You might think you’re “forgetful” or “scatterbrained” or “have a mind like a sieve.” But how many times have you remembered that you’re supposed to collect your kid from the bus stop right up until it’s time to go—and then gotten distracted by some shiny object? Leaving your innocent child standing alone under a broken streetlamp with tumbleweeds blowing all around? For me, the answer is a number between 1 and 50.
Lately, I’ve been relying on Cortana—the new digital assistant in Windows Phone 8.1—to prevent such unfortunate events. I press and hold the Search button, and Cortana pops up, ready for my commands. “Remind me to pick up Louie at 3:20,” I say to her, or “Remind me to take my memory-boosting herbal supplement every morning at 8.” She can even give me reminders based on location (“Remind me to call Suze when I leave work”) or person (“Remind me to ask about summer vacation next time I talk to Mom”).
These reminder basics are awesome enough. To get even more out of reminders, try the following power tips:
1. Say “Any” thing – If you tell Cortana, “Remind me to get eggs next time I’m at the supermarket,” she’ll show you a list of nearby stores to choose from. Tap Any and she’ll remind you the next time you’re at any supermarket.
2. Lose the snooze – Sometimes you need more than a five-minute snooze delay. When a reminder pops up at an inconvenient time, tap the reminder’s title and you’ll be able to set a new time.
3. So many memories – To see (and reactivate) completed reminders from your past, press the Search button, tap Cortana’s Notebook > Remind me, and then tap More > Reminder history. Tap a reminder to reuse it. This is great when you accidentally tap Complete on a reminder you still need—something I seem to do on a daily basis.
4. Pin the Tile – I generally like to use voice commands to order up my reminders, but my husband doesn’t much appreciate that when I wake up at 3 A.M. stressing about something I need to do. So I use my Remind me Tile from my Start screen to (silently) add a reminder in Cortana’s Notebook. To pin the Tile to Start, press the Search button, tap Cortana’s Notebook > Remind me, and then tap Pin.
5. Set some nicknames – Use nicknames when you set up your inner circle (Mom, Louie, Pookie) and favorite places (gym, school, bakery). Then you can use the nicknames when you set reminders (and when you call and text people, too).
I hate that simple UI of WP. No colors, no shadows, switches are from 1980s.
Why having graphical coprocessors, when only 3 colors are mostly used?
I can't wait to try Cortana on the Nokia Lumia 635 which is released tomorrow.
I love all the Cortana tricks and can't wait for it to be released I could do the developers trick, but I would rather them just release it. As for other poster, Why don't you just stay with I-phones? Also I just gave out 1000 iphones to users, i'm a MDM systems engineer, Siri is nice but it lacks a lot of things i've seen Cortana can do. I'm sure Apple will come out with a update which makes them about the same.
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There's some stuff about Cortana that's not good. I don't like how it attaches my voice recording to notes and reminders -- I don't want that, I just want the text. Oddly enough, with or without Siri, my iPhone handles Tasks/ToDo's and Notes with my Hosted Exchange account better than my Windows Phone 8.1. Voice initiated notes on my WP go into OneNote, with my recording attached. On my iPhone, they go into the Notes app, recording-free, which syncs OTA with Notes in Outlook -- perfect, if I need to do something more with the info in a Note, I can cut 'n paste it to a new home.
Tasks/ToDo's are a pain on WP -- not sure exactly where it puts them, sort of on the Calendar, but not really -- there's no separate app for Tasks/ToDo -- so who knows, they're in there somewhere but I can't seem to get at them consistently. On my iPhone, the Reminder lists sync seamlessly OTA with Tasks in Outlook. I use Tasks a lot, and when doing so on my iPhone I don't have to think about it -- it just works. On WP, it's annoying.
In general, WP 8.x makes me glad I just have it on my work phone, and I pretty much use that one to take work calls and refer to my Calendar. WP is coming along nicely, but it has a long way to go before it becomes as useful a tool as the competition....