There is a new woman in my life.

Despite being from Bavaria her English is very good, although her conversation seems limited to travel and turning things on and off.

She seems to live in the glove box of my new car and is called iDrive.

This is BMW's voice activated onboard computer system, which controls everything from the sat-nav to the heating.

You don't have to use the voice control, if you're a little embarrassed about talking to your steering wheel, as there is a joystick with buttons to select items from a small screen in the dash. But then the iDrive very quickly becomes the iCrash, as not even women can operate a computer and drive at the same time.

The last time I played with any voice recognition technology it was a painful process of teaching the software to recognise my pronunciation.

But this Bavarian bird seemed to understand me straight away, which, frankly, is more than most of the other women in my life can manage.

She is significantly better at map reading too and if you make a wrong turn she simply suggests you return to the last roundabout and try again, doing so without even the slightest hint of contempt in her voice. She can be a bit of a nag sometimes though.

If you exceed the speed limit, she'll point this out and is very insistent that you put on your seat belt from the off.

If you want the CD changing or radio turned down, all you have to do is ask.

You do have to speak loudly and slowly, but then she is foreign, so we Brits are used to that.

Despite that, we are getting on like a house on fire and I want to invite her into my home to run the increasing number of digital devices that now seem essential for modern living.

If only everything could be voice controlled. No more searching for the right handset down the back of the settee and trying to change channels on the TV with the DVD remote.

If we could just talk to everything, rather than fiddle about with buttons and menus, we might start regarding modern consumer electronics as our friends rather than the opposition we have to do daily battle with.

Mind you, my other half has been using voice control on everything for years, this being one of the many benefits of living with a geek.

She just says: "Chris, record this programme" or "Chris, load this CD on my iPod" or "Chris, connect my iBook to the internet" which I duly do - I am her digital butler.

Wouldn't it great if we all had digital butlers? Someone who could make our technology do what we wanted, without us having to learn its language, when really it should be speaking ours.

* Chris is managing director of internet consultancy WebXpress. This and other unedited articles can be found at E-mail ..SUPL: