4/7/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday

Welcome to LME’s 4/7/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday. You may have heard some of these before, but hopefully, at least one will be totally new and helpful to you.

 

More Smart Home

 

1. Add events to your linked Google, Office 365 or Outlook calendar. When calendar linking functionality first launched you could only ask Alexa to tell you about events you’d already added in the calendar app itself. Not any more!

Now just say, “[wake word], add an event to my calendar,” and Alexa will walk you through the prompts to add the entry.

If you don’t need the virtual hand-holding, say, “[wake word], add [event] to my calendar for [day] at [time].” [event] is the words you want to have entered into your calendar for that day and time, such as “eye doctor appointment,” “planning meeting,” etc. [day] is the day of the upcoming week, and [time] is the numeric time plus “a.m.” or “p.m.”. You may want to start out by using the “add an event to my calendar” method, until you get used to the way Alexa handles calendars.

Click here for Amazon’s Help topic about linking calendars. Amazon UK customers, click here.

 

2. Alexa can get you the local news and read RSS feeds from many sources. Your news choices aren’t limited to what’s available in Alexa’s built-in Flash Briefing function. There are a LOT of news and RSS feed sources now available as Alexa skills. Go to the Skills tab in the mobile app or the Alexa Skills department on the Amazon site and search on the keyword “news” to find them. Amazon UK customers click here.

 

3. Alexa can read thousands of books to you for free. Thanks to Alexa’s ability to read Kindle books via Amazon’s Text To Speech (TTS) technology, and the fact that at any given time there are thousands of free Kindle books with TTS available, no one who owns an Alexa enabled device ever needs to want for a good book.

Most people already know there are lots of free public domain classics available in Kindle format (to find them, search on “free public domain” in the Kindle Books department on Amazon), but there are plenty of new books too. Once you’ve “bought” a free Kindle book that has TTS enabled, say, “[wake word], read [book title].” Alexa will keep track of where you left off when you ask her to stop and pick up in the same spot the next time you issue that same command, just as if it were an Audible book.

To find the current 100 most downloaded free Kindle titles:
1. On the Amazon site (US or UK), navigate to Departments > Kindle E-readers & Books > Kindle Books.
2. On the main Kindle Books page, click the Best Sellers link at the top.
3. On the Best Sellers page, click the Top 100 Free link.

 
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