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IPhone/IPad Tips: Updates: Amazon Echo & TrackIF

By: Gordon Kinlaw

Gadget: Amazon Echo $179 and App

iphoneThe Echo device is just great- Plays beautiful music and interacts with you. I have a news brief play when I get up and then I tell it to play Jazz just to fill the house. I control my thermostat and will soon be able to control lights and appliances as soon as my SmartPlugs get here.

Controls are accomplished via IFTTT, If This Then That, website. I explained IFTTT in a newsletter last year This system connects “channels” Alexa is channel and Honeywell is a channel. So an audio command that is acceptable with cause a change in the thermostat. Look up IFTTT and use it with your phone. I think you can change the temperature by driving up to your house and by leaving the house. Ditto for lights.amazon-echo

I reported that these devices sync and play the same music and for a fact they do not. They are certainly capable of doing just that so maybe we will get a software change soon. Here’s a work-around: Open the Alexa app on your phone and go to music. Select TuneIn Radio and find WVCO. Hit play. At the top of the screen you have device selection, so pick your next device and hit the play button at the bottom. Both devices are playing the same music. This is accomplished via Wifi so you can cut your phone off or leave the house and the music continues.

I ordered the Amazon Echo’s little brother device that just started shipping. It’s call DOT. It’s just a few inches high. It has pretty much the same feature minus the high quality speaker. It;s not a bad sound. It also will not allow bluetooth in from your phone. On the other hand, it does have an audio out plug and bluetooth out feature. So for $50 you can get the Alexa experience and add a high quality bluetooth speaker.   This means that you can hook up your boom box or your whole house stereo to Amazon Music. You can order the DOT one at a time or in a 6-pack. These DOT’s will be awesome Christmas presents for kids and the bigger kids sometimes referred to as adults.amazon-echo-dot

Just to review, there are 3 devices: Echo, Tap, and now Dot. $180, $125 & $50. Order the Echo first because the sound is great. Order Dots or Taps’ for the kids.

Google is going to get in on this act with their own version of an assistant.

TrackIF App Change

TrackIF is changing to MyAlerts. This site and app will track price changes for your favorite purchases. The site will allow you to install an extension in your browser that when activated will accept the for sale item on your page as a tracked item. You will get an email when there is a price change.

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