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Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:02 pm
by Agent009
Anybody have one, played with one?
Tips and advice?

1st, ive always dreamed of having the 'computer' from star trek at my disposal.
Never thought it would only cost me privacy to have one, but thats not really the point of this thread.

Ive got one as a gift.....
The idea of her in my home listening to me gives me the creeeps, so ive pluggged her in at work.
It feels weird talking to her at 1st...
And when i got home after the 1st day, i kept thinking to ask for her for things, which freeeeked me a bit. This urge faded after a few days.
There are some fun 'easter eggs', and shes a total fucking prude. Its like asking a puritan for access to the Internets at times.

So far all she really does is play music from pandora, or radio stations.... Its been koool listening to KUAZ again.

Other than that she tells time and weather, wow, 21st century!
Oh ya, flips a coin, picks a number, tells dude quotes.... The Future!
She orders dominoes pizza, which im trying not to hold against her.
Most importantly she will read wikipedia, which is always goood for finding prooof to back up my stew ramblings.

Echo basically has apps, they are called skills, and you turn them on and orf.... Most of them are lame.
The interface to find them is horrrible.

There is a spanish word game that is ok.
Daily jeopardy is all right.
Sun Ztu quotes would be oarsome if she would shut up and let you think about what she just said, before yelling, er... asking, if you want another.
The wayne investigation is supposed to be a good game, but ive yet to try it.
No urge to check the skill.

There is now integration with google calendar, and since im trying to work on my time management skillz, i should probably take advantage of that, but so far, meh.

The po55iblitys seeem endle55 till you sit down and talk to her, but i supppose as developers make more skillz for the device, the interaction will become better. Thats whats weird though, you have to turn on things in advance for what you might want to ask it..... And then the 'trigger' words are at times just plain clumsy.

Next logical step is to invest in some of the home management stuff. It would be kinda koool to control lights/surveillance not only from echo, but remotely.

Anyway, if anyone has anything to add, please do.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:17 pm
by rider5
I'm trying to utilize Siri at times and have had mixed results.

The potential is there I think. I wouldn't mind having something you could call out to in the house (or office) for answers or whatever. The data mining aspect will probably be the deal breaker for me with these systems.

Good for you for giving this a try Agent.

KUAZ online is almost all NPR talk content like the broadcast station isn't it?

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:00 am
by pezworld
Two thoughts:

First: My friend John has one - he lives in Seattle so it's a hometown thing - and it looks cool-ish but even given I'm a gadget nerd who loves her Amazon, I'm not even remotely tempted.

Second: My nephew just started working at Amazon in Seattle, and I vaguely recall my sister saying she'd asked him about it. He said something like "I'd wait to buy it." And wouldn't elaborate. Implication being, a better one is coming in the not-distant future.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:33 pm
by Agent009
Yep, KAUZ seeems to of gone all NPR, at least online.... They used to play oarsome jazz, one of my favorite stations evah. I would wake up to it every morning when i lived there, and even online for a few years after i left, and i was really hoping for that.
Its still fun to hear the adverts for the desert museum, and the random traffic/weather/news reports.

Ive never used suri, but i use google now quite a bit, which is one of the reasons i wanted try using some sort of voice recognition/personal assistant at work. Not only for me, also for customers to use/play with (shes on top the pinball machine), and for me to help them.
Google Now simply answers more of the questions i ask.... Example, Claire, thats what i call her, will tell me gas mileage for cars if i ask, meaning it reads from google searches, or at least thats what i assume. Alexa does not seeem to be able do that.
Since im using Gooogle Now on a phone/tablet, it pulls up links, videos, photos... Alexa can send links to its app for your searches, but its just Not the same.
Using your phone with customers is awkward IMO, but tablets are totally more acceptable these days.
Having all the info go to a TV/Monitor would be koool.

Pez - The new smaller version of echo just dropped, Dot, it plugs into your existing speaker system. That might be what he ment. That said, there is always a new version of everything coming out in a few months, so sometimes you just gotta jump in. There were major upgrades to echo over the last few months, and from what ive read she does much more now than when launched. What exactly those things are though im still loooking for! Lol.
I dont uber, dont want cat facts, and honestly find asking her the weather sillly.

This day in history stuff seeems like it would be soooooo easy, and the most ovballz thing to do, but the few skills that are supposed to do that are uninspiring.

