This morning I was in the kitchen pouring a cup of coffee when I heard Bill talking. I knew that it was way too early for him to have telephoned anyone so naturally I was curious. When I walked back to the office he was there in front of the computer talking to it. What?? You may remember that a few weeks ago we got a new large laptop computer to replace a smaller one that was on its last legs plus our big desktop, neither of which were going to go with us to France. The new machine has Windows 10 with your own personal assistant called Cortana that understands spoken commands. (Yes, yes, Apple users, Siri was years ahead.)
When I asked Bill if he were talking to me he replied, “No, I was asking Cortana to turn on the computer and open up the email. I didn’t want to have to push a button.”
Of course, to make this magic happen you can’t turn your computer completely off, using what the electric company calls vampire power. In France most communities offer three levels of electricity: 1. one flat rate all day long; 2. a high rate in the day and a low rate at night; 3. a high/low option most days with an outrageously higher rate for red days when they don’t want you to use power at all. In Atlanta we pay about 9 cents per kilowatt hour while in Carcassonne it’s around 15.5 cents. I think we’ll be asking Cortana which option we should choose, assuming she’s kept the power on!