January 5th, 2019
It Item

To Echo, or not to Echo…

AI is amazing and terrifying at the same time.  I didn’t have a reason to own a smart speaker (that I could think of) until my doctor asked me to test drive an Alexa app he’s just launched. So, an Echo Dot is arriving tomorrow and I’m going to see if it’s worth all the hype and advertising. The first thing I will do is lock in the privacy settings —then, I’ll give it a go. Suggestions on uses welcome.


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  • I have one on each floor of my house and use them to check the weather, control lights (via wifi-enabled plugs), set alarms and timers, hear the news, play music and podcasts, get updates on my Amazon orders, make lists and reminders, and call family and friends. Please report back in a few weeks and tell us how it’s going.

    NikJanuary 5th, 2019  9:33 AM

  • I just got an Echo from my daughter for Christmas. So far, music is all I have utilized it for, but I intend on using it for much more. For me, I think the time is right.

    AprilJanuary 5th, 2019  11:51 AM

  • We just got the Apple HomePod.
    Amazing … its in the kitchen for music, all music, lots of music with just a voice comand. Ask for recipes , how tos & managing heat and lights..

    SusanJanuary 5th, 2019  1:19 PM

  • I will be a lone voice against this technology altogether. Based on my research, breaking into it from the outside (and despite any internal privacy settings) is quite easy, and then all the systems, including security, are compromised. It’ll be a while before my household opens its doors to Alexa and the likes. I know, we are in the minority on this one and do not begrudge those who are more adventurous, but would recommend reading up on the risks and possible ‘side effects’ of the new toy :).

    IrinaJanuary 5th, 2019  3:38 PM

  • My husband just went to a talk at our club given by the head of the Secret Service in West LA. These devices send all your information back to the manufacturer no matter what security settings you place.

    So if you use, keep it simple. Same is true for anything you download into your automobile, it cannot be scrubbed even though tech people say it is.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg as they say for the criminal element. They enter your computer through your wireless printer among other nefarious methods.

    cindalaJanuary 5th, 2019  4:34 PM

  • I’m a privacy nut. The thought of doing anything more in terms of automation at our home makes my head spin. I don’t trust any of the promises of privacy, nor do I desire to make our home and life any less tactile. As it is, I already depend on technology too much, and honestly, I’m not convinced it really improves the quality of life. I also fear technology is replacing thinking and it’s proven to diminish creativity. But I’m still very anxious to hear how it works out!!

    PaulaJanuary 6th, 2019  2:41 AM

  • My husband is a senior level executive with a global company that designs and installs security systems for large companies as well as the government and our younger son works in cyber security for a major credit card company. He and his group deal with people attempting to hack into the company vs. customers whose cards have been hacked. My husband and I built a new house a couple of years ago and rejected any offers from our builder to have any sort of “smart” technology installed. Anything that interfaces with your wi-fi can be hacked and any information you put into a device will be saved. I even have little pieces of cardboard covering the camera and audio jack on my laptop. I prefer real intelligence over artificial variety any day.

    kimJanuary 6th, 2019  11:52 AM


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