I am sometimes lost. I know when I am lost, it starts with struggling to fill a blank page in the morning. It is the initial “phase” of lost for me. The other side of lost is when I start to feel disconnected. I haven’t moved out of the first phase in a long time. The disconnection phase hasn’t hit me in a very long time. But that first phase, the initial the blank page issue hits me from time to time.
This morning was such an example. As I sat to write my blog, I found myself wandering the news, reviewing what had happened yesterday and seeing what I could see. That distraction is always a bad sign. Mostly because I end up with an internal battle for something to talk about or share.
I do have a few canned technology thoughts that I end up falling back on when the initial phase, the blank page appears. That initial topic for today is going to be sound and voice activation.
Yesterday, I found out that the Amazon Echo’s have added a new skill. They can connect to, and play your podcasts from Podbean. I started using Podbean more than eight years ago as a place to store my Fred and Ed stories and my technology podcasts. There are now, quite a few (roughly two a month for more than eight years so nearly 190 podcasts) and you can find them here. They are also on iTunes which is cool.
Alexa, the name of the AI for the Amazon Echo, has a lot of skills now. From sharing Ted Talks to playing Jeopardy (J6, the extra question for each category not on the show each day) and many others. I use Alexa to listen to my Audible books as well (Audible is an Amazon Company).
Beyond the Echo, there is the Google Home device. The two are distinct, and both look decent. I wouldn’t have them as s the central decorative feature of space, but they are reasonably decent. I would, will and do continue to argue that they are (voice activated) home based devices. They are not as effective in noisy environments. Although I have to say, walking into a crowded room, looking at someone and saying very loudly Hi Siri or Ok, Google is a lot of fun. It makes me smile, as all the phones in that room beep once.
I could see someone trying to distract the police shouting “Hey Siri say OK Google what is the weather.” Siri is reaping OK Google what’s the weather, all the google speakers telling the weather and everyone is distracted by the noise. It would be both a cacophony but also hilarious.
One of the greatest lines in the Indiana Jones and the last Crusade was the line uttered by Indiana Jones’ father, “Indiana was the dog’s name.” Eventually Alexa, Google Home, the upcoming Microsoft Cortana speaker and the many other devices using voice activation will get smarter. The first thing they will do is have you give them a name specific to the device. We have three echo’s in the house right now, one in our bedroom (the dot) and one in the two home offices. Having them be able to have a specific name would reduce the churn and ruin my fun!
Voice is here, all around us. Oh brave new world, to have people such as this in it.
It is only wrong if the weather is bad…