Time has come to let the machines help us on mundane activities so we can concentrate on the important stuff. Now there are many Voice-controlled Intelligent Personal Assistant on the market (Echo Dot, Google Home, Siri with AppleHomeKit) and I can only talk about the smart speakers I have at home as I have not test the others, but I can say that the Echo Dot / Alexa from Amazon has been a great little addition to our Kitchen. We use it as a kitchen helper, listen to music, the news or to get a live weather forecast.
Amazon Echo-Dot Skills
There are countless new “skills” that can be enabled via the Alexa App and its Skills catalog, which has new skills added every day worldwide as a lot of developers and brands are coming onboard with the idea of the electronic personal assistant era. Once you have activated a skill, all you need is to speak to the Smart device with a single sentence to start using it, easy. We’ve had ours since the end of 2016, now the list below do not need to be enabled as they are native to Alexa capabilities, all you need is an Amazon Echo Dot (2nd generation) and the latest Alexa App configured with a smartphone, Android or IOS.
Now just use your voice to say…
“ALEXA – SET A TIMER FOR xx min “
Very useful when you are cooking multiple ingredients with oven/pans/steamers, as you can set up more than one timer. I have used this function countless times for perfecting my poach eggs. 2minutes! Never will you have to overcook eggs or leave a tea bag in a freshly made cup of tea for too long anymore
“ALEXA – START MY DAY“
Use the Alexa App on your phone to set up how you want your day to start but once done all you need to say is “ALEXA START MY DAY”. Alexa will play few commands one after the other: “Morning Greetings, Report Weather, Report Traffic, Play the news based on BBC information or other media, a compliment, Weather forecast, and any topic you have in your calendar” so this is GOLD to listen to while you are making coffee or eating your breakfast. If like us, morning is always a rush, now ALEXA can help you. You can use two hands to eat breakfast as opposed to scrolling for news glaring at your phone.
“ALEXA – PLAY A STATION I MIGHT LIKE“
This function gets better over time as you use it by saying: ” “ALEXA play ADELE” or “ALEXA play Classic FM” or “insert your favorite artist” more and more. The smart assistant will understand what is the type of music you like and you don’t need to think about what artist you want to listen to. Now, if your partner or your kids are using Alexa for music too, you might hear some different style… but as long as you use it more, your style will be winning.
“ALEXA – WHAT TIME IS IT / WHAT DAY IS IT? “
If you are confused with the day, time, just ask Alexa she will save you time instead of finding your phone or your watch
“ALEXA – IS IT GOING TO RAIN TODAY?”
Literally using it ALL THE TIME, so I never forget my umbrella if it is planned to rain. We are familiar that the weather in the UK can change from sunshine to torrential rain or completely remain the same, so don’t trust your first instinct, trust Alexa!
“ALEXA – HOW MANY CALORIES is in “insert whatever you want to eat”?
Now, this is still a function which is being developed but it has worked for many items like 100gr of chicken, 1 apple, coca cola can, a bag of crisp so have fun and try.
“ALEXA – how many XX lbs is it in grams ?”
If like me you don’t understand Imperial Standard, let the smart assistant convert it for you.
“ALEXA – How much is XX divided by XX”
I use the voice -command to summon Alexa superior calculation skills when for example I have got my hands dirty with flour or other raw ingredient and need to divide a recipe of 8 people to measurements for a dinner for 3. I ask Alexa and she tells me the number so I keep preparing the food and don’t need to interrupt what I am doing to wash my hands and use the calculator.
Using the Echo-Dot or other Smart Personal Assistant is a funny interesting method to facilitate our everyday life.
Have fun trying your gadget,
Read about my Kitchen transformation here
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