A little help with Alexa please

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Profile Bernie VineProject Donor
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Message 1896321 - Posted: 20 Oct 2017, 13:04:07 UTC
Last modified: 20 Oct 2017, 19:09:18 UTC

Now first off a few suggestions, I want no negative posts telling me I should not have brought it.

(I have brought it so face facts)

No post that criticise Amazon, Google Microsoft etc

(No company is perfect, but I don't hate any of them, they have given me much enjoyment)

No post telling how stupid I am trusting my data to this or that company.

(I have had an Amazon account for 11 years, so they probably know more about me than most of you. As soon as I configured the DOT Alexa knew I lived in South Croydon)

All such posts will be totally ignored and even laughed at.

Is that better?

Now to business

I have brought an Echo Dot.

Basically "Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms and more"

Now I am totally stunned at what it can do, I already had purchased a couple of WI-Fi connected sockets while I was looking after my dad, and these have proved useful, but are even more so when I don't even have to find my phone to switch them on and off now. Just ask Alexa to. I enjoy my "news briefings" as I never read a newspaper.

As for music it is just great, I have a TV soundbar that I brought for my dad and now was not using, so I connected the DOT via Bluetooth. I have listened to so may old songs I could not be bothered to try and find and they play in a couple of seconds.

What I am looking for is any hints and tips anyone can give me on how to get the best out of "Alexa" the voice controlled assistant.

I do have one problem, you are supposed to be able to play any music you have downloaded from the Amazon store which seem to work however if I make a playlist in Amazon Music, Alexa cannot find it. Whether created with downloads or music I have uploaded. I have looked online and others have the same problem, but no resolution. Any advice would be gratefully received
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Message 1896401 - Posted: 20 Oct 2017, 19:12:41 UTC

When I originally posted this there was a complaint that I should not be able to state what sort of posts I do not want in the thread.

As I was not prepared to continue under those circumstances I hid the thread.

Now I have made a few amendments so I will reopen it.
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Message 1896441 - Posted: 20 Oct 2017, 21:19:44 UTC - in response to Message 1896401.  

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Message 1896555 - Posted: 21 Oct 2017, 6:38:29 UTC
Last modified: 21 Oct 2017, 6:39:04 UTC

Well it seems that not many people here have had any dealing with Alexa ;-)

I have also received useful links in pm's

However I have looked at many websites to get ideas and help, but was hoping there would be a few here who would have had experience, but perhaps it is still too new.

I found nowhere that could help with my playlists, however by trial and error I have got Alexa to play them. Naming and pronunciation are obviously key.

Short unique names being of course best. I have prefaced all my playlists with my road name, as it is quite unusual it seems to work well.

However as I said it seems few here have any experience with the Alexa, so perhaps in the future some might come to me for advice.

Currently my Alexa switches on/off, and can dim, the living room light, my bedside light and switch on/off the washing machine.

Early days, the kitchen and landing lights are next :-)
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Message 1896845 - Posted: 22 Oct 2017, 14:27:12 UTC
Last modified: 22 Oct 2017, 14:27:43 UTC

After reading this, I tried it with my new Echo Show, and it worked by my saying "Alexa, play songs from playlist Steve". I am glad you were able to get it working. These machines are awesome.

Steve
Warning, addicted to SETI crunching!
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Message 1897178 - Posted: 23 Oct 2017, 22:25:19 UTC - in response to Message 1896401.  

When I originally posted this there was a complaint that I should not be able to state what sort of posts I do not want in the thread.
.


Personally I think it OK to ask that people do not respond to the negative social, cultural, ecconomic issues but just get into the "how do I do this" issues.. (I does kind of limit ideas but hey that is your life :))
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Message 1897184 - Posted: 23 Oct 2017, 22:41:31 UTC - in response to Message 1896555.  

Well it seems that not many people here have had any dealing with Alexa ;-)


There is kind of a battle between google and MS as to web based speech responsive technologies.

Personally I prefer not to share my voice and requests with any company that collect information on their users and record that data.

Alexa is basically a dumb microphone that sends to a server and gets an instruction back.

I can tell my grandaughter to switch on the light..

The big difference is that she may have her own thoughts but she will process and know or accept that turning on the lights is the best thing to do. (She may also negate.. which I may also accept.)

Alexa (and similar) is being recorded and surrendering our data, voice and thoughts to a private company.

For me Alexa is an expensive toy that I would not allow into my general life.

Just as a test have you asked Alexa to download a torrent of windows 7?
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Message 1897189 - Posted: 23 Oct 2017, 23:16:39 UTC - in response to Message 1896555.  

My wife does Alexa big time. Har! She does setting up most everything in the Alexa app on PC and or Alexa app on tablet. For her it was mostly a drag and drop into playlist on PC Alexa app or Alexa tablet app for her annual Halloween playlist. Thank goodness for headphones. Har

Speaking for myself, the most informative source is the What's happening on the weekly Alexa emails and drilling down in those.

We are not real comfortable with Alexa controlling much of any thing in the home. Tried them. They were fun and useful but, became uncomfortable with the hack issues. And I was able to trick Alexa with voice mail on our phone. What a trip that was. I had her turn stuff on and off over the phone message machine she could hear. Unless we are directly using Alexa she is unplugged. Har wink wink ;^)
...
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Message 1897254 - Posted: 24 Oct 2017, 8:29:18 UTC
Last modified: 24 Oct 2017, 8:33:52 UTC

There is kind of a battle between google and MS as to web based speech responsive technologies.


