Dear 100 Hour Board,
I have a new Acer laptop (Aspire V -- touch screen), and it's pretty decent. (I've had much worse).
However, I was wondering if any of you, younguns, can tell me what this "I'm Cortana. Ask Me anything" phrase is on my screen in the bottom right corner (next to the windows/"start" button)? I don't know all the technical terms so here is an image of what I'm talking about: https://www.google.ca/search?q=i%27m+cortana+ask+me+anything&safe=active&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVrPTsmefLAhXHUZQKHS0VC0cQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=MLVMqjDVmDXV_M%3A
How do I use it? Can I verbally speak to it (like Siri)? Or is it just a plain old search engine dressed up in a fancy name? How do I make the most of this new gadget???
P.S. Why the name "Cortana"? What's the inspiration for this name???
P.P.S. And for good measure, why is Siri named Siri?
The Goose Girl explained where the name came from so I will explain what it is for.
Cortana is basically a digital assistant like Siri. The little phrase "Ask me anything" is meant to be clicked on and used like a search bar. You can use Cortana to search for files or pictures on your computer, to search for things on the internet, to do math, to create reminders on your computer, to set alarms and more.
I always feel like I should put pictures in when I describe technical things, so here are some pictures! When you click on the bar something like this should pop up.
And there should be some news stories and other things Cortana thinks you are interested in. All of Cortana's different uses can be found by clicking the "?" on the left-hand side.
Yes, you can talk to her if your computer has a microphone and you click on the microphone button in the search bar.
You can also change your settings so Cortana will start listening to you as soon as you say "Hey Cortana." If you want to enable speaking to Cortana click on the Book underneath the House on the left hand side. Then click "Settings".
Then click the button that says 'Let Cortana respond to "Hey Cortana."'
And then you can talk to your computer! Do you like terrible jokes? Just say "Hey Cortana, tell me a joke."
Or, for more useful things could say, "Hey Cortana, go to facebook.com" or "Hey Cortana, open Microsoft Word" and Cortana will open it in your default browser. You can also just type a url like "homestarrunner.com".
As a note, saying "Hey Cortana" has worked off and on for me. It normally works when I have just booted up my computer but if I'm doing a bunch of other stuff on it already then it doesn't hear me when I say "Hey Cortana." When it does work, though, it feels like I'm living in the future.
TL;DR: Cortana can be a very useful tool or a nice search bar with a name.