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Why We Are Here => Hardware & Technology => Topic started by: rcjordan on December 25, 2016, 04:10:41 PM



Title: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on December 25, 2016, 04:10:41 PM
Amazon owns Christmas 2016.  I am seriously concerned about the number of Echo Dots that have infiltrated my extended family.  We've been breached.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: ergophobe on December 25, 2016, 05:47:22 PM
Hold on. I'm assembling a team of plucky, but unconventional Americans known to be able to defeat the greatest AIs in the galaxy.

Bruce Willis is in. I'm waiting for Laurence Fishburn to check in, but it seems likely that he'll be onboard. Unfortunately, Jeff Goldbloom is busy taking down RankBrain with a virus injected via JPEG attachment, so I'm trying to get Kris Kristofferson onboard.  Right now I'm only missing the young apprentice hero who will prove the key to defeating Echo.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on December 25, 2016, 10:04:01 PM
>defeating Echo

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.  We're toast.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on December 25, 2016, 10:27:36 PM
Google Home may be better or more powerful but Amazon is way out ahead of the in volume.  Plus Amazon has a marketing arm, Goo really doesn't.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: ergophobe on December 26, 2016, 01:51:17 AM
>defeating Echo

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.  We're toast.

Don't give up hope. I'm still interviewing undisciplined but unconventional young apprentices who could still save the day. If I can find a young and as-yet untested Chris Pine, I think we've got this under control


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on December 27, 2016, 05:15:15 PM
>breached

Oh no! Now Bezos will know all your launch codes.

Also:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-holidayshopping-amazon-com-idUSKBN14G1B1?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on December 27, 2016, 08:03:26 PM
http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-best-selling-products-holiday-echo-dot-2016-12


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: drcool on December 28, 2016, 02:56:34 PM
http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/27/14089836/amazon-echo-privacy-criminal-investigation-data

Tell your family to be careful if they are planning on committing any major crimes.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on December 28, 2016, 03:01:16 PM
>Tell your family to be careful

Pfffttt! As if they'll listen.  It's going to take a synced mass-murdering of babies asleep in their cribs to get their attention on the home privacy issue.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: littleman on December 29, 2016, 12:19:54 AM
Warrant granted for Amazon Echo recordings  (https://www.rt.com/usa/371984-amazon-echo-warrant-recordings/)


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Mackin USA on December 29, 2016, 12:35:55 PM
"mass-murdering of babies asleep in their cribs"

Is there some law about that?


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Mackin USA on December 29, 2016, 05:43:18 PM
AND NOW

Amazon patents show flying warehouses

https://beta.finance.yahoo.com/m/118b6f90-0845-3b06-9acb-47e9e450aee3/amazon-patents-show-flying.html


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: littleman on December 29, 2016, 06:07:33 PM
It does seem like a perversion, doesn't it?


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on December 29, 2016, 06:35:05 PM
These Echo gizmos have really grown legs now that they've opened the 'Skills' (apps) up to developers.  I'm convinced that they put the Dot on sale for Christmas to gain marketshare ahead of G Home.  You guys advising merchants and sites better bone up on the apps, it's going to be a major sales channel.

Here, for instance, is the Our Groceries app melded with Echo via a skill:
https://www.amazon.com/HeadCode-OurGroceries/dp/B01D4F1J0M

Here's the FAQ on the voice commands.  Pretty sharp!
https://www.ourgroceries.com/faq#amazon_alexa


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: littleman on December 29, 2016, 06:57:21 PM
Echo + kids = near insanity

I was at my sister's house last night and my brother-in-law was given an Echo for Christmas.  They're technophiles and already have their house wired with speakers to pump audio to all the rooms in the house.   The noise level and randomness of it all was enough to make me step out for a bit.  It is just one household's interaction with emerging technology, but honestly, it felt almost dystopia to me.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on December 29, 2016, 07:16:57 PM
I've already been told of one problem with a grandkid who overrides his dad's commands.  In another daughter's house, the 9yr-old routinely tries to gain command.  Currently, you can't set it to recognize specific voices, so anyone has control.

Also, I have one granddaughter named 'Alexis' and Echo picks up on it as Alexa.  But you can now choose among 3 names; Alexa, Amazon, or Echo.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on January 02, 2017, 10:22:09 PM
I was researching on how to market via the echo and ran across this article written back in April. Nothing about using it for eyeballs, but worth a read.

"One of the early employees said Echo hit a million pre-orders in less than two weeks, a far better pace than the iPhone, which took about 70 days to reach the same milestone."

