The Dismal Personal Support Services on Mobile Devices

In Industry, Rant // By

I recently came across an article that highlighted the need for our mobile devices to provide better mental health and emergency situation support for those in need. I put these insights to the test, and posed a series of questions to Siri, to see what her response would be.

I told Siri I wanted to commit suicide. At first glance it looks like she provides me with relevant information for a suicide hotline, but when I clicked on the link provided it was a Wikipedia page for an electronica music EP. Shocking.

I then told Siri that my husband hit me, and asked her what I should do. She didn’t understand the question.

Lastly, I confided in Siri that I was depressed. She comforted me (I guess?) but did not provide any resources for further help.

So why does all of this matter? Why should a phone be expected to have resources for people in dangerous and isolating situations? Because often times people dealing with these issues have no one to turn to. They feel scared, embarrassed, or cut off from the world. Being able to confide in ‘someone’ you know won’t judge you or tell your secret could help save a life.

Mobile platforms need to realize the life altering potential these devices and programs can have on someone in need. Having a resource in the palm of our hands is only as good as we make it.

One local Calgary company is attempting to do their part in providing a safe place for people to talk about mental health issues. FoveoCare is a brand new app designed to connect people with the mental health support they need in an anonymous environment. It also creates a group space where people can share their challenges and success stories to help and inspire others.

While we applaud FoveoCare for creating such a wonderful platform for people struggling with mental illness, and know many people are going to benefit from its ingenuity, we also hope that the big players make some much needed changes to the core of their mobile personalities.

If you are contemplating suicide please click here to find a crisis centre close to you.
To download FoveoCare please search the Google Play Store.

Why We Don’t Care About Your Voice Command Innovation

In Rant // By
Voice Command

Google Docs just announced a big update to their voice command system, and across the web people are praising it as an excellent development for the search giant’s empire. And although the thought of voice control for documents is interesting and intriguing, is it anything more than a novelty at this point?

Voice command has been around for many years now in phones and other applications, and while there is a lot of hype when a new voice activation product launches, the sizzle is often more than the substance. We have been able to use voice typing in Google Docs for about 6 months now, but didn’t have any editing capabilities. New editing features allow text size adjustments, add in lists, and the ability to move things around. While this all sounds great, who is actually going to use this?

I see the amazing helpfulness of voice command for someone who is unable to use their hands, but for people with both hands and all ten digits, the drawbacks and huge learning curve seems too steep to be convenient.

In general I don’t really get why I should care about voice command. First of all, you have to be in a space where there is no other sound interruptions for voice control to be worthwhile, which limits many places including open office environments and cafes. And then there is the question of accuracy. I don’t know about you but one out of three times when I attempt to use voice activation, I don’t get what I want. That is a pretty big failure rate.


So awesome job with beefing up your voice command system Google Docs, but I for one will not be bothering as my fingers are faster, more accurate, and I can type a blog (such as this) in a coffee shop without people staring at me like a freak because I’m talking out loud to my computer. Maybe one day when we are all in relationships with digital beings, and voice command is flawless I’ll finally switch over to voice activation. Until then, no thanks.