This weekend I was tasked with and greatly welcomed the opportunity to beta test the Amazon Echo. The product has been on the market for awhile, although there are A LOT of things still in development. For those who have not heard of it, The Echo looks somewhat like a Bluetooth speaker, which we all have seen at this point but here I am assuming things again. Beyond its Bluetooth speaker capabilities, it’s also WiFi and can be controlled via smartphone or tablet device app. Also, you can talk to it.
I’m starting to think that my neighbors have assumed that I’ve met a cute girl named Alexa, and all we do is talk about Pandora together, but at least we’re not arguing, which is what most couples do, right? I wouldn’t know.
Anyway, I would love to chat with my new gal-pal about controlling my smart light-bulbs, My D-Link smart-plug, and the rest of the assortment of IoT devices I tried to fit into an old drum last week. It would be nice if I could ask Alexa to set my Nest thermostat to 72 degrees or whatever temperature that I require. I would also like to be able to tell her that I’m going to work for the day so shut that shit off, and I’ll let her know when I get home. The Amazon Echo has the potential to go way beyond just telling your girlfriend to set Pandora to shuffle, because that’s pretty much all I can do with her without wanting to set my hair on fire.
I called Amazon tech support, explained what I was trying to accomplish with said product and was transferred to Echo tech support and check it: They were totally candid about the fact that the home automation portion of the Echo is still in ongoing development. Specifically, the talking to your fake girlfriend part. When I mentioned that the IFTTT recipes for Alexa and the Nest simply not did work (I tried for about an hour or so), she asked me to think abstractly, and I do that shit all the time. She explained that the voice recognition part of the firmware, software, and apps, with regard to home automation capability only technically work with HUE Lighting and WeMo devices. So I can’t tell Alexa that it’s a little warm in here, because the only WiFi thermostats that I am currently playing around with are the Nest and one from Honeywell.
Anyway, I started writing a book about a month ago, and what I thought would be short story is now around 167 pages. I think I’m going to focus on that for the rest of the weekend and then I’ll be right back.