Monday, July 6, 2009

Honey

The first time I used a GPS system was in an AVIS rental we picked up at the L.A. airport and drove up to Santa Barbara. Had a reasonable female voice. I called her "Honey." The joke wore thin with my wife in a couple of days, but my daughter never got tired of it.

Now, when I'm driving my daughter to swim meets or wherever and she's reading the google directions to me, she does a pretty good job of imitating Honey. Turn left on Shawnee Drive, she says in a slightly robotic voice.

Today she had an interesting idea. What if people gave you samples of their kids voices, and you programmed Honey to sound like the kids? You could have your daughter's or your son's voice giving you directions, keeping you company on your trip away from home. Sort of a personality module downloaded into any Honey. Turn left on Shawnee Drive, Daddy, the little Honey would say.

I like it. Hell, you could even give the personality modules personalities. Instead of just the wife, you could have the nagging wife. How many times do I have to tell you to turn left on Shawnee Drive, Bonehead? Or the husband who refuses to ask for directions. That turn is around here somewhere. Give me a goddam minute, will you? Old guys could ramble. Old ladies could talk about the grandkids between turns.

The possibilities are endless.

16 comments:

Decidere said...

In Japan, old people can rent "children" to come visit them since real children never seem to have time. These real live children say children-like things to comfort the elders, more comforting than the original biological relations, since they're trained to be all those things most of us aren't as frail, vindictive offspring.

But personally, I like a good antagonistic bar argument more than anything. Someone agreeing with me would likely bring out my ire, but someone with a contrary disposition, especially one who knows the words to hundreds of decent songs, well, that's a marketable item in my book. So if I'm ever home-confined and can't limp to the bar, that's what I'll order.

Billy Glad said...

Dare I mention The Martian Chronicles?

Tom Manoff said...

Can I be your daughter's agent ?

quinn the eskimo said...

I already have enough voices in my head.

Billy Glad said...

I think Des was hoping we could replicate yours, quinn.

Rootman said...

What if you could program a blog so that any post would cause the server to automatically generate a comment that took the original idea of the post and made an analogy based on blogging?

Billy Glad said...

Or what if we had the Rootman version. Turn left at the seven-headed soul eater, take a right at the gate of enlightenment, go two kalpas, pull in at the neon sign.

Decidere said...

The Quinntian Chronicles. Quinntin Crisp. Exiled to Quinnepac, PA. Leading to The Inquinnsition. Rinny-tin-tin, Quinny-quinn-quinn. And I can't get it out of my head. And why do these aliens keep staring at me through the bars and glass? And what's with the peanuts? Can't I get a good drink around here?

quinn the eskimo said...

You all may be onto a nice little earner for me. Turns out, I have a monotone that makes most computer voices sound like Tiny Tim. After attempting to make it more interesting and finding I only possessed a Volume Up, Volume Down button, I turned to tried and true Italian approach - arm-waving, fist-pounding, hand signals.

But if they're after nice bland car voices, I'm their guy. Maybe I'll phone the "New GM" this aft, see if there's any interest.

Second thought, can you imagine Des' voice coming at you? Free associating, explosions, screams, orgasms, animal orgasms, multi-linguistic... If North Korea ever gets into the car business, we got just the guy for their cars.

Antepilani said...

"BINGO fuel"

"BINGO fuel"

I read somewhere that this voice is an Australian woman and she is used for most of the major brands of GPS and anywhere a voice over is needed by computer aided gadgets

Billy Glad said...

You all probably know that "Bingo Fuel" is the warning pilots get when they are running out of fuel.

When my son was in Desert Storm, my wife and I watched the Pentagon briefings twice a day and everything CNN and other news sources threw up. One of the best ones was a Kuwaiti pilot going after a third Iraqi jet while the lady was calmly repeating Bingo Fuel, Bingo Fuel. But the absolute tops was an American pilot chasing an Iraqi jet while the lady was chanting Bingo Fuel. You can hear him tell his wingman to turn on his afterburner so he wouldn't lock on him by mistake right before he launches a missile. I believe that may have been the inspiration for the scene in Courage Under Fire when Denzel Washington orders his tank battalion to turn on their lights so he can tell them from the enemy.

Billy Glad said...

The Iranian air force will last about 72 hours when the time comes.

Billy Glad said...

The Iranian armor and artillery another couple of days while the Wart Hogs chew them up. Then those goose-stepping mothers will be praying for a jungle to hide in.

Tom Manoff said...

Maybe the GPS system wasn't working when Denzel bombed Babylon.

Rootman said...

Billy, Apple has patented your daughter's idea. http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220090177300%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20090177300&RS=DN/20090177300

(In a patent application filed April 2, 2008, Apple describes methods for modulating voice audio output to simulate additional voices. Apple's examples describe a mother who could have an audiobook read in her voice to her child or a student who wishes to alter a section of a podcast lecture for emphasis.)

Billy Glad said...

She's a digital kid.