Amazon Echo

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Winnow
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Amazon Echo

Post by Winnow »

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Interesting. It has potential. Only $99 for prime customers. I put myself on the waiting list although undecided.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkOCeAtKHIc#t=138

http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo/ref_=ods_dp_ae

It also acts like a bluetooth speaker to stream music, etc. I like a few things. Verbally setting alarms, getting news briefs, adding to to-do lists, and basic voice inquiries similar to Siri.

If it started controlling other household crap like lights, etc it might grow into something decent. As it stands, probably worth checking out for $99 for even the basics it already has.

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Canelek »

Yeah, I clicked the link for an invite as well. Just because I like gadgets and boobs.

It is sort of like a phone you can't take with you, so that is neat.
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Re: Amazon Echo

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I was finally "invited" to buy one of these. Estimate delivery time: 4-5 months. That's longer than my fucking Soylent estimated delivery time. What is it with these insane delivery times?

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Funkmasterr »

Yeah, I got an invite, and when I saw the delivery time I passed. Amazon isn't a bank, they don't get to play with my money for all that time and give me nothing in return.
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Re: Amazon Echo

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Funkmasterr wrote:Yeah, I got an invite, and when I saw the delivery time I passed. Amazon isn't a bank, they don't get to play with my money for all that time and give me nothing in return.
I don't see anything charged on my credit card yet. I'm still on the fence on getting it. Little creepy that Amazon stores all of your voice commands to the echo on their server. You can delete them in bulk but it's not automatic. I can see "key word" NSA backdoor searches becoming a thing. Problematic if you accidentally activate it while watching a movie about terrorist movies or mentions of words like "bomb", etc.

I do like the idea of having an easy way to make notes, add items to shopping lists, easily create countdown timers and alarms, play music, etc. The basic commands like flash report (5 minute news recap, weather, etc are sort of interesting. It looks like these basic voice search features will expand pretty fast.

Maybe I'd get "the clapper" and plug the echo into it so I could hard cut the power to it when I wasn't using it so it isn't in constant listen mode all of the time. Clap ON, Clap OFF!

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Ransure »

Ordered one of these a few weeks ago, estimated delivery time is June or July this year... I saw they are starting to integrate with home automation systems so I could see that being a killer app for me. Also I have room on top of the fridge to install it out of the way for kitchen music and interaction.

No way Id put one of these things in the bedroom or something.
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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Winnow »

I've had the Echo for about an hour. So far I love it.

This thing is going to be worth it just for the music/podcast/news functions alone. Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn so far. TuneIn has a lot of Podcasts. I tried a few random named ones and they played instantly "Alexa play "Insert name of Podcast" Alexa: "Getting latest episode of "insert podcast name here". Very fast.

Set alarm while cooking pasta.

Already set up my traffic report

The voice recognition is amazingly good. I told it to play some 80's music at a pretty high volume. From across the room, in a low voice I told it to stop and it was able to recognize my command over it's own loud music. As advertised, you can command Echo with normal level voice from anywhere in the room.

The voice is smooth and "human". Not robotic.

Quick impression, but impressed. I can see the value of integrating home automation into Echo for sure. No brainer at $99 for amazon prime peeps. Seems like it will integrate very easily into every day life.

If needed can access Echo app from iOS/Android/PC (web based)

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Winnow »

Pretty funny side note:

one of the first songs from Pandora I played:

Talking in your Sleep - Romantics

"I hear the secrets that you keep when you're talking in your sleep."

hmmmm~!

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Boogahz »

Was the $99 deal something that was available before? I am just seeing $149 for Prime members.

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Winnow »

Boogahz wrote:Was the $99 deal something that was available before? I am just seeing $149 for Prime members.
Maybe they upped the price since it's remained popular.

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Xouqoa »

The $99 price was a special pre-order price for Prime members only, but it has expired.

I haven't gotten mine yet, but it says it should ship in June, so we'll see. I think it will be a neat gadget.

