What the Tech: Cool Alexa tips and tricks

Consumer technology reporter Jamey Tucker shows us those smart assistants are a lot smarter than you may think.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 3:43 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One of the more popular gifts over the holidays again this year, was Amazon’s Echo devices, the smart home assistants people know as Alexa.

Amazon says the most common use of these devices is to play music and set timers.

Everyone knows her name, and since the Echo device in your home is probably named “Alexa” you can change this device’s name, in our case to “Ziggy” to keep yours from responding when talking about it.

You can change her name to Amazon, Computer, Echo, or Ziggy. You can do it in the app, or just walk up to the device and say “change your name to Ziggy”.

The device will respond with “okay, you can call me Ziggy in a few seconds.”

If you don’t want to wake someone, just whisper when you ask it something and it’ll whisper the reply.

Misplace your smartphone? Alexa will help you find it. Say “find my phone” and the device will respond with “okay, I’m calling your phone.”

If you have these devices all over the house, you can drop in on any room by saying “drop in” and the name of the room it’s in. Or make an announcement that goes out to every device in your home.

It can even act as a security system when you’re not home. Just ask “Ziggy, guard my house.” If a smoke detector goes off, or glass shatters, she’ll sound an alarm and send you a notification.

You can set up a series of activities after you say “good morning.”

In the app, tap “create routine,” then add actions. Just saying “good morning” can turn on a FireTV to a certain channel, read the news headlines, and tell you the weather conditions and traffic reports for your commute.

And if you go into Alexa Blueprints, you can customize Alexa’s responses. Such as “who’s the best mom in the world?”

Her response? “I just compared all moms in history and my conclusion is that Nancy Tucker is the best.”

This is a great surprise for birthdays and she’ll say anything you want her to say.

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