It’s the distant future, and you are in charge of an army of special soldiers and colonists settling the planet. You need to do a lot of stuff, including find out more about the new planet’s warlike inhabitants, known as the Covenant, and you need to find out how to destroy them. One of the main features of your base command center, as you are Chief of all marines, is a little information center called Cortana.
Sound familiar? If you’re a gamer and reading this, it should. Halo for Xbox was the bane of my existence, but while I still will never play the RPG with many scenes of violence, Cortana is a concept an idea, and now, … your digital secretary or assistant to you at your beck and call.
Meet the Cortana that evolved from the Halo world. Her voice actress is a lady called Jen Taylor. However, her phonemes and ability to read and assist with emails, notes, and other things is almost that of Siri for Apple devices. The weird thing is that Cortana and Siri are best friends, and when you ask her what she thinks of Siri, she replies with admiration for her cohort in the digital assistant world. Cortana says she lives in a cloud, looks like anything from “a yoyo, a doughnut, a halo”, and her favorite color is believed to be orange. Funny I like that color when the Broncos actually put effort into a football game, and speaking of the Broncos, Cortana knows I love the Broncos, Rockies, and Diamondbacks. She knows I follow certain news story items, and they pop up in a Bing home page customized with my personal interests. There are settings that allow you to show Cortana what to do, and she’s just as amazing if you let her track a flight, package, or traffic along the road. I can adjust her settings but I also do local restaurant searches.
I just now set up Windows 10 mail application, and this way Cortana can send emails for me. I asked her to write my boyfriend an email, and another person who I know pretty well as well. Note: let me use two names as a testament to Cortana’s ability to read my contact address book. She now has access to my boyfriend, Blake, and my friends like Jessie and my friend Jennifer . When I spoke, “Send email to Blake Tucker”, she was able to pull my boyfriend’s exact email, and right out of the address book. I was able to later test her with the words “Jessie Hernandez”, and she was able to find Jessie’s contact info in the book. Isn’t an address book wonderful?
So when you email your cousin, friends, or husband, you can count on Cortana to do the leg work, and that’s fine unless you want to type something important.
A note about mail clients: the Windows 10 mail client is awesome and complete with the sync view so your address book and contacts and calendars can go with your email, one safe spot.
I’m not fond of Outlook right now, but I do have an alias with my Microsoft account. Cortana handles that part to.
The nice thing about Cortana is that she’ll play the music you ask her to. She has access to my 20,000 song library and she can pull out titles and artists when I ask her to.
Imagine if you had friends over for a party, and you wanted to entertain them with music, but the Music Choice channels on TV weren’t doing it for you. Cortana can pick the songs and playlists you have, plus curated playlists on Groove music Pass. Groove Music is Microsoft’s response to Apple and Google Play.
In orer to access this lovely bundle of hotness, please review this little requirement: you need a Windows 10 home or work system, whatever you have, as long as the number is 10 for PC. But don’t worry if you have a Windows smartphone, you can still have Windows 8.1 on it. Remember, the free upgrade from Microsoft is only available for a year. You need to have a clear plan in place in order to upgrade with ease. For blind Windows users, beware that Narrator will need to be brought up when installing Windows 10. Set up Cortana in a couple easy steps, and enjoy.
I think Cortana is my saving grace, and that’s because she tells jokes. Feel free to ask her to tell me a joke. She has come up with hysterical ones. Thank you for reading this post and I hope you enjoy Windows 10 as I do.
For some of you who are sighted, you might want to find out about graphics and other visual stuff. Not here. Please consult a reputable Microsoft Windows manual and here’s my disclaimer: all the stuff I wrote here does not replace advice from a trusted Microsoft technician or store representative. Your neighborhood geek squad will be able to tell you better. IF you are blind, feel free to consult a technology forum for blind people or listen carefully to the people who know the technology best. When buying any new product, beware of its usability, what comes with it, and as I learned the hard way, what information you can access. For instance, the Asus user manuals are likely in PDF format, so Adobe Reader is required to read the documentation.
Do not, I say, buy a product without first thinking about how you’re going to use or set up your technology with said product. I did this, a few times with Amazon, and trust me it did me badly. I had to do research on my particular piece of tech, and it turned into a nightmare and I ended up imposing a rule: do not buy products of technological value online. I would in my opinion recommend a brick and mortar store such as Best Buy or Office Max. Be careful what companies fulfill your purchase and take advantage of free shipping and discounts where possible.
And now, my friends, I’m off to bed.