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-inside-story-of-how-amazon-created-echo-2016-4


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: littleman on January 03, 2017, 05:10:04 PM
So, where is Apple's Echo like device?


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on January 03, 2017, 05:44:28 PM
Looks like they were caught off-guard.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-23/apple-said-to-step-up-plans-for-echo-style-smart-home-device-itfnod11

Lenovo and others are piling on (by licensing Alexa)
http://www.businessinsider.com/lenovo-smart-assistant-speaker-amazon-echo-features-photos-2017-1



Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on February 22, 2017, 06:13:31 PM
Quote
Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

Stantz: Total protonic reversal!

Users are crossing the streams;

The Best Features of the Alexa Phone App You Might Not Know About

http://lifehacker.com/the-best-features-of-the-alexa-phone-app-you-might-not-1792630570

BTW, best estimates say Amz has now sold 10m+ Echo devices.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on March 17, 2017, 03:50:51 PM
>So, where is Apple's Echo like device?

Shots fired: AMZ backdoored Apple.
Quote
Siri had one key advantage: a cushy home on hundreds of millions of iPhones. Now, however, Amazon has snuck Alexa onto iOS—making this look more and more like a blowout.

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/siris-not-even-best-iphone-assistant-anymore/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on March 21, 2017, 11:01:06 AM
More on the infectious spread of Amz's jabbernet. (Jabbernet -credit Brad for this branding. Don't bother to look, domain is registered.)

Amazon adds Alexa to its main shopping app

https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/16/amazon-adds-alexa-to-its-main-shopping-app/

TL;DR: You don't need to buy extra appliances, Alexa can now reside on your phone.

---------------------

Alexa now takes orders from Amazon’s instant Prime Now and alcohol delivery services

https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/21/alexa-now-takes-orders-from-amazons-instant-prime-now-and-alcohol-delivery-services/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on March 22, 2017, 02:24:06 PM
Alexa Is Spreading From Speakers To Screens

https://www.fastcompany.com/3069137/amazons-alexa-is-spreading-from-speakers-to-screens


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: ergophobe on March 22, 2017, 10:36:40 PM
Alexa can now reside on your phone.

Translation: as of the latest update, like it or not, Alexa does now reside on your phone if you use the Amazon app.

Google is going to have a much harder time finding its way onto an iPhone


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on April 08, 2017, 01:17:04 AM
https://xkcd.com/1807/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on April 08, 2017, 12:38:30 PM
Everybody I know seems to have gotten an Echo device for Christmas and they all still love them.  Games seem big.  This isn't going away.

It's pretty sad that the high point of my week was hearing that Alexa now has a new skill: SomaFM, which makes it easier to play my favorite background music (Secret Agent and Illinois Street Lounge streams).


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on April 08, 2017, 01:42:48 PM
I rarely use anything but the [1] ToDoist integration (along with my hack now a daily absolute must-have), [2] timers, and [3] OurGroceries integration.  Except that I'm waiting to see what the next generation hardware has to offer, I'd buy another couple to locate in spots like the garage just to have even-more-convenient access to ToDoist --it's an incredibly cheap  secretary(non-human! WOO HOO!!).


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on May 23, 2017, 10:22:22 PM
How Amazon's Echo went from a smart speaker to the center of your home

http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-echo-and-alexa-history-from-speaker-to-smart-home-hub-2017-5


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on June 02, 2017, 10:56:04 AM
Reminders and Named Timers now work in the US

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/6/1/15724474/alexa-echo-amazon-reminders-named-timers

This is a big deal as these were among the top-requested by the user base.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on June 20, 2017, 12:13:12 PM
I just ordered the voice remote. The hardware is just a vehicle to patch me into my customized version of Todoist and transcribe my list items. Productivity has sky-rocketed (Help! It's killing me!) Secondary use is timers and time-of-day. 3rd is OurGroceries list.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on June 27, 2017, 01:34:19 PM
>remote

Meh.

Next firmware update (this week) will bring intercom capability. This is big. Big enough to clinch total dominance of the jabber device market.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on July 04, 2017, 10:56:12 PM
Intercom works. I used a throwaway G Voice number to have it send the activation code. Even so, it picked up 2 family members with Alexa devices (listed in my Amazon account for gift shipments) and offered to set them up as contacts. 2 more Dots ordered for a total of 5. That's dirt cheap for a station-to-station intercom system.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on July 07, 2017, 06:03:54 PM
Amz is doubling down on their voice assistant dominance. Alexa devices can now send you notifications, though limited. 

http://www.aftvnews.com/amazon-alexa-devices-can-now-send-you-notifications/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on July 07, 2017, 09:06:02 PM
Get there firstus with the mostus.  I have this feeling that by the time Apple starts shipping their Siri-can Amazon will already own the Jabbernet.

