Hashtag Unexpected Benefits

2016-11-16_181827.jpgOur household received an early Christmas gift from a geographically distant relative; an Echo Dot from amazon. We are technophiles in this house so, though I knew I would never bother spending the money on such a frivolous thing, I was excited to have new tech toy.

It sat around for a week or so because we wanted to set it up together. Finally, after said week, we threw in the towel, realizing that our schedules would never mesh. The hubster thrust the box at me on his way to bed and told me to go ahead and get it running because “We’re never going to have the time.” While “never” is a bit of an overstatement, I’d been dying to get my hands on it. I jumped at the chance.

It took some doing to get it working but since I’m not writing this post for the purposes of a review, I’ll skip that portion. Once I got it working, it did not take me long to fall in love but again, this isn’t a review.

A little background: (Stick with me now, this is related.) My son, LM, is special needs. One of the things we have been working on with him for a few years now is using an appropriate volume indoors. He yells all. the. time. Reminding him to use his library voice works for about 10 minutes. Another manifestation is this odd quirk of being intolerant certain voices/sounds.

Back to the story …

While I was setting up the Dot, whose name is Alexa, by the way, I was careful to include skills (the programs / apps it runs are called skills)  for everyone. Animal facts for LM, Star Wars trivia for DH, a hilarious skill called A Box of Cats for the fur-girls, etc. I love this toy so much that I didn’t want to put it in a common area. I wanted to hide it in my office and go all Gollum on my family (My preeeeciousssss). Since I knew this was a distinct possibility, and not at all fair to the everyone else, this afternoon I moved it to the kitchen.

This relocation took place at the exact moment LM came home from school.

“Is that all set up?” He asked me, looking at me out of the corner of his eye and speaking with much with trepidation.

“Yeah, Bud, it’s really cool. Wanna see?”

He then began this thing he does when he doesn’t want to hear something. He started muttering a series of words under his breath that had nothing to do with each other.

“Bud,” I said to him in the matter of fact tone I use when he’s inappropriately acting out, “It won’t turn on by itself. It’s okay.”

He then began whispering, “Okay, don’t turn it on, okay?”

“Bud, seriously, it’s okay. You can speak normally. It doesn’t just turn on. You have to give it a command. Really, it’s fine.”

“I don’t like that thing. I have homework to do.” and off he went.

It’s kind of a bummer that LM doesn’t like the Dot. If he realized how much information was trapped in that low-profile disk he would love it. For now, I’ll content myself with his new-found volume.

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2 thoughts on “Hashtag Unexpected Benefits

  1. It has the potential to do things if you have smart home devices. If you do not have smart home devices, it’s limited. It can play music upon request based on artist or genre. It can play games albeit in a somewhat awkward fashion. I would say that, for now, it’s a toy and not much more.

    If you want an idea of available functions, a google search of “Echo Dot Skills” should provide what you need.

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