Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Alexa Can Stay, But She Can't Sleep in Our Bedroom.

Echo, aka Alexa
I don't buy things I don't need. I don't buy food I won't eat, I don't buy clothes I won't wear, and I don't buy electronic crap just because it's out there. Mark, on the other hand, will buy anything. Especially if it is a gimmick. That doesn't mean he buys "Ronco" level of gimmickry, but he will spend money on some weird crap.

I was sitting in my big chair watching American Pickers, when I heard Mark cursing at his computer.
"Damnit. ALAN! What is the password?"
"The password for what?"
"The wireless network. What is the password."
"Why, what are you doing?"
"I'm trying to set up my new Echo machine."
I had forgotten about that thing. What a waste of money. It's like some sort of parlor trick. You ask it a question and it answers. You tell it to do something and it does it. At least that is what the promise was.
"The password is gayrepublicans, all one word, all lower case."
A few moments later Mark started sputtering and bitching, "That's not right. That password doesn't work."
"Okay, maybe I changed it. Try LindseyGraham. All one word but with the L and the G capitalized."
Again, Mark started whining, "Quit fucking with me. That is not the password. It's not working!"
So this time I got up out of the big chair and entered the password myself. Of course it worked, because it was neither gayrepublicans or LindseyGraham. You don't think I'd put the real password in this story, do you? So, after about two hours of screwing around with the Amazon Echo, Mark got it working, and it went something like this. (Remember, this thing is supposed to be smart and know things.)
"Alexa (That is its name), how do I make Kolachkys?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer to that question."
"Alexa, Where can I get some marijuana?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't know the answer to that question."
So Alexa doesn't know everything. I tried one more question.
"Alexa, find me a gay bar."
And Alexa proceeded to name four of the raunchiest, nastiest gay bars in Chicago. Alexa is a dirty girl. I then asked Alexa to play some music, The Rolling Stones to be exact. Alexa was able to do this without any trouble. Soon a very tinny sounding version of Sweet Virginia was playing through Alexa's speaker. The sound quality was that of my first transistor radio, circa 1962. From what I've seen, the Amazon Echo can do half of what Mark's iPhone can do without the inconvenience of being able to slip it into your pocket. At least it didn't cost me anything. For once there will be something useless sitting around here that I didn't have to pay for. Although it is a bit disconcerting to hear Mark having a conversation with the damn thing in the kitchen, while I'm watching television in the living room.

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