How to: Set a Timer on HomePod

 

 

By Juli Clover of Mac Rumors

HomePod has built-in Siri functionality, which means it can be used to do a lot of the same things that can be done with an iPhone or an iPod, like setting an alarm or a timer.

If your HomePod is in the kitchen, setting a timer while cooking can be useful, and it’s as simple as using a single Siri command.

All you need to say is “Hey Siri, set a timer for X amount of time”

You can set a timer for a select number of minutes or hours, with a maximum timer limit of 24 hours. If you ask Siri to set a timer for longer than 24 hours, Siri will suggest you use a Reminder instead.

If you need to know how much time is remaining on the timer, you can ask Siri a question like “Hey Siri, how much time is left on the timer?” and Siri will give you a time update.

When the time is up, the HomePod will play a sound. To stop the timer sound, you can either tap the top of the HomePod or ask Siri to stop it.

Turning Off the Timer

At any point while the timer is running, you can ask Siri to turn it off with a command like “Hey Siri, turn off the timer” or “Hey Siri, pause the timer.”

You can also change the timer countdown with a command like “Hey Siri, change the timer to 10 minutes.”

Timer Limitations

Unfortunately, you can only set one timer at a time. If you attempt to set a second timer while the first timer you set is still running, Siri will say “A timer is already running at x minutes. Would you like to replace it?”

There’s also no way to view or manage your HomePod timers on an iOS device like there is with alarms — timers on HomePod all handled via voice with Siri.

 

Do you have a favorite HomePod Tip? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Tales from the Orchard: Apple Needs to Make Siri Great at Something.

 

 

By JHROGERSII of iPad Insight.com

With the HomePod showing up on my doorstep next Friday, I’ve been doing some thinking about Siri lately. Why is the overall impression of Apple’s digital assistant so negative? There are recent surveys and tests showing it as being competitive with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Cortana in some areas. There is real evidence that many “normal” users aren’t as dissatisfied with it as we in the tech community and the “Apple bubble” are. So what is the problem? Where is the disconnect?

Consistency is Key

I think the problem with the general perception of Siri is twofold. First, I have been begging for Apple to unify Siri across its platforms and make its feature set consistent from device to device. Unfortunately, not only has that not happened, but now we have yet another unique Siri implementation on the way that will be specific to the HomePod.

Users shouldn’t have to remember that Siri on Apple TV can only handle media requests and HomeKit, or that Siri on the Mac can save a list of previous responses, but can’t talk to HomeKit devices. Why can’t we get the saved Siri results from the Mac at least on the iPad? Now we have an intelligent speaker that won’t work for a lot of common Siri queries that we can perform on the iPhone we will use to set it up. Why Apple? Why? None of this makes any sense at all. All it takes is Siri not coming through or confusing a user a few times for them to give up on it and move on.

One positive is that I’m certainly not the only one talking about this. I was very happy to hear Rene Ritchie of iMore also discussing making Siri consistent across all Apple platforms during Monday’s Vector podcast. He was also advocating for Apple to make Siri a cloud-based service that works across all devices, which would also be a very welcomed addition. This could still be done while maintaining users’ privacy, so Apple shouldn’t try to hide behind that excuse anymore.

While many of us have been asking about this for a while now, the fact is that Mr Ritchie has eyes and ears inside of Apple and may actually be able to exert some influence on the situation. If he is brining it up, at least it is likely to be heard within the glass walls of Apple Park. I mean, the guy was able to get an Instagram pic with Tim Cook at a hockey game, right? That’s a lot closer than most of us will ever get.

Make Siri Great…For the First Time

Even as an Apple fan, I have no problem admitting that Siri has NEVER been great at anything. I, like most people, gave it a pass at release because it was new and different. However, when Apple didn’t improve it or truly move it forward after several years, most people lost their patience with it. I have still use it often for basic tasks, such as reading messages, creating alarms, and placing phone calls. However, we are a long way down the road from those tasks being impressive.

