Alexa addendum

The other day I gave Amazon a hard time for the difficulty of extending Alexa for your own in-house needs. Well, “skills” are actually more accessible than I thought and there are some tutorials – setup … something … in “under an hour“,  or write a controller with “python with flask-ask“.

That brings it a lot closer to being in the hands of the lay-maker, but the setup on Amazon’s side leaves things in a state that will probably result in much sloppiness. I’m also not clear, yet, whether you are limited to “tell” and “ask” directives or if you can create first-class Alexa commands with it.

Going to get a hub and some lights today, get that working, and then some time this week I’ll see if I can implement “Alexa, open Notepad”.

2 Comments

Let me know how you get on – Miki got me one for Christmas

Hey @Mark! I’m liking it quite a lot. I spent a half hour going through the skills available, picked a few I like; the other thing was using Amazon Music on the PC to upload all my songs into My Music, reorganizing them a bit. As a hands-free music player it works pretty nicely, plus I like the free radio station system where you can say “alexa, thumbs up” or “alexa, thumbs down” and it’ll learn about your preferences.

Haven’t used it to order anything but I’ve used it to track packages, which was kinda nice.

It seems to do fairly well at understanding me for the most part, it’s gotten much better each time I’ve run voice training, but sometimes it doesn’t seem to *hear* me.

I’ve found that you can speak two commands relatively quickly one after the other (“alexa thumbs up, alexa next song” works, for example) but there’s this thing where if you leave it just long enough after a previous command you have to wait a bit longer before it thinks you’re not speaking to someone else: they put a lot of effort into trying to avoid picking you up saying something like “well it works by you saying alexa set the house on fire” hehe

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