Amazon Echo - Siri thing from Amazon because their phone bombed


#121

She works pretty well. She struggles when there is noise in the area, like a loud fan or a lot of voices. What i really want are dumb satellite speakers for her… I don’t need more brains just devices that produce and pic up sound.


#122

Yep, she’s doing great so far. Just using her for music and weather updates. The ease of stopping and starting and controlling volume is wonderful.

Minor issue. I called out something to her today and I couldn’t hear her above the music she was playing, so raised the volume. Now the music was so loud, Alexa could no longer distinguish my cries for silence and I had to dash across the room and hit her volume dial.


#123

Haha. Yeah I think i have this problem around volume 7 or 8. I have to like lean over her at that point or use my phone app… which always seems to update at the worst times.


#124

When you lean over and use your phone app – the Alexa app doesn’t provide that kind of control, does it? I think I remember reading somewhere that you could install the Roger app and somehow get Roger to impersonate Alexa – is that what you mean?

Was pleasantly surprised on Saturday when I successfully got Alexa to purchase about half a dozen individual songs just from “Alexa, buy this song,” from TuneIn. (I guess Alexa looks at track metadata for that, so duh.). I hadn’t even looked into whether or not that might work beforehand and was impressed.

Current wants:

  • Ability to control my Fire TV via my Echo
  • Ability to set an alarm and have Alexa play specified music at that time
  • More volume increment options (e.g. 3.5)

Edit: Whoops, just learned that when you enable a phone-to-Echo Bluetooth connection, you can turn the Echo into a kind of puppet and control it directly from your phone. (Speaking of puppets, I wonder if anyone has tried installing an Echo inside an actual puppet yet. I’m looking at you, Tom Servo on my mantle – your neck is almost exactly the right diameter, and you’ll need a wig.)


#125

Sorry for the threadspam. Really.

Discovered something cool that might or not be a well-known thing. Alexa appears to have no trouble navigating backwards and forwards chronologically through a podcast series, episode by episode. The TuneIn API appears to provide podcast post date metadata that is easy enough for Alexa to use. And you don’t have to mess around with signing up for TuneIn or anything – it just works.

The catch? To change from the most recent episode (default when you say, Alexa, play [PODCAST NAME] from TuneIn to the next-most-recent episode, you have to tell Alexa, Alexa, next track or Alexa, next song.

So, if the Qt3 Games & Movies podcasts get added to TuneIn, we can say, Alexa, play “Quarter to Three” from TuneIn and work our way backwards through the archives. Hopefully Alexa can parse those words in the podcast title correctly.

Edit: +link to other thread


#126

More threadspam incoming!

Guess I’m posting discoveries as I find them.

Imagine sitting at your desk, catching up on news around the world and suddenly wondering about police chatter in some specific region. Well, just now while sitting at my desk at home, I called out, Alexa, play “Lubbock Police Department” from TuneIn and after a couple of tries she did so without complaint (I had to pronounce “Lubbock” in a specific way).

That kind of channel is an opt-in thing I think, so look 'em up here: http://tunein.com/search/?query=police (jump down to Stations)

Edit: or http://tunein.com/search/?query=fire (jump down to Stations)

Edit #2: One more super cool one: The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (Alexa, play “The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive” from TuneIn)


#127

You must have Alexa near your desk. One of my challenges with Alex is it’s centrally located for the house but not in the office, which is why I would love to have like an extension speaker/mic rather than a new unit just for one room. Interesting info, especially since i use TuneIn


#128

I clicked on the shortwave link and played the most recent one - SAQ in Sweden. Yikes, my Morse copying skill has deteriorated to the point of being almost nonexistent. Someday I’ll drag the old ham gear out of the closet and toss a wire in the air somewhere.


#129

Cheaper Amazon Echo Dot is coming. $50.

Accidentally tweeted by Amazon, then almost immediately deleted.


#130

The Dot is available for pre-order and releases Oct. 20. Changes from previous gen (via a random Amazon customer):

  • The new dot is smaller. Same 3.3" diameter but is 1.3" tall vs 1.5" tall
  • Directional mic holes are slashes instead of tiny circles
  • Volume buttons replaced the volume slider around the top
  • 5.7 oz vs 8.8 oz so slightly lighter likely due to smaller height
  • Comes with 90 day warranty vs first gen had 1 year
  • No more power indicator light on the back
  • Both have a 7-microphone array so at least they didn’t change that
  • Side material appears to have a glossy finish now
  • No longer includes the 3.5 mm audio cable (4 ft.)

