Amazon Echo Black Friday – 2019

It's that time of the year again! When Friday (for some reason) starts at 6 PM on Thursday! All jokes aside, now is a great time to pick up a new Echo Device! Over the next few days, Amazon has deep discounts on devices, including almost the entire Echo Family. Check out some of these great holiday deals! The Echo Dot Amazon has once again slashed the price on their most popular Echo! These...

Hands-on with the Amazon Echo Auto

What's up with the new Echo Auto? Being a student at university, I have not been able to try out my new Amazon Echo Auto at all. That is, until last weekend, when I decided to take it with me on a roadtrip to see one of my best friends at another university. Overall, I had a pretty solid experience with the device. To be perfectly honest, I wish I had the Echo Auto with my old car. My new car...

Fast Tips Friday: Troubleshooting ‘device isn’t responding’ Alexa errors

Post published 7/19/19 - Perhaps no Alexa error is quite so frustrating as the dreaded, "Sorry, isn't responding. Please check its network connection and power supply," because you only get this one after your smart home device has been properly set up and in use. Today's fast tip can help with that. Smart home devices used to have skills, and many still do Many owners of Alexa devices don't...

A new Alexa device: Echo Show 5

Post published 5/29/19 - Today, with no warning and little more fanfare than a press release, the Echo Show 5 appeared on Amazon's US and UK sites. A touchscreen definitely expands Alexa's capabilities, from being able to play digital videos to displaying song lyrics, but for many consumers the Echo Spot's screen is a little too small and the standard Echo Show is a little too big and/or...

Fast Tips Friday: LG Adding Alexa To Its 2019 AI ThinQ TVs

Post published 5/24/19 - Yesterday electronics manufacturer LG announced it is adding Alexa to its 2019 AI ThinQ TVs this month, with support for Apple HomeKit and AirPlay2 to follow in the coming months. From LG's announcement : LG Electronics (LG) will begin rolling out Amazon Alexa support in 14 countries* to the company’s 2019 TV models featuring artificial intelligence. The update will be...

Fast Tips Friday: Alexa and Playstation Vue

Post published 4/19/19 - I'm moving at the end of this month and my preferred cable service isn't available in my new town. Fortunately I've discovered the joys of cord cutting, and that Alexa and Playstation Vue play very nicely together. Why Cut The Cord? I avoided cord cutting for a very long time. It seemed there was no way to get all my favorite channels and DVR recording via streaming...

How To Create Custom Voice Commands for Nest Thermostat + Alexa

Post publication date: 3/21/19 - Many landlords in California---like mine---are using clean energy grant money to install Nest smart thermostats in their rental units. I've found there are no intuitive, default voice commands for Nest thermostat + Alexa, but it's easy to set up a couple of Alexa Routines to create your own, custom voice commands to control your Nest. Before I got the Nest I...

Add Bluetooth to Your Home Stereo to Pipe Music From Alexa

Post Date: 1/9/19 - Many consumers have already invested in a high quality home stereo system, but if it was a few years ago or longer that system will not have Bluetooth compatibility. Did you know you can add Bluetooth to your home stereo with an inexpensive receiver device? There are many Bluetooth receiver options available at many different price points, but they all do essentially the same...

Smart Home Showcase: Alexa Vacuum Options

Post Publication Date: 12/19/18 - Lots of consumers have been asking for more useful Alexa integrations, and smart appliance makers have stepped up with a range of Alexa vacuum options. Vacuums Alexa Can Control All of the following smart vacuums are Alexa-compatible, which means they can be controlled via voice commands spoken to an Alexa device (e.g., Echo, Show, Spot, Dot, etc.). By now most...

Smart Home Showcase: The New Alexa Microwave Is Out In The US

Post Publication Date: 11/20/18 - It was announced weeks ago, and now the Alexa microwave is finally shipping---just in time for holiday shopping! Note that this is an Alexa-compatible device but it does not have Alexa built in: you must own at least one other Alexa device (e.g., Echo, Dot, Spot, etc.) to issue voice commands to this microwave. As with other Alexa products, I expect it will be...