I know that we’re 12 days in, but Happy 2018! I trust everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Not counting Christmas, our house has celebrated – or is currently celebrating – 3 birthdays since my last post. My kids have early January birthdays that seem to stretch for weeks. I think Jack’s third and final birthday celebration event is Sunday afternoon.
Presents for weeks now, but the one that has gotten the most attention is the Amazon Echo or, as it’s more commonly known, an Amazon Alexa. Like me, Alexa is sleek and stylish and stays behind the lamp, hoping to be left alone. Also like me, Alexa gets asked a zillion questions a day.
If you’re not familiar, the Amazon Echo is a speaker/assistant/encyclopedia that you control with your voice. Just use a wake word, like “Alexa”, to get her attention and she’s at your service. She can tell you the weather, calculate your commute time, read your Twitter feed, play music, roll dice, and a million other things. If you have a “smart home”, you can control the smart devices with the Echo. “Alexa, raise the thermostat 2 degrees.” “Alexa. lock the doors.” “Alexa, turn off the lights upstairs.” If you download your contacts, you can use the Echo to make phone calls, or make Echo-to-Echo calls or send messages to others in your contact list who have an Echo. (My guess is that the Amazon account is tied to their email address, and Amazon puts the pieces of that puzzle together for you).
You can also control your TV with your Echo, but that requires Amazon Fire TV and I, quite honestly, am a little overwhelmed with all of the channel delivery options and I’m not signing up for any more. I will say that it would make my life easier if YouTube TV added History, HGTV, A&E and the FoodNetwork. Google will get there but, of course, the Amazon Echo and Google don’t play well together. Those two crazy kids just need to kiss and make-up.
Y’all realize that, in the span of 35 years, we’ve gone from having one way – cable television – to get THREE ADDITIONAL STATIONS (WOR, WGN, WTBS) to 194 different ways to watch The Bachelor.
Anyway, back to the Echo. I don’t know which agent at the NSA is charged with listening to the conversations that we have with Alexa, but that poor guy is questioning his career choice. I’m sure that he’s thinking, “if I have to listen to Alexa open a box of cats one more time, the terrorists can just have it!”
That’s Layne’s favorite – Alexa, open a box of cats.
Jack has discovered that he can ask the Echo to play whatever song he has on his mind at at the moment. My Spotify history has everything from Lecrae to the soundtrack from The Greatest Show.
We got our first Echo for Christmas. Big hit. Realizing that we can just use the call or drop-in feature to create an intercom system for the house, the kids got their own Echo Dots for their birthdays. Now, instead of yelling aimlessly up the stairs, I can just say “Alexa, drop-in on the playroom” and my pet peeve of people staring at a ceiling yelling someone else’s name is resolved.
Now, if I could get Alexa to make them stop slamming doors, I could really solve some of the world’s problems.
Have a great weekend!