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Pasanda

Alexa, Good morning

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So ... like ... a little more than twenty years ago, the world fell in love with Furbys.  Today's society is in love with Alexa, Siri, etc.  Have we learned nothing in twenty years?

I wonder if you can put Alexa and Siri in the same local space and they would chat for hours on end like you could with a pair of Furbys ... :huh:

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I'd say it's well integrated into our life. But slowly becoming moreso over time and without any cajoling. The most common use by far is my son using it to read books. Books we've bought on Audible. He listens to it morning and night as he's getting up and going to bed. He's only got about 5 books on it, but he's been listening to those same 5 for nearly a year. He also plays music quite a lot. 

There are innumerable comedy aspects to it coming out every week, but these are usually 1-2 shot uses, apart from the fart machine, which was my sons first ever online purchase with his own money.

Probably the 2nd most common use, which is also every day, is room awakening. In the lounge i have 3 lights hanging off 3 wifi socket and my hifi hanging off one of them too. So whenever we want to use the lounge for TV/Xbox/PS4/Music, we need to ask Alex to "turn on the lounge". The cabin lights are also attached to another outlet, but we don't that very often. 

Alex-driven wifi sockets have been a bit hit and miss; i've had a batch that I just couldn't get up and running and even the simpler options require tech-familiarity - especially when they don't behave as they should. But being as low as a fiver a pop, they are great value for home automation.

In all, i think Alexa is a good thing that we have used to enrichen our lives. But i am also starting to witness invasions into my privacy than can only be down to eavesdropping technology. And that is a little concerning.

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Posted (edited)

Now that I am single and master of my domain, I have added Alexa as a quasi roommate.

Its a work in progress, but I have 5 echo dots scattered throughout the condo.  My condo is 3 levels so I wanted some coverage plus I made sure the kids got one in their own space.

Fortunately, Best Buy had a great black Friday TV sale where you got a free dot.  So I got 3 TVs, more on that in a minute.

My setup - 3 smart outlet plugs and 3 smart outlet lights.  4 smart TVs and another with a fire stick.  Excellent WiFi coverage paired with a robust ISP and I also ditched cable and currently have PS Vue.  They are going out of service so that will require a replacement soon.

Upstairs, I have an Echo dot in my office, which is a loft over my great room, the main bathroom, and daughters room.

Main level has a dot in the kitchen/living room and one in the main room.  The 5th is in the basement.  My son will be staying there with a big TV and the Xbox.

My bedroom, kitchen, great room and living room all have lights controlled by Alexa, either by switch or smart plug.

As a sports fan, I set up my great room (wtf am I going to do with a dining room?) with the 3 black Friday TVs (see below).  Eventually going to add a pool table.  The tvs came integrated with fire tv.  Each TV can be controlled by an Alexa, problem is its a 1 to 1 relationship, meaning 1 dot controls 1 tv.  I am going to tinker with naming and see if I can figure something out.  For now, its easier to point 1 remote to the 3 tvs and turn them on.

In the basement, which is in process of being reconfigured(painted ceiling, walls and floor.  Added lights and relocating the washer/dryer to a new spot), I added a TV with integrated Roku (2nd pic).  This Alexa integration kicks ass.  I can turn it on/off, set volume, etc.  Love it.  I also have my Xbox down there and enabled that with Alexa too.  That setup is almost perfect.

My main living room has a 2016 LG non-smart TV with a fire stick attached.  This has been the bane of my existence.  I cannot figure out how to get this thing to work with Alexa.  I have poured my techie skills into this and I have concluded that its not possible.  Until some update comes in, I will have to settle for using ... gasp ... a remote.

Using Alexa for lights is really awesome.  Integrating the Christmas tree with a smart plug was spectacular.  Whole house music coverage is fabulous.

Future projects include adding garage door ... problem is my unit is so old that its incompatible.  So I would have to upgrade the unit which is an expense that I am not willing to do ... yet.

I would like to get cameras.  Preferable 1 for the door and 1 for inside when I am not home.

I also tried getting my main PC to turn off/on via voice, but that involves some deeper tech skills that I haven't dug into yet.

Outside of that, maybe more light switches.  Problem is, most of my lights are 3 way and I have yet to find a good, smart 3 way switch.  If you don't know, 3 way means 1 light controlled by multiple on/off switches.  I didnt know that term a month ago.  I have yet to tinker with smart bulbs, we'll see.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Edited by Dunnar

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Got a Google smart clock and a few smart outlets for Black Friday and the kids have been having fun with them.  As part of the setup it pairs voices with login for security.

 

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This is what 1800 tree lights look like. Tree from Ikea. Rear surrounds by Kef. Painting by Lucy Collins, Laugh by Pasanda. T-shirt by Fin.

Dunnar likes this

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