Gransnet forums


Amazon Echo

(53 Posts)
Anniebach Fri 01-May-20 21:49:55

I know nothing about them. I don’t want to set my heating etc
with one. Don’t want to ask what the weather is like.

Do they save having to google for info, or are they just to
listen to music ?

MissTree Fri 01-May-20 21:56:32

These are a few of the things I use mine for.
to read my audio book ,
remind me in 10minutes that I need to check the dinner
play music , white noise , nursery rhymes.
play radio 4 .
You can ask for info but I prefer google.

Missfoodlove Fri 01-May-20 22:20:13

Alexa can play whatever radio station you ask for.
She will be a timer or reminder.
My Alexa will call my families/friends Alexas so we can have hands free telephone conversations.
She also compiles my shopping list.

Eloethan Sat 02-May-20 00:21:21

Having just watched the Joe Lycett programme, Got Your Back, I would want to have as little "smart" technology in my home as possible.

The programme showed how easy it is for an unscrupulous person to hack into all the technology in a person's home - cameras, TV, voice activated assistants such as Alexa and Siri, lighting, sound and heating systems, etc, etc., to disable them or to invade people's privacy either for entertainment or for criminal purposes. There have been several instances where Alexa has either been hacked or has incorrectly responded to a verbal cue:

the Guardian 2019

" Last year, an Amazon customer in Germany was mistakenly sent about 1,700 audio files from someone else’s Echo, providing enough information to name and locate the unfortunate user and his girlfriend. (Amazon attributed this “unfortunate mishap” to human error.)

"In San Francisco, Shawn Kinnear claimed that his Echo activated itself and said cheerfully: “Every time I close my eyes, all I see is people dying.”

"In Portland, Oregon, a woman discovered that her Echo had taken it upon itself to send recordings of private conversations to one of her husband’s employees. In a statement, Amazon said that the Echo must have misheard the wake word, misheard a request to send a message, misheard a name in its contacts list and then misheard a confirmation to send the message, all during a conversation about hardwood floors. Not great, Alexa."

Anniebach Sat 02-May-20 09:59:47

Thank you , It wouldn’t be of much use to me, I listen to audio
books and music on my iPad. Don’t telephone anyone, and only listen to radio 4.

vampirequeen Sat 02-May-20 10:00:39

I got mine for £1 when I bought something else. It's brilliant for playing any music you want, set times and reminders and, for me, very little else but I wouldn't be without it nowadays because of the music element.

aggie Sat 02-May-20 10:05:28

I don’t have Alexa , but it seems Siri is on my iPad and phone , how do you get it to play music , do you have to buy it somewhere ?
I did ask for radio four and got some odd American station

Charleygirl5 Sat 02-May-20 10:07:25

I have three dotted throughout the house. I am partially sighted so I ask Alexa what the time is- play the news, what the weather is now, set timers when I am cooking and play music.

Very occasionally she gives me the weather forecast for India but she does not always recognise my voice first thing in the morning.

Charleygirl5 Sat 02-May-20 10:11:31

Aggie be careful- with Alexa she does try to get me to pay so much a month to play music but it is free. I just ask her to play eg "I want to break free" by Queen. Occasionally she plays something I have never heard of but rarely.

MerylStreep Sat 02-May-20 10:38:06

You must be specific and ask for BBC radio 4, not just radio 4.

MiniMoon Sat 02-May-20 11:16:08

I have four different Echo devices around my house. Echo show in the kitchen, Echo spot in my bedroom that I use as an alarm clock and for sleep sounds. DH has an Echo dot in his room, and I recently bought an Echo show 5 for the living room. Wow, that sounds excessive! I use the kitchen and living room devices for the radio as we live in a dip between hills and the normal radio reception is terrible.
I don't use Alexa to shop.
I do send messages and make calls to family with Alexa, it's free.
She is useful as a timer, recipes, news, quizzes (I love playing Pointless).
I can find out where the planes flying above me are going to and coming from, where the space station is, and what to look for in the night sky.
You can turn off the microphone so that Alexa isn't always listening to you.

I think I might be hooked. shock

May7 Sat 02-May-20 12:08:52

I have 2 echos one in the bedroom that reads me any book I have on kindle not just audio and music. It wakes me up and tells me the weather. The downstairs one I ask it questions, listen to music, make shopping and to do lists and argue with it all the time. I wouldnt put personal details into it though eg you can ask it to tell you if you've won the premium bonds but that requires you to put in holders no. So I personally avoid stuff like that .
I think it's really good but try one and make you your own mind they are relatively cheap

Bathsheba Sat 02-May-20 14:38:24

You must be specific and ask for BBC radio 4, not just radio 4.

No, that is not correct. I always just say Alexa play Radio 2 or Radio Wiltshire, without prefixing it with BBC. Try it!

Charleygirl5 Sat 02-May-20 16:10:31

I never ask mine to play BBC anything.

One really irritating thing which I do not know how to stop is that I have an Amazon parcel coming but not until mid next week. Alexa knows this and told m the day of delivery . She has been flashing on all of my devices and I cannot stop it although I had to switch off my bedroom device because the flashing was stopping me falling asleep.

Cherrytree59 Sat 02-May-20 16:17:44

Charlegirl try saying...
'Alexa turn notification off'.

Pittcity Sat 02-May-20 16:29:51

I wouldn't buy one. DS has one in his room and I use the Alexa phone app to tell him when his dinner is ready etc. It comes downstairs for music and games when the family visits. Otherwise I don't really need it as I have all on my phone.

phoenix Sat 02-May-20 16:43:55

I have an echo in the kitchen and a dog in the home office, love them!

Really handy for all sorts of things, set reminders to order meds, but my favourite function is the shopping list.

When cooking, notice that I'm getting short of (for example, sage) Just say "Alexa, add sage to my shopping list" because if I waited until I had pen & paper I would forget!

Then when ready to write my list, ask "her" what's on it.

Also games, cheating help with general knowledge crosswords etc.

Haven't gone down the lights on/off stuff though.

MiniMoon Sat 02-May-20 17:53:09

My Echo show 5 came with a free smart plug. I connected it to the table lamp in my living room. I can now turn on the lamp with my voice. It is a bit of a novelty.

Harris27 Sat 02-May-20 18:05:53

Even thinking about getting one and think I will after reading this.

Floradora9 Sun 03-May-20 18:35:16

I am listening to Classic FM on mine at the moment great reception. It is good to set a reminder, say for next Friday, and she asks what it is for . Grandchildren love to ask her silly questions DS keeps asking for Beatle songs when he is here. We say goodnight to her and always get a cheery response. If I lived alone I would really like that.

Anniebach Sun 03-May-20 21:12:20

I don’t know what to do, will I need a smart phone ? Are they
easy to set up ?

phoenix Sun 03-May-20 23:02:05

DOT! Not dog!

phoenix Sun 03-May-20 23:04:59

Anniebach no, you don't need a smart phone, as long as you have some sorry of internet connected device(which you obviously do!) then it will work!

Very easy to set up, even I did it!

Anniebach Mon 04-May-20 09:55:18

Sorry to ask again, I have looked on Amazon, there are so
many different types, what difference between the tall one
and the small ones - dot , ?

TrendyNannie6 Mon 04-May-20 10:01:52

Yes we love our Alexa so handy for so many things, we have all got them in our family dotted around our houses,