Gadget tip: using Amazon Alexa

black amazon echo on table
Photo by Fabian Hurnaus on

I’m still not entirely sure what to think of Alexa and find it weird when she suddenly butts into a conversation thinking she’s heard her name, but over time we are getting to know her capabilities.  Here’s my short guide to the useful, the fun and downright silly…

The useful: Ocado
Absolutely brilliant!  If you’re in the middle of cooking with messy hands and think of something to add to your next order, simply say “Alexa, please ask Ocado to add [washing powder] to my order (or “my trolley” depending on whether you have a current order placed).  She accesses your shopping history and picks something you frequently order, repeating it back to you with brand specifics, size and price.  Over time she gets more accurate and so useful for those everyday, regular items. You can also do this with Morrisons.

The silly: “Alexa, play would you rather…?”
A fun but silly distraction whilst the kids eat their tea. Questions that appeal to my two erm…sophisticated…sons include things like “Would you rather poo gold or sneeze silver?”   Much discussion ensues around the table culminating with Alexa telling you the percentage of people who answered the same as you.

The “I’m going to be a better parent this term”: reminders
We can all set reminders on our phone, but am I the only one to dismiss an alarm, then get distracted by Facebook or email?  After forgetting the water bottle on day 2 this term, I have started asking “Alexa set a reminder” to remind me of swimming kits, football boots and piano music.. the list is endless of what we need to remember!  It’s working so far…[cue me forgetting something important tomorrow].

The interesting: “Alexa, what’s the question of the day?”
A trivia question every day to help get you thinking!

One to try
“Alexa, tell everyone it’s time to get shoes on” – anyone else find their kids respond better to a device than to a parent? She records you and plays it back like a station announcement. Anything is worth a try to leave the house on time!

Lou top tip: if you’ve got an Alexa, ask her “Alexa, what are your popular skills” to find out what else she can do.

2 thoughts on “Gadget tip: using Amazon Alexa

Add yours

  1. I still don’t understand Alexa… You have to add things to the system before it works… I ask questions which it can’t answer. Toby likes asking scientific questions – which Alexa can’t answer… Siri on the other hand – answers anything and knows everything without loading any skills… Am I missing something?


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