Actually that would Google and Amazon, Alexa is from Amazon. MS only released their Invoke this week, oh and Apple will not have one till next year.

Alexa is basically a dumb microphone that sends to a server and gets an instruction back.

I can tell my grandaughter to switch on the light..


Yes Alexa is obviously just the voice of a huge network of Amazon servers.

Also I live alone have no children or grandchildren.

Can your granddaughter give you the latest news wheather and play any of you favourite tunes in a few seconds ;-)

Alexa (and similar) is being recorded and surrendering our data, voice and thoughts to a private company.


Which I believe was one of my exact points in my first post, I have been using Google, MS, Apple and Amazon for many years, and I am one of those who believe that whatever these companies say about our privacy, they know a hell of a lot about me and my habits, Hotmail and Google can and possibly do read my e-mails and Amazon hardly have to look further than my shopping habits and the fact that for 12 months up to this September I was having my orders delivered to my fathers address on the Isle of Wight, and now I am back home. I have also had several mobile phones over the last 15 years, both company and personal, with several different providers. We all know that they know where your phone is 24/7 (yes even when switched off). So to get back any degree of privacy I would have to give up all the things I enjoy.

For me Alexa is an expensive toy that I would not allow into my general life.


Well the Echo Dot is now £50, so not that expensive

I enjoy technology and at 66 years old I have decided that I will use what I need to enjoy my retirement. I know many wish to keep their privacy and I understand that totally.

And I was able to trick Alexa with voice mail on our phone.


Of course you can, they do remind you often that anyone can ask Alexa to do anything. I haven't had a physical answering machine for years, do they still make them? So not really worried about that.

Just to make things worse, Alexa could not hear me when I was in the bedroom, so I brought another one!! ;-0

Now I can switch off all the lights from my bed and be lulled to sleep with the music of my choice or even a bedtime story via audio book.

I do promise to report any problems and negative happenings, so far I am very happy with Alexa.

"Alexa what's on my shopping list?".........
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Message 1897276 - Posted: 24 Oct 2017, 23:03:55 UTC - in response to Message 1897254.  

"Alexa what's on my shopping list?".........

Best Alexa joke I've heard/done is on entering someone home tell Alexa "Order 100lbs dog food Prime." Har I did it to my in-laws who gifted an Alexa to us. They have good sense of humor so no harm done. The next time they came over he had Alexa play some obnoxious song, the kind that sticks in your head. har

Living alone Alexa would be great.

I'd like to see different voices and be able to change Alexa/Echo's name.
...
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Message 1897285 - Posted: 24 Oct 2017, 23:50:41 UTC

I'd like to see different voices and be able to change Alexa/Echo's name.


Well you can use, Amazon, Echo or Computer.

With my second one in the bedroom if I am in between the living room and bedroom they can both hear the command, so I have changed the 2nd one to "computer".

So no problems with both or neither trying to execute the command.

I have disabled voice purchasing. Don't want to accidently buy something when thinking out loud!!
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Message 1897295 - Posted: 25 Oct 2017, 0:53:49 UTC - in response to Message 1897285.  

Yep same here with purchasing. Default names are boring. Har
...
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Message 1897351 - Posted: 25 Oct 2017, 9:21:46 UTC

Just remember that dumb microphone is also a law enforcement pipeline listening device.
I heard a NPR news story about the FBI using OnStar in a vehicle to act as a listing device and record everything said in the car.

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Message 1897352 - Posted: 25 Oct 2017, 9:25:37 UTC

Alexa has the same issue as Samsung Smart TV's had with voice commands being sent to remote servers to interpret the commands, and accusations of eavesdropping.

A boon to disabled people, just a techy toy to others.
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Message 1897366 - Posted: 25 Oct 2017, 12:11:24 UTC

just a techy toy to others.


"In your opinion."

I really really wish people would start using that phrase a lot more on these boards.

Just because you think it, does not make it true.

I did ask for no negative posts, but as you seem to think that is a step to far for a moderator, I will leave the post.

However as it is just your opinion, I will of course totally ignore it.

Just as you are totally free to ignore my opinion.
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Message 1897369 - Posted: 25 Oct 2017, 12:40:58 UTC

A fair enough request.

In my own opinion for what it is worth, Alexa is just a techy toy to non-disabled people.

Seeing as you have chosen to bring this subject up again, I will tell everyone here that I wrote a letter of complaint to the Moderation team regarding your original post where you stated quite clearly that any negative posts would be removed. I thought that was a misuse of a Moderators powers in a personal thread, and I was pleased to see that it was re-posted with a less threatening attitude.

It has been custom & practice around here for a long time for the Mod team as a whole to decide between themselves whether a post should be hidden or allowed to remain, not an individual moderator. Thank you for letting us know of the new approach.

You may hide this post if you wish, and I'll leave people to draw their own conclusions.
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Message 1897379 - Posted: 25 Oct 2017, 13:40:24 UTC

Thank you for letting us know of the new approach.


OK this is getting well of topic.

There is no new approach

I apologise profusely if I gave the impression people could get off topic posts removed.

Thread is now closed
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Message boards : Cafe SETI : A little help with Alexa please


 
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