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Echo/Alexa OT

Stinkles

343 Industries
Verified
Oct 25, 2017
15,229
Holy poop. I just got three Echo Dot 3rd gens for about $60. $80 off if you buy three. That's basically free. I'm upgrading two first gens attached to speakers. The new speakers are perfectly good for music now.
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
3rd party devices like Sonos speakers will now be able to support announcements: https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/c291e779-366b-4e7f-93e2-782b220d4142/introducing-announcements-on-alexa-built-in-devices

Amazon may be working on a wearable that uses Alexa to read emotions: https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2019/5/23/18636839/amazon-wearable-emotions-report. I'm somewhat skeptical about this going down as described, I think there could be a wearable and it's inevitable that emotion detection is coming to Alexa and probably soon (they literally posted a blog about their research in the topic https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/2d8c2128-eec9-44cc-9274-444940eb0a4d/using-adversarial-training-to-recognize-speakers-emotions) but I wonder if the two are exactly related.

Amazon has filed a patent that would allow Alexa to respond even when the wake word is not triggered as the first part of the invocation: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nicolenguyen/amazon-echo-record-audio-before-alexa-wakeword-patent. Example "Play some music, Alexa".
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
Amazon announced the Echo Show 5, a new 5" Echo: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HZJ64WD/ (I didn't feel this was important enough for a thread on its own). One of the newer features is a privacy shutter on the camera, which I hope they carry over to the bigger models.

Also, announced was an ability to delete your history either by saying "Alexa, delete what I just said" or "Alexa, delete everything I said today" https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/29/amazon-adds-alexa-delete-what-i-said-today-command/ (No confirmation on periods longer than a day). Also opened up a privacy portal: https://www.amazon.com/b/?node=19149155011&ref=aph_ing. Basically, a response to several unflattering news stories about how voice data is used and that transcripts were not properly being deleted with audio data.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
Bit annoyed by what looks like a product to eventually replace the spot. Why adjust things to fit a round screen now they have a simple rectangular one. And it’s £50 cheaper and higher res.

I do still like our spot, just unfortunate timing
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
Alexa is getting the ability to coordinate skills in a conversational fashion called "Alexa conversations": https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/9615b190-9c95-452c-b04d-0a29f6a96dd1/amazon-unveils-novel-alexa-dialog-modeling-for-natural-cross-skill-conversations

The demo is a "date night" in which the user starts by booking a movie and then Alexa proactively follows up with questions and the user is able to book an Uber and a restaurant all in the same conversation (single utterance of Alexa). Currently, in a developer beta.

There was also a patent found for reacting even when the wake word is later in a sentence: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/nicolenguyen/amazon-echo-record-audio-before-alexa-wakeword-patent. This would allow things like "Play rock music, Alexa" by having the Echo record more into its internal buffer and then look back at utterances before the wake word before trying to service the request.
 

pantsattack

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,647
I have a current Dot the bedroom and all of a sudden the speaker sounds very scratchy. It might be blown out. Anyone get warranty covered on these things?
 

Shedinja

Member
Nov 30, 2017
1,194
Does anyone else have an Echo Look? I picked one up for $15 on eBay because why not at that price? I hope the speaker is at least on par with the Dots.
 

Darkatomz

Member
Oct 27, 2017
90
CA
I have a current Dot the bedroom and all of a sudden the speaker sounds very scratchy. It might be blown out. Anyone get warranty covered on these things?
Have you tried replugging the power cord? The cost of a warranty seems a little pointless to me when Amazon sells these things at discount often (hell, it's $30 right now). If anything, wait until Prime Day next month.
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
New article on upcoming projects but wasn't worth a new topic since almost nothing is actually new: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-12/amazon-plans-high-end-echo-ramps-up-work-on-alexa-home-robot. Basically re-iterates Amazon is still planning a home robot with Alexa (on wheels and about waist high), a higher-end Echo (like Homepod, and not Echo Link) for 2020, and some earbuds and a slightly refreshed lineup in the fall. Amazon Music might also get a higher-quality plan.

For some reason you can also ask Alexa to sing a duet with Ed Sheeran.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
anyone have problems, or know if there is a particular problem, with first gen echo streaming? Both my 2nd and 3rd gen dots seem fine, also my clock thing (like the show but different). But my first gen echo in the living room constantly has periods where it'll stop streaming radio after half an hour, and even stop listening to me and needing powering off/on.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
Fuck - amazon just emailed to say bbc radio streams no longer available through tunein - I assume BBC want to use their ‘sounds’ skill

But that doesn’t work with routines (so can’t listen to radio as part of a bedtime routine) and doesn’t support alarms (so cant wake up with radio). I don’t know if this affects multi room which I use a lot too

Wtf - this is nuts. Why not get your skill up to par before forcing people to use it.

edit: shit no multi room either

You can still access BBC radio stations via the “BBC” Alexa skill however, this skill does not currently support playback via routines, alarms/timers, Multi-Room Music Playback or Echo companion devices
 
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Guppeth

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,546
Sheffield, UK
Fuck - amazon just emailed to say bbc radio streams no longer available through tunein - I assume BBC want to use their ‘sounds’ skill

But that doesn’t work with routines (so can’t listen to radio as part of a bedtime routine) and doesn’t support alarms (so cant wake up with radio). I don’t know if this affects multi room which I use a lot too

Wtf - this is nuts. Why not get your skill up to par before forcing people to use it.
I think that loss of functionality is Amazon's fault. Spotify and TuneIn are the only third-party skills they've ever allowed in routines.

