Post by David Johnston Post by Dorothy J Heydt Post by a425couple
"2001 a Space Odyssey", what-if Alexa (short video).
Oh. Is there any other source, for those of us who don't do
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.