The only thing my son really wanted for Christmas this past year was an Amazon Echo. I was hesitant at first but went ahead and got one for him when they were on sale. I am really glad I did! We love Alexa! I want to share with you some of our favorite things that the Amazon Echo does for us.
What can Alexa and the Amazon Echo Do?
Straight out of the box the Amazon Echo can do many many things.
“Alexa, add bananas to my shopping list” Have you ever left your grocery shopping list hanging on the refrigerator? We have all been there. It just plain stinks when you get to the grocery store and realize your list is still at home. This is one place where Alexa has changed our lives. You can keep a digital shopping list using the Amazon Echo. Anyone in your home can add items to the shopping list. This is a huge help since everyone always tells me what we need but never writes it on the list. When I get to the store I just open the Alexa app on my phone and the view my shopping list. I can check items off as I put them in my cart. When I check them off they are removed from the list. Bam! It doesn’t get any easier that that!
“Alexa, tell me the weather” Wondering if you should grab an umbrella or not as you are heading out the door. Just Ask Alexa for a quick weather update. She can tell you today’s weather and also an extended forecast. Just ask, “Alexa, tell me the forecast for the week.”
“Alexa, how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?” – Yes, Alexa does measurement conversions with ease. I don;t know how I ever cooked without her. If I want to half or double a recipe, I simply ask the Amazon Echo, no need to leave the kitchen, or wash my hands to look it up on the computer or in a cook book. Simple!
“Alexa, tell me a joke!” – Need a giggle? Alexa will tell you a joke.
You can ask her all sorts of questions and she will do a search and find you the answer. It can be tricky at first to get the results you expect because you have to remember that you are actually doing a “Google” type search. So if you phrase the question like you are typing it into a search bar with the goal of finding a simple answer you should find she can answer almost anything you ask.
Alexa has skills!
Alexa apps for echo are called skills. Think of these Alexa skills as “mini” apps. You have to go into the Amazon Echo App to enable them, but once enabled all you have ot do is say the command phrase to launch them. Below are some of our favorites.
“Alexa, launch Spelling Bee!” – this would be great for upper elementray and middle schoolers to sharpen their spelling skills. Alexa gives you a
“Alexa, open Dominoes” – Just enable this skill, then set up your account and you can order a pizza just by asking Aleza. Pretty cool, right?
“Alexa, Open Capitol One” – I don’t bank with Capitol One so I can’t tell you if I love this skill or not. But I am really excited about it and hope that my favorite banks creates a skill soon. With this skill Alexa can make credit card payments and you can easily check you balances.
“Alexa, enable Jeopardy! skill” Then just ask: “Alexa, play jeopardy”
“Alexa, enable Twenty Questions skill.” Then just ask: “Alexa, play twenty questions”
“Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?” – You can now get local news for a dozen major metropolitan areas as part of your Flash Briefing. NBC local news stations offer stories from the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and more. Add these NBC feeds alongside content already available from NPR, CNN, and more. Go to “Settings” in your Alexa App to choose the Flash Briefing updates you’d like to add.
“Alexa, set a repeating alarm for Mondays at 8 am” – Wake up and hang ten with Crush, the way-chill turtle from Finding Nemo and its sequel, Finding Dory. Set Crush’s voice as your new Alexa alarm tone—just go to “Timers & Alarms” in your Alexa App and select Finding Dory.
“Alexa, what time is Finding Dory playing?” – Alexa can also help you find a place to watch the movie.
Alexa has voice-exclusive deals for Prime members on everything from electronics to home goods. Alexa reveals fresh deals every day that you can’t get anywhere else.
– Ask “Alexa, what are your deals?”
With Alexa, you can use your voice to control a wide range of thermostats from brands like ecobee, Nest, and Emerson Sensi. Lower the temperature or set a cool, crisp target temperature—just ask. To see all of the thermostats you can control with Alexa, visit Amazon Smart Home Store.
“Alexa start 7 minute workout.” – Get ready for summer with the new skill from Nutritionix, the world’s largest verified nutrition database—just ask Food Tracker to log your daily meals or give you nutritional info about the foods you eat. Later, when you need to burn through some of those carbs, let the 7-Minute Workout skill take you through an exercise routine.
“Alexa set a sleep timer for 30 minutes.” – When you need help winding down, Alexa can help. First, set the mood by choosing something relaxing to listen to, like a playlist, podcast, or audiobook. Then, ask for a sleep timer—Alexa will play until the time you name. Just ask:
Alexa also has skills that allow you to arm your home alarm, turn your lights on and off, and find your car in a crowded parking lot provided you have the necessary systems and devices already in place.
To use these skills—or any of the more than 1,000 skills now available for Alexa—enable them in the “Skills” section of your Alexa App
More and more skills are being added daily. It is crazy all the things the Amazon Echo can already do. If all she ever did was make my life easier by always having my grocery list at my finger tips I would still love her. But the fact that she can crack up a room full of people when my son says “Alexa, ask for a fart” (oh yes, there is a skill that makes farting noises), get my husband to work on time (there is a skill that checks traffic congestion on your daily commute), and help my kids learn their times tables, let’s just say I am in love!
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