Amazon Echo arrives in France

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Allan
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Amazon Echo arrives in France

Post by Allan »

Amazon's brilliant Echo device has now been launched in France at a bargain price.

For those who brought UK versions over to France, it now recognises French addresses even if it struggles to pronounce place names (but then who doesn't).

If you are not familiar with the echo, it is a brilliant voice operated device which can play music and answer questions.

If you have family in the UK that have one then you can talk to each other with it. There is a video version which is much simpler than Skype or Facetime.

We have a large house and use them as intercoms.

In short, if you love gadgets then you will love it.
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Kate
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Post by Kate »

We have one. Amazon sent it to us free ages ago to try out and havent even taken it out of the box yet as no time to work out how to set it up. Is it complicated?
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Post by Allan »

Kate wrote:We have one. Amazon sent it to us free ages ago to try out and havent even taken it out of the box yet as no time to work out how to set it up. Is it complicated?
No, it’s a doddle.

Start by downloading the Alexa app on your iPad.
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Re: Amazon Echo arrives in France

Post by Sus »

Has Alexa stopped her creeping laugh in the middle of the night :-)

We have the Apple device and I have almost forgotten where the light switches are!
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Kate
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Post by Kate »

Start by downloading the Alexa app on your iPad.
Thanks Allan. That will probably take me a month or two to get round to but a good starting point! :lol:
martyn94
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Post by martyn94 »

They are now so cheap (and apparently very capable) that I will probably cough. But I find the idea of talking into space very uncomfortable: partly just Anglo pudeur, but also because I was traumatised long ago by generating audio typing (older members may remember when that was a “thingâ€￾). My voice as I normally heard it, mostly through the bones in my head, was like Cary Grant. The voice that the dictaphone, and everyone else, heard “over the airâ€￾ was more like Boris Karloff. Is there any risk that this gizmo will play my words back to me?

Also, I’m in two minds about all the clever things they are meant to do around the house. I’ve had the house rewired at vast expense: am I going to have get the walls dug up all over again to let my dishwasher obey Alexa? Or even worse, buy a new dishwasher?
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Post by martyn94 »

The screen adds a new dimension of horror. I look like an axe-murderer: it’s bad enough having it in my passport.
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Post by Kate »

Can remember all those years ago the joke that used to make all my uni mates howl.... Do you use your dictaphone? No, I use my finger!I used to think it was hilarious. Actually, I still do!! :lol:
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Post by martyn94 »

I don’t have Allan’s needs, nor his mastery. So far it (she?) has mostly set cooking timers and played old Tamla Motown tracks (worth the money for either of those “skillsâ€￾ alone).

For anything more, it’s like any other tech stuff: they tell you how to switch it on, and then you’re on your own.

I doubt that I will ever get far into “domotiqueâ€￾ (though I’d be interested to hear about it if others will do the work and spend the money). If anyone discovers other nifty things she can do, or places to find them, please share.
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Post by martyn94 »

Oh, and playing BBC radio, and Patsy Cline.
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Post by Allan »

Amazon emails a newsletter about things to try with the Echo

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/gss/detail/ ... _=pe_undef

We have a fairly large house and use Echo devices as intercoms.
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sue and paul
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Post by sue and paul »

Alexa sits in our sitting room, comfortably on the buffet. One of our children sent her to papa for Fathers' Day, and we can talk to said child via her. That could be useful in an emergency if e.g. unable to move to phone.

As mentioned, we can ask her for different genres of music/an array of artists/different radio stations, including Flaixbac! In his own home, our son can turn on /off lights, draw/open curtains, switch on/off TV in different rooms, increase/decrease heating thermostat The list is endless.

