Sunday, January 21, 2018

Alexa, Do Something

One of my Christmas gifts was an Echo Dot from Amazon. It isn't something I had on my list, but a novelty item my parents thought sounded interesting. When I first saw it, my thought was, "That's neat, but what do I do with it?" I have been learning the last few weeks and it's starting to grow on me.

Without the use of my hands, most people would think voice activation and I are very good friends. It is true for some living the quad life, but not me. I last tried voice recognition software when I started college and was glad it didn't record my thoughts. Unfortunately, it barely registered my voice either and I found typing to be much easier and faster. It is now nearing two decades later and I still haven't changed.

Every month, I use an automated system to report my income to social security. Most of the process works fine until I have to say and spell my last name. My diaphragm pacemaker makes me take a breath every four seconds, whether I want to or not. I can't say and spell my last name in four seconds and make it clear. The automated machine usually works through my pause for breathing, but we have had words other than my name before.

So now I have this little tuna can size box that only works by voice. To activate it, you simply say the word Alexa, and then have it do something. Ever since setting it up, I get a few emails per week on learning Alexa skills. I'm slowly learning, but I'm generally liking it so far.

When I get up and go through my morning routine, I tell Alexa good morning and she responds with some trivia about the day. I have used it a fair amount to remind me of various things I need to do as well, but what I say and what it repeats are not always the same. If nothing else, it saves on sticky notes at least. Playing music is another one of its features, but my Amazon music library consists of only a few songs. If it will connect to iTunes someday, then I'll be all set.

Friday was national popcorn day, according to Alexa, and I posted as such on Facebook. It started a conversation with another quad friend that has several Echos and is automating his entire home. I don't see me going that far for quite a while, but the possibility is intriguing.

This week looks to be another calm one. I'll see what trivia my tuna can gives me keep learning as we're given more technology to help in this world.

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