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Any Amazon Echo Users ?
Old 06-01-2016, 03:54 PM   #1
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Any Amazon Echo Users ?

Just curious and wanting to hear any thoughts, good or bad.

Thanks in advance.

If I'm behind the curve on this one, sorry, I'm still a luddite.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:58 PM   #2
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I don't use it, as I don't want Amazon recording everything I say in the room.
You never know who would see the results.

I know someone that had it, it was fun getting him uptight when we said "echo buy a car" "echo repeat last order". Probably too easy to actually buy stuff.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:02 PM   #3
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I got one for DH as a surprise birthday gift 2 weeks ago. He has started to use it for some of the routine things he does with his phone (set a timer, check the weather, etc.). He hasn't figured out how to make it play the music he wants yet. I think he'll use it more as he experiments more, but he just got a new iPhone yesterday (to replace his 4 year old one) and he's busy getting that all set up now.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:14 PM   #4
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Handiest part is working in the kitchen and being able to call in a timer, set some new music, or put something on the shopping list. Don't have to lift your hands from the raw chicken and contaminate stuff.

Otherwise, it is really a stupid toy.

I do have to admit that the shopping list feature has been very useful.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:42 PM   #5
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One of my friends, a techie at an oil service company, got one when they first came out. He has it set up to turn on or dim interior house lights, play music, etc. He's a true nerd, but he is having a blast with it.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
Handiest part is working in the kitchen and being able to call in a timer, set some new music, or put something on the shopping list. Don't have to lift your hands from the raw chicken and contaminate stuff.

Otherwise, it is really a stupid toy.

I do have to admit that the shopping list feature has been very useful.
I do this stuff with my Apple Watch - well except for telling the TV to play Led Zepelin. I have to go over and hold down a button to tell Apple TV that.

No, I don't want Amazon listening in my living room either.

I do have to tell my watch "hey Siri..."
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:54 PM   #7
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I was actually hoping I could get this thing to converse with the DW so I don't have to.
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:45 PM   #8
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I am intrigued by it but will probably wait a couple of more generations for it. I did read through many of the reviews at Amazon. Some people used it for things I had never thought of. The real eye opener was that for many it was far from a toy. It was a great deal of use for some with various disabilities who talked about how it had revolutionized life. Really amazing.
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Old 06-01-2016, 08:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
I was actually hoping I could get this thing to converse with the DW so I don't have to.

I like the way you think. I shared this with my DW, but all I got was a mean look. I guess I won't be getting an Echo for Father's Day.
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Old 06-01-2016, 11:26 PM   #10
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Ok if y'all don't mind this idea of a virtual companion is brilliant. My elderly mother would love to have a device she could talk to that would interact with her like a virtual robot.
Think about it she could order anything from take out to advice on her garden. She hasn't figured out how to use Siri but I really think she would get into talking to the echo.
It's not hearing aid dependent or selective heating dependent.


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Old 06-02-2016, 08:20 AM   #11
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I have had one since last summer.
I love it, I'm thinking about getting one for the car (Echo Dot).

If I used Google's calander I'd find it even more useful.
Music, podcasts, news are all available by simply asking for it.

I also hooked it up to a number of our lights (Hue lights or WeMo switches) so I can turn on or off, or turn on "night light" mode.

I have not set up the purchase options yet, and don't plan to.
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:31 AM   #12
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Handiest part is working in the kitchen and being able to call in a timer, set some new music, or put something on the shopping list. Don't have to lift your hands from the raw chicken and contaminate stuff.

Otherwise, it is really a stupid toy.

I do have to admit that the shopping list feature has been very useful.
I haven't looked at Echo at all, and it's just occurred to me to wonder what it uses for data and storage. Amazon doesn't really have the same eco-system as Google or Apple for this kind of stuff.

I would guess that Echo knows your Amazon login info and can access your Amazon music purchases, but can it also play music that you bought on iTunes from the cloud? Or does it require a bluetooth connection to your iPhone to do that?

And where does it keep the shopping list and how do you access it when you're at the store?
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:48 AM   #13
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I like it. Use it often to play Prime, Spotify, Pandora etc music. Now adding Nest thermostat to control room temps plus a light controller.

