Like so many people, we have outdoor cameras to record the comings and goings of visitors. Linked to Alexa, announcements are made – ‘Motion detected at your drive’ - and that is all well and good, except at the dead of night. I’m left hoping that it’s a fox alerting Alexa and not a fly-by-night burglar availing him/herself of our drive. Any self-respecting professional burglar would not remain long within the glare of the security lights, I think.
Foxes and cats set off the lights and the declarations. Birds feasting on pyracantha berries, and even spiders, spinning their webs, will activate the lights, though fortunately not Alexa.
‘Motion detected at the doorbell’ and ‘Someone’s at the doorbell’ are two more of Alexa’s pronouncements. I don’t know why it is so, but Alexa uses two accents. The drive announcement is made in British English, the sort of English familiar to listeners to the BBC. The doorbell announcement uses a North American accent that you might hear in California. There is probably a setting to adjust the voices, as there is on TomTom, but we haven’t had time to research that.
Alexa is kept very busy in our house, switching lights on and off, turning on radio and television and reducing or increasing the volume. It is also used as an aide-memoire, for shopping and for reminding us of the many and varied tasks that have to be performed regularly, like cleaning filters or checking the heat pump.
It is very useful for managing pet-related matters. For example, Jellicoe is diabetic and has to be fed every four hours during the day, so Alexa prompts us at 7:30, 11:30, 3:30 and 7:30. As soon as the alarm sounds, Jellicoe starts yelling at me to hurry up and feed him. Herschel understands, too, but is less insistent. Alexa also reminds us when it’s time to reorder Jellicoe’s insulin.
Because we use Alexa as a timer, the cats are sometimes a little confused to hear it chiming when it’s not their mealtime. However, they’re learning to tell the time and don’t react to it in the same excited way ;-)
Roxy understands the significance of the chimes, too!
When Frankie was very young and practising his Ps and Qs, he would always thank Alexa if one of his questions was answered. We had to make a concerted effort to refer to Alexa as ‘it’ rather than ‘she’ and to explain that it was not human. The first time he heard Alexa’s voice, when he was about four, it frightened him and he ran out and had to be coaxed back into the room. Now, he uses it all the time. Our youngest grandsons, Charlie and Jack, discovered Alexa one day – I can’t remember how – and now they make a beeline for the hub and proceed to ‘play’. They haven’t yet realised how the volume is controlled, so that saves our hearing!
I must confess that I find it irritating when I give the wrong command and am reproached in a rather patronising voice with, ‘Sorry, I didn’t find that device.’ Alexa also responds to some of our orders with a rising inflection, as if asking if we’re quite sure we know what we want.
One day, machines will rule the world. Woe betide us then.
We do not have Alexa, but my husband has a Gal Pal Sweetie (GPS) in the car who drives me crazy with directions: reroute, turn left now, etc. She has gotten us lost a time or two, but did he listen to me? NO.ReplyDelete
GPS doesn't always keep up with the latest developments and it is quite easy to end up on a farm track. Makes life interesting . . .Delete
Hi Janice - I don't have Alexa .. slightly worries me - though it (she) won't appear here ... but I'm not controlling dogs, cats, children, grandchildren, let alone husbands!!! - good luck to you or to Alexa ... perhaps you need to start behaving! Cheers and Happy New Year - HilaryReplyDelete
Being married to a technophile (geek or nerd) leads me to accept many things I might otherwise ignore. I am a bit of a Luddite, really ;-)Delete
I could never have Alexa in my home. I write appointments on my calendar and keep a running shopping list in the kitchen. I don't ever want a voice from 'nowhere' reminding me of every little thing. I'd never get any reading done!ReplyDelete
I write everything down, as well - belt and braces!ReplyDelete
I think I would get crazy with such an supervisor, sounds like a dictator who rules your life ! We once had an outside lamp which went on when somebody approached the house. Unfortunately the light went directly in our neighbor's bedroom and he complained. We could understand him, with all the cats giving parties in all gardens the light went on and off the whole night. I had never thought that there was such a traffic around our house !ReplyDelete
Ha ha! Fortunately, our lights don't shine onto anyone else's property.Delete
This reminds me a bit of watching The Jetsons as a kid. I couldn't imagine that life could ever be that way, yet it seems like we are getting closer every day. We don't have Alexa, but do consult Siri on our phones often. My husband's GPS has an Australian accent. At first I got a kick out of him telling us to "Chuck a Youie" and "Grab Your Sunnies". Now it's getting a bit annoying. I suppose we should look into trying a different accent.ReplyDelete
Your husband's Australian GPS sounds fun, though I can imagine it might become irritating after a while.Delete
That sounds very exhausting! I prefer just to switch on my own lights, and if there's a burglar in the drive ... do I want to know??? (What a lot of pets you have.) I don't know how to make myself unanonymous, but I'm Pam of In This Life - thank you for your comment.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Pam.ReplyDelete
I think that machines are already well on the way to controlling the world. And the cats already control our world. Thanks for commenting on this week's W4W, even if you weren't inspired to play.ReplyDelete
Thank you. Yes, cats exercise a lot of control.Delete
It kind of gives me the creeps, but a friend had one and I couldn't resist asking it a million questions.ReplyDelete
It wasn't my choice to have one, but it is useful, if a little disconcerting at times.ReplyDelete
Good to hear from you again - we have been blogging on and off for so many years. So calming and peaceful! You sound so technologically advanced compared to us! I am sure having grandchildren helps - I must hire some lol!ReplyDelete
Hello again:-) I'll loan you some of my grandchildren if you like, any age from 29 to 4 and some of the older ones come with young children ;-)ReplyDelete
Hi via In this Life A friend and his wife have both Siri and Alexa... sometimes play with them, getting the one to give orders to the other!!ReplyDelete
That sounds fun! My husband has Siri on something or other - his watch, I think. I'm surprised he hasn't thought of that!ReplyDelete