Amazon Echo Dot, My New Gadget

Discussion in 'Gadgets & Tech Talk' started by Yvonne Smith, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    When my daughter came over this weekend for the eventful trip to the emergency room, she also brought us a new gadget. Since Robin is the epitome of a Gadget Girl, she usually at least knows about all of the new gadgets, even if she doesn't have all of them (yet).
    So, maybe you are wondering what an Echo Do is........ well, I am glad you asked ! It is a little round box that talks with you. Even more than that, it answers questions, tells you the news and weather, who is winning the election, and even plays music.
    Alexa is Amazon's answer to SIRI, but instead of activating her through your iPhone, she has her own little box that she lives in. When you talk to Alexa, she lights up with pretty colors on the top.
    Robin connected the box to our home stereo system, and now I can say things like , "Alexa, play Don Williams", and the stereo will start playing Don Williams songs until I say , "Alexa, stop."
    It also connects to my Pandora, Amazon Music, Spotify, and several other online radio services, and once you connect your account on the Echo Dot app, then you can just ask Alexa to play whatever you want from there, too.
    If you ask about the weather forecast, latest news, or things like that, then Alexa will give you that information as well.
    I have not actually explored what all she can do yet, but I do have to admit, it is a pretty interesting gadget !

    http://www.pcmag.com/review/343443/amazon-echo-dot
     
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  2. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Sounds interesting, can't decide whether its just a 'super' radio with a recorder
    When you learn more on it, let us know how you get on and what else it can do :)
     
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  3. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    It is not a radio, @Patsy Faye , it is more of a controller. You know how the TV boxes like Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV, or Roku work to run the television, well this is kind of similar to that.
    I am such a non-techy kind of person, so I am not even sure if I am explaining it correctly, but what the Echo does is more like a bluetooth connector and when it is connected with my stereo, then it controls what the stereo plays.
    Since I have the Echo Dot app on the ipad, then that connects with my Pandora account and links it to the Echo.
    So instead of opening Pandora on the ipad and playing it with headphones, I can just ask Alexa to play Pandora, and it plays through the speakers on the stereo, kind of like it would when I connect the output from the iPad to the input on the stereo, except no connector cord is needed because it works like bluetooth.
     
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  4. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Oh Yvonne you've lost me - if I had my way, I'd still be using a cassette recorder !
    Its all way beyond me, I'm surprised I picked up this computer ma larkey :p
     
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  5. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    I love gadgets;) I will look into this one @Yvonne Smith;) I try to get my sis to try some new gadgets, and right now she is writing me about getting a Roku;) I would love to see more folks get into Youtube, and alternate sources of news, just for one thing.
     
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  6. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Youtube is a great place for news, @Denise Happyfeet ! I have a whole list of people that I subscribe to on Youtube, both for news and for health information, as well as more low-carb recipes to try; so you can find just about everything on Youtube if you look there.
    I check the new videos that they put on my page, which always changes depending on what I have been researching, and it also shows new things from any of my subscribed channels as well.
    It also has videos I have watched recently, so if i had to stop partway through, I can just go back when I have time to finish watching it.
    At night, where I used to just waste my brain watching tv shows or movies, I now watch the longer youtube documentary types of videos that go for an hour or longer, so I am educating myself instead of just vegetating along.
     
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  7. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    I don't miss the commercials, that's for sure. And yes, I am also watching more of the documentaries. Don't want to get too far off your OP but also, youtube has many, full, length movies, or TV shows. Most of old movies/shows. I've watched almost every, one of the Jeremy Brett "Sherlock Holmes" programs, love the BBC shows. I also got turned onto the RightSide alternative news source, or actually, what they are doing now is covering all the Trump Rallies.

    I still haven't checked out the new gadget, but what a wonderful gift to get from your daughter;)
     
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  8. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    @Yvonne Smith Am I wrong in thinking Alexa can order you a pizza if you'd like? I think you might have to set it up in advance, but I thought I'd read that she could do things like that, as long as the information was pre-programmed, such as where to order from, how to pay, etc.
     
