Morning Discussion

By Alice O'Connor, Feb 10, 2010 5:00am PST "You shouldn't do that," she sighed. "It'll hurt."

"Nonsense! You just need to concentrate." He pulled the trigger and a bullet tore through his thigh, embedding itself in the walnut-effect laminate flooring. She shook her head.

She started, "I did say..." but trailed off as he gritted his teeth, took aim then fired again.

His lower leg flopped to the ground as his thighbone splintered and gave out. He furrowed his brow and went to raise the revolver again but paused. The damned mole on his knee didn't seem so much as troubled by the whole ordeal, let alone removed.

"Ah," he uttered, raising one finger. "No, my mistake. Dreadfully sorry. You're right--it does smart a little. Could you possibly ring for an ambulance?"

The alternate Morning Discussion blurb for today follows: That snow, eh? Tsk! Can't decide whether it's coming or going. Wotta loada old tosh and no mistake, my son.

If you have BioShock 2 chat to chat, hey, here's a dedicated chat thread.

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  • Free iPhone App Recommendation: Siri Personal Assistant:

    Anyone else tried this? I saw an article about it on TUAW and was skeptical, but eventually decided to give it a try and was surprisingly pleased. The gist of it is to take the Google search app's speech-enabled search feature and make it work better by having it do a limited number of useful things.

    For example: Open the app and say, "Coffee shops near here" and it gives you a list of places to get coffee based on your location. You can have a more refined search by saying something like "Best Italian food within walking distance of my office", and it combines the location of your office that you gave it with a listing for italian food, sorts it by the average review on Yelp and limits it to what you can walk to. Then you can say "reservation for 2 at 8:00" and, if the restaurant uses the OpenTable service and you've set up an account, it makes the reservation for you at that restaurant. You can even filter just by restaurants that have open reservations.

    It'll also do:
    Movies ("Get tickets for 3:00 showing of movies titled Avatar at the Irvine Spectrum Theater")
    Local businesses ("Where's the nearest gas station?")
    Events ("What concerts are happening near my house this weekend?")
    Taxis ("Call a taxi here now")
    and a number of other things that you might find useful.

    What i think is pretty cool about this is that none of the things that this app does is particularly new for the iPhone app store, but this app does it well. Everything is natural language with minimal presses. The information is presented well and is easy to navigate. It tells you what it's going to do in a clear way so you can understand it if it doesn't show you what you want. It plugs into a lot of other services in ways that make it useful, but it doesn't rely on you thinking to use those services, so making a reservation for a restaurant you just looked up is a natural and easy thing to do that doesn't take any extra time. It's like having Cha-Cha, but it does things for you rather than just providing information and it's not relying on a person to do the work, it's actually all automated.

    Addendum: The app says it's made for 3GS, but I've had no problems using it on my 3G.