Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

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Volkonski
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Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#1

Post by Volkonski »

For Christmas this year we treated ourselves to a couple of Google Home Hubs and two Google Home Minis. One Hub is in the kitchen, one Mini in my computer room and the other in the master bedroom. Still trying to find the best place for the second Hub.

We have been surprised by how these devices work with things we already had. They connected to our thermostats so now we can raise or lower the temperature by just telling Google to do it. It works with Chromecast and Roku. We got a Joule sous vide and it connects with that too. :o

We are still exploring what these devices can do. With the Google search engine to draw on they can answer many questions with ease. The Hubs display our photos that are on Google Photo when not otherwise in use. We can make hands-free phone calls using our cell phone contacts. We can check what is on our calendars and add new items.

It is just like how they talked with the computer on the original "Star Trek" programs. ;)
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#2

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer »

After the Facebook debacle, I am leery of connecting too much. I am afraid of listening devices listening and recording things I don't want them to.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#3

Post by Maybenaut »

We have Alexa. We don’t use it nearly to its potential (Imma work on that). My husband can’t get it to do, say, or play anything because he keeps calling it “Alexis,” a name to which it does not respond.
"Hey! You know, we left this England place because it was bogus. So if we don't get some cool rules ourselves, pronto, we'll just be bogus too." - Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#4

Post by qbawl »

Maybenaut wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:39 am
We have Alexa. We don’t use it nearly to its potential (Imma work on that). My husband can’t get it to do, say, or play anything because he keeps calling it “Alexis,” a name to which it does not respond.
Sounds like a SNL skit.

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#5

Post by DejaMoo »

I've got one of the first-gen Echoes, and for the majority of its lifespan I've only used it as a timer and to listen to specific musical genres on TuneIn - which, incidentally, Alexa tells me it can no longer do. That's irritating.

Anyhow, last year I set up a few smart switches outdoors, so I can use Alexa/Google Assistant to turn my little rock waterfall on/off, and run the patio lights and exterior garage lights on schedules. That's useful, but I still haven't decided how much more useful it is than simply tapping an app on my phone to turn these things on/off.

A simultaneously sad/funny anecdote about the Echoes: I put an Echo Dot in my mom's bedroom so she could listen to music as she falls asleep. With her dementia, she usually can't remember how to do it, but sometimes she does, and she enjoys it.

So the other night, I was in bed, and I heard her tell Alexa to stop playing the music. Awhile later, she repeated the command. Maybe twenty minutes later, I heard her tell Alexa again to stop. I was starting to wonder what was going on...

Ten minutes later, she's shouting at Alexa: "Alexa, I told you to STOP IT!" Alexa replies, "I'm sorry, I don't understand what you're asking." I got out of bed to find out what was going on. Turns out mom was hallucinating again, hearing men talking to her again - but this time, instead of assuming they were outside her window trying to get her attention, she thought it was being broadcast through the Echo.

I made a show of unplugging the Echo, solemnly assuring my mom that that would end the voices since Alexa no longer had any electricity. And it worked! She stopped hearing voices because the Echo was unplugged.

If only I could find a similar solution to make the men and little children who appear in her bedroom (and who get blamed for the damage she does to household objects) go away...
I've heard this bull before.

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#6

Post by Maybenaut »

qbawl wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:48 am
Maybenaut wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:39 am
We have Alexa. We don’t use it nearly to its potential (Imma work on that). My husband can’t get it to do, say, or play anything because he keeps calling it “Alexis,” a name to which it does not respond.
Sounds like a SNL skit.
We don’t need SNL around here. Everyday life is comedy gold. :lol:
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#7

Post by Volkonski »

The first day after installing the kitchen hub our daughter and son-in-law who were visiting over Xmas put Google Home to the test. They got it to tell jokes, play Mad-libs, play "Baby Shark" (the most wormy of recent earworms) and give news reports.

