back to article Wake up, sheeple! If you ask Siri about 9/11 it will rat you out to the police!

The Illuminati have revealed themselves once again, this time through their "intelligent personal assistant" Siri, which immediately reports device owners to the police when they ask about 9/11. CBCnews reports that 114 budding truthers were redirected to the police over a two hour period on Sunday morning. Police believe the …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't it be sensible to add a second layer to ask "do you mean the events of September 11 2011, or the emergency services?"

    I admit it does add time, but i dont know how asking siri to call 911 can be faster than just dialling it yourself.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      agreed, a very silly idea. Especially since 9/11 is a valid major event to search for.

    2. AndyS

      I also would have thought asking a question like "Tell me about nine eleven" could quite easily be sorted from a statement like "call nine one one," and the second layer applied only to the first, more ambiguous questions.

      Of course, if our dearly beloved cousins over the pond would use a sensible date format (none of this silly middle-endian nonsense) this problem would never arise. Harder to confuse "eleventh September" with "nine nine nine." Or even "nine one one."

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      2. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        "I also would have thought asking a question like "Tell me about nine eleven" could quite easily be sorted from a statement like "call nine one one," and the second layer applied only to the first, more ambiguous questions."

        Pretty much what I was going to say. I've never heard anybody pronounce the two any other way; nine-one-one vs. nine-eleven. I'm pretty sure those are phonetically different; perhaps I don't know what "phonetically" means.

        1. Whit.I.Are

          phonetically vs iPhonetically

      3. skeptical i

        september

        Hi, AndyS: Don't disagree, but I also doubt Siri would confuse "September Eleventh" with "nine one one".

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. The terrorists picked that September 11 specifically because it's short hand is the same as the emergency services number in the US.

      1. Anonymous Blowhard

        "The terrorists picked that September 11 specifically because it's short hand is the same as the emergency services number in the US"

        All the more reason to change the emergency number to 0118 999 881 999 119 725....3

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. g e

            You don't even need your iThing set to German to be amazed at this!

            SIRI did Hitler say Nein Nein Nein to Goebbels ?

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Lars Silver badge
              Coat

              @ 1980s_coder

              Those phones (long ago) with the disk you turned with your finger where different in the Anglo-American world and Europe. The shortest distance to turn the disk was 9 in the Anglo-American world and 0 in Europe. Fast and easy to find even in the dark. Or was it the oppiset way, damn if I can remember. The reason for silly differences like these I think is in inflated egos.

              The US date format is dumb as hell, at least for a programmer who has to sort dates. Some dumb programming tasks come to my mind around the year 00 with systems that had only two digits for the year.

              1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                Those phones (long ago) with the disk you turned with your finger where different in the Anglo-American world and Europe. The shortest distance to turn the disk was 9 in the Anglo-American world and 0 in Europe. Fast and easy to find even in the dark. Or was it the oppiset way, damn if I can remember.

                I think you need to look here: http://people.howstuffworks.com/question664.htm

                1. Lars Silver badge
                  Headmaster

                  @ Mark 85. Thanks. I had a look but I must admit "universally" that the sentence "the universal emergency number for everyone in the United States." sounds a bit too universal.

                  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                    Universal only to the States.... 999 is or was the prefix for Joliet in Illinois at the time. For along time, if you dialed 999 in Chicago, that number would dispatch a tow truck Might still be but I don't know for certain.

                    Apparently they had a heck of time sorting it out so it would be easy to remember and also didn't conflict with all the phone systems that were around at the time.. area codes and prefixes.

              2. Fred Goldstein

                Rotary dial phones here in the Colonies went 1-2...9-0, so 1 was the shortest dial pull, and the number on the dial represented the (mod10) exact number of dial pulses sent to the switch (with 0 being 10 pulses). But 911 came about because the N11 space in the North American Numbering Plan (yes, we have one) is where special services go. 411 for directory assitance. 611 used to be the business office (sometimes still is), and 211 sometimes got long distance operators (0 being more common) long ago. So 911 was picked for emergencies in the late 1960s. And 311 is now used for non-emergency calls to police or local governments.

                999, in contrast, would just be a prefix code (first 3 digits, indicating originally what switch to go to) for some switch or other, possibly given a name, pre-1962 all-number-calling, like "Wyman 9" or "Wyncote 9".