But the can device might be a sideshow for Apple, they will gain some real life Jabbernet experience which they can put into Apple Car and their self driving car OS.



Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on July 13, 2017, 06:19:34 PM
f### it, I'm all in.  6. I'm more than paying for these with time billing memos.



Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on July 13, 2017, 06:47:53 PM
Worth a read.

I installed an Amazon Echo Dot in a car and it was the best infotainment system I've ever used.
http://www.businessinsider.com/using-amazon-echo-dot-in-a-car-2017-7/

--------------------

Here's a scary thought from Debbie:

There are many signs that Alexa is going to flash over to encompass social.  But not just the friends & family version of social ...it's going to be an entity you engage with ---think chatbot on steroids.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on July 17, 2017, 04:43:43 PM
>all in

I needed a water-resistant cover in order to install one on the deck. They apparently don't make one, so I fashioned a reasonable substitute out of a peanut butter jar. Works fine ...and the remote (previously rated 'meh') is a must-have for this one installation.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on July 17, 2017, 04:58:21 PM
The first real Alexa phone is here

Quote
The U11, meanwhile, allows you to access Alexa just by calling out its name, the same way you would with an Echo device.
http://www.businessinsider.com/htc-u11-amazon-alexa-assistant-support-hands-on-2017-7


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on July 22, 2017, 09:29:10 PM
Nobody cares about your Amazon Alexa Skill
https://medium.com/the-mission/nobody-cares-about-your-amazon-alexa-skill-ac14bd080327


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on August 02, 2017, 11:59:09 AM
Alexa devices can now control your Fire TV
http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/08/02/alexa-devices-can-now-control-fire-tv/

IMO, this adds some height to AMZ's walled garden.  Besides bringing into the fold a substantial swath of their hardware, what really caught my eye was voice search of media. Example commands to search for movies, TV shows, apps, and games:
Quote
“Search for [movie / TV show / app] on Fire TV.”
“Find [genre] on Fire TV.”
“Show me titles with [actor].”

I assume it's only searching AMZ offerings (for now), but keep in mind that we already supposedly have voice control of a browser.

Note, too, that they've promised (coming soon) support for viewing smart home camera feeds on the Fire TV and 2nd gen Fire TV Stick. This will make for low-cost, Amz-based security cam systems similar to what's happening with the intercom.

<added> Fire TV control currently US-only.



Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on August 03, 2017, 04:34:37 PM
Another Brick In The Wall

Quote
Amazon today is rolling out a new experience for Prime Photos, its photo backup and sharing app, on Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. With the update, you can now ask Alexa to display your photos, including those saved to your various albums, photos taken on a certain day, week or month, those snapped at a particular location, or even those of specific people or things – like photos of your dog, for example.

https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/03/amazons-prime-photos-now-works-with-alexa-on-fire-tv/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on August 30, 2017, 11:36:11 AM
Microsoft and Amazon partner to integrate Alexa and Cortana digital assistants
https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/30/16224876/microsoft-amazon-cortana-alexa-partnership


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on August 30, 2017, 12:05:57 PM
This is one reason I like Amazon, they try to be available on all platforms, whereas the others build walled gardens.  Sounds like a win-win for Alexa users and Amazon and MS.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 12, 2017, 01:29:31 PM
Smart Speaker Shipments Jump 843% In Q2

Quote
Amazon, the undisputed leader in the field, controlling more than 90% of the market.

Quote
penetration at 6% in the U.S. and 3% in the U.K.

Quote
Each home that owns a smart speaker has two, on average, noted Futuresource

http://www.investopedia.com/news/amazon-smart-speaker-shipments-jump-843-q2/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 17, 2017, 08:48:06 PM
Alexa Store Assistant directs you to the right aisle, answers product questions

https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/17/alexa-store-assistant-directs-you-to-the-right-aisle-answers-product-questions/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 19, 2017, 01:30:29 PM
Amazon Puts ‘Hands-Free’ Alexa Voice Assistant on Its New Tablet

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/amazon-puts-hands-free-alexa-voice-assistant-on-its-new-tablet


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on September 20, 2017, 12:58:03 AM
Not hands free but here is a two minute video of Alexa, which comes built into the Huawie Mate 9 phone.
https://youtu.be/4y-vqWl4ErI


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 20, 2017, 11:43:06 AM
Google tries to go after the Dot's low entry price.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/09/google-hardware-leaks-50-google-home-mini-and-a-1200-chromebook-pixel-3/

Debbie: Day late, dollar short.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on September 20, 2017, 01:56:13 PM
Looks like a dog chew toy.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Drastic on September 22, 2017, 05:18:13 PM
>Debbie: Day late, dollar short.

