Heard of Alexa? Not really sure what “she” is or how “she” works? Here is a little explanation in case you are interested in purchasing the device, or already have one and not sure what it does! Amazon has 3 smart home devices – Echo (the original speaker), Dot (the miniature version) and Show (with a video screen). You probably already know that you can ask Alexa to play a song or you can ask a question. Here’s how that works: Whenever you ask Alexa a question or give her a command, the Echo records the audio and uploads the snippet to Amazon’s cloud servers. Those servers translate the audio into text, then figure out the best way for Alexa to answer. That info gets sent back to your Echo speaker, where Alexa translates the text back into a spoken response. All of this happens in about a second. If you are wondering about the listening part, it only starts once you use the wake word – either Alexa, or another word you may have changed it to. Once that word is used, you should see a blue ring of light on the device. At that point, the device is listening. There is a mute button on the top of the Echo, and at that point, Alexa will stop listening for the wake word. At this point there are 1000s of commands that Alexa will respond to. I will spot light commands in the newsletters to come.
Tip of the month
How to take iPhone photos with just your voice
After checking on a few settings, you can easily use Siri to take photos with just voice commands. You can even do this with your screen locked, which could save time if you want to take a picture quickly. First, go to your Settings, then Siri & Search. Make sure you have turned on Allow Siri When Locked and also Listen for ‘Hey Siri’.
Photo Commands (If your iPhone is on lock screen, be sure to say “Hey Siri” first:
Take a picture (or photo) – your camera will open
Take a square photo
Take a panoramic photo
Take a video
Take a slo-mo video
Siri’s selfie game is only fair. You can ask Siri to “take a selfie” or even “take a square selfie” and Siri will open the camera app with the front-facing camera activated. What Siri can’t do is actually capture the photo, leaving you to stretch your arm out and tap the shutter or volume button yourself.