              3. fishman

                @1980s_coder

                The shortest distance to turn the disk is 0 in the US - we still have a rotary phone (since it works even when the power is out).

                1. Irony Deficient

                  US rotary dials

                  fishman, on my Western Electric 500 telephone (the model whose herds once thundered in their millions across North American desks), the shortest distance is given by 1, then 2, …, then 9, with 0 being the longest. When the NANP was introduced, the area codes with the largest populations had the shortest distances on the dial: 212 for New York, 213 for Los Angeles, 312 for Chicago, and so on.

                  1. skeptical i

                    Re: US rotary dials

                    Once upon a time Merkin area codes had either a 1 or 0 as the middle digit, then that schema was chucked out when we ran out of phone number prefixes (or exchanges) and more area codes were required ... maybe about the time fax machines went from expensive Fortune 500 business office furniture to cheaper and more widely available. Miss those old Pac Bell rotary phones, they doubled as hand weapons.

            2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

              Actually, the leading 9 was chosen so that payphones could easily be modified to connect the calls free of charge.

              Not in the UK, it would have been as easy to use 111, since other level 1 calls (operator, directory enquiries, etc.) were already free (DQ isn't free now, of course).

              The problem was that in the early days many phone cables were bare overhead wires, and just blowing around in the wind could cause them to dial a series of 1s. They still wanted a number that would be easy to dial on a rotary dial phone in the dark, so picked a number at the other end of the dial where it could easily be found by touch. Then by keeping a finger in the hole, you just rotated the dial 3 times, for 999.

              1. Graham Marsden
                Thumb Up

                @ Phil O'Sophical

                > They still wanted a number that would be easy to dial on a rotary dial phone in the dark, so picked a number at the other end of the dial where it could easily be found by touch.

                Yep, there were instruction sheets on how to dial 999 in the dark by feeling for the bottom edge of the rotary dial, finding the Zero hole (next to the stop) and putting your right hand middle finger into it.

                Then you'd put your right index finger into the next hole (ie the 9) and just rotate the dial three times.

                Simple and effective.

                1. e^iπ+1=0

                  Re: @ Phil O'Sophical

                  "Yep, there were instruction sheets on how to dial 999 in the dark by feeling for the bottom edge of the rotary dial, finding the Zero hole (next to the stop) and putting your right hand middle finger into it.

                  Then you'd put your right index finger into the next hole (ie the 9) and just rotate the dial three times.

                  Simple and effective."

                  Bugger, I can't find a rotary dial phone at the moment. It's dark here - have they updated those instructions yet for those people who don't have an analogue phone to hand?

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              3. Nigel Whitfield.

                @Phil O'Sophical

                The operator was on 0 until around 1959, having first been introduced in London in 1928. 100 was introduced, along with other codes in the London Directory area in April of that year.

                The 999 service was introduced in London in 1937, on 30th June.

                So, at the time 999 was chosen, operator was on 0, and as pointed out by others, it was relatively easy to modify the call boxes of the day to allow a 9 to be dialled without payment as well.

                The dates quoted are from this page. The BBC version has the date for 999 as the 1st of July, but also confirms the 0 for operator was in place at the time.

            3. Ivan Headache

              And I was told (way back in the fifties)

              that 999 was chosen because it could be dialled on a rotary dialler (which all phones had at the time) in the dark or in a smoke-filled room just by feel.

              2 fingers placed in the last two holes of the dialler, rotate the dial, let it return do the same again and then again. 999 dialled.

              Why would pay phones have to be modified to connect the calls free of charge when there was an operator you could call free of charge on the same phone?

              1. Eponymous Cowherd

                Re: And I was told (way back in the fifties)

                There were a number of reasons why 999 was chosen:

                Having three identical digits made it simple to create "emergency only" dials/phones.

                So which digit to choose? Dial phones use loop-disconnect dialling at 10 pulses per second (pps). If a low number was chosen (particularly 1) it would have been possible to accidentally "dial" by jiggling the switchhooks. The ideal number would have been 0, but that is the STD prefix, so 9 was ne next best option.

                Incidentally, in most old Strowger systems, you only had to dial "99" to get to the emergency operator.That was why the operator was often on the line as soon as you dialled the last 9 (of 3).

                The "smoke filled room" thing came afterwards (after all, finding 1 or 0 on a rotary dial is easier).