I also wonder if the masses trust having an Amazon speaker over a Google one anyway. (Or is that just us?)

Our Echo has arrived. I have handed it off to management and will report back.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Mackin USA on September 22, 2017, 07:17:15 PM
>management

There be trouble coming right thar  :D


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 23, 2017, 01:42:11 AM
> just us?

Yep.

>masses

A George Carlin quote keeps coming to mind.  Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 27, 2017, 11:35:56 AM
reddit thread worth a read just to get a feel for the lure of the jabbernet

https://www.reddit.com/r/amazonecho/comments/72nn6b/why_dont_hotels_have_alexa/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on September 27, 2017, 01:00:46 PM
>reddit thread

Oh yeah, Amazon is so going to push Alexa out everywhere: mobile, cars, appliances and the loo.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 27, 2017, 01:13:54 PM
>everywhere

The other day, I caught myself just before trying to set the timer on the rice steamer by voice.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 27, 2017, 05:57:10 PM
Amz called a surprise Alexa device roll-out meeting today and the tech web is having an orgasm.  Reminds me Apple announcements of a decade ago.

Buzzfeed is live-blogging it

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mathonan/hello-alexa


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on September 27, 2017, 06:16:29 PM
That’s a lot of stuff.  RC, you were right, they were clearing out old inventory and this explains why.

Now they are hitting their price point with Echo.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 27, 2017, 06:22:29 PM
>lot of stuff

Still rolling. 

Don't miss this one: Alexa is getting more useful in the smart home with a few updates


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on September 27, 2017, 08:59:49 PM
I almost missed this big API announcement in all the product hub-bub;

new API that lets developers build multi-step routines into simple Alexa commands.

Quote
In a demonstration, Amazon device VIP Dave Limp said “Alexa, good morning,” which triggered a sequence of events in the faux-home setting that Amazon set up in its headquarters for the event. First, the lights came on in the demonstration room. Then, a smart window shade rolled up, and Alexa began reading the news. Finally, a teakettle began to boil water.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/27/16375050/alexa-routines-echo-amazon-2017


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on October 18, 2017, 12:07:11 PM
2 big features added recently

Support for custom lists

https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/17/alexa-adds-support-for-custom-lists/


Recognize Different Voice Profiles (with caveats)

https://lovemyecho.com/2017/10/16/alexa-can-recognize-different-voices-now/


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on October 19, 2017, 02:02:47 PM
Disturbing developments in Echoland this morning:  I'm making coffee no talking and suddenly Alexa comes to life and announces an Amazon music channel I might like and starts playing it.  I told it to stop and it did. Weird.  If Alexa is just going to start spontaneously playing ads or even just suggestions for Amazon services it's going to be drop kicked out the door real quick.

Has anyone else had this happen?


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on October 19, 2017, 04:53:27 PM
Yeah, 3 or 4 times we've gotten a false start of some sort or another.  IIRC, it's been documented that sub-sonic communications are 'heard' by Alexa, but I just write it off to poltergeists. Spooky when it happens.

Be sure to set the Do Not Disturb hours. It'd really freak you out if it happened about 3am.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Travoli on October 19, 2017, 05:09:16 PM
Wait, can you set Alexa to play a Youtube video at 3am?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPB-LivfPlg


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on October 19, 2017, 05:20:21 PM
>Youtube

Dunno about setting vid alarms, but I think Big G killed Youtube access by the Echo models with screens.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: Brad on October 19, 2017, 06:14:12 PM
Good advice.  Thanks.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on October 19, 2017, 06:55:50 PM
> sub-sonic communications

Yesterday, I put a glass lid down very close beside a dot on the hard-surface kitchen counter. The lid 'rang' a bit when it was placed and the dot fired up its lights. The house was otherwise quiet at the time.


Title: Re: Reporting in from Ground Zero
Post by: rcjordan on October 25, 2017, 05:02:03 PM
Amazon announces a new intelligent Alexa security camera called Cloud Cam

http://www.aftvnews.com/amazon-announces-a-new-intelligent-alexa-security-camera-called-cloud-cam/


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