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  9. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    count me in on buying one if you can order pizza, and yes, I'm serious;)
     
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  10. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    Ha ha, it's funny how that interests both of us @Denise Happyfeet. Here you go, this is probably the article I saw about having her order a pizza. That's from February, and I'm sure the uses have expanded by now, but the article explains a little more about how the system works.
     
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  11. Denise Happyfeet

    Denise Happyfeet Very Well-Known Member
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    Thanks @Diane Lane LOL! Now this does mean the pizza pops out of the Alexa, hot and ready to eat??:D:p
     
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  12. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I had to look that one up to see, and it does appear that the Amazon Echo can order pizza. What I have is the Echo Dot, but my understanding is that it is about the same thing minus the speaker, which comes built-in with the regular Echo.
    From what I read, you just set up your Domino's pizza profile and connect it with the Echo, and then you can ask Alexa to order for you, and also to check on the delivery status.
    If you have smart lights and appliances, you can also control those with the Echo, similar to Apple's new home system. We haven't tried any of that yet, and since we don't order pizza or have any smart appliances, it is not high on the list of priorities.
     
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  13. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    So far, I have not done anything else but play music with the Echo, but I do kind of like it. When I want music, I say to Alexa to play whatever singer I want to listen to, like "Alexa, play Lobo", and then it will play songs by Lobo until I tell her to stop. If I don't like the song, I can say "next song", and it stops playing that song and goes to another one. I can ask her to turn the volume up or down, and when I don't want music, I just say "Alexa, stop".
    I know that it will do a lot more things than I am doing with it, but maybe not anything else that I am interested in doing. But it is very handy to play music.
    I think that she will also read books, but I will have to check that part out. I have never much cared for audio books, but I remember @Ina I. Wonder was talking about those because of her eyesight bothering her when she reads.
     
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  14. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Yvonne..one of my colleagues brought his new Echo dot into work the other day, and sat it on my desk...and everytime I or anyone walked past my desk we were asking it questions all day...Alexa, what is 19.2 percent of 33.5 thousand...Alexa turn on Radio 4 and loads more ... ..and the one that made us laugh the most... Alexa, why did the chicken cross the road..(alexa\s answer)...''don't you think that's between the chicken and it's conscience? :D:D:D:D:D
     
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  15. Debbie Seattle

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    Bought the Echo Dot and love it! I have a Bluetooth speaker in our kitchen and was using my iPhone to stream music but was running down the battery etc. With the Echo dot, I just tell it to play Christmas classics or even a radio station and it plays. It has a kitchen timer on it and love that, in fact, can set up multiple timers with it. Can ask the weather, news, just about anything. I'm keeping my commands simple at this point instead of making life difficult for myself trying to remember all the commands. Fortunately, I came across this when $10 was knocked off. Highly recommend it.
     
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  16. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I was just reading this story about a little girl who asked Alexa to play dolls and get her a doll house and some cookies. Alexa ordered a $160 doll house and 4 lbs of cookies, and a couple of days later, the surprised family (and happy little girl) received the doll house and cookies.
    Naturally, this made the local news. However, when the story was played over the television, many listeners called in and complained because they too had an Amazon Echo, and their device also tried to order the dollhouse and cookies when the story was on television and Amazon Echos everywhere tried to obey the prompt for the merchandise.
    Apparently, there is a control in the app so that you can stop Alexa from making an automatic order when she hears you talking about something, and her name is mentioned.
    Now, I am trying to figure out how to tell @Bobby Cole about this without ordering a dollhouse and 4 lbs of cookies as soon as I mention that Alexa ordered those for a little girl.
    I guess he will just have to read it here on the forum, like everyone else is doing.......

    http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/01/06/...ollhouses-for-owners-after-hearing-tv-report/
     
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  17. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I don't know if I want something like that in my house...what if I said "Fire!" and it burned down my house...or worse! :p

    All kidding aside @Yvonne Smith I did see a commercial on TV promoting that Echo Dot or something like it. But I'm with @Patsy Faye as long as I can get up and play my own music on my CD's, etc. I am fine with that. I didn't even like the Kindle my girls gave me to read books on....I like real books and being able to turn the pages myself, etc. Some things to me just don't need "updating".

