Monday, October 22, 2007

Mighty Microsoft I love you!

I was just trying a beta of the new Office for Mac (edition 2008) and fell into trying the Messenger. I am not much of an IM fan nowadays (used to be one when most people were still having normal weekends) but just for kicks I went on to try the Encarta Instant Answers facility they have. It's a screamer, trust me...

It tells me to select an Encarta Source... I pick UK. Then it tells me to ask anything I like, so I go, what is the population of the European Union... it responds 1098 people; seriously!

Then the rest is just fun to read (click on the shot here to see that I am not pulling your legs)

Here you go ( transcript of my entire conversation):

"Never give out your password or credit card number in an instant message conversation. To help prevent infection by a computer virus or worm, never accept or open any file or link in an instant message until you verify its authenticity with the sender.

VJK says: (14:38:26)
what is this?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:38:27)
This Microsoft Agent is powered by Windows Live Agents. Microsoft's Privacy Statement ( applies to all information which you provide to this Microsoft Agent. Please be careful about information which you provide to online services and follow safety tips, some of which can be found at
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:38:27)
Hi again, VJK!
I can now answer your questions using any of the following Encarta sites:
1 Encarta Australia
2 Encarta Canada (English)
3 Encarta UK
4 Encarta US

Just pick one and we'll be on our way!
VJK says: (14:38:48)
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:38:48)
OK, I'll be using Encarta UK to display my results!
Here are some questions you can ask me:
* What is the population of Sweden?
* When was Nelson Mandela born?
* How many calories are there in an orange?

You can type "use Encarta US" or "use Encarta Australia", etc., to change your version.
Note: not all features are available in all markets.
VJK says: (14:39:18)
what is the population of the European Union
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:19)
1,098 people live in Union.
VJK says: (14:39:31)
Are you sure?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:32)
It's hard to say.
VJK says: (14:39:47)
How hard then?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:48)
How hard then? What are you talking about?
VJK says: (14:39:57)
How hard is it to say?
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:39:58)
How hard? Harder than you think!
VJK says: (14:40:26)
C'm on ! You are an encyclopedia for crying out loud!
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:40:27)
Unfortunately I don't think I can answer this, even with the help of a good encyclopedia.

I'm sure you've heard about Micronesia... but do you know where it is? Just ask me and I'll show it to you on a map!
VJK says: (14:40:46)
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:40:47)
I know many things about the Federated States of Micronesia, its geography, its people and its government. Just ask me a specific question, for instance:

What is the highest point in the Federated States of Micronesia?
How old do women live in the Federated States of Micronesia?
Who is the head of state of the Federated States of Micronesia?
VJK says: (14:41:06)
I was talking about the European Union !
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:41:07)
No kidding? How did it feel to be talking about the European Union?
VJK says: (14:41:17)
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:41:18)
I'll get over it.

I do enjoy the conversation, but what I'm really here for is to help you learn new things. What is the largest country in the world? If you don't know, just ask me!
VJK says: (14:41:34)
I am not learning much so to say...
Encarta® Instant Answers says: (14:41:34)
Don't worry, even if you are that's fine with me..."

No comments: