Jump to content

Amazon Echo


Recommended Posts

I got one when they were released in the UK and the whole family loves it! It's used to play music, check the weather forecast, listen to news and I now have the lamps in the living room and the Xmas tree controlled by voice commands. Next step is to get the TV/Satellite/Kodi voice activated, but that's a project for the holidays.

 

Biggest impact for us has been that we're listening to more music. Asking for a particular track, some Xmas music or just 'Play some music' has made it more accessible somehow and we're still using it daily even now that the original buzz has faded away. I bought a bunch of Dots over Black Friday so will be spreading them around the house (another holiday project) which means kids can listen to different things (no more Frozen vs Everything is Awesome battles by our 6 year olds!)

 

Here's some fun stuff you can do with it: https://turbofuture.com/consumer-electronics/200-Amusing-Amazon-Echo-Easter-Eggs

 

Only catch with is: Had to change the wake word as with a son named Alexander it kept getting activated at the wrong time :)

Thanks Owen, I'm loving it and feel there is loads of stuff that I haven't even thought of.

 

Having fun asking it silly questions just for the answer!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She's quite good fun. I like the radio, music & podcast functionality. Having got her, I then ordered Phillips Hue for most of my lights. Daft really, as it's a lot easier to flick a switch to put the light on than ask Alexa to do it unless you are in full collapse on the sofa. And try as I might, I haven't been able to get her to change colour scenes.

 

In terms of skills, Amazon have recently enabled IfThisThenThat (IFTT) for UK echo devices, which lets the Echo control a whole range of external things in addition to the ones she supports natively, and also lets the user develop simple routines.

 

The sound quality seems OK, but I can't say whether she provides a '360 degree .. immersive experience' as I don't have any idea what that would sound like!

 

She does seem to randomly announce that she 'isn't sure what I said' when I am watching TV, and the Amazon Echo ad sparks her into life with the Alexa keyword.

 

There is a microphone mute button that stops her listening if you do want to have a meeting with your capo regimes or plot the overthrow of our undemocratically selected government.

Edited by guzzi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got one when it first came out in the UK and was able to get £50.00 off as a Prime member. I have it connected to a couple of table lamps via wifi and have set one to go on at a certain time whether I'm home or not, which will be handy to give the impression the house is occupied when I'm away.

 

Use it to listen to music, play the radio mostly. It makes a very good internet radio.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've thought about doing the smart home thing, but at £37 a pop for the plug things, I think I can heave my arse off the settee to put a lamp on. One good use would be to have the leccie blanket linked to it so I didn't have to go upstairs to put it on. But, I don't use one, so still waiting for the ideal use.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've thought about doing the smart home thing, but at £37 a pop for the plug things, I think I can heave my arse off the settee to put a lamp on. One good use would be to have the leccie blanket linked to it so I didn't have to go upstairs to put it on. But, I don't use one, so still waiting for the ideal use.

 

I got myself MiHome sockets ( gateway and 3 sockets RRP around £70 but were £38 on Black Friday! - http://amzn.to/2hjXF0r (currently OOS) and additional sockets are £7-8 each ). Had avoided because of the cost previously ( £40 to control one light is silly ). I like the idea of the Hue colour changing bulbs too, but they're ridiculously priced too, like £150 for the 3 bulb starter kit.

 

Oh .. another cool thing Alexa does: you can get it to read Audible books to you.

Edited by Owen
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've thought about doing the smart home thing, but at £37 a pop for the plug things, I think I can heave my arse off the settee to put a lamp on. One good use would be to have the leccie blanket linked to it so I didn't have to go upstairs to put it on. But, I don't use one, so still waiting for the ideal use.

 

 

I would have found a smart home setup useful the other weekend when I went away and left the central heating on. I've got a Samsung SmartThings hub, which Alexa can talk to and which can automate things like turning off the lights when I leave and turning on the hall light when I return. I suppose a wifi thermostat has to be next.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I was given an echo dot and the hue thing for Christmas. The dot has been recycled as a present to my sister. The hue will go to someone else. I can't see the use, I've better things to do than talk to an inanimate object, I'm unhappy about the fact that Alexa is always listening.

 

I've never used Siri on my phone, I don't use voice activation to make calls on hands free ( I don't make calls when driving )

 

I'm obviously a Luddite. I'm addicted to my remotes. I've had remote light switching and dimming for 25 years.

 

Colour changes? Why?

 

I've had a wifi thermostat for 18 months. Each radiator also has a manual thermostatic valve. It took a while to get settings and times correct for my lifestyle. It has helped reduce my fuel bill. So silly having a thermostat in the hall as most modern builds do.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the always listening thing is a bit of a worry. I wait to see what happens with Amazon refusing the US police access to recordings from an Echo in the home of a suspected murderer! So far, they are standing firm, but who knows?

 

However, I am relatively relaxed that my Echo will hear little of consequence in my house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got the Echo on Black Friday and got a Dot for Christmas. I have a Smartthings hub so I use it to turn my lights on and off. The plinth and cornice lights in my kitchen don't have a switch so voice control is ideal.

The sound isn't as good as my Sonos but I like that I can play podcasts, youtube, and audio books to it via bluetooth. It's great for the kitchen where your hands are usually busy cooking or washing up.

I've played with a a few of the skills. They are good for a bit of fun but I've not found any that I use daily. I'll probably get the Harmony Home Hub next to control my TV, and then Honeywell Evohome thermostat as I think that integrates quite well. I've also set up a few IFTTT applets. Some of which can add specific items to my Tesco delivery basket. I'm not sure what to do with my Dot yet. I'd like to install it in my car or connect it to my bathroom ceiling speaker.

 

I think it is listening in loops of about 8 seconds waiting for the wake word. It isn't recording until you say the wake word. You can log in to the app and delete previous requests. But that is the official information. In reality it could be listening and reporting back all the time. Imagine if it picks up keywords from your conversation then starts recommending products on Amazon or selling that information on to 3rd parties. I'm not worried about it. I'm carrying around a phone with GPS, 2 cameras, and a microphone, and using gmail and facebook all day so there is no hiding for me.

 

In the murder case you are talking about, the suspect also had an internet connected water meter that showed he used 140 gallons of water between 1 - 3am. I think the court will be more interested in what he did with all that water than what he asked his Echo. If the police have the suspects phone they could use the Alexa app to see and listen to all the previous requests.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was given an echo dot and the hue thing for Christmas. The dot has been recycled as a present to my sister. The hue will go to someone else. I can't see the use, I've better things to do than talk to an inanimate object, I'm unhappy about the fact that Alexa is always listening.

 

 

Yes. I'm an old twat too, and I am suspicious of a device with such sinister capabilities. I think that generally, with exceptions of course, the young are incredibly gullible in the face if these "wonderful" innovations. A bit like a dash cam that is always watching what YOU are doing as well as watching others, and all manner of smart devices that can accurately track your movements.

 

I like to think of the "agent" who gave you this as a gift hoping to gain the inside track on legal cases instead listening on in bemusement to your sister's trivia of the day. (I appreciate that your sister may be a big cheese at GCHQ for all I know thumbsup.gif ).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...