Should Sara get the Google Home or keep her Amazon Echo? Leo says that while Google Assistant works great and that makes Home an advantage, the Amazon Echo has a very mature ecosystem with thousands of "skills" that enable it to do a ton of stuff. But Google Home will give you free phone calling anywhere in the US soon, and that could make it an even better option if you want a home phone. Leo has both. They're very similar and do similar things. The Google Home is a tad smarter, but the Echo is better at home automation. So it really comes down to what you want to do with it.
Jim is blind and he's been building up the capability of his Amazon Echo with more skills. He wants to be able to dictate and send email. Leo says that Amazon Echo can work with If This, Then That, and he can find out how to send email with it here. There's also this article by the Verge on how to do it.
Cynthia wants to control her Amazon Fire Stick with Amazon Alexa, but she can't. Shouldn't it work together? Leo says not necessarily. At least not yet. Alexa is getting smarter all the time, though.
Cynthia can talk to the Fire remote, so she doesn't really need the Echo for that. Since she paid over $180 for it, Leo recommends returning it and get the $50 Echo Dot instead.
Ray can't get a decent AM radio signal where he lives. What can he do? Leo says that streaming is a better option. He can stream using iHeartRadio, Tune In, or even just going to a station's website. Or he can get a better AM antenna that he can plug into his radio. CCrane is the best place to go.
Another idea is to get an Amazon Echo Dot, hook it up to the stereo, and then listen to radio that way.
Chuck is blind and he wants to get a laptop with a screen reader. Leo says that there are many blind users who are fully functional on a computer. There are braile screens. JAWS is a screen reader, but it's expensive. There's an open source version as well.
Kenny wants to integrate his Amazon Echo with his Sonos system. Leo says that the challenge is that it has a proprietary networking system between speakers. Sonos has promised that integration soon, but it isn't been released yet. When it does, it should be awesome. Meanwhile, Kenny could try the Chromecast Audio.
Jim has an Amazon Echo and wants to know how he can find out if a skill is good or not. Are there reviews anywhere? He also wants to know if there's a way to play audio from YouTube. Leo says he could pair his Echo to his phone and play it that way. It can then work as a Bluetooth device. There may not be a YouTube skill yet, though.
A local TV news segment told the story of a girl who talked to Amazon Echo and accidentally ordered hundreds of dollars in toys and cookies through the automatic ordering feature. In doing so, the radio station triggered homes all over San Diego that have Amazon Echo to do the same thing. Leo says it's important to make sure you have parental controls on to avoid this, and to train yourself to not use the "A" word when talking about things it may mistakenly use to order for you.
Curtis is a podcaster and uses a Heil PR40 for his microphone. Leo says that podcasting is fun when you're not trying to make a living at it. It's work if he wants to make it into a job, and a tough one at that.
What about the Amazon Tap? Leo says that the only difference between the Dot and the Tap is the battery. The Tap is portable, but it doesn't listen all the time. It only responds when you press a button. How should he set up the Echo? Leo says to just call it Echo, but he'll have to avoid using that word while podcasting.