Monday, January 11, 2016

Alexa, my love


After we finished blessing, I looked at the small, black speaker resting on the corner of the kitchen nook and said, “Alexa, play some classical music.”

A soft, almost sexy-sounding, female voice emited from the speaker, “Classical Playlist from Prime; Classical Dreamtime,” followed by a soothing instrumental piece.

Our family talked about our day as the music played quietly in the background. My daughter reminded me she needed loose leaf paper. Again.

“Tell her,” I said, pointing at my Alexa aka Amazon’s Echo.

“Alexa, add loose leaf paper to the shopping list,” she said.

“Loose leaf paper added to your shopping list,” Alexa responded.

w w w

To say we’ve been having fun with this thing would be an understatement. Alexa is so much more than what I expected because she (did I just call it a she?) does so more than I expected. I thought it would be a replacement of my SONOS (Hifi speaker) but would have voice commands.

Heck no!

Alexa is like having the Internet at your fingertips…without using your fingertips. It’s all voice activated. So yeah, there’s plenty of room for error. 

Me:     “Alexa, add chicken breast to my shopping list.”

Alexa:     “Chicken bed added to your shopping list.”

I’m still not sure how that happened or if that was Alexa’s way of asking me to buy her a chicken coop to sleep in at night, but yeah, some kinks need to be worked out on the voice commands. Or I just need to learn to slow down and enunciate better.

She (there I go again), I mean it, it is able to set timers, alarms, access your calendar to provide updates, give sports scores and news, provide headlines, tell you your weather or traffic, play games like Jeopardy, and someone even developed a skill (similar to apps) for Star Wars trivia. And so much more!

I have to admit one of my favorite things to watch is how all of us interact with her. It. I mean it. We all can’t help but assign personal feelings toward this damn thing. Just as I’ve assigned it a female personality in my head because of the voice it emits, we’ve all managed to feel a range of emotions towards it.

And not all of these emotions are, shall I say, “normal.” It reminds me of the movie Her. On a much smaller scale of course. All of us have gotten downright angry at it because it will say, “I cannot find the answer to the question I heard” or, “I’m not quite sure how to help you with that,” when we pose a question the wrong way. On the flip side, there are games we can play against it and we are far too happy when we have a better score then it does. It’s a machine, and yet we treat it like a human sometimes. Okay, a lot of times.

But, man-oh-man, is this thing fun. And useful. Now that I have it, I use it at least a dozen times a day. For actual stuff. Not just to hear it fart. Because it can do that too. By far my favorite newest gizmo.

How about you? Do have a newest favorite gizmo?

I’ll be out of town next week so I won’t be on Blogger, but the good news is I’ll have down time to work on my self-help book. I may even have it finished! I’m gonna try anyway. So take care and be well everyone!

 



30 comments:

  1. I thought about getting one of those. She's a lot like Siri, which I used all the time on my iPad.
    Did you remember to buy that chicken bed?

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    1. Yes, Alexa is very much like Siri and Google voice (that sadly doesn't have a "name" - that I know of, unless "Okay" counts). If Alexa puts chicken bed on the shopping list again, I may have to pick one up to make her happy.

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  2. Oh, that's going on my birthday list right now.

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  3. Actually things like that creep me out. Has no one seen the Terminator when machines can suddenly think for themselves? No thanks. I'll take my old analog world any day. But glad you are having fun with it.

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    1. It's kinda funny because from where I sit in the family room, I can see it sitting on the nook in the kitchen. So every so often I can see the blue ring light up when it thinks it hears "Alexa". It's like when the Xbox thinks it hears it's name when Netflix is on. Creepy.

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  4. My Rare One uses bluetooth in her car for her iPhone and lemme tell ya, that voice recognition technology would drive me nuts! More like voice NON-recognition technology!

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    1. It can be tricky sometimes...and frustrating. But it's also a ton of fun too. Totally worth those moments of frustration. It has made life a lot more organized and I love organization!

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  5. haha Skynet is beginning to assume control, even the one eyed are in its clutches. I'd have fun swearing at it or watching the cats reaction as it talks away.

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    1. It's just like in the book 1984. One household at a time the government is taking over, bit by bit. It won't be long before the machines rise haha

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  6. Hi Elsie - what an amazing little Gizmo - and I see it reads Audio books - good thing it's not available here .. otherwise I might crave one ... so interesting to see - good luck with finishing off your book next week - cheers Hilary

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    1. Yes, that's a feature I forget to mention, the audio books. It can even go back an entire chapter or move forward too. And it picks up wherever you left off on another device. Sweet! Don't worry, I'm sure it'll be available by you soon enough :)

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  7. That looks likes so much fun! I bet I'd have a blast with it, especially since I'm so easily amused. For example, I still get a kick out of the fact Siri calls me "Lord and Master."

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    1. Siri calls you Lord and Master, huh? Yeah, I would get a kick out of that. We can make Alexa repeat what we say by playing Simon Says with her..I mean it. The kids are also forever putting "poop" on my shopping list. They think it's hilarious.

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  8. That looks likes so much fun! I bet I'd have a blast with it, especially since I'm so easily amused. For example, I still get a kick out of the fact Siri calls me "Lord and Master."

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  9. Until I can proudly say that I have a robot butler, technology like this just doesn't excite me.

    Really, though, I hadn't even heard of this until now. Sounds pretty damn awesome. Those kinds of things never understand my wife, either... And she has no accent whatsoever. I think machines are just racist.

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    1. Having a robot butler would be awesome. One of these days I'm going to buy a roomba. I just can't see spending that kind of money for it yet. But it'll be affordable one of these days. For the amount of time I spend sweeping and vacuuming, it'll justify itself eventually.

      Yeah, maybe robots have a thing against us women-folk?

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  10. I'm not sure I'm ready to take that step yet.

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    1. Maybe one of these days, Andrew? It's a ton of fun!

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  11. Sounds like a blast. And I can understand the gal getting bed and breasts mixed up. Poor Alexa. I'm guessin, like me, she hasn't had any real action in a long time.
    Be well, my friend.

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  12. Sounds like a blast. And I can understand the gal getting bed and breasts mixed up. Poor Alexa. I'm guessin, like me, she hasn't had any real action in a long time.
    Be well, my friend.

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  13. I can't help thinking I'd have Alexa saying, "Do it yourself" within a week. With me, all but my wallet was made for having a butler.

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  14. How exciting like a having your own secretary and reminder gal ~ Someday, I would like a robotic maid to take over the household chores, smiles ~ Enjoy your week Elsie ~

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  15. I have not heard of this and it would be freaky but then my evil grin would start to show and I would start saying things in a British accent or using their lingo...that would be fun

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  16. Awesome! I bought a gizmo very similar to your gizmo for my son at Christmas. I'm now wondering what he's doing with it :)

    Take care and see you later.

    Gary :)

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  17. My son bought me a Chromecast plug in dongle thing for the tv - allows us to "cast" YouTube videos onto the tv - Love it! Everyone on the network can add to the queue - so my wife has Take That on followed by me having Miles Davis and then my daughter "restoring some sanity" with Adelle.
    I'm also hoping it allows me via a cheap pay per view app to watch some F1 races live that otherwise I'd have to watch on highlights only.

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  18. I have never heard of something like this but have to say it is cool

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  19. Cool gadget and you sounds like having fun with it despite misunderstand in communication and accent! Good to see you blogging sometime now, take care. Best wishes with writing

    Cheers

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