The issue with the BBC isn't exactly that they want to force everyone to use their skill, but they want users to either be able to sign in with a BBC account, or they want detailed data on who is listening. TuneIn weren't prepared to do either so the BBC pulled support. I don't know who's in the right here.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
Argh so frustrating to try and set a recurring alarm to a radio station. Half the time Alexa triggers too soon, half the time she misheard and just sets it to some stupid track on amazon music

took me probably 10 goes to change my BBC alarm to heart FM
 

pantsattack

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,647
Setting a reoccurring alarm to a song is the hardest command I've ever attempted. I haven't written out the script yet but you practically need one to get all the steps in without pausing.
 

Darknight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,658
Well I've hit an irritating problem and found also another irritating issue in the process.

My Echo Plus no longer will work with smart home devices and I can't figure out why. Whenever I try anything, it responds with "Did you mean TV?" If I try doing TV it says it can't connect to that device. This was working earlier today but now just won't take to any commands. I've tried factory resetting the device and adding it back in but it still doesn't work. The weird thing is all the other Echo devices in my house seem to work just fine so it's just this Echo Plus that is having a problem. Other commands seem to work and it even read off my calendar so it's still hooked up to my account. I just can't figure out why this one device no longer works with only smart home devices. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to fix this? It's pretty annoying, especially since it's how the TV is turned on and off.

As for the second thing that I found to be an irritating issue is in the process of going through the factory reset, some how my WiFi credentials were saved to Amazon. I usually say not to but somehow they're there. While trying to look up how to remove them, the only way to do it is to contact Amazon. How is it that they don't have a way to remove this info without contacting them to have it removed?
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
You can now create light-based alarms, and in routines you can ramp up to brightness: https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/29/20938497/amazon-alexa-echo-wake-up-lighting-sleep-timer-new-features-smart-lights

Amazon is also rolling out bill payment features. You can ask when a bill is due, get reminders when it's due, pay it or get a comparison with previous bills. This is already available in India with rollout to much of the US by year's end: https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/amazon-just-announced-an-incredible-new-feature-that-most-people-are-going-to-love-theres-only-1-pretty-big-problem.html
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
Not bad. Can you include a sleep timer in a routine? Didn’t think I could do that before

I’d like a ‘good night’ routine which turns the lights off and kicks in a 30 min sleep timer (my music will already be playing)
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
Is the OG echo known to be unreliable for some skills? It may be the skill but BBC sounds seems to have issues after streaming for around half an hour, and then if I try and get it to start again Alexa will just be spinning the blue ring for a while and not respond

have had it for a while so I’m not against getting another if they’re more solid. Do the standard echos still sound noticeably better/louder than the dots? We have those in kitchen/bedroom but the living room is larger
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
How does this work exactly? I can't seem to Google info on it.
hmm maybe I imagined the ‘setting in another room’ part but I’m sure I cancelled a timer that was going off in another room. Will experiment

Ok you can remote stop a timer but I don’t think you can remote set one. Set a timer in the kitchen and then I sat in the living room. When the timer went off I said ‘stop the timer in the kitchen’ and it stopped
 
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Somnid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,696
hmm maybe I imagined the ‘setting in another room’ part but I’m sure I cancelled a timer that was going off in another room. Will experiment

Ok you can remote stop a timer but I don’t think you can remote set one. Set a timer in the kitchen and then I sat in the living room. When the timer went off I said ‘stop the timer in the kitchen’ and it stopped
You actually don't have to specify. If there is a timer going off, you can say "stop" to any echo and it will stop that timer. Same deal if you ask for the time, it will go through all active ones on all devices.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
You actually don't have to specify. If there is a timer going off, you can say "stop" to any echo and it will stop that timer. Same deal if you ask for the time, it will go through all active ones on all devices.
i don’t think so - I tried ‘stop timer’ and it said “there are no active timers rubbing” - I had to state the room. Maybe UK is behind vs US updates?
 

Darknight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,658
You actually don't have to specify. If there is a timer going off, you can say "stop" to any echo and it will stop that timer. Same deal if you ask for the time, it will go through all active ones on all devices.
I was able to stop from a different one, but when I asked how much time was left on the timer, it told me there were no timers set.
 

Darknight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,658
For me it says something like "You have 1 timer, a 5 minute timer with 4 minutes left on Somnid's Echo Show"
Weird, I've tried setting from various ones and then asking different ones and they all say no timers are set no matter which combo I do. However, telling any combo to stop after a timer goes off works perfect. I don't get how one part works but not the other.
 

MrKlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,670
Any ambient sounds that don’t need a premium music sub and work with routines? To set as falling asleep routine.