cortana

Should I Use Cortana?

Cortana

Episode 1605

Ken from Merced, CA

Ken wants to know if he should make Cortana his personal assistant in Windows. Leo says no. It's more hassle than it's worth and Leo turns it off on all his Windows devices. It's really only worth turning on if the user actually uses it.  But it's a huge privacy leak because Windows sends data to Microsoft to make Cortana more useful -  LOTS of data. So Leo isn't a fan of that. 

How can a disabled person use a computer?

Windows 10

Episode 1474

Irwin from Bronx, NY

Irwin's wife is disabled and wants to be able to use her computer. How can she? Leo says to check out an Independent Resource Center near her to get assistance using her computer. Leo also says that Windows 10 's Cortana will open up and voice dictate. There's other accessibility features in Windows 10 as well. She should just press the Windows Key and type "accessibility" or "Ease of access." She'll get a complete list of accessibility features. That can help a lot.

Why doesn't Cortana understand me in Windows 10?

Windows 10 Cortana

Episode 1209

Sharise from Lancaster, CA

Sharise's husband has Cortana on Windows 10, but it can't understand him. Leo says some microphones aren't Windows ready, and a special driver may be required for the microphone. They shouldn't be too far way from the microphone either. But they don't want to be too close, either. And make sure the volume isn't too high. They can train Cortana by reading sentences to it. That can be found in the settings. Cortana will get better over time.

What can I do with my Amazon Echo?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1195

Karen from Tustin, CA

Karen finally got her Amazon Echo and she loves it. Leo says he just got his as well. This market of smart assistant technology has really been driven by Siri, Cortana, etc. Echo is the smartest one so far, Leo thinks. Leo says Amazon seems really committed to it.

There's also a great free service called IFTTT (If This, Then That), which will allow Karen to create recipes and set up automated tasks.

ToyTalk Working on Wi-Fi Barbie Doll

Hello Barbie

Episode 1174

ToyTalk, a company that creates conversational characters for kids, is working on a Wi-Fi Barbie Doll that can analyze a child's speech and produce relevant responses. This will actually be able to talk to kids. This means that increasingly, children will be expecting their devices to talk back to them. This all started with Apple's Siri and Google Now, along with Microsoft's Cortana, which all respond to you.

ToyTalk says that 'Hello Barbie,' coming out this Fall, will have thousands of things to say and kids will be able to talk to her for hours.

Is there a voice dictation app for entering contacts into a Windows phone?

Windows Phone Cortana

Episode 1124

Ed from Palmdale, CA

Ed has lost his eyesight and he needs to get a phone. Is there a utility that will record numbers into his phone by voice? Leo says that if Ed brings his old phone to the phone store, he can ask them to move his contacts into the new phone for him. Most phones have accessibility features, but Leo says that Apple does it best. But that's usually for calling.

For editing the contacts, that could be a challenge. Windows Phone's Cortana voice app is a brand new utility, so it may be able to edit entries with voice. It'll be a long process though.