internet of things

Is the Echo Look good for the blind?

Amazon Echo Look

Episode 1527

Olga from Prescott, AZ

Olga wants to know if the Amazon Echo Look is a good option for the blind. Leo says that while the Echo is great for the blind in general, the Look model has a camera that is really only good for taking pictures of an outfit to make a fashion choice. Then it uses the pictures to compare wardrobe choices from the last week and to recommend outfits. Leo found it to be a bit silly, and it might not be her taste.

Amazon Hosts Surprise Alexa Event with 14 New Products

Episode 1525

Thursday, Amazon held a surprise Alexa event, announcing 14 new Alexa centered products, with nearly 75 new features. Rich doesn't think it's trivial that Amazon chose the day before the iPhone shipped to grab all the headlines. But Rich also thinks that companies want their customers to be exclusive, and you can end up becoming deeper into their ecosystem, making it harder to use other products outside of it.

How can I use a Ring video doorbell without home internet?

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Episode 1507

Mimi from Orange County, CA

Mimi recently bought a Ring Video Doorbell 2, but she doesn't have internet at home. Leo says she would have to have internet access at home to get it to work. It has to have Wi-Fi to connect. She could use a cellphone in hotspot mode, but that would be as expensive, or more than just having a home internet connection. She could talk to her neighbors to see if she can use their Wi-Fi to connect her doorbell. Another option is to use a MiFi card. That would enable her to connect up to five devices, including the doorbell.

How could I get Google Assistant to turn on my sound bar?

Logitech Harmony Hub

Episode 1507

Noah from Grand Rapids, MI

Noah has bought a sound bar, but it won't turn on with his Google Assistant. Leo says if the sound bar isn't supported by Google, or vice versa, it won't be able to use voice activated control from the Google Assistant. He could just leave it on, but if it shuts down automatically, then that's going to be a problem. He should look to see if he can disable the eco, or power down mode.

Why is the audio from my Echo cutting in and out?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1465

Kevin from Malibu

Kevin is having trouble with his two Alexa devices. They are intermittently going in and out. Leo says that if it comes back where it left off, that's just buffering of the internet and is a sign that his bandwidth isn't keeping up. If it's dropping out and coming back at a different time, then he's losing packets. Either way, it's an internet issue. It could also be iHeartRadio. It could also be congestion with wireless traffic. Kevin could use a Wi-Fi analyzer to see if someone's Wi-Fi hotspot is getting in the way.

Why doesn't Alexa work on my Sonos One?

Sonos One

Episode 1465

Peter from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Peter bought a Sonos One speaker with Alexa built in. Alexa doesn't work, though. Leo says that's probably due to Amazon Canada. The Sonos One also has a limited version of Alexa, so Leo has a hunch it's an issue with Sonos. It may also be a region code issue. Peter should try using an American credit card, which could solve the issue. But Leo says it's only a matter of time before that clears up because Echo is going everywhere.

How can I wire an Echo into my mother's nurse call system?

Amazon Echo Dot

Episode 1463

Judy from Virginia

Judy wants to know if her mother, who is in a nursing home, can be wired in to call the nurse outdoors. She can't pull the string to call the nurse. The chatroom says that Amazon has the "Add a motor drapery motor" that could maybe do it. But Leo says that the easiest thing to do would probably be to buy an Echo Dot for the nurse's station. That way her mother can do a "drop-in" with the Echo to call them.

Can a home assistant device make phone calls?

Amazon Echo Connect

Episode 1463

Stephen from Riverside, CA

Stephen wants to get a voice operated home device to make phone calls for his mother in law. Leo says that the Amazon Echo only works with other Echo devices. Google Home Assistant, however, can be linked to his phone and can make phone calls by voice. The chatroom says that Echo Connect will work to make phone calls, especially emergency ones. Leo says that these in-home voice assistants are a game changer, especially for older folks. They're also cheap enough now that he can put them in every room.