They’re also offering black/white color choices and product bundles now (speakers, lighting, etc.).

For customers with multiple Echo devices there’s a new Echo Spacial Perception feature that prevents any but the nearest Echo device from responding to you. Previous gen devices will also get this update.

I’ll be picking one up but I haven’t decided where it’ll go. Either I’ll pair the new Dot with an inexpensive bluetooth speaker in the bedroom (perhaps the $35 Anker SoundCore), or maybe I’ll put the Dot in the livingroom and pick up a more expensive speaker solution, and then move the Echo into the bedroom.


#131

Well this seems like an odd move to me. I understand we’re all used to barely there warranties, but did they have some problems with the original dots and don’t want to back them again or maybe dropped the quality?


#132

It’s probably worth noting that the first-gen Dot was $90 with a free 1-year warranty, and this new one is $50 with an optional $10 2-year warranty to tack onto a free 90-day warranty.


#133

Phillips Hue kit plus extra bulbs just arrived. Haven’t played around with Scenes yet, just established basic groups (including a “Lights” group which is all of them) and tested basic on/off/dimming actions. Super speedy setup, works flawlessly with Alexa so far.


#134

One week in and still very happy with the Hue purchase overall. Kind of wish I’d held back, budgeted and planned more and gone with the color-capable lights, but I’m not complaining. Just Works.

One minor incident yesterday with the Echo. My home network went down at some point and when I got home, Alexa was in a state of confusion and told me she couldn’t talk to me right now. LAN was fine, just an ISP issue. Understandable that I wouldn’t be able to do things involving the internet, but I was surprised that she was totally crippled like that. Hopefully just a one time thing.

Came across an aftermarket Echo “charging station” today: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Binmer-Superior-Quality-Bluetooth-Speaker-USB-Dock-Base-Charger-Charging-Data-Cable-For-Amazon-Echo-ST20/32738847402.html. Looks dodgy, but interesting nevertheless.


#135

The voice recognition is cloud based, no internet connection and nothing will work as you found.


#136

Thanks, Synth. Suppose I was a little unclear on where the cloud dependency began and ended in that situation. Curious about how it might have impacted Phillips Hue controls had I tried things out during the outage. Probably would have been fine.

Just got home after gifting and setting up a new Echo for my daughter and her boyfriend. They’re both undergrads and live in a tiny apartment with landlord-provided wifi. I was a little nervous going in but setup was mostly smooth and the Echo seems to be able to hold onto the login credentials just fine. She has an iPhone and a Mac and he’s a Windows/Android guy, and they’re both in the Amazon ecosystem and use Pandora/Spotify. She’s not tech savvy and he is. He’s also a computer science major (interested in Java but will be getting into C++/C# this year) and I’m trying to get him interested in the Echo dev kit.

Meanwhile researching things for some visually impaired and blind family members who are dissatisfied with the technology options available to them today. Many of their issues fall into areas that really just haven’t been addressed well by anyone yet, but it’s interesting to note that some organizations are apparently jumping into Amazon’s solution with both feet, such as Southeastern Guide Dogs who have Echos installed in every room.


#137

Does anyone have an opinion on the speaker in the Dot? I have a co-worker who has the first gen Dot and he says the speaker is fine for streaming music - that said, he and his wife aren’t super music enthusiasts, so I wonder if the quality is not very good but they just don’t care.

Of course, that sort of presupposes I can tell the difference between the Echo and the Dot speakers. Anyone compared the audio output of the two?


#138

Isn’t the Dot specifically meant to be plugged into external speakers? It’s basically the portable, not really meant to be used on its own version of the Echo.

The quality of the speakers is not comparable.

Wendelius


#139

Speaking of the Dot, I thought you needed to already have an Echo to buy one, but looking at the Amazon.co.uk site, I’m not seeing anything indicating that. Have they changed policy with the Dot 2?


#140

It works stand alone. It’s just a smaller version of the Echo. Same connectivity and microphones, but no big speaker. Doesn’t require an Echo to work.