On Thursday, 8 March 2018 15:07:16 UTC, Peter Trei wrote:
> On Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 9:18:42 PM UTC-5, David Johnston wrote:
> > On 2018-03-07 1:22 PM, Dorothy J Heydt wrote:
> > > In article <***@news1.newsguy.com>,
> > > a425couple <***@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > >> "2001 a Space Odyssey", what-if Alexa (short video).
> > >>
> > >> Here, enjoy!
> > >> https://www.facebook.com/amityaddrisiTV/posts/745637628968958
> > >
> > > Oh. Is there any other source, for those of us who don't do
> > > Facebook?
> > >
> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TWg80Jw8_s
> There's a South Park episode that plays with this, with Cartman repeatedly
> asking Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homepod to add rude things to your shopping
> list - if you have the devices in the room where you're watching, the result is
> amusing, eye-opening, and disturbing.
> I've bought one (Amazon Dot - an Alexa device), and played with it at home. Its
> for an elderly relative. The requirements to set it up are a little lengthy:
> The device itself
> An Apple or Android smartphone.
> An Amazon account (can be a free one, without a real credit card attached)
> A working email (requirement to get the Amazon account).
> You install the Alexa app on the phone, and use it to set up the device. Its not
> rocket science, but would not be trivial for a non-computer literate person.
> There are a lot of video tutorials to ease this.
> Once its set up, its pretty easy to use. One feature, which is the main reason
> I'm getting it for the relative is that, if you allow the app access to your
> contacts, you can make free, hands-free phone calls from it. You say, for
> example, 'Alexa, call Dorothy Heydt', and if she's in your contacts, you call
> her. (It can't receive calls without extra hardware).
> Elderly people have a frequent nightmare scenario of falling, being unable to
> get up, and being stuck for hours or days unable to reach a phone. There are
> alert devices they can wear to deal with this, but they don't always have them
> on their person. Being able to call out 'Alexa, call Kathy', and have
> your daughter answer is a good backup (there's some weirdness where it
> either can't call 911, or it can't do so with automatic caller location).
> There's a whole bunch of other things you can do with it, such as link it to
> a Google Calendar, play music, get the weather, set alarms and reminders,
> but the call-out feature is the killer app for my purpose.
In Ben Aaronovitch's wizarding police novel _The Hanging Tree_,
the hero, Peter Grant, produces a device melodramatically called
a "screamer": it's an adapted mobile phone that automatically calls
to London police HQ. Since electronics literally die (if switched on)
when magic happens in this setting, there's a two minute clockwork
timer to switch it on, and you throw it as far as you can away from
the magic before that. Then probably run in a different direction.
(Most of this is not what your relative requires.)
HQ then probably telephones Peter to deal with it, which is awkward
if it is him that the magic is happening to. Although he is quite
good at duels by now.