In my opinion, for all of the things Siri does, the biggest problem is that Apple never focused in and made it great at any of them. Some of its features, such as entering or reading off appointments or reminders, or setting timers, are very good and pretty consistent. The ability to ask Siri to remind me about a phone call, email, voicemail, or web page that is on the screen is also very useful (for those who know the feature exists).

However, I wouldn’t qualify any of the above features as “great,” because there are still times when they break down. For example, Siri will just stop recognizing the “Remind me about this” command on occasion, and ask me what I want to be reminded about. When this happens, I have to reboot my iPhone to get the feature back online. That just makes me shake my head, because this is a really useful feature that I take advantage of often. It is two years old now, so this really shouldn’t be happening anymore.

Unfortunately, these features are still the best that Apple has to offer with Siri, and they still have glaring issues. Then you get into the real problem areas. Dictation still comes and goes and struggles mightily with proper names and context. Asking Siri questions often just results in a web search that will quickly disappear from the screen. Trying to use context between actions will sometimes work and sometimes just break down. Combine the failures with the lack of consistency and shortage of and restrictions on third party integrations and you have too many pitfalls for users to fall into.

What is the difference?

So what’s the real difference between Apple on the one hand, and Google and Amazon on the other? Both of their assistants have legitimate issues and shortcomings, as well. Google doesn’t play much better with third parties than Apple, and in some cases, Assistant is actually harder for them to work with (although this year’s CES shows that Google is addressing this). As for Alexa, just try using it on a smartphone or other non-Amazon hardware. Amazon has the same issues as Apple with sub-par mics that aren’t set up to be used with a voice assistant.

While Amazon has given third party developers an open door, Alexa doesn’t allow for any contextual awareness with its “Skills.” Users have to memorize set commands and queries, and if they forget, their requests don’t work. I have heard Echo users who are otherwise very happy with Alexa curse it over this shortcoming. Even the most favored voice assistant of the moment has its issues if you get past the hype.

So, both of Apple’s primary competitors in voice assistants have legitimate shortcomings that users are very aware of. Why do they get a pass on them while Apple doesn’t? It is because both Assistant and Alexa are legitimately great at one or more things that users find very useful. If you ask Google Assistant questions, it will give you direct correct answers very quickly. It will translate on the fly. It will search, recognize and digitize written text. Oh, and it has a very similar feature set across the board where it is available. Google handles this better than any other assistant by far, and frankly, no one else is even close right now.

As for Amazon, they doubled down on making the basics near perfect. The Echo devices have multiple beam-forming mics that do an impressive job of picking up your voice and accurately parsing your requests, even in the presence of background noise. The Alexa experience may have a steep drop-off on third party hardware, but most people are using it on Amazon’s because of how inexpensive and easily available they have made it. Their system’s combined ease of use has made people comfortable using voice assistants. And again, like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa feature set is very consistent, no matter what device you are using it on.

Along that same line, another key for Amazon (that Google wisely copied ahead of Apple) is that they made a device that put the voice assistant in a different context. Many people are still self-conscious about using Siri and other assistants in public, especially when using a headset or AirPods. While this has become more commonplace over the last decade, it can still look pretty odd watching someone “talk to themselves” while walking down the street. There are a lot of people who are too self-conscious to do that.

The beauty of the Echo is that it takes the voice assistant and makes it available throughout a room. You don’t have to carry a phone around and be subject to the limitations of its mics. “Hey Siri” works, but it is locked to a device that is meant to be with you, not across the room. The Watch is great if you have one, but it isn’t capable of making all of the same voice responses to your queries yet. The Echo took the genie out of the bottle by making a device that is dedicated to monitoring an entire space, and it is clear that users prefer this experience. Alexa was also set up in such a way as to not make users feel less self-conscious about using it in the open. They are having a conversation with a device that responds aloud, so the experience is natural and more “human.”