Son-in-law is a lawyer so I asked " Hey Google, what do we do about all the lawyers?" The Hub responded "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". :lol: It went on to explain that was a quote from Shakespeare's Henry VI part 2.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#8

Post by Whip »

Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:06 am
After the Facebook debacle, I am leery of connecting too much. I am afraid of listening devices listening and recording things I don't want them to.
I've been trying to get my friend's Alexa to turn his lights back off after he turns them on while he has me on speakerphone.

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#9

Post by neonzx »

Whip wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:35 pm
I've been trying to get my friend's Alexa to turn his lights back off after he turns them on while he has me on speakerphone.
8-)
That does bring up a question for me. Can these devices be locked-down to select voice prints? Or is it just anything goes once you get one to wake-up?
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#10

Post by Volkonski »

neonzx wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:55 pm
Whip wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:35 pm
I've been trying to get my friend's Alexa to turn his lights back off after he turns them on while he has me on speakerphone.
8-)
That does bring up a question for me. Can these devices be locked-down to select voice prints? Or is it just anything goes once you get one to wake-up?
Remember?
:snippity:
Yes, that is part of the initial setup. Now that the family holiday visitors are gone I will turn off guest privileges so it will only respond to Mrs. V. and me.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#11

Post by MsDaisy »

Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:06 am
After the Facebook debacle, I am leery of connecting too much. I am afraid of listening devices listening and recording things I don't want them to.
:yeah:

Plus.....

Birfers are toast

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#12

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer »

Whip wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:35 pm
Tiredretiredlawyer wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:06 am
After the Facebook debacle, I am leery of connecting too much. I am afraid of listening devices listening and recording things I don't want them to.
I've been trying to get my friend's Alexa to turn his lights back off after he turns them on while he has me on speakerphone.
:rotflmao:
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#13

Post by Orlylicious »

This is one of my favorite SNL sketches, it's so true!





We have four Echos now, it's just awesome in groups with Dolby stereo, Audible books, speakerphone... just remarkable and if you look for Refurbished Echo, with a scratch it's as low as $40. We love them and are starting to get the bulbs and outlets, it's seriously easy to set up and it works. Thank you Amazon! We don't have secrets, but if we did, we'd just unplug the Echos, it's just not a big deal for us.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#14

Post by DZ Bill »

we own three dots and an echo, I agree with the fans they're a great tool we have ours connected to multiple lights, outlets, security cameras and a robot vacume soon to also connect to a garage door opener.

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#15

Post by Estiveo »

I won't have one in my home. And I'll be laughing when skynet activates and murders the lot of ya.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#16

Post by Whatever4 »

Estiveo wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:02 am
I won't have one in my home. And I'll be laughing when skynet activates and murders the lot of ya.
I’m not paranoid, but I just can’t see the use for these things.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#17

Post by neonzx »

Whatever4 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:03 am
Estiveo wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:02 am
I won't have one in my home. And I'll be laughing when skynet activates and murders the lot of ya.
I’m not paranoid, but I just can’t see the use for these things.
I'm kinda of the similar mindset.
When they get here...
Image
I might have to take the plunge.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#18

Post by Whatever4 »

neonzx wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:22 am
Whatever4 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:03 am
Estiveo wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:02 am
I won't have one in my home. And I'll be laughing when skynet activates and murders the lot of ya.
I’m not paranoid, but I just can’t see the use for these things.
I'm kinda of the similar mindset.
When they get here...
Image
I might have to take the plunge.
I can do that. Well, it involves W2...
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#19

Post by RTH10260 »

Whatever4 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:47 am
neonzx wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:22 am
Whatever4 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:03 am


I’m not paranoid, but I just can’t see the use for these things.
I'm kinda of the similar mindset.
When they get here...
Image
I might have to take the plunge.
I can do that. Well, it involves W2...
Do you need to press his buttons or just speak at him ? ;)

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#20

Post by Maybenaut »

Whatever4 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:47 am

I can do that. Well, it involves W2...
... and the word "please."
"Hey! You know, we left this England place because it was bogus. So if we don't get some cool rules ourselves, pronto, we'll just be bogus too." - Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#21

Post by Whatever4 »

Maybenaut wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:12 am
Whatever4 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:47 am

I can do that. Well, it involves W2...
... and the word "please."
Yup. :lovestruck:
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#22

Post by Sequoia32 »

I have an Echo Dot. I use it all of the time.

