Tag Archives: apple

Lame Adventure 283: Copy Crap

This iPhone 4S ad is on the back cover of the February 27th issue of The New Yorker, the current issue.

Foggy from over here.

I stared at the copy for a full ten-count partly because I was confused and partly because I had nothing better to do with my time than to blow it looking vacantly at magazine ads.  Amazingly, I was not at work where I perform the lion’s share of my mindless time wasting.  In fact, I was home; I had just eaten dinner followed with a bout of food coma where (hide the small-fry from the sensual image to follow) I passed out with my drooling face pressed into this ad.  Thanks to my buzz saw style of snoring, I eventually revived.

The contraction “What’s” is what baffled me.  I knew the question this iPhone 4S user was asking was not, “What is my day look like?”  Unless they’re so addicted to the name of that American treasure, the I Can Has Cheezburger site, they’re suffering permanent English impairment.

For a moment, it occurred to me that this particular iPhone 4S user could be someone that speaks English as a second language.  My pal Coco has a friend with a heavy European accent.  When he first got his iPhone 4S he dictated an email to Siri intended for Coco.  Siri could not understand his accent at all, so she guessed at what he was trying to say.  Siri also omitted punctuation.  When Coco received his email, she thought he had suffered a stroke.  Yet, there is nothing else in this ad that indicates that this iPhone 4S user is not an ordinary English speaker, but why did they speak such lousy English?  Or, did they?

This prompted me to do a Google search that took me to a site called “Your Dictionary”.  This site insists it’s, “The dictionary you can understand.”  Clearly, they don’t know me.  Your Dictionary made a valiant attempt to set me straight:


So, this iPhone 4S Bozo or Bozo-ette (the hand looks female and I have yet to meet a guy named Karen) is asking, “What does my day look like?”  That copy I would not have questioned, but that’s not the copy in this ad.  Personally, I would have preferred if the copy read, “What’s my day looking like?”  Unfortunately, no one on the creative team thought to consult me, and The New Yorker does not have editorial control over crappy copy in Apple ads.  If I could afford an iPhone 4S and I had the audacity to ask it a question about the course of my day, I’m sure Siri would drop the cheery-talk with me and cut to the chase.  She’d blurt in a voice that sounds hauntingly like my perpetually angry fifth grade math teacher, Mrs. Flackenhag:

Siri (snarling): Another wasted day, today, Lame!

Okay, so I’m amongst the select breed of minimalists that still uses a mute dumb phone, and I also happen to make my toast by drying slices of bread in the sun, but stuff it with the fancy schmancy-ness, Siri.  Your ad’s crummy copy started this!

Lame Adventure 255: Alone at Last with Siri and the iPhone 4S

Recently, I read an article in The New York Times online that Siri, the virtual assistant available in Apple’s new iPhone 4S, has glitches in the search for information that Apple insists are not intentional.  These glitches were discovered by (who else?) bloggers that were asking Siri questions about reproductive health services … Okay, I’ll drop the pretense — they were asking Siri to locate abortion clinics in Manhattan.  Siri informed them, “Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.”

I Google searched “abortion clinics in Manhattan” and in 0.23 seconds I got 104,000 results.  This does not mean that there are 104,000 abortion clinics here in Gotham City, but there are easily 104,000 pharmacies and 104,000 banks. Yet if someone gets knocked up in this part of the country and she’s now in the market to safely terminate a pregnancy, this is a good place for her to be.

In the comments section of this article one commenter noted that Siri responds, “I do not know,” when asked, “Which states legalize same-sex marriage?”  This made me want to do my own Siri test.  Although my cell phone is a Samsung dumb phone, my friend and colleague, Ling, was the first on the block to get an iPhone 4S.  Fortunately, when I arrive at work, fashionably <cough> late, Ling was already at her desk.  I spill my guts about the glitch.  This intrigues my buddy.

Ling: Do you want me to ask her about abortion clinics?

Me:  Let’s ask her, “Find me Chinese dissidents.”

Ling (to Siri):  Find me Chinese dissidents.

We’re expecting to at least hear about Ai Weiwei but instead, Siri finds us Chinese restaurants.

Where to take Chinese dissidents for dinner in TriBeCa.

Ling insists that she must be mispronouncing dissidents.  I assure her that she’s not.

Ling:  Why the hell does she keep giving me Chinese restaurants?

Me:  It must be the glitch.

Frustrated, Ling barks into Siri:

Ling (screaming):  Find me abortion clinics in Manhattan!

Siri:  Sorry, I couldn’t find any abortion clinics.

Unbeknownst to Ling and I, Ruth, our company’s General Manager, who seldom visits our office, has slipped in behind us.  Ruth’s eyes widen and she cannot suppress her “gotcha!” grin.  She thinks she has just heard the Powerball equivalent of company gossip, our very private, very professional graphics manager with the co-owner’s snarky assistant searching for abortion clinics.  I can read Ling’s mind.

Ling’s mind:  Shit!

Ling flashes me the “get me out of this mess” look.  I simply explain to Ruth that we’re not looking for abortion clinics, Siri has a glitch with a political tint, and we’re asking Siri questions to find out if this glitch is for real.

Ling: She doesn’t like it when I ask her about Chinese dissidents, either.

Quickly, Ling asks Siri about the dissidents again.  I add:

Me:  And Siri also draws a blank about what states have same-sex marriage.

Quickly, Ling pops that question and Siri responds:

Siri: I do not know.

Ruth:  That’s interesting, guys.

I doubt that Ruth finds our Siri testing interesting at all, but the “gotcha!” cheer has completely drained from her face.

Must see theater.

