Me and My Amazon Echo

Secretly, alternatively known as “Mrs. Hughes”

My son gave me an Amazon smart speaker for Christmas, known as Alexa. I am intrigued, not knowing a whole lot about these things.

When I found out I could change her name (aka “wake word”), I was gleeful with the possibilities. Immediately I thought of the housekeeper and/or butler from Downton Abbey (hoping I could also switch Alexa to a male voice). However, when I opened the Echo app I downloaded to my phone, I only had a few options to choose from: Alexa, Echo, Amazon, or Computer. So I settled for Echo, as it had the least syllables. I am so disappointed I can’t call her Mrs. Hughes.

So I’m trying to learn how to relate to this new device. It’s more difficult than I thought. For example, it feels super weird not to be polite when asking Echo to give me information or do things for me.

After all, I am a Canadian! And yes, I have already told her I am sorry!

Conversely, it feels about as weird to be saying please and thank you to an inanimate object. I’ve had to process my feelings on this, and for now, I have decided to use my manners with Echo. She is responding very nicely to my thank yous, telling me “absolutely” and “that’s what I’m here for”. So that makes me feel slightly better about using my natural way of speaking on a THING.

A few months back, I watched a hilarious Saturday Night Live spoof on “Alexa for Seniors”.  Because I live in Canada, I can’t see the YouTube clip on this, but here is a link to the video Mizz J forwarded me from Facebook – hope it works (for my fellow Canuck readers) once this post is published!

https://www.facebook.com/william.ward.1297/videos/1488225857902559/

So far Echo is very good at letting me know the weather and setting timers. She also excels at answering random questions. Except for Game of Thrones plot lines and characters – I give her only passing grades on that. She couldn’t tell me what happened to Barristan Selmy and I can’t remember either. Maybe I didn’t phrase the question correctly. Anyhow, he’s probably dead and I forgot. Because there are way too many deaths to keep track of on GOT anyways…

There are a bunch of things that can be controlled through Echo. My son also gave me a smart plug that I can use to let Echo turn on or off (through me, of course). I’m still deciding what to use the plug for. My TV, a light, my humidifier?

Echo says she is always getting smarter. Will that make me dumber? I don’t know about that. 😉

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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10 Comments

  • ….or “Bates” (and then you can be rude to that psycho)….or Mr. Carson, and you could be so politely sarcastic to him. LOL

  • I think I finally solved the mystery of why I haven’t been getting any posts from you. I had tried re-subscribing, but that didn’t work. It turns out that Gmail banished you to my spam folder where you’ve been languishing for the past 2 months!! I think I have to get better at checking my spam 😉

    I could relate to your comment about being polite to an inanimate object. I had the same problem with Siri when I got my Mac. Son #1 was ‘teasing’ Siri with stupid questions and comments which made me increasingly uncomfortable. I finally asked him to stop because Siri was going to think it was me 😳 I didn’t want to antagonize my new computer!

    • It must be a Canadian cultural thing, Joanne…for those of us of a certain vintage. I have been out with people raised elsewhere who I thought were incredibly rude to sales staff and servers. I am going to keep on being polite to my cloud-slave because it’s harder for me not to do this.

      Hopefully my blog’s emails won’t end up in Spam for you any longer!

      • Now I know where to be checking … but usually once I tell WP or gmail that something isn’t spam, it corrects going forward.

  • Coraline and I like playing Jeopardy every day with Alexa. You can only play once a day on weekends. I play Music Quiz too. Ask Alexa what skills it has and you can get a list of different things it can do. Or go online and see the list of skills to download faster. You can even ask for a 7-minute workout. I am not polite to my machine. It makes no difference to it one way or another.

    • Thanks Reticula! I’m still getting to know Mrs. Hughes…I mean Echo…er Alexa. I know the politeness makes no difference to her but it makes a difference to me. I have to make a conscious decision every time not to say please and thank you to this box and that is just too much work.

  • “I only had a few options to choose from: Alexa, Echo, Amazon, or Computer.” — Booooooo. 👎🏾

    That SNL skit is funny. I’m glad you’re enjoying your new device.

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