Also use it for timer, checking weather, word definitions, etc
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:02 AM   #14
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A few weeks ago, I wrote about my project of trying to help my totally blind friend, to use the computer. Despite trying out most of the recommended programs....
Narrator, Cortana, Siri, NVDA, Jaws, Windows-Eyes, and some more recent, work in progress systems...

After 30+ hours of trying to make them work for a sightless person, I gave up in total frustration. Two days ago, my friend received Echo, as a gift from his family, and so far is very happy with it.

While the breadth of ability to "browse" is very limited, the learning curve is much much shorter. Formal classroom training for use of some of the other programs (for the blind) is five weeks of 6 hour days. Windows "Narrator" alone requires memorization of 77 basic commands to navigate.

Re: Echo...
I looked for the additional costs required to integrate the "Whole House Operation", but didn't see many specifics. Has anyone researched the "add-ons".
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:46 AM   #15
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There was another thread on this subject quite some time ago (year?) but I can't find it.

Anyway, I have had an Echo since the beginning and love it. (I went into much more detail in that earlier thread.)

Is there evidence that the device is "listening" without being "awakened" by an "Alexa" command? (Although, I can't believe anything I would say -- out loud -- would be that interesting to anyone else.)

Anyway, combined with the programming with IFTTT (If This Than That) it is a very useful device, indeed. I use it, for instance, to voice control my Nest thermostat.

The use of the "remote" makes it even more difficult to do without. Not to mention that it is accessible on my cell phone from no matter where I am.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
I was actually hoping I could get this thing to converse with the DW so I don't have to.
Don't laugh. DW loves to converse with Alexa.

As for power users who use it for automation. Power to them. I may do that some day, but it is too much like my money paying j*b at this time.

For those wondering, Echo knows IFTTT (if this then that) to program stuff. You need devices that can do ifttt, and then you create "recipes" for this.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:12 AM   #17
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I haven't looked at Echo at all, and it's just occurred to me to wonder what it uses for data and storage. Amazon doesn't really have the same eco-system as Google or Apple for this kind of stuff.

I would guess that Echo knows your Amazon login info and can access your Amazon music purchases, but can it also play music that you bought on iTunes from the cloud? Or does it require a bluetooth connection to your iPhone to do that?

And where does it keep the shopping list and how do you access it when you're at the store?
To answer your question about the shopping list: there's an app for that. The Alexa app. The list shows on your phone. It is pretty cool. One time DW was shopping, and I remembers something while in the kitchen and told Alexa to put it on the list. DW came home with the item as she saw it pop up while shopping. (I could have texted or called, but this was easier.) The list is just stored in their cloud somewhere.

DW runs Pandora without issues.

I haven't tried any bluetooth connectivity, although it should work no problem.

As for iTunes: haven't tried it. Through Amazon Prime, you get a decent amount of streaming for free. Not comprehensive, but a decent amount. It helps me explore a bit when Alexa can't find what I want her to play.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:15 AM   #18
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Every now and then Alexa thinks "she" hears something we said and asks us to repeat it or some such, saying she "didn't understand" -- even we said nothing and heard nothing, not even on the TV. So apparently Alexa has voices inside her head, too!
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:38 PM   #19
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I was one of the beta testers and use it daily. It is an open source device, so the things it will be able to do are pretty significant.

And for those that are worried about it 'listening' to you all the time...I can tell you that if you have a smart phone or tablet, then I'm willing to bet you are already running apps that listen. If you don't believe me, look at your application permissions...Facebook for example will listen AND record...even though the fine folks at FB deny that they are recording information via the microphone.

Sent via mobile device. Please excuse any grammatical errors.
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Old 06-03-2016, 12:46 PM   #20
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We use it for:

Turning the lights on/off, or dimming them.
Playing music or audiobooks
Listening to the morning news.
Getting the weather report.
Timers/Wakeup Alarm

I wouldn't say it's life changing bit we're warming up to it. It's nice to turn off the lights from bed, or listen to the weather report while getting dressed, and so on.

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