General Question

canidmajor's avatar

Please tell me what I can be excited about with this?

Asked by canidmajor (16818points) November 30th, 2016

A little birdie has told me that a family member will be gifting me an Amazon Echo Dot. I am somewhat tech challenged, and have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the Third Millenium. I have wi-fi and devices with Bluetooth onto which I can install the app. What should I do beyond asking Alexa what the weather’s like in Hobart?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

38 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

Ask it what it’s good for. I’ll bet that it’ll have an answer. A usable answer, that is.

josie's avatar

I’m with @CWOTUS
Ask for coaching on how to get the most out of it.

canidmajor's avatar

Good idea, thanks Guys! :-)

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

What the heck is an Echo Dot? (I am working… really @canidmajor)!

Seek's avatar

The Echo Dot is a smart speaker that uses the Alexa voice activated assistant.

It works best if you’re an Amazon prime member and a regular Amazon customer. You can use it to place orders, to listen to Amazon Music channels, order a pizza or an Uber, and with the right accessories, even turn on and off the lights and operate the thermostat.

The Echo Dot doesn’t have the same range as the Echo full size, think smart room rather than smart house..

https://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html?node=13727921011

LuckyGuy's avatar

You know that thing is listening all the time – and who know where that info is going.
Just to be on the safe side: avoid talking to yourself, and screams of passion. ;-).

Seek's avatar

Passive listening… It only starts recording when it hears the wake word. So unless someone is called “Alexa” in your house, no worries.

canidmajor's avatar

My vocalizations would drive nefarious listeners over the edge. I talk to the dogs, sing loudly, and make motorboat sounds to make the puppy bark.

Seek's avatar

I’ve just gotten my first Alexa device – a Fire HD8. It doesn’t have passive listening, but it can use all the same apps as the Dot..

There’s a Jeopardy game, and recipe apps, all kinds of neat stuff. And it’s new tech so more are coming out every day.

chyna's avatar

It can play music that you request, it can be programed to turn your lights on and off.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, it sounds like instead of cursing this person I might just enjoy this. I don’t have any plans to smart up my old, crotchety house, but it might be cool to have a vocal Internet.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Darth_Algar's avatar

@Seek “Passive listening… It only starts recording when it hears the wake word. So unless someone is called “Alexa” in your house, no worries.”

That’s just what they want you to believe.

#newworldorder #jeffbezosisilluminati

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Had the echo for a while, quite handy. The dot has no speaker and must be connected to one.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Seek @Darth_Algar Does anyone think the device has not been already hacked so it can be used as a remote, covert listening device?
Nefarious/suspicious people can give these to people they want to surreptitiously monitor. I’ll bet there is an app for it already with voice recognition producing a transcript (like google voice) that can be emailed or texted to the “gifter”.

Ok. I’ll take off my tin foil hat now. Or should I be putting it on?
Hey! Does anyone want to bet against me on this one?

chyna's avatar

@luckguy Let’s assume you are right, which I have no doubt you are or will be. I don’t know about @canidmajor, but I live alone and they will get bored listening to my conversations with my dog or listening to HGTV. Oh gawd, she’s watching Property Brothers again and talking to the dog during commercials. How did I get stuck listening to this household?

Seek's avatar

I’m pretty sure the “listen in” feature is exactly as likely to be implemented as a keystroke counter on your Internet enabled desktop, laptop, tablet…

Who’s to say your cell phone isn’t “listening all the time”? Maybe that’s why our batteries die so quickly.

canidmajor's avatar

I already have a smart phone, a tablet and a laptop, Big Brother is already able to hack my life. It makes perfect sense that this person would give me this device, especially as they save some money by buying six, it’s likely that I am part of a list to accomadate the six devices they bought.
I hope the listeners enjoy the scores of Disney movies (and Hello Dolly!) sung loudly by me. I could probably get arrested for that alone.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@canidmajor Please watch this short, 4 minute video called Table 7 by Marko Slavnic. It will make you smile. It’s brilliant.

canidmajor's avatar

That really is brilliant! (And charming). Thanks, @LuckyGuy! :-)

LuckyGuy's avatar

You never know who might be listening.
I’m glad you liked it.

CWOTUS's avatar

That was nice, @LuckyGuy. And not to imagine that this is a “Social” question, I guess you’d also want to watch out about using the Echo to order pizza.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The amount of cameras and microphones in range of the typical person is hard to imagine. I know for a fact all of my work devices log damn near everything. Historians are going to have it easy from around 2010 and beyond. I don’t feel to apprehensive about the echo. We just ordered a second dot for our house. My wife thought the thing would be silly but fell in love with the device. I’m starting to integrate other home automation with it. It can be turned off unlike recent smart phones. I have a big issue with newer phones with an integrated battery. The only was to truly turn them off is to let the battery die completely and even then it is uncertain. I hate integrated batteries.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
canidmajor's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: To integrate other home automation, are you using the special outlet devices that are available? I have a few lights I’d like to be able to voice activate, and maybe the coffee maker!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have a zwave bridge and a few smart outlets. They are like plug in switches. Once you program them you can easily move them wherever you like. I’m not going to get the nest thermostat but one of the zwave models. You can actually do as much for a third of the cost. There is a zwave interface for arduino/raspberry pi so that’ll make for some interesting projects.

canidmajor's avatar

Most of what you you just said is gibberish to me (completely my own lack of savvy, not at all your delivery, I promise!) but am I understanding that there are other, less expensive, compatible brands of outlet switches? That would be helpful.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Easiest way to integrate home automation to echo is to have a single automation system. Zwave is a wireless device protocol and to connect control through your router you need a bridge that acts as a go between. I can use echo or my phone to control stuff. Zwave is usually a bit cheaper than direct wifi stuff. It’s pretty reliable too. Amazon has all kinds of zwave stuff.

canidmajor's avatar

Thank you, I understood that! :-). I’ll look into that! You have been helpful, I appreciate it!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Oh, and the dot actually has a small speaker. Found that out when we received ours a few days ago. Decent for voice commands but you’ll want to pair it with an external speaker for music.

Response moderated (Spam)
chyna's avatar

@canidmajor Did you get one? If so, how do you like it? A friend of mine got one for Christmas and has caught her kids asking inappropriate questions. How many times can you fart in a day? They are having a great time with it.

canidmajor's avatar

Yes, I got it, it was easy to set up and I am enjoying it in the simplest of ways. Movie times, weather, traffic, headline news, stuff like that. It tells jokes, sometimes, and I look forward to expanding what it can do. The doggies, however, are a little freaked by it.
A typical event:
I say “Alexa”
Dogs: WOOF WOOF ARF YAP
Alexa: Hmmmmm…I don’t think I understand the question.

A good time is being had by all. :-D

canidmajor's avatar

BTW, your friend can change the wake word to “Amazon” or “echo”. If she doesn’t tell the kids…

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther