Speak Up, Will Ya?

Voice portals let you tap Web info without a PC, but first you have to learn to talk like a robot

I hail from a long line of mumblers. My grandfather was a mumbler, my uncle is a mumbler, and I'm a mumbler too. While my subvocal articulation can drive friends nuts, sometimes it's a blessing. For example, if I say something really dumb, I can often quickly correct myself, since most people don't understand me the first time. On the other hand, speaking on the phone can be a problem, especially when the person I'm speaking to is really a computer.

Take, for instance, the new voice portals. These are being billed as the equivalent of Web portals--those gateway, one-site-fits-all...

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