Geek Brain Dump Useful Product Reviews: Amazon Echo

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Geek Brain Dump Useful Product Reviews: Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is it a new great technology or a passing fad?

I have had a chance to have some extensive time to experience this new product that is in beta, available to Amazon Prime Members via a selected invite to buy for $99.


Keeping this short as a geek:

“Currently the Amazon Echo is a nice, voice-controlled timer, alarm clock that can play music from Amazon Prime and stations from iHeartRadio and Tunein. It can also define words and do basic math equations. Added to that it can add things to a Shopping List on your Amazon Echo App and To-Do List int he same area. It’s a great little device.”

With that said, the device is always listening and will ‘record’ the previous few seconds before you put in a request. ‘Record’ meaning it actually records your voice and loads it to the Amazon Cloud Servers.

If that scares you, this might not be a product for you. Especially if you value your privacy. Though you can mute the device from hearing. As a geek, I say unplug it if you truly want to know that is not recording you.

You know, you would not want to be on the phone with the bank and say your bank routing numbers outloud or credit card numbers or any other ‘private’ and personal info.

You can also connect any BlueTooth device that outputs music (mp3) file audio and play them over the BlueTooth Speaker. Though you can not voice control the playback, only manually control it.

So play your music and keep your device near and hope around songs as you please. Though Amazon Prime and iHeartRadio makes the experience more convenient via voice.”


Thoughts:

I think this device is great for anyone who look definitions, have short math or fact finding. Which means, if you have kids, they will play with this for a few days.

For the elderly, they will be amazed and enjoy it for the music and setting a quick timer such as “Alexa, set timer for 5 minutes.” and when it goes off, they will hear it and just say “Alexa, stop.”

It’s that simple.

I know this device is not for everyone, but for many it will be a nice edition to the family room. They (Amazon) still have a ways to go as some times ‘Alexa’ will say “That service is not ready yet.” Sorry the thought eludes me as I did not write down notes to what requests got that response.

Wishes: I wish Amazon releases a dongle for the TV that allows the cable box to pass through it and connects to the Amazon Echo and allows FULL Voice Control for your TV.
Examples:

“Alexa, TV Channel SyFy Channel.”
And your connected TV switched to the channel requested.

“Alexa, Display The Walking Dead.”
And your connected TV will switch to the channel The Walking Dead is on.

And if the show said is not on currently and Alexa will respond
“I’m sorry, but that show is not on right now.” the pull up the schedule.

Or now have access to a web browser on the TV via the dongle.

“Alexa, YouTube Eli the Computer Guy Live.”
And on your TV is YouTube with Eli the Computer Guy Live channel and videos displayed. Now you request a title.

“Alex, YouTube Eli the Computer Guy [insert title].” and it plays the video.

“Alexa, left.” or “Alexa, go left.”
Onscreen the highlight moves to the left.

“Alexa, please highlighted video.”
The currently highlighted video then plays.

So many applications for that, basic controls such as the music player, PLAY, STOP, NEXT commands.

Using ‘Web Search’ is utilized in the same way.

“Alexa, web search, CES 2015.”
Then the screen displays the default browser (currently, the audio setup uses Bing to send the query to the Amazon Echo App) and you navigate them with voice.

• “Alexa, display highlight.”

Then to navigate:
“Alexa, scroll. Alexa, stop. Alexa, scroll up. Alexa, scroll down.”

Simple basic navigation without a mouse.

Do I recommend Amazon Echo? Taking the “listening at all times and loaded to the cloud” into account, this is a nifty device for voice control of things you can look up on your phone or computer manually.

Bottom Line: As a geek, not one day had passed without using it. Timers (for cooking) and alarms (for meetings, check the mail, etc) which ever things you need them for. Quick weather requests all while doing other things instead of looking it up on the computer or tapping on the cellphone.  This would be GREAT for classrooms and libraries.

Pros: You can play music, get new briefs, do math, as more than a few everyday questions, set up a shopping list and a to-do list all by voice. You can also connect your Bluetooth audio device to the Amazon Echo and play it there, minus voice controls.

Cons: Not every fact find will be answered, sometimes your voice may not be understood and you have the phrase the question differently at times.

**This review is not a paid review and my honest opinion on the Amazon Echo.
Watch the Demo Video Below

Author

Warren Galloway

Warren Galloway is a currently a freelance multimedia web designer. Is that even a title any more? Digital Media Specialist - You Want it Digitally, I can do it. "Eli for President, we should be happy, but also very afraid."

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