How's the sound quality on the speaker itself? (Specifically, how does it compare to a Sonos PLAY:1 ?)
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Re: Amazon Echo

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Xouqoa wrote:The $99 price was a special pre-order price for Prime members only, but it has expired.

I haven't gotten mine yet, but it says it should ship in June, so we'll see. I think it will be a neat gadget.

How's the sound quality on the speaker itself? (Specifically, how does it compare to a Sonos PLAY:1 ?)

It sounds good to me but I'm not an audiophile : ) It's mono of course but fills a room up. Not going to give you mega base. It's the size of a can of pringles.

I find myself using it a lot and I also find myself missing it in whichever room it's not in. I brought it into the bedroom to try it out.

In bedroom I used it for these type things:

Alexa play rain ambiance

-plays rainstorm from prime music. You can tell it to play any of the million songs that are on prime directly or albums. I like to sleep to the sound of rain and usually have it playing all night on my ipad. Echo has a much better speaker.

Alexa what time is it

(I have my room completely dark so unless I want to blind myself by hitting my ipad or iphone, etc, I found asking Alexa the time extremely useful)

Alexa how's traffic (fuck the lousy radio station and it's commercials I listen to for traffic reports, Alexa can tell me now...although not as detailed yet)

Alexa play podcast "insert name of podcast" (I have my set podcast list I listen to each week but never have enough time to listen to them all)

---------------------

I only had it in there for two days and miss it already.

In living room...stuff like this:

Alexa what time is it in Japan

I play Black Desert and fishing areas in the game get depleted so knowing what time it is over in Japan helps to know when the good fishing times are.

Alexa set timer for ten minutes (used a lot due to my pasta cooking)

Alexa news flash

Great way to get 5 minutes or so of news. Can customize it so I added sports and tech news to my flash.

Of course, lots of music/podcast stuff. I'll be playing my audiobooks through it as well (anything you play on your iOS/Androice can stream via Bluetooth to it. Also connecting bluetooth is very easy and easy to disconect as well. Once you connect a device you just say "Alexa disconnect" or "Alexa connect" to reconnect that device.
-------------------------------

Echo's default female voice is extremely human-like and pleasant. I've mentioned before that the voice recognition is outstanding as is Echo's ability to detect your voice at normal volume from across the room

Alexa stop, next, pause, etc all work great.

Alexa volume 1-10 works well to raise/lower volume

I'm considering some home automation (lights etc). While in its infancy, Echo is already a great utility but it has a lot of room to grow without needing new hardware since commands are processed remotely. For the paranoid, hitting the mute on top of echo makes the light ring red so you know it's not listening. Even while on all the time, I haven't accidentally set it off. I've always had to say "Alexa" first (which you can change to "Amazon" if you prefer. If you're super paranoid, you can always place a switch between it and the power and turn it completely off when not using it or when doing something illegal in your otherwise boring lives.

Everything I tell Echo to do pops up on my Android tablet (I bought to use with my wireless PicoP projector). Not extremely useful but for voice searches that can't be provided by Alexa, it pops up Wikipedia. I've found the searches to be pretty accurate for songs at least so far.

Another very useful thing is reminders (to do list). "Alexa buy the new Ernest Cline Book" puts the note on your ios/android/pc (all sync'd)

It comes with a remote but I haven't really found the need to use it. I guess if you're lazy and don't want to say "alexa" you can hit the mic button on the remote and ask your question. (has volume forward/reverse, etc on it) i doubt anyone will use the remote much.

Another cool thing you can do is say "Alexa what's playing" and you'll get the name of the song and artist told to you.

sample music commands:
[Show]
Music commands
Alexa, what's playing?
Alexa, turn it up.
Alexa, softer.
Alexa, volume 4.
Alexa, mute.
Alexa, stop the music.
Alexa, pause.
Alexa, resume.
Alexa, next song.
Alexa, loop.
Alexa, add this song. (Prime Music)
Alexa, I like this song (when a Pandora / iHeartRadio song is playing).
Alexa, thumbs down (when a Pandora / iHeartRadio song is playing).

