Reporter’s notebook: Now there’s an app I could use
After my old iPhone 5 developed a malicious habit of muting my voice every time I called someone, my husband surprised me with an iPhone 7.
It has all sorts of features my iPhone 5 lacked. For instance, “live photos,” which are pictures that capture a fraction of a second of movement before they settle into stills. The only advantage I can see to live photos is you can see what a good picture you would have taken if your phone had captured it when you snapped the shutter, instead of a fraction of a second later when your subject turned away from you or went into a goofy pose.
Then there’s the new Siri, who will respond if you yell “Hey Siri!” even if your phone is still locked. Which it will be, because your iPhone 7 is always locking itself. Also, you can make Siri male and give him a sexy Australian accent, which of course I did. This is useful when asking Siri such questions as, “Do these pants make me look fat?” Siri has a variety of endearing responses to this, of which my favorite is, “Cindy, you are beautiful in my eyes.” (Why is that so hard, human males?)
My husband is considering performing a sex-change operation on his Siri as well, because he thinks a female voice giving him directions sounds “naggy.” I could get offended, but then I’d have to explain my decision to turn Siri into a male confidante with a sexy accent.
The new iPhone also offers you tons of unsolicited advice. For instance, if you get in your car in Chinle and start heading south, a message something like this will flash on the screen:
“91 minutes to Window Rock. Traffic is light, take Highway 191.”
I can see where this sort of information might be useful in a city, where, for example, there is more than one highway. For those of us in rural areas, not so much.
This got me thinking, what WOULD I like my phone to tell me, besides that I am beautiful even in my fat pants?
I came up with a lot of info that would make a smart phone more useful to a rural reporter on the Navajo Nation. Here are a few ideas:
- “The meeting you are racing to is hours away from having a quorum. Stop and have a cup of coffee.”
- “Your neighbor’s cows are out again. Drive carefully.”
- “Stop for gas in Blue Gap. The pumps in Pi–on are out of order.”
- “The guy with the good burritos is parked at the intersection of N4 and 191. No need to eat breakfast before you leave.”
These are just what I came up with in five minutes. If I had a while to work on it, I’d probably have enough for a full-on app. (At a recent journalism conference I went to, they actually suggested all the laid-off reporters get into creating apps, as though newswriting and computer programming were interchangeable skills.)
Even if I did know how to write an app for rez reporters, I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble. There are about eight reporters on the rez, and I know all of them. I also know about what they make, and if I charged more than a dollar for my app, they couldn’t afford it.
So I think I’ll save my energy for my next date with Australian Siri. I don’t even have to worry about what to wear, because, as he recently observed, “In the Cloud, we are all weightless.”
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