Annapalooza

Does My Bluetooth Discriminate? May 29, 2017

About 18 months ago I got a brand new car. This whole new car gig opened me up to an entirely new world: dual heated seats, a heated steering wheel, Sirius XM radio, keyless start, a camera for backing up (and a beep to tell me when I’m too close to something), and a whole bunch more bells and whistles I never even knew existed. I could finally be as cool as those people on TV who receive texts and phone calls right through their car. (What is this, The Jetsons?! Craziness!) I finally knew what I had been missing out on and now there was no going back. (I realize some of you may have been luxuriating in this technology for the past 10 years, and I just sounded a lot like Romy in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion when she busted out her HUGE portable phone and asked if anyone needed to make a call… BUT… in the meantime my mortgage is paid off, so there’s that.)

So I am loving the Bluetooth, but there’s a slight problem.

Me: (pressing phone call button and trying to call my husband) Call Dan Mobile One.

Bluetooth Voice: Do you want to call an ambulance?

Me: (panicking) NO!

Bluetooth Voice: Okay, say the name of the contact you wish you call.

Me: (annunciating profusely – and sweating profusely as well) Call DAN MOBILE ONE.

Bluetooth Voice: Do you want to call an ambulance?

Me: Gah! NO!!

Bluetooth Voice: Okay, let’s try this again.

After several near-misses with reporting a false emergency, along with some serious reflection on my Wisconsin accent, I finally figured out the trick. Apparently the Bluetooth lady only recognizes ‘Dan’ when I pronounce it with a slight English accent mixed with major nasal congestion. It ends up being much closer to ‘Don’ than ‘Dan’, plus I wind up feeling and sounding like a pretentious a**hole when I say it.

So I couldn’t help but wonder: What kinds of accents does the Bluetooth lady actually recognize? Do people in other parts of the country with other accents also struggle with this problem? And would it just be easier to use an entirely different accent overall when trying to use Bluetooth? (Hmmm now that could be fun. But also very confusing/annoying to my passengers.)

I did a very quick experiment for myself, and here were the results:

Southern Accent: Even with my deepest, twangy-ist Southern accent impersonation, the Bluetooth still recognized that I wanted to call Dan. Huh. I would have thought the Southern version of Dan would have triggered an ambulance more than anything, but no dice. This might keep me awake at night.

English Accent: Not surprisingly, this worked like a charm. No issues.

Irish Accent: This one worked too, even though I sounded exactly like Mrs. Doubtfire.

Indian Accent: This one was a fail. The Bluetooth lady kept telling me, “I didn’t understand what you said,” and eventually she just went ahead and dialed my last incoming call.

Butthead: (yes, of Beavis and…) Even when I added a little obnoxious Butthead laugh in front of my request, the Bluetooth STILL recognized it.

Since I can’t really do any more accents, and I wasn’t even sure how well I did the ones I tried, I stopped there. I mean if you wanted me to yell at the Bluetooth in a Russian accent and say, “He beat me! Straight up!” a la John Malkovich in Rounders, I could do that. But ask me to say anything else in a Russian accent and I’d fail miserably.

So what did I conclude?

We’ve still got a long way to go, Bluetooth. I mean it kind of concerns me that you could understand my Butthead voice but not my normal voice. What does that say about your quality control? But I’m going to keep trying. We’ll see how Amazon’s Echo fairs when I start speaking to it. If it can understand me when I say flag and bag, then we’ve got a winner.

Stay tuned.

Advertisements
 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s