Author Topic: Echo/Alexa Devices  (Read 1847 times)

Offline ushdadude

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2018, 11:39:41 AM »

I was actually thinking of getting my elderly mother a digital picture frame to which I could remotely upload pictures,


get a nixplay frame. Amazing!
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Offline ExGingi

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2018, 11:54:56 AM »
get a nixplay frame. Amazing!
Which one?
I've been waiting over 5 years with bated breath for someone to say that!
-- Dan

Offline ushdadude

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2018, 03:49:19 PM »
Which one?
Whichever had the features you like. I just like that you can send photos either from the app or email and they don't charge a monthly fee like other frames do
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Offline ushdadude

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2018, 09:27:13 AM »
Which one?


They have a sale ending today in certain models . Code:
FREEDOM20
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Offline ushdadude

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2018, 09:09:06 AM »
If you see something that is 50% off but don't need it, walk away and save yourself 100%

Offline YitzyS

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2018, 12:18:30 PM »
I have an Echo Dot (3rd Gen) and a Google Home mini on the way [for 1.98 total, thanks Dan and JJ!]. Which should I keep and which should I pass on/sell?

Online Yonah

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2018, 05:25:50 PM »
I have an Echo Dot (3rd Gen) and a Google Home mini on the way [for 1.98 total, thanks Dan and JJ!]. Which should I keep and which should I pass on/sell?

That's a great question, my $0.02 answer:

Keep the Echo Dot if:
- You use amazon's streaming service, you care about having more apps available, you're bought into the amazon ecosystem

Keep the Home Mini if:
- You use google play, you want the ability to have multiple people interact with personalization*, you're already used to the google assistant on your phone.

* - google voice has better ability to recognize multiple people (there's a small setup process) so if I ask for calendar events, it will recognize my voice and read my calendar, but if my wife does it will read hers.




Offline YitzyS

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2018, 01:24:19 AM »
That's a great question, my $0.02 answer:

Keep the Echo Dot if:
- You use amazon's streaming service, you care about having more apps available, you're bought into the amazon ecosystem

Keep the Home Mini if:
- You use google play, you want the ability to have multiple people interact with personalization*, you're already used to the google assistant on your phone.

* - google voice has better ability to recognize multiple people (there's a small setup process) so if I ask for calendar events, it will recognize my voice and read my calendar, but if my wife does it will read hers.
Thatís so cool!!

Online Yonah

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2018, 09:13:20 AM »

Offline ExGingi

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Re: Echo/Alexa Devices
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2019, 01:47:44 AM »
I was actually thinking of getting my elderly mother a digital picture frame to which I could remotely upload pictures, when I saw the deal on the Echo Show on DDMS.

After reading some of the online reviews, especially of people buying it specifically for elderly parents, I decided it might work and ordered one. I was going to first set it up at home, see if/how I think it might work, and then install it for my mother. So I set it up first with my own Amazon account, and decided to try it out.

After initial plug in and set up with Wifi and Amazon account, it was up an running. Showing current time and weather, but also a lot of other "nonsense". This was problem number one. If I need to set this up for an elderly parent, I need to be able to decide what content will or won't pop up. I understand Amazon is trying to leverage this to sell Amazon Music and other things, which I might have signed up for, but I really needed to be able to filter out meaningless (for the intended user) headlines and suggestions. There might be a way to do this, I didn't intuitively find it.

It did easily come up with weather forecasts for various locations, and setting up an alarm was also quite intuitive.

Next feature I was going to try out was calling. Voice recognition seemed to work rather well, figuring out the right contact, but the confirmation feedback is terrible. I actually had a hard time understanding what it was saying. One should be able to adjust the speech playback as it relates to pitch, speed, and possibly other parameters. The only adjustments I saw were US English, UK English or German. The intelligibility of the confirmation playback for both US and UK English was subpar (though it was OK when telling a joke or reading an Encyclopedia entry). Video calling is OK (if Alexa is installed on other device - though at least the iPhone version of Alexa seems very heavy). If calling someone without Alexa set up, it will default to POTS calling, but if one has Alexa set up on a device, it will by default try that rather than seek confirmation, or retry using POTS if Alexa calling doesn't work. I deemed this too confusing for an elderly parent. I thought drop-in feature might work well, but DW was concerned about privacy issues, if I could just "drop-in".

