Amazon Echo - Ask Alexa: "What's the buzz?"

There's a lot of interest in the Amazon Echo appliances. The Echo comes in several versions plus an Amazon Echo enabled Fire for your TV. The least expensive one is the Echo Dot, $49.99 from Amazon, frequently on sale for $39.99. The Echo is bigger because it has a bigger, better built-in speaker. The Echo Traveler is portable. For more details copy the following web address (URL) into the address field of your browser:

You need a smart phone to set them up. They work with your WiFi and also connect using Bluetooth or a headphone/speaker jack.

So much for the nitty gritty. I have two of the Echo Dots - one in my kitchen and another in my basement. I use them as an intercom, among other uses. Since my son in New Jersey has an Echo, I can contact him over a free connection using voice over the internet with our Echoes. If he doesn't answer, I can leave a message with his Alexa. Audio quality is very good. The same goes when I use my Echo to listen to music from the Pandora music service.

Nancy likes to Ask Alexa for the weather (anywhere in the world). Sometimes, you want to know what degrees C are in degrees F. or vice versa. Alexa can do that. She'll also tell you how many teaspoons are in a cup or the distance to the moon and other sundry facts. Alexa will find facts in Wikipedia. She'll tell you stupid jokes. She'll tell you the time. You can use her as a timer, a reminder, or an alarm clock. You can get a news brief (flash briefing) from major news services. There are myriad other things Alexa can do for you. You can even re-name her if you prefer to address her some other way.

We'll be demonstrating Echo and Alexa at a future computer club meeting.