Another strength of Amazon’s Alexa is the third party ecosystem that has sprung up around it. While I mentioned the limitations of Alexa Skills as being a drawback, the fact that they exist is still a big strength. HomeKit may have been there first, but people have embraced Alexa because there is convenience in being able to link devices that they want to use together without headaches and restrictions. While the defined commands required to use Alexa Skills may cause some frustration, the amount of third party integrations available is still a strength that Amazon has over both Google and Apple.

Getting a pass

The bottom line is, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa do get a pass on their shortcomings, but they get it for legitimate reasons. People don’t get as irritated over them because both of these assistants have aspects that are truly great. On the flip-side, Apple doesn’t get a pass for Siri’s shortcomings because there isn’t a similar feature that it has or task it performs that is similarly great. There is no positive bubble or reality distortion field here. Without that, people will pile on the negative aspects and won’t give much credit for the things that are good.

Every time I hear Siri discussed on a tech podcast, even an Apple-centric podcast, this is what it comes down to. There are complaints and the typical, “Siri sucks” comments. Then someone will usually mention a feature or two that is good and works well for them, and people will backpedal a bit and agree. Then there is usually a more reasonable discussion about all the things that don’t work as well. I hear the exact same in reverse with discussion on Assistant and Alexa, with the overall impression being positive. However, you will often hear the same backpedaling and admissions that certain features of those assistants don’t work so well. These overall positive and negative impressions come down to doing a few things very well, and the reactions around the three assistants are remarkably consistent across the tech world because of this.

We just heard a rumor this week that Apple is scaling back the planned features in iOS 12 to focus on software stability. I can only hope that Siri will be one of the items that will be focused on over the course of this year as part of this. The fact that Craig Federighi was supposedly behind this move and that Siri is now under his jurisdiction is cause for some optimism that improvements will be made going forward into 2018. Even if Apple won’t say it, the moves they have made to bolster their AI and machine learning efforts over the last two years, as well their downplaying of Siri as an intelligent assistant in the first HomePod, show me that they see the problems. However, the question remains- do they have the right answers to fix them?

If Apple can create a more consistent user experience for Siri across all of its platforms, it will help cut down on frustration and might actually encourage more Apple device owners to use it. However, to turn around the service’s tarnished reputation and get it seen in a favorable light, Apple needs to double down on one or two core features that they know users want to be improved. They need to taken them, hammer everything out and make them great, whatever that takes.

I’m talking bulletproof. Rock solid. The kind of great that no reviewer can deny. That is what it will take to turn heads at this point, so that’s what they have to do.

The current path of incremental upgrades and new feature additions isn’t improving the situation or user’s impressions of Siri. Apple needs something that its competitors already have. They need something great to hang Siri’s hat on going forward. Without this, the negative perception won’t change, even if Siri does improve incrementally over time.

What would you add to Siri’s feature list? Sound off in the comments below!

App of the Week: Siri

 

 

by Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, Jason Cipriani of CNet

There’s a lot you can do with Apple’s virtual assistant — and some things you can’t do. For example, while Siri can send texts, search Twitter, and open up your front-facing camera, she can’t adjust your device’s ring volume (something OK Google can do). Complicating the matter, Siri doesn’t work exactly the same way on a Mac as she does on iOS.

Apple hasn’t published a complete list of Siri commands, though you can find a fairly comprehensive guide to Siri’s abilities inside Siri herself (open up Siri and say “Help” to see what she can do). So here’s our unofficial guide to Siri commands and questions. Keep in mind, some of the commands will work on a Mac, while some fall flat.

Hey Siri

There are a few ways to get Siri’s attention.
• Press and hold the home button to activate Siri and issue her a command or ask her a question. iPhone X users will need to hold in the side button
• If you’re using Apple’s Earpods, press and hold the center button to activate Siri and issue her a command or ask her a question.
• If you’re using Apple’s AirPods, double-tap on either ‘pod to activate Siri and issue her a command or ask her a question.
• If you have Hey Siri enabled and an iPhone 6 or earlier, say “Hey, Siri” when your iPhone is plugged in and charging, followed by a command or question. Those who own an iPhone 6S or newer, “Hey, Siri” works regardless if the phone is plugged in.
• On a Mac, you can create a dedicated keyboard shortcut to bring up Siri, use a trick to enable “Hey Siri,” or click on the Siri icon in the menu bar to issue a command or ask a question.

