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Anna of Mutton Style and Years
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10 Ways I'm Using my New Amazon Echo Alexa

Dear follower

I have become a techno geek for I am the proud owner of an Echo 2nd generation. I bought it from Amazon post Black Friday,  whilst it was reduced.  I did wonder about the Dot but decided that I really wanted a decent speaker.  I'm not going to get into specifications, I'm not that much of a geek, but for the sake of approximately  £30 difference I thought it was worth the extra to at least have music played from a decent set of techno-lungs, as it were. And what's not to love about the fact that's it's almost half the price of the original Echo, smaller, sleeker and with better specs  (apparently. ) And you can change her clothes.  Yes, the outer sleeve can be changed if you get she gets bored of her outfit.


All-new Amazon Echo (2nd generation), Charcoal Fabric

The Echo has apps called skills.  You download the app to your phone or tablet and it's from there that you manage  Alexa, set it up, browse the skills library and choose skills to enable on your device.  Within the app you can change her wakeup name from Alexa.  There is very limited choice though. Echo, Amazon and Computer.  I have resisted the urge to rename her Computer so as I could pretend to be Captain of the SS Enterprise!  So far.  I might do that yet, haha.

What is the appeal of an Alexa Echo for me? 

1. Well music, for one thing.  I've been a 'Prime member for several years, which I first subscribed to  so as I could download films for my commute  (and Man in the High Castle).  The next day delivery is useful of course too .  What I hadn't realised was that I also get Amazon music with my Prime subscription.  So without my Echo, with its techo-lungs (my description not Amazon's), I  was not enjoying my subscription to its full value.  And I didn't discover this until I had bought my Echo!  Yes, I know that I bought it for music but imagined I'd be using Spotify or it would use YouTube somehow. I'm not really sure what I thought, other than simply that I would be able to get music on demand.  The how I didn't contemplate.

2. I have installed the National Rail skill and my Alexa now remembers my commute so I can ask her 'how's my commute' and she will tell me if my morning  train is running on time.  This is definitely quicker than looking up on a phone app because  I'm getting the update  verbally whilst I'm getting dressed.  

3. I can ask her for the news and she will give me a Flash brief from the BBC finishing with the weather forecast for my town.

4. My kindle experience  has been interesting. Alexa  can read from  my last location if I sync my Kindle.  This was useful over Xmas as I was able to have my book read to me whilst tidying up etc during the holidays.  There isn't much intonation but I got used to that. It is possible to enable the Audible skill but I'm not going to pay  for an Audible subscription when I normally read my kindle on the train.  For me the beauty is that Alexa is reading to me where I left off and not an entirely different book.

5. The shopping list and to do list skills are useful.  It's handy to just say Alexa add grey tights to shopping list (even if she interpreted it as great heights, and when I queried it to argue with her she played back to me what I'd said! That's a handy facility if she has minsintpreted to an extent you can't make out what she has written) or add persuade hub to join the gym to todo list. 

And don't think that you then need to take Alexa to the supermarket to access the list.  Oh no.  Those clever people at Amazon thought about that.  Your lists appear in written form within the app on your phone.  Handy that!  On the other hand, if like me you write a list it's easy to ask Alexa what is in your list so as you can jot it down whilst  you are scribbling up your main list.

6. Random questions
Is it going to rain tonight? This was as I was heading out for an evening.  She responded with the news that my town was not expecting rain. And she was right.
What shall I wear tonight?  Her answer, you can't go wrong with statement shoes. She's right there!

7. Recipes and cocktails are skills that can be enabled, and I have.  I can't tell you how useful they are yet as I haven't used her for the kitchen yet.

8. Setting a reminder has been useful.  Remind me to charge my I pad.  She will ask me at what time.  Sure enough at 6.30 am whilst I was dressing she piped up with ' here's your reminder to charge your ipad'. But not only that, she said it twice and sent the reminder to my phone. 

9. I have set a wake up alarm too. You can even choose to be woken up with a radio station. No cup of tea yet.  In that respect she's not as advanced as a teasmade (which shows you how advanced I am, in years.)

10. I do enjoy the ease of finding a radio station such as Radio 4, Heart etc. No faffing with a dial and interference. 

Have you got an Echo and if so what have you found useful?



Comments

  1. I'm very tempted to try one of these. Mainly for remembering lists and I like the music idea. I wonder what will happen if you ask her to beam you up?!!
    Laurie x

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    1. She doesn't respond to Scotty, I have tried, haha. No I havent but I have enabled Stargates off world alert . I haven't tried it yet though.

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  2. How fun!My hubby got a google mini for Christmas and has been having fun with it as well!! Amazing. We also love Man In The High Castle!

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    1. It's an odd programme. I Imagined it would be more mysterious then it is.

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  3. So impressed am I by your embracing of all things techy, you are so clever. Wow to the WTW app!! Do I have an Echo? I'm a pensioner, go figure!
    Happy mufti day, x.

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    1. Pensioner is the better reason to own one. the skills are free and she can play with you. Lots of interesting things to explore, scrabble, crosswords!

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  4. Huh! I have been living under a rock I think! I am going to Google on that.........😱😱😱😱😱

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  5. Wow! I am not techy usually but this a pretty sweet little device. The music is the obvious bit I would love to get the basics from the news in the mornings as I am getting ready. My hubby would be into this.

    Bosbodaciousblog.blogspot.ca

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    1. I think we all will have one or something similar like we all have Netflix and mobile phones.

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  6. Well, Anna, this post has made my day! I bought an Amazon Dot and so far I've only used it to play music from Pandora. I didn't really like the Amazon Music as well but my Pandora 80's station is perfection. I've used it to tell me jokes a few times too.
    My son installed the app on my phone but I hadn't yet used Alexa for my shopping list. My husband and I kept talking about how nice that will be when we've figured it out. I hadn't taken the time to do so and now it appears I don't need to - you've done it already!!! Yay!!
    Since I'll be working from home now I keep saying Alexa is going to be my best friend and office mate!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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    1. I need to look up Pandora but I am pleased you have one too. The lists are default so no need to enable. They are just so useful. I have now made a couple of playlists on Amazon music and when I have asked her to play an artist I have said 'add to my library' for particular songs. I'm learning more all the time. How about you?

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  7. We just got an Alexa and are having so much fun with it. We use it a lot like you do. But keeping lists is the most useful things so far.
    Peace!
    Cheryl
    https://www.northwestmountainliving.com

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    1. Hey, an Alexa club. You, me and Kellyann could drop into each other and chat:)

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  8. I have not jumped on the bandwagon yet, though I was very tempted Black Friday as well. I keep thinking we wouldn’t use it for much, but it seems everyone who has them really likes them. So maybe soon.

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    1. well I have certainly found that it fun and useful. I wouldn't be without it now.

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  9. We have the echo dot and it was fun until our Amazon prime trial ran out. Enjoyed the song playlist.

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    1. Prime is so useful for so many things. I wouldn't be without it.

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  10. Anna I've been wondering whether to get the husband one for his birthday, but I really didn't know exactly what she did... now I know, thanks to your review! So thank you, I think I will get one now, she sounds invaluable :)

    C x

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