Using Speech in Windows Phone 7

The use of speech recognition is fairly well implemented in WP7, being both powerful as a system function, and yet simple to use from a consumer/user perspective.

To access this feature, simply press and hold the Start button on the phone. You will in turn receive a distinct set of tones to indicate that the phone is ready to accept your voice command as input.

There are currently four basic categories for commands issued directly with the phone:

– Calling Someone from your contact list.
– Sending a Text Message
– Searching the web for keywords.
– Open an application.

List of Commands
To Call someone from your contact list: “Call contact name” (where contact name is the name of someone in your contact list). If the person has only one phone number in your contact profile, the call will start. If he or she has multiple phone numbers, you’ll hear an option to choose one of them (usually “Mobile”, “Home”, or “Work”).

To Call any phone number: “Call phone number” (where “phone number” is any phone number)

To Call the last number dialed: Simply say “Redial”.

To Call your voicemail: Simply say “Call voicemail”.

To Send a text message: “Text contact name” (where contact name is the name of someone in your contact list). This will start a text message to that person. Then you can dictate and send the message-hands-free.

To Open an application: “Open application” or “Start application” (where application is the name of any application on your phone, such as “Calendar,” “Maps,” or “Music”).

To Search the web: “Find search term” or “Search for search term” (where search term is what you’re looking for). For example, if you say “Find local pizza”, Bing will bring up a map of nearby pizza
You can also use Speech while you are already on a current call in order to use Additional commands.

Press and hold the Start button to start Speech while on the call, and then say one of the following:

– “Press number” (where number is a number from 0 to 9) to press a number on the numeric keypad. This allows you to navigate in voicemail or an IVR (interactive voice response) system.
– “Speaker phone” to toggle your speaker phone on or off.
– “Call name” (where name is the name of someone in your contact list) to put the current call on hold and then call someone else.

You can read more about these four functions at Microsoft’s How-To webpage here:

Starting a new diet

Today, I started a new diet. What does this have to do with Technology you ask?

Well, I have downloaded and installed a few apps on my Windows Phone to assist me in my endeavors. And these apps are pretty cool, and utilize all sorts of new and exciting technologies!

The first is Microsoft’s own but entirely unknown app called HealthVault, which allows you to create a profile in the totally secure Microsoft Cloud, accessible to you (and your Doctor should you enable the option) from anywhere on the planet. Enter your medicines, allergies, conditions, etc into the app and they are always available to you and your doctor.

What’s really nice about this database is that it accepts input from certain health related devices, like body scales, blood pressure devices, etc.

The next is LiveScape, my personal favorite of the three. This app accesses HealthVault to store any daily dietary updates. This includes what you ate today, what exercising you’ve done (it will automatically calculate calorie intake and amount of calories burned), etc.

The really nice aspect of this app is the ability to map your progress through charts, but also includes a built-in pedometer to measure your exercise regimen, and a map to show your route.

The last to be installed was Your Shape, the sidekick app that helps you track your exercise regimen from “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012” on the XBox 360 w/Kinect.

I’ll try reviewing each app in the near future, so check back for updates!