The basics

• Call or FaceTime someone. Ex.: “Call Sarah,” or “FaceTime Mom.”
• Start a call on speakerphone. Ex.””Call Mom on speaker.”
• Call an emergency number. Ex.: “Call 911,” or “Call the fire department.”
• Check voice mail. Ex.: “Do I have any new voice mail?” or “Play the voice mail from Mom.”
• Text someone. Ex.: “Tell [name] I am on my way,” or “Tell [name] I am going to the store.”
• Send an email. Ex.: “Send email to [name] about [subject] and say [message].”
• Hear your messages or emails read aloud. Ex.: “Read my new messages,” or “Check email.”
• Set a timer. Ex.: “Set the timer for 10 minutes.”
• Check the weather. Ex.: “What’s the weather like today?” or “Do I need an umbrella?”
• Check stocks. Ex.: “What’s Apple’s stock price?” or “Where’s the NASDAQ today?”
• Conversions (of all kinds). Ex.: “How many cups are in a quart?” or “How many dollars are in a Euro?” or “How many pounds are in a stone?”
• Calculate tips. Ex.: “What is a 20 percent tip on $68?”
• Solve math problems. Ex.: “What is 234 divided by 6?” or “What is the square root of 16?”

Phone and settings

• Take a picture.
• Take a selfie.
• Turn on/off [Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Cellular Data, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Night Shift]
• Increase/decrease brightness.
• Open [app].
• Designate contacts as relationships. Ex.: “My mom is Sandy Jacobsson,” or “Timmy Jacobsson is my brother.” Once a relationship is established, you can say relationships instead of names (e.g., “Call my brother,” instead of “Call Timmy Jacobsson”).
• Adjust music volume. Ex.: “Adjust volume to 80 percent,” or “Turn the volume up/down.”
• “How much free space to I have?” (Mac specific)
Scheduling and reminders
• Schedule or cancel a meeting. Ex.: “Schedule a meeting with [name] tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.” or “Cancel my 5 p.m. appointment.”
• What appointments do I have tomorrow?
• Set location-aware reminders. Ex.: “Remind me to remember my keys when I leave,” or “Remind me to feed the dog when I get home.”
• Find out the date and day of the week of holidays. Ex.: “When is Easter?” or “When is Labor Day?”
• Set alarms. Ex.: “Set an alarm for 1 a.m.” or “Set an alarm for six hours from now.”
• Delete/turn off all alarms. Ex. “Delete all alarms” or “Turn off all alarms.”
• Check the number of days between dates. Ex.: “How many days until October 6?” or “How many days between April 3 and June 16?”
• Find out what time it is in another city. Ex.: “What time is it in Tokyo?”

Search

• Define [word].
• What is a synonym for [word]?
• What’s the etymology of [word]?
• Find photos. Ex.: “Show me photos from last week,” or “Show me my selfies,” or “Show me photos from Tokyo.”
• Search Twitter. Ex.: “What’s Kylie Jenner saying,” “Search Twitter for [keyword],” or “What’s trending on Twitter?”
• Find specific notes or emails. Ex.: “Find my note about [keyword],” or “Find emails about [keyword].”
• Find your friends (if you have “Find My Friends” set up). Ex.: “Where is Ron?” or “Who is near me?”
• Find pictures of [keyword].
• Find apps. Ex.: “Get the Twitter app,” or “Search the App Store for word games.”
• Search for Word/PDF/PowerPoint/etc. in my Download/My Documents/etc. folder. Ex.: “Show all PowerPoint presentations in my school folder.” (Mac specific)

Navigation

• Take me home.
• What’s traffic like on the way home?
• Find [driving, walking, transit] directions to [destination].
• How do I get to [destination] by [walking, bus, bike, car, train, etc.]?
• Where is the nearest [business type]?

