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Smart, new friend is getting all the attention

This cool new chick wandered into my life last week. At first I was thrilled to make her acquaintance. But now I'm starting to get a little bit green-eyed about the whole deal.

Virtually every guy in my orbit has become completely enamored of this siren-voiced know-it-all who is considerably more clever than me. Umm. Cleverer than I? No, that's not right either. Hmm. Maybe I should just ask Siri.

Yep. I'm talkin' about her — the iPhone 4S smarty-pants siren with the sexy voice who's all the rage these days.

I met Siri via a stranger who was trying to sell me something. This probably should have set off warning bells. But I tend to be pretty trusting when it comes to making new friends.

The fellow showed me Siri's chops by asking her to call his phone, send a buddy an email and even asked her why the sky is blue. Before I could blink, she'd accomplished both tasks and spit out an answer to his question. Something about light and refraction and other stuff I can't even remember. Much less understand.

Smart is sexy, and I am easily smitten. Seduced by Siri's Artificial Intelligence I.Q., we left the store together, she and I.

Later that afternoon, I eagerly attempted to introduce Siri to my Sis. It didn't go well. At first Siri refused to speak at all. Maybe my new pal was just feeling a little shy, I figured. I can get that way too sometimes.

But once she started talking, she kept saying she didn't understand my simple queries about emails, text messages, sky color and such. I got a little concerned there might have been a mix-up at the store.

"Uh, oh. I think I got a blonde Siri," cried this brunette whiner.

But the next day in the newsroom, Siri suddenly came to life, and she got all Mensa on our collective behinds.

For when news hit that I, the most technologically challenged person alive, had this new way-cool toy, the boys lined up like kids at a candy store.

"YOU have the 4S? You DO? Can I play with Siri? CAN I?"

They were practically slavering. Still, it was kinda cute. Boys and their toys. Since they promised to play nice, I handed Siri over into their eager little paws.

One young turk immediately asked Siri the proverbial woodchuck equation. "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck ..."

Siri immediately demanded details. "It depends on if you're talking about African or European woodchucks."

Nice, Siri. Nice. I was impressed.

He followed up that query with a location challenge. "How do you get to Sesame Street?"

When I burst out laughing, she snarked at me a bit.

"I'm glad you think that's funny," Siri said.

I didn't take offense. I like a gal who doesn't take any lip.

Another young fellow cradled Siri in his hands like she was a precious rose. At another's prompting, he gently asked whether Siri would tell us a joke.

She declined, stating she always forgot the punch line. So he asked her to tell a story instead. She once again declined. I thought perhaps Siri was tiring of our nonsense. I couldn't really blame her. One of our members, over my vehement objections, was calling Siri useless and stupid. And he was asking her things no lady would answer. (There's one in every crowd, isn't there?)

But Siri ignored her detractor. And when the polite young man insisted he'd like to hear a story, Siri patiently replied "Once upon a time ..." (As I remember, the story had to do with the happily-ever-after-effect of working at Apple.)

The next day the fellows were back wanting to play with Siri. But I'd forgotten to charge the iPhone battery and to bring the charger. Siri was silent. And the guys' disappointment was palpable.

I barely refrained from repeating Siri's last comment the day before — offered in response to someone's offhand remark that they needed a drink — "There are 15 bars in your immediate area."

My iWizard friend, the fellow who originally sent me on an iPhone quest, has been watching all this with high hilarity. He's also been sending me links on Siri's amazing capabilities. Apparently we've only scratched the surface of our relationship. Siri and I need to keep talking, with less outside chatter, so she can continue to learn my unique tonal inflections and speech patterns.

Works for me. But speaking of sexy voices, there's one thing I'd like to ask her. And I hope it doesn't tick her off.

"Siri, can you talk like Sean Connery?"

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.