Gadgets and More
Gadgets and More

Amazon Alexa

Digital assistants have come a long way in my lifetime. You can now actually talk to one and get responses back. What do I mean?

Alexa

Is developed by Amazon and it is a virtual assistant which gives you access to a lot of information at your voice commands. Yes, you can and it is fairly nice if I say so.  At one point it had about 10,000 employees working on Alexa and related products.  Wow, that is a lot of people trying to develop this product.

How does it work

Alexa uses something called skills and they have something like 90,000 skills, well, they function. You have to activate these skills to provide some sort of advanced access, OK, not really advanced but hear me out.

If you want to listen to music, you have to link your Apple Music, Pandora, or Spotify account. If you want news updates from local stations, you have to activate those skills. If you want this to work your garage door opener, lock your doors, look at your cameras (echo show), you have to link your accounts.

Routines

I have several routines set up to help me throughout the day.

  • Control my lights
    • Yes, I have smart lights (shocker)
  • Lock my doors
  • Open or close my Garage door
  • Start my day
    • Featuring news, weather, Traffic and the current star date.
  • Reminders for me to somethings

You can do so much more with the routines.

Alarm and Timers

You can set up alarms, one of my sons sets like 10 alarms each morning and then he still sleeps through all of them. It is really annoying to me. I use the timer function more often.

Other options

You can do the following on Alexa:

  • Lists and notes
  • Reminders
  • Skills and games

Wake Words

Yes, you can use certain words to talk to Alexa.

  • Alexa
  • Amazon
  • Echo
  • Ziggy
    • This is new
  • Computer

These can be configured in the device settings under wake word.

 

Computer

If you have ever watched Star Trek TNG, DS9 and Voyager you will remember them asking the computer something and it responding. Check out this clip

So when Amazon granted access for Alexa devices to wake to the word computer. Check out this video

However, you don’t want to be like this

Make sure that this is what you are talking about.

Overall opinion

Yes, just like anything nowadays, you have to think about privacy and is Alexa always listening. Some say no some say yes. I guess if you do the research it is up to you. For me, I personally like to use this virtual assailant. It helps me out in so many ways. Sometimes it can be annoying. I use the wake word computer and it reacts to anything that says that.

Yes, Alexa is getting bigger and better and will become a great asset in life. 


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