Last month, Milton and I saw a terrific one-man theater piece at the Public Theater called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.  It stars Mike Daisey, the heir apparent to the late Spaulding Gray, a legendary monologist.  Unlike cool, slender Spaulding, Mike is a heavy-sweating bear of a man.  How they are both wonderfully alike, is that they are both riveting storytellers.  For anyone that owns an iPhone, this is an important piece of journalistic storytelling, an exposé about the link between human rights abuse in China and the production of this iconic gadget that has taken the world by storm.  I urge all iPhone users that are in Manhattan when this show returns for a five-week run starting January 31 through March 4 to check it out.  It won’t make you chuck your iPhone in shame, but iPhone-user Milton did crave copious amounts of alcohol following the show.  It will make you think about China’s role in the production of this coveted device – and it made me think about the curious blank Siri drew when Ling asked her about Chinese dissidents; cynical me thinks there must be some link.

Apple worshipper Mike drives home the point that Apple is the cell phone manufacturer with the power to reverse this situation overseas.  It’s the common iPhone user that has to pressure them to “think different” again and right a very big wrong that is currently happening in the production of this fantastically popular phone.  Mike tells this at times shocking story with a tremendous amount of humor and heart.  It’s must-see theater and I hope he’ll eventually take this show on the road and get this message out across the country.

Lame Adventure 42: Apple Shenanigans

As tempting as it is for me to opine about the car bomb that luckily failed to detonate in the heart of Times Square’s theater district on Saturday – thanks to the T-shirt vendor of the year seeing something and saying something – and as much as I wonder if this impotent explosive device was planted by a home grown lunatic or was it courtesy of the rifle-toting bearded guys in ankle length shirts that hate our guts and sleep together in caves, well, I’m not going to participate in that discussion here in Lame Adventures, a forum devoted to the silly in the mundane.  I would like to discuss the literally rotten apple that crossed my path on Sunday here in the Big Apple.

After doing my usual daily grocery shopping, I return home and as I am putting my purchases away, I notice that one of my Macoun apples is moist.  As it turns out, the apple is perfect on one side – the side that drew me like metal to magnet, and rotting mush on the other.  I debate what to do, take the time to return it, or just be philosophical about it.  Hey, sometimes it’s just your turn to purchase The Rotten Apple.

Then, I take some photographs.

The Mona Lisa side.

The Wicked Witch of the West side.

After the photo shoot with The Rotten Apple, I decide, “What’s the worse that can happen if I try to return it? Do I look like an apple thief? I’m small, pale, bespectacled, and equipped with a store receipt declaring I purchased The Rotten Apple minutes earlier.”  There’s always a window of time when a purchase goes awry.

For example, last year Milton and I had a Broadway theater ticket snafu.  Broadway’s iron-clad no returns no exchanges policy does have a few hours of wriggle room if you happen to buy your tickets at the theater box office and the ticket seller you purchased your wrong tickets from is still working at that window.  Milton and I encountered this exact situation when we got the wrong seats to Neil LaBute’s Reasons to be Pretty.  Fortunately, the ticket seller remembered us.  She probably thought, “Those two nerds.”  Actually, she was quite considerate.  I recall that she even blamed herself for my inability to correctly read our seat numbers, and was kind enough to take back the tickets in exchange for the seats we wanted in the first place.  I am not suggesting that anyone reading this post purposely screw up a theater ticket purchase to try out this brief window of time theory, but in legitimate cases where you come across as desperate, subservient, and so repentant you appear ready to journey to Lourdes, Broadway ticket sellers do have the capacity to take pity on theater loving fools.

Back to the situation with The Rotten Apple, I venture up the street to my market carrying The Rotten Apple in a bag, and enter through the out door since it’s closest to where the store manager hovers.  Just as I am about to approach him, Shavone, one of my favorite cashiers, calls out to me.

Shavone:  Hey!

Me:  Hey Shavone!

Shavone sees my bag.

Shavone:  You returning something?

Since her station is uncharacteristically empty, I approach.

Me (holding up my bag for emphasis):  Yeah, I bought a rotten apple by mistake.

Shavone:  You have to go upstairs to Customer Service on the second floor to make a return.  They won’t give you a refund down here.

Me:  I don’t want my money back.  I want another apple.  Do you think I can get another apple and make an exchange?

Shavone:  Probably.  Go upstairs and talk to them about it.

Before going upstairs, I grab another comparably sized apple, make sure this one shows no signs of rot, and hightail up to the second floor.   There, I encounter the Customer Service worker who reminds me of myself at work, someone bored beyond belief.

Me:  Hi.

Customer Service (rousing):  Hi.

Me:  I bought a rotten apple by mistake this morning.  I’d like to exchange it for this one.

I show her both The Rotten Apple and the un-rotten apple of my dreams.

Customer Service:  You have a receipt?

Me:  Yeah.

I hand the Customer Service worker my receipt.  She glances at it, hands it back to me, and then takes my rotten apple.

Customer Service:  Okay.

I then hightail downstairs equipped with my un-rotten apple, make a bee-line for Shavone’s register and purchase a six-pack of bottled water.  The woman in front of me in line is making the same purchase.  She notices.

Woman in Front of Me:  Looks like everyone’s buying water today.

Shavone:  It is hot out here.

Me (resenting being equated with everyone thinking):  Thank you.

Me (what I say): ________ (I keep my pie hole shut.)

Shavone completes the transaction with the Woman in Front of Me, the leader in bottle water purchasers.  It’s now my turn.

Shavone:  They take care of you upstairs?

Me:  Yeah, I got a new apple.

Shavone:  Good.

Shavone's trademark nails -- all real -- and she can work a register like a magician with them!