Next feature I was hoping to have use of was showing a slideshow of photos. Since I'm a prime member, and have Amazon Photos installed on my phone, every photo that's on my phone is backed up to Amazon Prime. That includes a lot of things that I wouldn't want displayed on such a device. I don't know how this might work if the device was set to a different Amazon account, and then I would manually have to select which photos to share, but when synching to one's own account (if I were to keep this for private use) seems to be an issue. The other issue is that since various pictures are shot in portrait mode, those don't really display well on the device (limitation understood of either working well with landscape OR with portrait mode, but it definitely is an issue). On the plus side, I was able to remotely upload and select a background picture.

Another feature I was hoping to find, but was rather disappointed, was some mind stimulating (or other) games, that my mother could play. Asking Alexa for a crossword puzzle yielded nothing. Asking for a Trivia questions did come up with some questions, but I wasn't really impressed.

Next, I decided to try its AI in music choices. Asking for Chassidic music yielded nothing. Asking for Jewish Music yielded..... "Hatikvah" :( So I decided to try by artist. Asking for music by Avraham Fried yielded one song, and nothing else. Asking for Yom-Tov Ehrlich yielded nothing. Asking for MBD did come up with an album being played. Asking for Jewish Acapella music yielded nothing. Some requests came up with offers to buy albums from Amazon (understood, and fair) and some came up with an offer to try Prime Music for $3.99/month (which I might have signed up for if I felt the device was worth keeping and that this could well entertain my mother).

So my bottom line verdict is an Amazon return label. Hoping for a better device (with a larger screen and hopefully Google quality AI and voice technology) in the future.

Since I never gave up on the intended idea, I decided to get the Lenovo 10" Smart Display (in January), hoping for good Google AI.

I didn't really have a chance to experiment much with it prior to installing it at it's intended place of usage.

First disappointment was the setup. This is in no way a standalone device. One needs a smartphone or a Tablet (possibly a PC) CONNECTED TO THE SAME WiFi NETWORK in order to set up.

However, after clearing that hurdle, was able to get decent value out of it.

Due to age and limited ability to learn how to use new tech by the intended user (along with the disappointment of lack of hoped for features, such as access to email), usage has been limited to a gorgeous digital picture frame, and a video calling device. Though I am hoping that important features will be added with future software updates.

Using it as a digital picture frame harnesses its "Ambient Mode", which can be set (using a smartphone or tablet running Google Home on the same network) to display selected albums out of one's Google photos. It does a good job of displaying landscape photos (it's a landscape device) and two portrait photos side by side to fill the screen without distortion. Remotely updating the photos being displayed seems challenging. I would assume one might be able to update the specific album that is set to display, but switching to a different album can only be done locally. Luckily I was able to install Nox Android emulator on a computer that's on the same network, and with the help of TeamViewer am able to control it remotely.

On the other hand, asking the device to play a slideshow of a certain album or show pictures of a person identified in Google photos yielded disappointing results at best. If it was able to come up with the correct results, it didn't fill the screen nicely with portrait photos like in Ambient Mode.

Voice recognition isn't what I would have expected from Google. I guess it doesn't have the full AI capabilities.

When I set it up, Google Duo still required a local mobile number on a smartphone in order to set up. Was a little disappointing, as it required assigning a different number specifically for this device (user has a Nokia C2 phone). That might have changed now. Duo call quality is usually good, though it would be nice if calls could be answered with a voice command rather than touching the screen. Placing calls proved to be an AI disappointment, as it couldn't figure out names which were in the connected account Google Contacts (rather small list).

Asking the device to play games was another disappointment, with a very limited selection available (only games/programs made specifically for Google Assistant devices work, rather than Android or HTML5 programs). Voice recognition and speech to text on programs and games made for it, were much worse than the Google Assistant voice technology.

I still think I got decent value at about $129 paid (IIRC), though I desperately yearn for the following (and hope to see them in future updates, or a different device):

Google Live Transcribe (integrated into Duo, as well as standalone feature).
Ability to read and send emails and/or texts (WhatsApp would be nice).
Ability to set "tiles" in Ambient Mode, so it can display both a photo album and the Calendar, weather and news simultaneously.
Ability to play live video streams.
I've been waiting over 5 years with bated breath for someone to say that!
-- Dan