                1. Nigel Whitfield.

                  Re: And I was told (way back in the fifties)

                  @ Eponymous Cowherd

                  The numbers of 9s you needed, of course, depended on whether you were on a main exchange or a satellite. Remember, small towns and villages were often reached from a parent exchange by dialling a short code of two or three digits.

                  Eg, Long Sutton, where I was at school, was reached by dialing the code for Basingstoke, followed by 81; from home in Winchester, that was 94 81, followed by the three digit number. To dial to Basingstoke from Long Sutton you dialled 9. Then you'd dial the local number or code (Long Sutton to Winchester was 9 92, if memory serves).

                  So in most towns with satellite exchanges, short codes were 91-98, and 99 would get you emergency services, so that from the villages, 9 99 would do the same trick.

                  I suppose there would be plenty of accidental calls when people who lived in the satellite areas were in the big city, and accidentally stuck the extra 9 on when using a payphone, forgetting they weren't at home any more.

                  0 for the STD prefix came in long after 999.

              2. Nigel Whitfield.

                Re: And I was told (way back in the fifties)

                @ Ivan Headache

                The modification to payphones ensured calls had appropriate priority. As mentioned in the BBC link that I posted, there had been an incident where people were unable to get to the switchboard because it was busy, and so couldn't report a fire.

                By creating a specific number, it ensured that really urgent calls (as opposed to just a request to make a long distance connection, for example) would get immediate attention.

            4. This post has been deleted by its author

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                "Another factor in choosing 999 as the UK emergency number was that, on the old dial phones, it was the number that took the least time to dial having the shortest distance to travel on the dial itself before allowing another number to be chosen."

                I would LOVE to see a picture of such a phone because every rotary dial phone I've seen has it the other way, with 1 being the shortest distance (one pulse) and 0 the longest (10 pulses). 9 would be second-longest at nine pulses.

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Don't forget that we pronounce phone numbers differently too!

          British Numbers confuse Americans - Numberphile: http://youtu.be/YBbBbY4qvv4

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Which is why

        I alway refer to that infamous date as the 11th of September.

        The way the USA order their dates as MM-DD-YY and insists on using a 12hr clocks (AM/PM) is IMHO retarded. Other opinions are available.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Which is why

          Not really. It's how Americans SPEAK dates. We always go "<Month> <Day, Ordinal>," not "<Day, Ordinal> of <Month>". As for using the 12-hour clock, don't YOUR clocks only have 12 hours on their faces?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Which is why

            As for using the 12-hour clock, don't YOUR clocks only have 12 hours on their faces?

            We're very militaristic over here. Which is strange given we don't have anything like as many weapons or do as much invading. My systray clock says "Wednesday 24 June 16:43:58". Which, too, is strange as I thought it was Thursday!

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Which is strange given we don't .... do as much invading.

              Someone wasn't paying attention in history lessons.

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Which is why

              "We're very militaristic over here. Which is strange given we don't have anything like as many weapons or do as much invading. My systray clock says "Wednesday 24 June 16:43:58". Which, too, is strange as I thought it was Thursday!"

              We SEPARATE our conventions in America. If you go to a military installation, then 24-hour time is drilled into you (And you say it, "Twelve hundred hours," mister!). Outside these establishments, clocks still have 12 hours on their faces, and that's the way we like it, just as we like our feet and inches just the way they are.

              1. Sandtitz Silver badge
                Thumb Down

                Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                clocks still have 12 hours on their faces, and that's the way we like it,

                Does your clock faces also indicate AM & PM? Digital clocks here have 24 hours.

                just as we like our feet and inches just the way they are.

                "America fuck yeah!"

                On this side of the pond elementary schoolers can convert easily between e.g. sq meters and sq kilometers. In their heads.

                How many can convert sq miles to sq feet or do you just memorize the factors? What about cubics?

                Let's not delve into the other imperial silliness such as rods, furlongs & chains.

                1. soldinio

                  Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                  To be fair, it's not just the 'Merkins. A cricket pitch is still one chain, crease to crease. Horse races are still measured in furlongs. And most importantly, beer still comes in pints, gallons, firkins, barrels etc. etc. Our 1 pence piece weighs 1/8 ounce, 2p weighs 1/4 ounce. And indeed, where do you think our former colonial cousins got their 'Imperial silliness'?

