Amazon

How can I make a phone call with the Amazon Echo?

Episode 1409

Keith from Coachella, CA
Amazon Echo

Keith is a fan of the Amazon Echo because he is vision impaired. Leo says that the Echo is great for accessibility because he can talk to it and get the necessary replies. It's not perfect, though, of course. It doesn't make phone calls yet. Right now, he could "drop in" and make phones calls to other Echo users. Some day someone may make a skill for that, but Google Home, by contrast, will be able to make a call to any phone number via Google Voice. So for that option, Google Home is the better option.

Why can't I use my Echo's intercom?

Episode 1405

Ron from Boston, MA
Amazon Echo Dot

Ron has a bunch of Echos all around his house but he can't use the intercom feature. Leo says he'll need to use the command "Drop in." He'll have to be sure they're enabled on each Echo and choose who can drop in as well. That's done in the Echo app. Leo says he'll need to sign up for Echo's calling and messaging as well, which is also in the app. His contact list will not sync with Echo, either. Leo says he'll have to sync his contacts to Google and then log into Google through the app.

Why is my Echo Dot having trouble connecting?

Episode 1402

Keith from Orange County CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Keith isn't thrilled that Amazon has lowered the manufacturer's warranty on the Amazon Echo to 90 days. Leo says it doesn't bother him. He's had several of them and none have failed. But Keith has had two Dots fail so far. He's frustrated because it tends to be very promiscuous in connecting to his wireless speakers, knocking his other devices off. Leo says that's likely more a problem of Bluetooth, and not the Dot itself. He's also having issues with Drop In. Leo says he hasn't heard of any problems with Drop In and it could just be a bad model or software glitch on his Dot.

Amazon Echo Show Review

Episode 1401

Amazon Echo Show

Leo got the Amazon Echo Show this past week. This has a 7" screen, with high quality stereo speakers in it. It also has a camera and microphone. This means it can do things like play video content in Flash Briefings, and has video calling. It also has a 'drop-in' feature, which is kind of like an intercom. When you drop-in on someone, you'll be able to hear the other person's audio right away, but they will have to accept to send video.

The Echo Show costs $239 at Amazon.com

Tech Companies Report Quarterly Earnings

Episode 1384

Earnings

Quarterly earnings came out this week and Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all posted record earnings in cloud services. Leo says that sadly, hardware earnings fell short for Microsoft whose tablets and laptops fell short. Leo says that's unfortunate because they make some nice hardware these days.

Leo also says that Google made a lot of money, up 49%, on their Pixel Android phone and their Google Home devices. Google's advertising revenue was also up 29% with nearly $2 billion a month in profit.

How can I use my Harmony remote to launch Netflix?

Episode 1366

Neil from Phoenix, AZ
Logitech Harmony Hub

Neil bought a Harmony Hub for his home theater. He streams with Apple TV and a FireTV stick and he's having trouble running Netflix through it. Leo says to make sure the Hub is set to input 4, the TV is set to input 1, and then pair the Harmony app with Apple TV. It could be a limitation of Apple TV that the Harmony can't hook into the audio interface. The only device that would allow him to launch channels through the Harmony Hub is Roku.

Is my Amazon Dot secure?

Episode 1356

Steven from Las Vegas, NV
Amazon Echo Dot

Steven is worried that his Amazon Dot could be hacked since it becomes a Wi-Fi access point during setup. Leo says it only becomes an access point during that setup process, and after that it turns off. This does bring up an interesting issue, however, about how the Dot communicates with the device used for setup. Is that communication encrypted? Leo thinks it probably is, but there's no password required to access the Dot during setup, so we don't really know.