Just beware of mentioning her name inadvertantly - she wakes up and talks back. As our daughter is called Alex, we may have to be particularly careful
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Post by Kate »

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Post by Allan »

THINGS TO TRY

"Alexa, who do you think will win Love Island?"
"Alexa, open Riddle of the Day."
"Alexa, what are the film times for Mission: Impossible 6?"
"Alexa, read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone."
Enjoy a sample of the audiobook and learn how to listen to the full version from Audible.
"Alexa, does the Queen need a passport?"
"Alexa, set a reminder."
"Alexa, open Hotel Transylvania."
Let your children listen to stories and nursery rhymes from the characters of Hotel Transylvania 3. Alexa Kid Skills are disabled by default — you can activate them by going to "Settings" > "Kid Skills" in your Alexa App.
"Alexa, what are you thinking about?"
"Alexa, play the Songs of Summer playlist from Amazon Music."
"Alexa, connect to Bluetooth."
Pair your smartphone or tablet with your Echo device and stream popular audio services. Learn more
"Alexa, open Sleep and Relaxation Sounds."
"Alexa, what should I draw?"
"Alexa, tell me a waiter, waiter joke."
"Alexa, wake me up in the morning to Enya."
"Alexa, open Daily Affirmation."
"Alexa, dim the lights."
With compatible smart bulbs, you can ask Alexa to control both the colour and brightness of your lights.

MOST REQUESTED

Time: "Alexa, what day is it?"
Calculation: "Alexa, what’s zero divided by zero
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Post by Allan »

MORE THINGS TO TRY
________________________________________
• "Alexa, give me a famous first line."
• "Alexa, find my phone."
• "Alexa, what Hogwarts house do you belong to?"
• "Alexa, what's on my calendar tomorrow?"
Connect your calendar and ask Alexa to add new events or check your upcoming appointments. To get started, go to “Settingsâ€￾ > “Calendarâ€￾ in your Alexa App.
• "Alexa, play the Relaxing Acoustic Pop playlist from Amazon Music."
• "Alexa, open Yes Sire."
• "Alexa, I have a cunning plan."
• "Alexa, how do I set up calling and messaging?"
Call or message anyone who also has an Echo device or the Alexa App on supported smartphones – at no additional cost. Learn how to set up Alexa Calling and Messaging
• "Alexa, what's the tallest building in the UK?"
• "Alexa, tell me a wedding joke."
• "Alexa, help me sleep."
• "Alexa, is it sunny in Brighton?"
As you're getting ready for your day or planning ahead, Alexa can tell you the local, national and international weather forecast.
• "Alexa, give me a fun fact."
• "Alexa, what's the speed of light?"
• "Alexa, have you been to Yorkshire?"
• "Alexa, open BBC Good Food."
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Post by martyn94 »

Since I bought my Echo, Amazon have been stalking me on the internet (as they do) saying why not buy this or that to go with it? Eventually I caved in and bought a smart plug for a bit over €10. The written instructions were as useless as usual, but very brief googling found the app (Smart Life: there are others, I think ) needed to connect it: first to my network and then to the Echo.

After that it was quick, and slick, and intuitive: I never thought I’d say that about any bit of consumer electronics, let alone something costing €10. So I thought I’d ride my luck and install a WiFi extender (costing about €11) that I hadn’t previously found the spine to grapple with. Just as quick and easy. What is the world coming to?

My only problem, after a bit of head-scratching, is that the smart plug seems essentially useless in my current set-up. Everything electrical is either hard-wired, or needs some sort of hands-on activity (the dishwasher, say) to do anything even when it’s alive at the wall, or is asleep by default and needs tickling with a remote control. I’ve got some table lamps which are still “oop Northâ€￾ but apart from that, what are they good for?

Any ideas? It seems a shame to find things that are so cheap, and superficially capable, and then use them as paperweights.
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Post by russell »

martyn94 wrote: Any ideas? It seems a shame to find things that are so cheap, and superficially capable, and then use them as paperweights.
I had the same thoughts Martin. I had thought of getting a Google Home, the Google version of Alexa, because there is more information available on how to make it interact with other devices such as RPi but then I couldn't think of anything I would want to control with it!

The most useful gadget I have is the Google Chromecast which enables me to use my mobile phone to control TVMucho, rather than the airmouse and Android box, which is much more fiddly.

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Post by Allan »

martyn94 wrote: Any ideas? It seems a shame to find things that are so cheap, and superficially capable, and then use them as paperweights.
You could try plugging the Alexa into it, that way if you get annoyed with it you can tell it to turn itself off.

I have a number of remote controlled plugs bought for me as a present but most of the time they do nothing.

I think the more customary approach is to have a problem to solve, rather than buying one and then trying to think of things to do with it.
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Post by Allan »

Well done Martyn.