Entertainment

  • Sports updates. Ex.: “Did the Tigers win?” or “What was the score the last time the Tigers played the Yankees?” or “How did the Tigers do last night?”
  • Info about a sport or sports team. Ex.: “What basketball games are on today?” or “Get me college football rankings” or “Show me the roster for the Red Wings.”
  • Find movie times and locations. Ex.: “What’s playing at Regal L.A. Live?” or “What are some movies playing near me?” or “Is [movie name] playing near me?”
  • Find out what song is playing in the room (through Shazam). Ex.: “What song is this?”
  • What’s the synopsis of [movie name]?

Music and Apple Music

  • Basic controls: Play, pause/stop, skip/next, play previous song.
  • Play [artist] or [song name] or or [album].
  • “Play some music” to begin a custom Apple Music radio station 
  • ‘Like’ the song you’re listening to. Ex.: “Like this song.”
  • Shuffle my playlist.
  • Choose the next song. Ex.: “After this, play Wildest Dreams.”
  • Find chart-toppers from certain years. Ex.: “Play the top songs from 2013.”
  • Play songs that are similar to the one you’re listening to. Ex.: “Play more like this.”
  • What song is this?
  • Buy this song.

Travel

  • Check flight status. Ex.: “Check flight status of [airline and flight number]”
  • Find restaurants and make reservations. Ex.: “What’s a good Chinese restaurant near me?” or “Make a reservation at Baco Mercat for 7 p.m.” or “Find a table for six in San Francisco tonight.”
  • Find a business’ hours. Ex.: “How late is [business name] open?” or “Is [business name] open right now?”
  • Learn about the area you’re in. Ex.: “What’s the nearest museum?” or “Where am I?” or “What bridge is this?”

Translation

Starting with iOS 11, Siri can translate five different languages: French, German, Mandarin, Spanish and Italian. Using the new feature is as easy as asking, “How do you say [word or phrase] in [language]?” For example: “How do you say where is the bathroom in French?” 

Siri will then read the translation out loud. You’ll see the text on the screen alongside a play button, which you can use to replay the translation. 

Third-party apps

Beginning with iOS 10, developers have been able to integrate their apps into Siri. Meaning, you can use voice commands to do things such as send WhatsApp messages, request an Uber or send money via Square Cash. You can view and customize which apps are granted access to Siri on your device under Settings > Siri > App Support. 

  • Pay Joe 10 dollars with Square Cash/PayPal/etc.
  • Send a message using WhatsApp/LinkedIn/Skype/WeChat/etc.
  • Call me an Uber/Lyft/etc.
  • Show me photos in [app name].
  • Show me pins/creations in [app name].

 

Random tips and tricks

• Find out what airplanes are currently flying above you. Ex.: “What airplanes are above me?”
• Roll a die or roll two dice.
• Flip a coin.
• What is your favorite color?
• Tell me a joke.
• What does the fox say?
• Knock knock.
• Who’s on first?
• Why did the chicken cross the road?
• What is zero divided by zero?
• Learn how to say my name.

Do you have a favorite Siri command? Share it with us in the comments below!

How to: Link Your Calendar with Alexa

 

 

by DAN MOREN of Tom’s Guide

Having Alexa read you your upcoming appointments is one of the best uses of a virtual assistant. It saves you from having to go to your computer or pull out your phone to check what’s going on for the day or add a new event. Alexa supports Google Calendar, Apple Calendar,  and Microsoft calendars via Outlook.com and Office 365. Here’s how to link them.

1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.

