Thanks to my mother-in-law, Sharon and I are now the proud owners of an Amazon Echo. Ok, hands up CTL subscribers how many of you have no idea what an Echo is.
Amazon Echo is a smart speaker connected via wifi to The Internet. It can do the following very well:
- Play your music or music form Pandora and other apps.
- Give you weather forecasts from any place in the world
- Updated news headlines
- Voice access to Wikipedia and Bing
- Spanish Dictionary
- Timers, Alarms, calendar events, todos
- Most importantly the Echo through the Alexa app begins to learn your routines
The Echo has over 3000 developers that have skills that can be loaded into the Amazon Clouds. Here are some examples
- NPR news updates
- Jeopardy TV game
- Capital one Credit Accounts
- Airport Info
- The Economist
- The Wall St. Journal
- Interactive Games
My 98 year old mother-in-law is facing some memory challenges. She lives alone but my brother-in-law is just a block away. She often forgets what day it is and has reminders to take medication as well as important phone number.s
In my next post I will explain in detail how I’m using echo in Cuenca.
Alexa, tell me how to play better poker please.
I have 209 apps on my Nexus 6 smartphone but according to my memory stats I only use on average about 35 of these apps daily. So here is a quick list of my 7 favorite apps. I have intentionally skipped apps like email, facebook, maps, photos, calendar etc. because they are in everyone’s daily usage. All these apps run on the iPhone too.
- Pocket – a fantastic “read later” way of saving important data
- Feedly – a superb “News Feed” App.
- Merlin – Daily Esoteric news
- Moves – a great pedometer
- Prisma – My absolute favorite photo editing app
- IMDB – great info on movies and tv shows
- Flickr – Connecting with my photo buddies around the world
What are your favorite apps?
Just about every photo I snap on my smartphone I also edit on Prisma These shots quickly become art photos. Below is my current favorite followed by a short youtube video.
Very early this morning a truck or a bus cut our low lying electrical cable from the street to the house. pulling out the pole and disconnecting our alarm box for the electrical fence. I had to make numerous phone calls to the alarm company, police, electric company and as it turns out to the landlord because the electric company would not connect the electricity until we had a new pole. Add to the confusion my wife was pet sitting and I was supposed to meet her at noon
Cut to the chase my phone after 25 phone calls my phone battery was at 15 % at noon. Needless to say without electricity I could not charge my smartphone battery. To the rescue came my Aukey quick charger and within 30 minutes I was at full power. A $20 gadget is priceless during an emergency.
Move over Skype there is a new sheriff in town. Google just announced it’s Video Messenger Service. Unlike Facetime Google works with both IOS and Android. Since it is connected to your phone there is no need to have the app on or be near a wifi setting. I briefly experimented with it with two friends and had good results. Let me know about your experience. Easily downloaded for free at the Google Play Store or The Apple App Store.
Prisma runs on both IOS and Android and for the last 4 days I have spent about 30 hours messing with the app. Do not even think of downloading the app if you have an important deadline due. But, if you have some free time and want to be creative then run, don’t walk to Prisma and download the app.
I created a youtube video below to show the transformation from original to the prisma effect. Enjoy.
Alexa is Amazon’s answer to Siri the voice command assistant for your digitally connected devices. I have Alexa running on my Nexus Smartphone and recently they added the capability to my Amazon Fire TV. So now I can use my remote or smartphone and say the following to the TV and have the answers, video, music etc. displayed on my big screen HDTV. You can also use Alexa on iPads and iPhones.
- Play a song in my Amazon Library
- Launch a movie from Netflix
- What’s on my calendar or to do list
- Play a favorite music or news station from any radio station in the world
- Read the next chapter from my Kindle book
- What’s my flash briefing from NPR News
- Re-order physical products you previously purchased on the Amazon website.
- Ask Alexa to find and read information from Wikipedia
- Tell me a joke – What do you call a Grizzly with no teeth (Ans. a gummy bear)
- Alexa Skills -turn on skills that allow your device to tell you about upcoming concerts in your city or play math games with you.