Do the Ikea bulbs do anything other that turn on and off, e.g. do or change colour?

Do they respond at all to the switches at all? e.g. To turn on with a switch, turn it off first and then back on? Or are your switches now redundant?

It is always satisfying to solve a problem.
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Post by martyn94 »

If anyone is interested, the Amazon echo plus that I mentioned the other day is now available in France, and in a newer model with slightly bigger speakers. Otherwise the selling proposition, as before, is that they can connect to, and let your echo devices control, “smartâ€￾ bulbs, sockets, locks etc.

As I’ve said before, I bought mine for specific reasons, to control lights, which they serve very well, but no doubt I will stumble over more ( “Alexa, what’s the time?â€￾ is certainly useful if you wake up in the pitch dark).

They have also juiced up the rest of the range in various ways. The basic echo is newly updated, and not changed, but you can now set them up as stereo pairs, and add a sub-woofer which looks hefty, and would be dirt cheap if it’s any good.

There are various introductory offers here

https://www.amazon.fr/Système-Stéréo ... words=Echo

and at surrounding pages.

I posted that particular link because it’s the one I’m tempted by. I can’t justify it, as a purchase, beyond being fed up with remote controls for my existing audio set-up (probably rather higher fi, but I don’t have golden ears). And also because it would get in the way less, and get less knocked over by the dogs.

If I do get it, all I would need is an echo dot for the downstairs lavvy.

Incidentally, does anyone have experience of the Amazon Fire stick for a TV? Because I can apparently get it for $39.99 as a Prime member (god help me).
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Post by sue and paul »

Our son just gave us an Amazon Fire Stick for UK TV channels, to take over from our M8 box. So far we haven't managed to make the fire stick work for the TV channels, and when our son has time he's going to talk us through it on Skype (computer screen pointed at tv screen, and he tells us what to do next) He's very patient!!
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Post by Allan »

martyn94 wrote:
Incidentally, does anyone have experience of the Amazon Fire stick for a TV? Because I can apparently get it for $39.99 as a Prime member (god help me).
I have a Fire TV which is pretty much the same thing as the stick but uses an ethernet cable rather than WiFi.

I use it to watch The Grand Tour, the occasional film on Amazon Prime Video and downloaded films via Plex.

It is a lot of fun, at least until the novelty wears off and you can link it to an Alexa so you can control it by voice without having to use the microphone in the remote control.

Amazon provides free storage for all your digital photos so you can easily get rid of unwanted visitors with a protracted slideshow.

I have an Amazon Prime account in the UK and in France so I am not sure which content, if any, is country specific.

The Fire TV runs an Amazon specific version of Android and can run Netflix, BBC iPlayer etc although for UK geo-restricted apps you will need a VPN.

It also has a very nice fireplace app to give comfort in the winter months.
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Change because of voice computing

Post by Seth55 »

The Fire TV runs an Amazon specific version of Android and can run Netflix, BBC iPlayer etc although for UK geo-restricted apps you will need a VPN.
Agree Allan I have been using PureVPN to access Uk Geo Restricted apps on Fire TV here in Germany.
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Re:

Post by martyn94 »

Allan wrote:
Sun 23 Sep 2018 18:35
Well done Martyn.

Do the Ikea bulbs do anything other that turn on and off, e.g. do or change colour?

Do they respond at all to the switches at all? e.g. To turn on with a switch, turn it off first and then back on? Or are your switches now redundant?

It is always satisfying to solve a problem.
I never did respond to this before the forum went on holiday.

Your intuition was entirely right. If my IKEA bulbs are on at the switch on the wall, but switched off by my echo, I can make them light up again by switching them off at the wall (which of course makes no immediate difference) and then switching them immediately back on again, without invoking Alexa or having a live internet connection. I discovered that the hard way 10 days ago when the big storm fried my freebox.

It doesn’t, of course, work the other way about. If your wall switch is off, it’s off and the light is off, and your echo can’t over-ride it (or not without more kit, and wiring, and electrician’s bills). Though in due course there will no doubt be Alexa compatible wall-switches which you can just swap.
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Re: Amazon Echo arrives in France

Post by Allan »

Amazon.fr already advertise a substantial number of Alexa compatible wall switches.
https://www.amazon.fr/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_ ... teur+Alexa
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