 

2. Tap the Menu button in the top left corner.

 

3. Tap Settings.

 

4. Scroll down to find Calendar and select it.

 

5. Tap the calendar system you want to link; for this example, we’ll use Google Calendar.

 

6. On the following screen, which includes your name, tap “Link your Google calendar account.”

7. When prompted, choose the appropriate Google account. You may need to enter your username and password.

 

8. The following screen tells you what abilities you’re granting Alexa; in this case, managing your calendars. Tap Allow.

 

9. Tap Done.

 

10. Choose which calendars you want Alexa to have access to by tapping the checkbox beside their names. When you’re finished, tap the Back arrow in the top left.

 

11. In the middle of the screen, you can choose to which calendar new events will be added. Tap the name of the calendar that Alexa has chosen to change it.

 

12. You’re all set! Now, you can add a new event to your calendar by saying “Alexa, add dinner to my calendar for 6pm today” or, for a more interactive approach, “Alexa, add an event to my calendar.”

Amazon Echo tips and tricks: Getting a grip on Alexa

 

Ladies,

This is the coolest gadget for the home right now and Alexa is like Siri on steroids. Anyone who ones an Echo can tell you how much fun it can be and how surprisingly helpful it is to have around. If this is a preview of the “Smart Home” future, Sign.Me.Up!

By ELYSE BETTERS of Pocket lint

The Amazon Echo almost needs no introduction, that gateway to a world of connected fun. Posing as a cylindrical speaker, the Amazon Echo is likely to be one of the hottest gadgets of 2016, with Alexa getting in on the action as your new helpful AI assistant.

The Amazon Echo can make to-do lists, set alarms, stream podcasts, play audiobooks, read PDFs, provide weather forecasts, warn you of traffic, answer trivia, and serve up other information in real-time. 

We’ve been living with the Echo, Dot and Alexa for some time and here’s how to get the most out of this cool smart home accessory.

Amazon Echo: How does Echo work? 

The magic of the Amazon Echo comes from its connection. After a quick set-up process, which involves plugging it in, taking control of it via the Alexa app (Android, iPhone, Desktop) and connecting it to your home Wi-Fi network, Alexa will listen to your voice and respond accordingly, either returning information found online, or through a number of partners that work with the Amazon Echo.

You need to be online to use the Amazon Echo, but it’s simply a case of asking questions and issuing commands.

Amazon Echo: How many Echo models are there?
There are three different versions of the Amazon Echo:
Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo Tap

The Echo is the full-sized speaker, the Dot provides the microphones and Bluetooth or physical connection to existing features and the Tap is a portable Bluetooth speaker (not available in the UK). 

We’ve broken down the different skills of these devices in a separate feature, explaining all the pros and cons if you need to know more.

Amazon Echo: Echo tips and tricks

Mute the “Alexa” wake word

Amazon Echo is always listening for the word “Alexa”. Whenever you say it, the Echo will listen, consider what you’re saying and respond. But if you don’t want the Echo to wake and respond, there’s a mute button on the top of the speaker that you can press to mute Alexa.
Press it again to unmute her. Simples.

Change Echo the wake word

If you happen to have someone in your house called “Alex” or similar, then you’ll find the Echo responds when you say that name too. You can choose another word, either Amazon or Echo. 

Head into the Alexa app > settings > select your Echo > Wake Word and pick a new word from the list.

How to control Amazon Echo through your browser
There are a couple ways you can control your Echo, as well as your to-do and shopping lists. The first, as we mentioned, is through the Alexa app. The second way is through the web. Just visit this site in your browser: http://echo.amazon.com and you’ll be able to log-in and control your device without needing a phone.

Change the default music service
The Echo is compatible with a range of music services, not only Amazon’s own. If you’d rather use Spotify, head into the Alexa app > Settings > Music & Media.
In this section you can link music accounts and pick the default. Then, when you say “Alexa, play Phil Collins” it will use Spotify rather than Amazon music, for example.

Add skills to Alexa

There are lots of things that the Echo will do by default, but sometimes you’ll have to enable a particular feature to get more. These are called skills, and basically give Alexa access to particular information. In the Alexa app head into Skills and you’ll find a range of compatible apps and features. It’s here you can enable control of your Hive heating or access to your BMW Connected app, for example. 

