Early Light

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is a wonderful celebration of the contributions and sacrifices by the Nation’s sailors, soldiers and airmen at home and abroad. Whilst war should not be celebrated, we should never forget the hardship and loss suffered in the name of our national interests.

The War Memorial has a spectacular straight line view to Parliament House. From the War Memorial visitors can see what was fought for – democracy and freedom. From Parliament House the government of the day can see the reminder of the sacrifices made for that.

This image was made pre-dawn on a cool Winter’s morning.

This is my first post using the new Flickr web embed functionality. Let me your thoughts on how it looks.

Siri Performance Improvements

MacRumors has today reported on a study by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster showing improvements in performance of the iOS virtual assistant Siri.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has regularly assessed Siri’s accuracy in terms of correctly interpreting and answering queries, has issued the latest version of his Siri report card, noting that Siri has continued to improve under iOS 7, particularly in terms of being able to properly interpret questions being asked.

My anecdotal feeling corresponds with this view – not only is Siri (I service I use daily) getting better in terms of the range of information being sourced, but it is doing a far better job of interpreting my inputs. When I previously asked it to call my colleague Mike Davey I would get a response along the lines of “Des, I don’t understand. What do you mean by call my baby?”. Now it gets Mike Davey everytime.[1]

Marco Armant (@marco) isn’t quite so enamoured:

This is good, but the biggest problem I always have with Siri is reliability, not quality of answers.

For a while I got a lot of responses indicating Siri’s apology for being down. I haven’t had that experience now in several months. My experience is more like that of Federico Viticci (@viticci):[2]

It’s still far from perfect, but I’ve been using Siri on a daily basis for phone calls, directions, and Wikipedia integration. I particularly appreciate how iOS 7 made Siri smarter in understanding pronouns, indirect speech, and verb conjugations.

Anyway, Siri is an important part of my daily iOS usage, and I generally find it to be reliable and constantly improving. And I still love finding Easter Eggs.[3].


  1. I know I could’ve trained it to interpret that name better, but I had never got around to it.  ↩

  2. Maybe the Australian Siri and the Italian Siri share the same servers, or at least use different servers than American Siri…  ↩

  3. If you’ve never asked Siri about the plot of the movie Inception give it a try.  ↩

Avoid Presentation Interruptions in Mavericks

I’ve written before about how I believe that system interuptions should be completely disabled during presentations, and how Windows devices shouldn’t be used for presentations if possible because of their propensity to interupt the user anytime.

In my experience, Mac OSX devices are far better for presentations because the system tends to not interupt you when doing important things. With the recent enhancements to the notifications functionality, there is a growing possibility that individual apps will popup notifications that will appear on screen. So you might get a text message on screen, or a news update, or similar.

OSX Mavericks has a great way to avoid this. In System Preferences navigate to Notifications (System Preferences>Notifications) and in the Do Not Disturb option check the box to turn on DND “When mirroring to TVs and projectors”.

Attention to detail like this will allow your presentations to be smoother and you will be less likely to have your presentation, train of thought and audience’s attention interupted.