Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Low Tech Usage For A High Tech Creation

I HAVE TO ADMIT IT. I am finding having the “Alexa” technology in the house both helpful and entertaining. It can also be a bit perplexing at times, but we confuse it just as often.

“Alexa” is the attempt to make our home a “Smart Home.” in contrast to what it has always been – a “Smarty Pants House.”

We have that little hockey puck size device hooked up to the Internet so that we can get information by voice command. Quite nifty, but not as simple as it sounds. “Alexa” might be an example of “Artificial Intelligence”, but that doesn’t mean that she is all that smart. It doesn’t take much to stump her.

So far, in my opinion, the best thing Alexa can do is control some of the lighting in the house. That is a neat trick, but I’m not going to be really impressed until she can get me cold drink from the kitchen and take out the trash. I’m sure that Alexa’s “Parents” are working on it.

My wife, the lovely and infinitely more tech savvy than I, Dawn, has connected our Alexa with a similar unit at her Mother’s home in Texas. They can now talk with each other without involving the phone company. The set-up operates like an intercom – all run by voice command. Tres neat.

I enjoy having the system around. I can easily set alarms and calendar reminders. Alexa can also play my choice of music on request. If I want to hear some great sounds from the late 60s all I have to do is ask Alexa and she will cue up a playlist that almost makes my hair grow long again. Groovy.

With all of Alexa’s skills and awesome potential my most frequent request is to have her tell me jokes. She has quite a library of mostly very bad jokes – jokes so bad that not even Milton Berle would have stolen them.

Example: “Knock, Knock”

“Who’s there?”

“The Contractor”

“The Contractor Who?”

“The Contractor who forgot to install the doorbell.”

Now, I don’t care who you may be, but that is funny. It’s bad, but it’s funny.

So far, Dawn and I have encountered only one fly in all of this high-tech ointment. The Gizmo is always listening for its name “Alexa” to go into action. That’s fine, but our son’s name is “Alex” and whenever we mention his name our short little Thingamabob snaps to attention waiting for that last letter to fall into place. When that final “A” is not spoken she will flash a light and sometimes make a small “beep” in disappointment. I can almost imagine Alexa stamping her foot in frustration – if she had a foot.

You notice that I refer to Alexa as “She.” I do so because she has been given a female voice and persona. I think that was a good idea. If Alexa had been given a male voice they would have had to call him Alex or Butch or something more identifiable as male. If they did that I’m afraid that we would have to tolerate hearing the little gizmo burp, snort and make other rude noises.

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Sarah”

“Sarah Who?”

“Sarah doctor in the house?”

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