Setup Household Profiles
From the Amazon website you can link your family Prime accounts. With a feature called Household Profiles, you can add another adult to your Amazon Household to listen to either his or her content (for instance, music and audiobooks) and manage shared features (like lists).

Go to Settings, scroll down the page, and set up your Household. Shared members will have to download the Echo app and agree to join the household. You can also the app to setup your household too. More information about Household Profiles is at this support page.

Switch Amazon account profiles
Thanks to Household Profiles, Amazon Echo can be synced with more than one Amazon account. To find out which profile you’re currently using, say “Alexa, which profile am I using?” To switch profiles, say either “Alexa, switch profile” (moves to the next profile) or “Alexa, switch to David’s profile” (moves to the profile you named). More information about Household Profiles is at this support page.

Control a smart home device
You can control some smart home devices with Alexa (see a list of compatible devices here).
After you say “Discover my devices”, or use the Alexa app to discover and pair smart home devices, you can ask Alexa to do things like “Turn on/off [smart home device name]” or “Dim the light to [##] per cent” (see a list of commands here).
You can also setup groups (see here) so that saying “house lights” turns on/off several lamps. Alexa works with many common connected devices, like Philips Hue.

Force software updates
Amazon Echo has a CPU and software running it that needs updating. The speaker looks for updates every night, but if you want to force an update, just hit that same mute button we discussed earlier, then let Echo sit for at least 30 minutes, and the speaker will update.

Amazon Echo: What can you say to Alexa?
Here are some examples of things you can do with Echo/Alexa, along with links to their relevant Amazon support pages:
• Ask questions
• Check your calendar
• Control media playback on Bluetooth devices
• Control music with your voice
• Control smart home devices
• Discover and buy music
• Find local businesses and restaurants
• Find traffic information
• Get updates on the weather
• Go to the movies
• Hear the news
• Keep up with your favorite sports teams
• Keep track of important tasks and items to purchase
• Listen to audiobooks
• Listen to Prime Music
• Listen to stations, shows and more
• Read Kindle books
• Reorder products from Amazon
• Request music
• Set up alarms and timers

Amazon Echo: Are there any Easter eggs?
Alexa responds to a wide number of fun Easter eggs.
This Reddit thread aggregates several interesting commands you can issue to Alexa. We’ve picked out a few of the more interesting ones and listed them below, but not all will work in all locations:
“Simon says…”:
You can get Alexa to repeat anything you say if use the command “Alexa, Simon says…”
“Alexa, play Bingo”:
Look up and download some free printable bingo cards, and ask Alexa to start a Bingo game with you.
“Alexa, ask Word Master to play a game”:
This is like Geography. Alexa says a word, then you have to follow with a word that starts with the last letter of the word she said.
“Alexa, start Animal Game/Capital Quiz”:
This lets you play 20 questions about animals or geography.
“Alexa, start Star Wars quiz”
Self-explanatory.
“Alexa, play Jeopardy”
Trivia geeks will love these game-show style questions. Don’t forget to answer in the form of a question.
“Alexa, roll the dice”
Missing the di to your board game? She’ll roll 6-sided, 10-sided, 20-sided, and other dice as well.
“Alexa, open the Wayne Investigation”
This starts a chose-your-own-adventure game that immerses you into the world of Gotham.

Amazon Echo: What are some funny questions to ask?

Ask Alexa these questions and we promise you’ll love her responses:

“Alexa, what does WTF stand for?”
• “Alexa, Up Up, Down Down, Left Right, Left Right, B, A, Start”
• “Alexa, how much is that doggy in the window?”
• “Alexa, Is Santa real?”
• “Alexa, do you know Hal?”
• “Alexa, Who shot first?”
• “Alexa, which came first: the chicken or the egg?”
• “Alexa, what is love?”


This website
 suggests more hilarious questions you can ask. 

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