

In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.