    But on the other hand, since your daughter is "gifting" you with these new gadgets I can see how you are probably enjoying "playing" with them. :p
     
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  18. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Very Well-Known Member
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    Sounds like my brother. He doesn't like today's "techy" stuff at all. We have some and love the ones we do have.

    One thing for sure, some love new "techy" stuff while others are fine with still using old stuff.

    Not to change the OP, but some folks will buy a new car and are totally amazed/shocked at all the "techy" stuff in it. When we bought our 2005 Durango, in 2005, it had a DVD Player in it and a set of headphones. Can only be viewed from the two rear seating areas, but can be heard thru the radio if the headphones aren't used. We've used it a few times, but think it's mainly for kids entertainment.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  19. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    I used to be good at learning new things, now I don't seem to want to
    There's so much to remember with computers, that's about all I can handle :)

    @Cody Fousnaugh
     
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  20. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    Just what everyone needs a propaganda source right in your house? At least the TV has a choice of what propaganda you want. Will it be biases of course will you be thinking of that when you listen to it no. All these new devices are great but the caveat is they all are connected to Google in one way or another.
     
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  21. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I think that the Echo is connected to Amazon because that is who markets the Echo. It is not something that I would have ever spent any money to own, nor do we use it very often, and when we do , it is just to play music through the stereo. Basically, the Echo does about the same things as SIRI does for Apple, but the Echo is a free-standing unit and has its own speakers. Alexa also works with the Amazon Fire TV box; and can findtelevision programs for people when using that application for it.
    Amazon was sending me an email each week to explain new things that the Echo can do; but really, we are not interested in interacting with it.

    Bobby listens to the radio most mornings, and one program that he was listening to was talking about using Alexa. The announcer mentioned asking Alexa what the capitol of some state was, and Bobby was totally shocked when OUR Alexa answered the question and told him what the capitol was for that state. He said for an instant, he thought someone strange was in the house talking to him, and then he realized that the radio announcer had "triggered" the Echo when he said the word "Alexa".
    Ordering things online is definitely NOT something that we want the Echo to be doing ! !
     
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
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  22. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Oooer - this Alexa hears everything you say :eek:
    Ooo no, gives me the heeby jeebies
    :p
     
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  23. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Very Well-Known Member
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    Sounds like this thing could be/would be a very interesting item to have. Will have to check into it.

    Be nice to have someone (something) to talk to while wife is at work.
     
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  24. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    Everything you say will be on the web good idea???
     
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  25. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I tend to agree with you, @Patsy Faye ! Even though Amazon is not the only company who makes this kind of device, any of the other brands, like Apple or Google, would also basically be a listening device that hears, and possibly records what is said in the vicinity. Because the device only responds when you activate that by speaking their "name" (such as SIRI or Alexa), you only realize that they are listening when you actively speak to them for some reason. However, it seems to me that the device has to be listening all of the time so that it can know when to activate.
    Most of the voice-activated products seem to be used for remotely controlling the television by voice; and Alexa is the first one that I have seen that will actually order products from Amazon when you ask her to do so.
    I think that our automatic ordering must be turned off. The other day, Bobby asked Alexa to make "fireplace sounds" to go along with the electric fireplace heater that is part of the television cabinet. Now, I see that we have a list called Alexa wish list, or something similar to that, and on the list is "fireplace sounds". Thankfully, the automatic ordering is off or Bobby would have accidentally ordered some kind of an app for his ipad that plays fireplace sounds .
    The snooping implications are what is really concerning though, much more so than accidentally ordering something online might be. Even though we don't say anything that would be of interest to anyone, just the thought that everything we say might be being recorded and stored, is worrisome. "Big Brother" has certainly arrived, and like they are saying , most people are happy with the technology that could be enslaving them.
     
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