7/28/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday

Welcome to LME’s 7/28/17 Alexa Fast Tips Friday. You may have heard some of these before, but I hope you learn at least one new thing here each week.

Please note: not being in the UK myself I can’t test any of these tips for UK Alexa users. If the functionality isn’t there yet, it should be coming to you soon.


Stupid Brain Insomnia


1. Let Alexa help you get to sleep with relaxation sound skills.
I’ve previously suggested having Alexa play any of the free, Prime, Unlimited or low-cost albums categorized as relaxation (UK readers click here) to help you get to sleep, but now there’s an even easier way: GIFHIP’s ZenMood skills (UK readers click here). Each one will run its audio in a continuous loop until you stop it, so you can use any of these as ambient background audio throughout your day as well.

GIFHIP lets you choose from Himalaya Sounds, Thunder Sounds, Cosmic Sounds, Beach Sounds or Japanese Garden Sounds. To enable any of these and try them out, just say the wake word followed by “Enable Zen Mood [name] Sounds skill.” Alexa will confirm you want to enable the skill, then tell you how to launch it.


2. Show owners who are also Prime members: let Alexa help you relax or get to sleep with relaxation videos like fireplace, rain, snowfall, aquarium fish and more.
GIFHIP also has some ‘screen saver’ skills available for the Show, but they only run for about an hour. If you want to enjoy the sights and sounds of aquarium fish, a crackling fireplace, the rain forest, a box fan, the rain forest or similar for up to 12 hours, try saying the wake word followed by this command on your Show to locate a large selection of relaxation videos in Amazon Prime:

“Search Amazon video for relaxation.”


3. Keep your Alexa devices clean and dust free for optimal performance.
Those little gaps and holes are great at collecting dust, and over time this can interfere with the microphone array’s sensitivity and the quality of sound coming out of the device’s speaker. Use canned air (UK readers click here) of the same type you’d use to get dust or small particles out of a computer keyboard to blast dust out of the nooks and crannies. Also hit any exposed ports and recessed areas with a blast of canned air from time to time, whenever you notice dust starting to accumulate.

The exterior cloth covering the speaker on your Tap is black so it shouldn’t show many stains, but if you ever need to clean it you can try using a very light mist of upholstery cleaner, followed by blotting with a dry, clean cloth. Be careful not to saturate the surface of the Tap, you don’t want to get moisture inside of it.

The Echo Show’s screen can be cleaned with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth of the same type you’d use on your phone’s screen, your flatscreen TV screen or camera lens. Don’t just spray glass cleaner on it. You don’t want to risk getting any trapped moisture between the screen and bezel, and some glass cleaners can leave a foggy residue as well.


4. Yellow-orange and green Alexa light signals: what do they mean?
The green one means you have a message or notification. Say the wake word followed by, “Check messages,” and/or “Read notifications,” to clear it.

The yellow-orange one means your Alexa device is not currently connected to the internet, and will have limited functionality as a result. First, make sure your internet/WiFi isn’t down in general by verifying you can still connect to it on your other devices. If it’s just the Alexa device that’s having trouble you can either wait for the status to clear itself or do a soft reset.

To do a soft reset, unplug the device and leave it powered off for at least 20 seconds. Plug it back in and see if it reconnects on its own. If not, try going into WiFi settings (in the Alexa app for Dot, Tap, Echo, Dash Wand, Look, in the Settings screen on the Show) to re-select your network and re-enter your WiFi password if necessary. You may have to ‘forget’ the current connection and re-select it. If that doesn’t work, you can either contact Amazon for further assistance or do a factory reset on the device.


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