Seven unexpected things Amazon’s Alexa can do for you


When Amazon’s Echo is on the market, it was actually just a voice-powered speaker. Don’t get me wrong—it was an attractive piece of technology, and responded well to voice commands, but a lot of people end up with an Echo asked Alexa a few basic questions, such as: How late is it? What is the weather forecast for Saturday? And that was it.

Click here for a list of Alexa commands that you do not use, but it should be.

Here is the question I get over and over again: What can Alexa do?

The answer is: Much more than just commands. New apps and devices are becoming Echo-friendly, and the small tower behaves more like a “smart speaker” and more as a digital assistant.” You can arrange schedules, coordinate your entertainment center in different rooms and even devices work without lifting a finger.

Many of these activities required special equipment and a little bit of time to link it via Bluetooth, but once you do that, Alexa wireless wizardry is bound to amaze you.

1. Voicecast

You’re listening to a podcast in the living room, right next to the Echo. Then you realize that you need something from the garage. You do not want to lose the flow, so you have to pick up a compatible device. “Alexa, send that to my Fire tablet,” you say. Now the podcast is portable.

Of course, this process also works with Echo-Stip, that is its own speaker system and can be placed in multiple rooms.

2. Find your lost phone

No matter how many pillows you rip from your bank, you just can’t find your phone. How can you say that your partner is collecting milk on the way home? Say “Alexa, the trigger for find my phone,” and the Echo calls from your phone. Now you can select the ringing tone or vibration to the location. This trick is especially useful if you are alone.

3. Write a to-do list

The to-do list, one of Alexa’s most secretarial skills, will benefit the organized and disorganized people are the same. To start with, say, “Alexa, you create a new task.” After you have determined the list, you can easily add new items to it by saying: “the Add of X is on my to-do.” (“Alexa, add dinner at Mom’s on my to-do.” “Alexa, add finishing company report to do my to-do.”)

4. Things to buy on Amazon

It is not surprising that a device made by the world’s largest online retailer would make it easy to buy things from it.

The easiest items to purchase at Amazon are that you have ordered in the past. Say “Alexa, buy more paper towels,” and the device automatically places an order for the brand you’ve already bought.

Say you’re listening to a song on Amazon Music and you find yourself bobbing your head and thinking deep thoughts, and you spontaneously decide to keep it for always. It is just as simple as “Alexa, buy this song.”

5. To arrange a ride

Without contact with your phone, much less turn on and fire up an app, you can get a ride with Uber or Lyft. “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride.” If you already have an account with Uber or Lyft and coordinated these services, you can call the car to your house.

6. Work the smart household devices

The smarter you get, the more equipment you can operate with your voice.

For example, you can vacuum your floors with the Powerbot VR7000. On its own, the Powerbot is a powerful autonomous vacuum that looks like a small horseshoe crab and happens to suck Cheers. With Echo, you can use your Powerbot for the cleaning of the carpets. “Alexa, tell Powerbot vacuum.”

The list is as big as a house. With a smart thermostat, you can say, “Alexa, set the temperature at 78 degrees.” With a smart security system, you can say, “Alexa, close my door.” Say “Alexa, dim the lights,” and your smart light bulbs will be a new vote.

You don’t even have in the same room as the wireless device. If you are using the Garageio device, “Alexa, ask Garageio too close to my garage” will do exactly that.

7. Searching for easter eggs

Easter eggs are little jokes and surprises programmers leave in certain software. Since the Ultrasound became owners about the Alexa the opportunity to tell you a joke. (“Alexa, tell me a joke.”)

Coming from a small tower, these jokes give a new meaning to “stand-up comedy,” but there are still plenty of other Easter eggs. Here are some favorite nerdy recommendations: “Alexa, set phasers to kill.” “Alexa, show me the money.” “Alexa. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”

And perhaps the best: “Alexa, what is your mission?”

How will Alexa react? You only have to ask and find out.

Important privacy implications

Amazon keeps an audio recording of each voice command gives you Alexa, as well as a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word.

But just as you wouldn’t feel comfortable letting someone go through your Google search history, you probably don’t want others to see that your Alexa applications. That is why you need to know how to delete recordings captured by this always-listening virtual assistants.

I recently reviewed my Alexa past. Surprisingly, together with requests for music to play and for the weather, there were recordings of me talking about a letter of intent and fragments of movies.

Click here to listen to you past Alexa commands and learn how to remove them. Knowledge is power.

Copyright 2017, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

What other secrets are your high-tech devices to hide? Make sure to listen or to download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. Of the buy of an opinion to the digital world problems, click here for my free podcasts.

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