At the Amazon Prime day sale last week, I took the bait and ordered an Amazon Echo Dot. I thought it woudl be good to report on Amazon Echo Dot and life with Alexa.
This little box connects to the internet and allows you to do a range of things using voice commands. Straight out of the box it will do things such as tell you the time or set alarms using a range of voice commands.
The real power with the Echo Dot is the range of additional “skills” which can be added to it much like you can add “Apps” to phones. These skills range from reading or playing music from your Amazon Prime or Kindle accounts to the ability to set up local internet based radio stations.
You issue the voice command by instructing “Alexa” to carry out the required task. Commands or questions such as “Alexa what is the date” will evoke a spoken response.
The EchoDot can also be paired with a WiFi SmartPlugs such as that produced by TP-Link. Using an intermediate “Kasa” application on your phone EchoDot can then be used to voice activate whatever is plugged into the SmartPlug.
In the last 6 months the number of skills which Alexa has learnt has increased by 50% and continues to grow. One useful skill is radioplayer which will allow you to play both Radio Wales and Radio Cymru … but not MonFM.
Some useful commands are
Play rock paper scissors
How many days until Christmas
How many calories in a pizza
Start 7 minute work out
Add watch tv at 8:30 to my to do list
Where do babies come from
You can have Alexa read a Wikipedia article by asking: –
“Alexa Wikipedia fight club”
You can also download the “Translated skill” and say: –
“Alexa open Translated how do you say Good night in Welsh”
Part of the fun of using the Echo Dot is discovering “Easter eggs”, these are command which can produce an unexpected response.
“Alexa, give me an Easter egg”
Some Easter eggs are also related to “Cult films or series”
“Alexa, beam me up.”
“Alexa, what is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?”
I am sure that new skills and Easter eggs will be developed overthe next few months and this is something to keep an eye on.