Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Amazon Echo Is Super Radio Come to Life

I am a notorious early adopter when it comes to tech stuff, and today my order for something really fun finally arrived: The Amazon Echo (it was back ordered for four weeks and is still sold via invitation only).  

This neat little gadget is about the size of a Pringles potato chip can - but weighs a whole lot more - and it hooks up directly to a home network via wifi.  (It also has bluetooth capability.)  It's like having Super Radio in the house because I can tell it to play a specific song, an album, or a mix of songs by an artist; to find me a radio station by category or call letters, etc., and it almost always does it.  It's like having the largest music library in the world...all inside a can of Pringles chips.

It's a lot like Siri, too, in that you can ask basic questions and get immediate answers, especially if you tell it to check Wikipedia for the info.  It gives localized weather reports, current temps, etc., and who knows what else?  I've started training the Echo to understand my pronunciation and speech cadence, but so far at least, my wife and grandkids are having every bit as much luck being understood by Alexa (the wake up name for Echo) as me.  And it's a surprisingly high success rate for something just out of the box.

Supposedly, the Echo will get better and better as we all get used to working together and as Amazon continues to improve the system via regular updates on their end.  

I keep trying obscure artists from the past, and Echo keeps delivering.  I just threw Mississippi John Hurt at it, and I'm listening to his songs on "shuffle" right now.  Oh, yeah, this is going to be fun...even found the book podcasts I listen to every week.


  1. I recently picked up a bluetooth speaker and love it. Having one with Internet radio connectivity sounds fantastic. I'll have to look at this for my next upgrade...

  2. Rob, as me and the Echo get acquainted with each other, it just keeps getting better and better. I can say things like: "Play BBC Radio 3" or "Play Johnny Cash" and within five seconds I'm listening to what I asked for. It is learning my book blog locations now and the way I pronounce words, so it is getting easier. It's even trained me in a couple of instances to use ITS pronunciation...as in "Dwight Yo-Kam" for Dwight Yoakam. That's the only way it recognizes the poor guy.