Amazon Echo

How can I hack my Echo?

Episode 1449

Bill from San Carlos, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Bill wants to know if he can hack the Echo to make it more powerful. Or would he be better off going with Google Home? Leo says that both are good, so he should pick one and stick to it. Leo advises buying the cheaper Echo Dot. It has Bluetooth and line out, so he can connect it to a really nice powered speaker. He can also do a party mode where they are linked and synced together. He can then create zones for different music, or have them all play the same thing.

Why doesn't the Amazon Echo understand me?

Episode 1448

Jay from Los Angeles, CA
Amazon Echo Dot

Jay has an Amazon Echo Dot and the Logitech Harmony system, and sometimes the Echo simply doesn't do anything. Leo says it can do that if it doesn't understand the command. Leo suggests turning on the "ding" feature that will signal that it understands him. He can also use the Amazon Echo app on his phone and look at what the Echo is doing. Then he can see if and why it didn't understand him.

Why can't I listen to the Tech Guy using the Amazon Echo?

Episode 1443

Brian from Indio, CA
Amazon Echo

Brian is trying to play Leo's Tech Guy podcast using the Amazon Echo, but it keeps playing an old episode from TuneIn. Leo tried it, and it does indeed pull up an old episode. Leo suspects it's the fault of TWiT that may not have uploaded the most recent episodes. Or there's an issue on TuneIn. Another option could be to ask Echo to play it via YouTube or straight from TWIT.tv.

What voice assistant is best for artificial intelligence?

Episode 1435

Robert from Mira Mesa, CA
Google Home

Robert wants a voice assistant that has the best artificial intelligence. He wants to be able to ask it a variety of different questions about the news. Leo says the Google Home is the winner in that category, but the Amazon Echo is the only device that lets you shop on Amazon. Amazon is also very good with music, and simple commands like setting a timer, and home automation tasks. There's also more than 50,000 third party skills on the Echo. The problem is that it's hard to find skills, and then he'd have to learn the specific syntax to use that skill.

How can I listen to The Tech Guy show when its preempted by football?

Episode 1433

Ron from Brea, CA
TuneIn

Ron likes to listen to Leo's show on Sunday, but it gets preempted often for football. Leo says he can use iHeartRadio and listen to the live stream there. Leo says he can also use a Bluetooth speaker so he doesn't have to wear headphones. Or, he can replace his regular radio with an internet radio. They work just like a normal radio but they tune in stations over the internet. He can also program them with Reciva. CCrane makes a good one.

Amazon Echo or Google Home?

Episode 1433

Nancy from Tarzana, CA
Amazon Echo Show

Nancy has an Android phone, her kids have iPhone. Which assistant should she get, Amazon Echo or Google Home? Leo says it doesn't really matter, but for Nancy, using the Google Home would be similar to Android's voice assistant. The Echo has been out for a few years now and it's a mature system, whereas Google Home just came out not long ago. Google Home is better for facts because of its search knowledge. Amazon Echo is better for home automation. It works well with a variety of Internet of Things devices. Google Home isn't quite there yet with Internet of Things.

How can I connect my Sonos to the Amazon Echo?

Episode 1432

Doctor Mom from New York
Sonos Play:1

Doctor Mom has managed to add her Sonos to the Amazon Echo by installing the Sonos Skill and letting it discover them in the devices section. It does have limitations, though. It can't play Spotify or Audible. The Echo will also immediately turn off all the speakers when it wakes up. The Sonos skill isn't really ready for prime time just yet. That's why she recommends getting the Vaux External Speaker for the Echo Dot, because you can drop the Dot right into it.