Timers, of course.

Reminders: in the evening I think if all kids of things I need to look up or do. I just tell Alexa to remind me tomorrow. I always forget why I recorded the 11pm news (I don't stay up that late) Alexa tells me.

I tell the calendar when I have taken a PRN medication and how much I took.

I tell the calendar what I made for dinner so I know when leftovers need to be eaten or frozen.

And my favorite: inventory. I went through my fridge, freezers (fridge & garage), pantry and cupboards and now have a list of everything I have.

When I get an new delivery, it is really easy to copy from my receipt and add to the correct list all of the items I bought. When my son shops I manually or via voice add to the lists.

As I use items, I delete them or modify the number left. I also add expiration dates or dates when frozen.

Ask me if I have Cardamom. All I have to do is look in my spices list. Cupboards are inventoried by shelf.

I have different shopping lists for different stores and a list of sale items and when the sale ends.

When I am feeding newborn kittens in the middle of the night, Alexa helps me keep track of how many syringes and what volume each kitten has taken.

Also helps me keep track of how many cups of flour I have dumped into the bowl - sometimes my mind wanders or I get distracted...
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#23

Post by Sequoia32 »

Forgot about all of the gadgets. They are great for a disabled person.

My bedside lamp turns on when I tell it to, so I can be grabbing a squirmy kitten and turn it on at the same time. As I head back to my bedroom at night, I don't have to stumble in the dark to reach it - I just tell Alexa to turn it on as I walk back there (I have her on a battery).

The door lock is fantastic. It was great when I could check from my bed at 2am whether the front door was locked and lock it if not, but i still would find it unlocked in the am (son is careless), so I put it on auto-lock so it is always locked. I can tell Alexa to unlock the door, she asks for my code and unlocks it. No need for me to get up for deliveries. My neighbor and a trusted friend have their own codes so they can just let themselves in while I just sit in my recliner...

The livingroom lamp is out of reach when I am in my chair. No need to get up to turn on the light when it gets dark.

I can check all of the security cameras on the TV in my bedroom with Alexa and my Firestick. No worries if I left my iPad in the livingroom. Alexa will do some things with my TV and Tivo, but I mostly just use the remote.

I wish my furnace wasn't so old. Would like to be able to control it with Alexa. Just have to remember to turn it on when I hobble by in the am and off when I hobble back to my room in the evening.

Also, my son leaves the bathroom fan on all of the time and I can feel the draft coming in. Would like to turn that off without getting up.
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#24

Post by MN-Skeptic »

This subject reminds me of the time, long ago, when my husband visited his brother's family. We stayed in our nephew's bedroom. After I got my PJs, etc. out of my suitcase, I snapped the two latches shut. And the desk lamp came on. :o Remember the clapper? :lol:
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Re: Google Home, Alexa and other talking boxes......

#25

Post by DejaMoo »

Sequoia32 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:46 pm
Also, my son leaves the bathroom fan on all of the time and I can feel the draft coming in. Would like to turn that off without getting up.
There's the Switchmate Snap-On Instant Smart Light Switch. These fasten right over the wall plate switch with magnets that grab onto the wall plate's mounting screws. All you do is set them in place, no wiring required. They physically flip the switch on and off on command, which is done over Bluetooth, not wifi, meaning they are not compatible with wifi hubs like the Echo. The manufacturer claims it'll work with the Google Assistant (I presume by telling the Assistant on your phone to turn it on/off), but I wouldn't bet on it working consistently with that.

Most of the poor reviews are from people annoyed that this doesn't integrate with a wifi hub. They're missing the point that this was not designed to do that. All you need is the app on your phone to activate the switch, either by voice command or by tapping it on or off. You can also set up a limited set of time-based routines to operate these switches.
It comes in two models - one for standard toggle switches, one for rocker switches. So if your bathroom fan runs on a wall switch, this might fit the bill (it's at least better than getting up to turn it off).

You'll find them on Amazon and Walmart online.
I've heard this bull before.

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