                  1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                    Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                    "Our 1 pence piece weighs 1/8 ounce, 2p weighs 1/4 ounce."

                    And thus why the pound is associated with both currency and weight, IIRC. And BTW, aren't heavy things still weighed in stone?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Meh

                      Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                      I think the pound weight and pound currency have different derivations (does anyone know?) and the only things I know of using Stone are potatos and a persons weight in the UK (its usually ponds in the States I think)

                      1. Irony Deficient

                        Re: pounds

                        Lostyearsago, the monetary pound originally referred to a unit of account rather than a unit of exchange: a Tower pound mass (slightly less than 350 g) of 0.925 fine silver. Coins of that time were mostly silver pennies, 240 to the unit of account, each ideally weighing in at 32 Tower grains (1.45 g or so) of 0.925 Ag. Edward I. in 1300 was the first ruler to break this monetary/mass relationship, coining 243 pennies from this mass rather than 240; successive devaluations reached their nadir in 1551 under Edward VI., who coined 540 pennies from a Troy pound (a bit over 373 g) of 0.250 Ag. The following year, revaluation reforms began; these stabilized under Elizabeth I., who in 1560 had established the 60 shilling (720 pence) footing of a Troy pound of 0.925 Ag; in 1601, this was devalued to 62 shillings (744 pence) per pound mass. This level lasted until after the Napoleonic wars, when the footing became 66 shillings (792 pence), the UK went on the gold standard, and silver coinage lost unlimited legal tender status. The 20th century saw the reduction, and then elimination, of silver from coinage, followed by the elimination of the £ s. d. subdivision in 1971.

                        I believe that wool was traditionally weighed in stone.

                      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

                        Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                        "I think the pound weight and pound currency have different derivations (does anyone know?)"

                        If I read my sources correctly, they were originally one and the same, based on the weight of 1 pound of silver coinage (20 shillings, 8 half-crowns, or 4 crowns) in the old system. There was no silver pound coin (it was based on collective), but the sovereign was the equivalent value in a gold coin. 240 pence was the equivalent value in copper(s).

                        Of course, this all went out the door when the currency system was replaced with the Pound Sterling.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Meh

                    Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                    Try ordering a Firkin of Liquid Oxygen

                2. RAMChYLD

                  Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                  And then there's paper, ie Letter vs A4, which I could swear was just being used to region-lock the printers (for example, the Epson ActionPrinter 3260 in the states vs the Epson LQ-100 elsewhere. The only difference being the paper tray dimensions and the power transformer inside).

                3. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: Which is why @Charles 9

                  "Does your clock faces also indicate AM & PM? Digital clocks here have 24 hours."

                  Most digital clocks only show 12 hours and use a dot to indicate which set of 12. Some clocks have a 24-hour option, but you have to set it. Military and other specialist fields make sure to obtain clocks with that capability. Meanwhile, I'm talking analog dial clocks, which typically have no AM/PM indicator. Wanna know which half it is, look out the nearest window. Most of us can keep a general reckoning of which half we wake up on; it takes a real bender, insomnia, or the swing shift to confuse us significantly, and again it's usually just a quick glance out a window to know which is which (yes, even sunup and sundown, since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west). It's extremely rare to see a 24-hour analog dial anywhere, and the ones that do typically have a specific reason for being there.

                  "How many can convert sq miles to sq feet or do you just memorize the factors? What about cubics?"

                  It's not to hard to remember a factor of 9 to convert square yards to square feet. And we're taught it's 4840 square yards to an acre. Beyond rough estimates, we break out the measurers and calculate on paper. As for cubics, we tend to stick to feet unless it's fluids, which we then switch to gallons.

              2. ChrisBedford
                Joke

                Re: Which is why

                "we like our feet and inches just the way they are"

                I half expected you so to say "just the way God intended"

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Meh

                Re: Which is why

                Still using Feet & inches is one reason why I avoid american standards when ordering/specifying I hate all those conversions which usually add inaccuracies if you don't watch out. Also, didnt the USA Gov adopt the metric system but left it to the states to implement if they wanted...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Go

            Re: Which is why

            my analogue clock has 24, my digital clocks are all 24 cause when I wake up late I want to know if it ismorning before I open the very dark curtains - only my watch has 12

            1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

              Re: Which is why

              How can a watch have 12? Surely you can select 12 or 24 hour on any watch?

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