Sunday, August 10, 2008

ChaCha Hiya!

I'm at dinner with Solar Dancer and she's telling me about this text message service called ChaCha. She just started the application process to become a guide and wants to try it out.

But wait, what is this thing?

Apparently, ChaCha has thousands of people, whom it pays to answer questions for you. You text a question to 242424 and, supposedly, within 10 minutes, you get a solid, human evaluated response with an URL to the source. It's kinda like having a librarian sit between you and Google. You get a real person to evaluate your query, search Google for the best response, and send you a text with a good answer. That person gets paid $0.10 for answering your question and (aside from standard text message rates, which are an industry scam) it's free to the user.

Sleep Deprivation Ninja: "OK, so let's try it. What should we ask?"
Solar Dancer: "Ooh, ask them what theaters have infant shows."
SDN (to ChaCha via SMS): "What movie theaters in Seattle have infant friendly showings?"

Twenty seconds later...

"Welcome to ChaCha. Your first answer is on its way. Other charges may apply. Send HINTS to learn more about ChaCha. Send HELP for help. Send STOP to quit."

Three minutes go by.

SDN (to Solar Dancer): "This is a hard one. We did sort of ask for all of them. Maybe they are having a hard time fitting it into 160 characters. Or maybe we've stumped the guide. Let's see, there's the Metro, the Guild 45, Neptune...those are just the U-district."

Ten minutes go by... twenty... thirty.

SDN (to Solar Dancer): "hmmm... maybe I need to clarify the question..."

SDN (via SMS): "What movie theaters in Seattle offer infant friendly shows, bitch?"

Nothing. OK, well, Solar Dancer did spent an hour researching this topic the other day and found all of the answers already, but hey. WTF? I bet you can find one theater.

Solar Dancer: "Try another. Ask about things to do tomorrow."

SDN (via SMS): "Fun free activities in Seattle for family with infant tomorrow"

Less than 3 minutes later:
ChaCha: "Seattle's Parks have nine life guarded beaches for free summertime swimming. They also have 29 wading pools for the little ones."

Sleep Deprivation Ninja and Solar Dancer marvel over the cool factor. I mean, ninjas can just reach into the interweb with their minds and pull whatever information they want instantaneously but for normal people, it's pretty neat. It actually gave us useful information. We then try asking for a place to eat dessert in walking distance of Shallots (awesome 9 flavor chicken there). We quickly get a reply that Cascadia is close, to which we wander over and decide it's not quite what we are looking for. But in walking around there, I stumble upon Umi Sake, which is straight up the ninja alley \m/

Later, in the car, Solar Dancer uses the word 'renig' and then says she shouldn't use that word because it's racist against Gypsys or something. I'm skeptical and disagree. "Let's ask ChaCha!"
We ask, but there's no response, so I switch to my Mobile Safari on the iPhone and use Google to discover that I've misspelled "renege" and that's it's based on the Latin renegare (to deny).

Even hours later, there is no response to the query. Looks like it's touch and go. But cool when it works.

Well, now to see if it can prove to the wife that "Hoss" isn't a racist term.


Bleckus said...

the word solar dancer was thinking of is "gyp".
20 cents please:-)

Does Family Matter Anymore??!!?? said...

Have to stop by and say Hello!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was "Haus", as in the big old lovable Haus from that show Bonanza..that's what it means here anyway. As in, "Listen here Haus, you'd better back it up before I stand up.

similar terms: "son"
"hot shot"
(in sarcastic tone)