Music requests

You can play your own music by importing songs to your Amazon Music library. Import music.
Alexa, play music by Johnny Cash.
Alexa, play Sail by AWOLNATION.
Alexa, shuffle my lounge playlist.
Alexa, play my new music by Mariah Carey.
Alexa, play Skrillex.
Alexa, play the song Thrift Shop.
Alexa, play the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits.
Alexa, play some blues.
Alexa, shuffle my new music.
Alexa, play the song I just bought.
Alexa, play some music.

Prime Music

Prime members can enjoy over a million songs and hundreds of playlists for free.
Alexa, play some Prime Music.
Alexa, play music by Icona Pop.
Alexa, play the Sunny Day Classical playlist.
Alexa, add this song.
Alexa, play Santana on Prime music.
Alexa, play I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz.
Alexa, play some jazz from Prime Music.

Stations, shows & more

Listen to podcasts, shows, and live radio from TuneIn or iHeartRadio. Create custom radio stations from iHeartRadio or Pandora. Link your iHeartRadio and/or Pandora account with Amazon Echo.
Alexa, play a Coldplay station from Pandora.
Alexa, play the program Radiolab.
Alexa, play the station NPR.
Alexa, play 97.3 FM on TuneIn.
Alexa, play Fox Sports on iHeartRadio.

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Aslanna »

Pass! I'm not sure why people want more gadgets that spy on them 24 hours a day.
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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Funkmasterr »

Aslanna wrote:Pass! I'm not sure why people want more gadgets that spy on them 24 hours a day.
Same. With the way we let corporations run wild in this country, I don't get how people are comfortable giving them anything about them that they don't absolutely have to. Throw in that we're still pursuing AI, and if you aren't at least somewhat concerned you're an idiot.

No way will I ever use one of these speakers, no way I'll ever have a camera that allows someone else to enter my home/record video of it. No way I'll use any smart home shit, period. I don't even like social media anymore, I've deleted all of my accounts except Facebook, and that I've stripped as much about myself out of as I can, and I will also eventually delete it.

I'm also just generally uncomfortable with how big Amazon is getting. They have their hands in too much, and I don't know if I want to keep supporting that in any way. It is making it an easier decision that they can't seem to get their shit together, though - the last half a dozen deliveries I've had from Amazon that were supposed to have prime delivery were 3-7 days late. I usually shopped at Whole Foods, largely because of how close it is to me, but the produce has gone to shit since Amazon bought them, and they can't seem to keep things in stock, either. At this rate I'll likely be cancelling prime, and going to a local co op instead of Whole Foods, even though the parking lot is a fucking nightmare.
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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Winnow »

Your phone has a camera on both sides of it that can be hacked (iOS or Android) and a mic. Echo is the least of your worries if you really think someone is hacking you. Firesticks have Alexa build into them now. WATCH OUT! Seriously though, unless you place your phone into a noise proof box when you get home (and tablets, laptops, etc etc etc), get serious. Your location can be known at anytime with it's build in GPS. It can hear you and probably watch you take a shit if you use your phone when you do so. Wait wait wait...you're not one of those that actually things turning off options on your phone actually turns them off are you?

Worry all you want about Amazon Echo, it's not like it's unique https://store.google.com/product/google_home

If you use google search/google mail, you're already screwed. use https://duckduckgo.com/ you paranoid people!

We're eventually going to have robot assistants following us around. Unless you're hardcore not using a phone or wireless, etc. Don't pretend to care about privacy. That's like putting a few coins in the salvation army pot, thinking you're making a difference to feel better about yourself.

For the record, I don't use social media...twitter, facebook etc. I do have a fake facebook account for gaming accounts that require it.

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Re: Amazon Echo

Post by Aslanna »

Grats on reading...
I'm not sure why people want more gadgets that spy on them 24 hours a day.
Everyone is aware of smartphone capabilities.
Winnow wrote: Don't pretend to care about privacy.
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