TODAY'S PAPER
38° Good Afternoon
38° Good Afternoon
BusinessTechnology

Did Santa bring you an Alexa? Let's put it to work

You can use Alexa to set the alarm

You can use Alexa to set the alarm on the Amazon Echo Dot with clock. Credit: TNS/Amazon

So you got an Amazon Alexa as a holiday gift and you’d like to know what she can do?

How about setting up some simple and inexpensive home automation?

You’re in the right place.

AMAZON’S ECHO DEVICES

Alexa, how can you help? You’ll be amazed at how many simple tasks Alexa can handle to make your house run smoother using the Echo Dot.

You can start the day by asking Alexa what the temperature is and what the forecast looks like. This is as easy as saying, "Alexa, what’s the weather going to be like outside today?"

Alexa also works for daily wake-up calls. Just say, "Alexa, set an alarm for every weekday at 6:30 a.m." If you’re taking the day off, sleeping late is a matter of requesting "Alexa, cancel my 6:30 a.m. alarm."

She’ll respond by saying, "6:30 a.m. alarm canceled. Do you want to cancel for every weekday?"

If you say no, she’ll just cancel the alarm for one day.

Alexa can similarly handle thousands of other simple tasks from setting a kitchen timer to adding items to your shopping list. For a comprehensive list of Alexa commands, go to cnet.com.

SKILLS

One of the best features of the Alexa ecosystem is the addition of third-party skills, which add features to the Echo through tie-ins to other companies.

These skills enable you to listen to Audible books through Alexa and control the playback with your voice. If you have a Roku TV, you can enable the Roku skill and control your TV with vocal commands. your voice. Nest smart thermostat users you can also use voice control for setting the temperature in your house.

You can also turn your Alexa into a white noise machine so you can tune out the sounds of the city and relax.

HOME AUTOMATION

Many smart home devices have turned to Alexa to help control things.

To set up a Wyze Smart Bulb, just use the Wyze app on your phone, load the Wyze skill in the Alexa app and ask Alexa to scan for new devices.

Alexa should take about 20 seconds to scan and come back to tell you she found a new bulb.

You name the bulb (like Bedside Table Lamp) and you can even assign it to a room in your home.

Assign an Echo device to the room (say, the bedroom) and you can just walk in and say "turn on the lights" to turn on all the lights assigned to that bedroom.

Once you have the bulbs set up, you can control the entire room with your voice.

MUSIC IN ANY ROOM

Finally, you can use your Echo to play music from most popular music services, like Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and SiriusXM.

If you have multiple Echo devices around your home, you can group them and sync up the music playback throughout your house.

Some Echo devices have pretty good speakers, but most Echoes — even the smallest Echoes like my Echo Dot — can connect to better speakers via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm aux out plug.

Plus, adding music to another room is the perfect excuse to buy another Echo.

More news