Im loooking at echo purely as a toy, and a bit of a gimmick at work.....
But the potential to be more is obvious, and its only a matter of time before it lives up to it.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:42 pm
by VinceFoster
I remember East Berlin too vividly to ever voluntarily place 24/7 recording device in my home.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:35 pm
by Agent009
So they just updated the ability to change the wake word to 'computer'!!!
Soooo kooool.
Made the change a few days ago and still having trouble adjusting. Kinda funny how you can get used to using a name.

Don't really have much else to report on the echo. It's still basically a juke box. Might go get a few smart outlets this weeek and play with them.
Also beeen looking at an led strip for lighting.

As for the creeeepy factor. Had a customer of questionable character come in. Next thing I'm getting an advert for rehab on my pandora channel.
Freeeeked me out.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:49 pm
by CatScanMan
No way I'm having an open mic to Amazon's AI thing in my place.

I try Cortana every once in a while with stuff like 'Open my browser' or 'Go to the Guardian website' -- It never works.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:01 pm
by muthafunky
I have the Google Home. Mostly used to play music, occasionally the news or weather forecast. Most useful thing is controlling the thermostat. Currently doesn't integrate with enough other hardware and software to feel super useful.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:57 am
by mothership
I had it for the weekend and managed to get it working with my phone and a bunch of other stuff. The beer snob skill was pretty good and the NASA Mars skill was also pretty cool. I thought the tune in radio integration was nice but could have used more in terms of integrating your favorite stations. Easter eggs were awesome and we had all sorts of fun with them.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:45 pm
by Stan In Maryland
I just got one also as a gift. Been playing with most of what has been mentioned here. Have not gone the household route with lights and such but will remodeling the kitchen and might do something then. If anyone has an update on good uses let me know. Right now I do see it as something that will be much more integrated into houses in the future.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:42 pm
by Agent009
Ive since added a wemo outlet to turn the disco ball on and orf. Easy set up, works as it should.
Computer, turn on the disco ball..... Way koool.
Thats about it.
Play jeopardy about everyday. Sometimes have it read wikipedia when i think of something.
Mostly its just a jukebox.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:25 am
by pezworld
Oh this... yeah I bought one a few months ago when I heard it could control my Dish network DVR. I spent $40 on it, so no biggie. But it really didn't do much, and the Dish DVR was getting worse and old. I called Dish and they wanted us to sign another 2-year contract to get a replacement DVR after several years, even though we paid a monthly fee for DVR rental. And they wanted $$$ to replace it with a decent DVR. All this and I was paying $136/month. So we cut the cord from Dish (though we do pay for Sling).

So the Echo gets used maybe once a week for a weather forecast now. Occasionally it talks to us for no reason. Drives my husband crazy. Maybe someday I'll unplug it.

Occasionally we ask it a question that any Google device should be able to answer. It can't. It's really not very bright.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:25 pm
by grecian
Alexa Spits...Never swallows...

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:56 pm
by Agent009
^ Alexa is to much of a prude to even let it near her microphone......

pezworld wrote:So the Echo gets used maybe once a week for a weather forecast now.

Occasionally we ask it a question that any Google device should be able to answer. It can't. It's really not very bright.

Neeeding an AIish computer to ask the weather in LA, ha!......
80 and sunny, 80 and sunny, 80 and sunny, 80 and sunny, infinity!

It really is shocking how dumb she is compared to ms gooogle.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:22 am
by Bastet
I find the idea of having it listen all of the time really creepy. Also if I’m too lazy to use my fingers to type I can just ask Siri.

Re: Amazon Echo - Alexa

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:19 pm
by pezworld
Yep. I unplugged her a few months ago. Husband is grateful.

Oddly enough, we just bought a Wink hub because we're getting a smartlock for the front door, and we wanted more functionality to be able to assign a new lock code on the fly from anywhere. It was something like $35. The Wink can easily be connected to the Echo and controlled by Alexa.

The lock isn't even installed yet (Thursday), but this morning I decided I'd like some dimmer functionality on one or two of the lights in the house, not to mention an easier way to put them on a timer for when we go on vacation. For $10 each, I got some smart lightbulbs that can connect to the Wink hub and can be controlled from the smartphone app from anywhere, and can be set on a timer. I'm buying two for now - we'll see how well they work. ... UTF8&psc=1

So if I wanted to, I could reconnect the Echo and ask Alexa to turn on the lights or turn them off, or open/lock the door. But I don't want her to listen to everything else or bark at me every so often, so I think we'll pass.