Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Alexa The Amazon Echo - First Impressions

For Christmas, we bought everyone in the family Amazon Echos. It's taken a while to really make use of it, but we're loving it now and talk to it all the time. My mom has moved in with us after being discharged from rehab at the nursing home (she broke her neck, but that's another story) and we bought her one as well.

Alexa is clearly the lead dog in the voice-activated home systems. Everyone is scrambling to work with her. Recently, Sonos upgraded their software so all of our music can be played anywhere in the house with a command to Alexa. With our Pandora and Spotify Premium accounts, we've got all the music in the world. With our Audible account, she can read books to us, too.

The only drawback is that she doesn't play nicely with Google. A few years back, we chose Google Music over Apple, mostly because we didn't want to invest tens of thousands of dollars to switch to the Apple ecosystem. Now all of our CDs have been uploaded to our Google accounts. Spotify Premium gives us unlimited access to those same albums, but our playlists are still locked into Google Music. There are ways to move the playlists to Spotify, but I haven't tried any yet. That will be a future post.

First Impression: We love Alexa.

Second Impression: When we ask her to bark like a dog, she does so, driving the Catican Guards crazy. ;-)


Foxfier said...

I object to the "internet of things" but dang the "hello, computer!" aspect is freaking awesome.

K T Cat said...

I dunno, maybe it's my age or maybe it's because I don't care if people know what I'm doing, but the Internet of Things spying fears don't affect me.

Timothy Eisele said...

The weird thing is when Alexa either blurts out some weird statement in response to nothing, or tries to join in the conversation unprompted. She says the darndest things sometimes. I understand that there has been a recent spate of her suddenly bursting out laughing, too.

Still, she is amusing. And there was one time we were listening to a podcast that mentioned Alexa several times, and every time they said it she would pause and wait for a command, even though the name came from her own speaker.

Foxfier said...

Not so much spying as hackability-- Elf use to be a relatively ethical hacker when he was an idiot kid, and did things like repeatedly break into networks and make the printers print out exactly what security flaw he'd exploited to do it. First time, only a few printers, in relevant places; final time, every printer in the place, multiple times.

For an example that's old enough folks have had a chance to do something, Seattle was requiring smart meters that could be hacked, really easily.

Someone could very easily be obnoxious. Worse, they could be flat out dangerous in the wrong weather.

K T Cat said...

Tim, we find ourselves accidentally saying her name when talking about her. We also thought it would be cool if Amazon started running TV ads that issued purchase commands to her so that any Alexa in the same room as the TV would start buying things from Amazon.