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Smart use for your Amazon Echo – and security measures you can’t skip



The Amazon Echo line is the ruling champ of the smart speaker world. Compared to virtual assistants like Google and Siri, Alexa works with more gadgets and responds to more commands than the competition.

Plus, Echo devices are relatively inexpensive, starting at $ 25 for the Flex and $ 30 for the Dot when you get it on sale.

I bought six of these Echo Shows for Christmas gifts. They have a nice screen, so all the kids and grandchildren can pop and say hello to my Mom whenever they want. He will love it.

Maybe you are new to Alexa and all she can do, or you need new ideas to give new life to your smart speaker. Here are 20 ways he can make your life easier ̵

1; or just make you and the family laugh.

First, let’s talk about security

Do not hide any smart device that can hear what you are saying in private places such as your bedroom or bathroom. If you work from home, keep it in your office space, too – or turn off the speaker during work hours. You do not want to risk anyone or anything who has heard confidential information.

You need to adjust some privacy settings, too. With a few taps, you can teach Alexa to delete your notes and automatically disable voice purchases. Tap or click here for all the steps.

Now, onto the fun stuff!

1. “Alexa, call (contact)” or “Alexa, call (number).”

Alexa recognizes names and spoken numbers and can call for you. To do this, first, register your contacts in the Alexa app. On your smartphone, open the app and follow these steps:

  • Tap Talk.
  • Tap contact icons.
  • choose the menu icon, and then Add Contact.
  • Type a name and phone number, and then select Save.

Once your contacts are registered, ask Alexa to call you for yourself.

Note: There are some numbers that Alexa cannot call, including 911, toll-free numbers or international numbers outside of the US, Mexico or Canada.

2. “Alexa, move the meeting 8 am today to 1 pm” or “Alexa, cancel my 10 am call.”

Alexa can act as your personal assistant if you sync your calendar. He can remind you of your upcoming meetings or even move, cancel or schedule one for you.

Here’s how to sync calendars from iCloud, Outlook, Google and other services:

  • Open the Alexa app and go to the settings menu.
  • Select Settings.
  • Select Calendar and Email.
  • Select your account provider and select Connect Account.
  • Follow the on-screen directions to sync your calendar. Repeat these steps for each calendar you want to add.

3. “Alexa, drop in on all devices.”

Do you remember these clunky old intercom systems in big houses? Alexa is the modern equivalent.

To use it, simply say “Alexa, drop in on all devices” to reach every Alexa-enabled speaker or “Alexa, drop in (device name)” to target only one . Then just wait for the confirmation tone before speaking.

You can call the whole family for dinner without leaving the kitchen. Easy to use!

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4. “Alexa, remember …”

Alexa remembers specific dates and events for you. Say “Alexa, remember …” followed by whatever you want her to follow.

For example, “Alexa, remember I have a dentist appointment by 1 pm Tuesday” or “Alexa, remember I hid the key in the kitchen cupboard.”

5. “Alexa, set the volume to (number between 1 and 10)”

The echo speakers have volume buttons at the top to adjust the audio levels, but you do not have to get up and walk to your speaker to change it. Just tell Alexa what level of volume you want.

Try experimenting around different levels to see which one you prefer. You can also ask Alexa to “set the volume to 11,” which increases the volume. This is a sneaky reference to a classic movie.

6. “Alexa, what is the extended forecast?”

This command will show you the extended forecast over the next seven days. I bet you will use it always.

7. “Alexa, tell me about the movie (title).”

Alexa is a great resource for culture of vanity and pop. Asking him about specific films will give you a brief introduction to the director, stars, and plot of the film. He will even tell you the IMDb rating.

8. “Alexa, who plays (character) in (movie or show)?”

You can also ask Alexa to meet an actress in a movie you are watching. This may resolve some heated debates. Be sure to say the name of the character and the title of the show or movie.

9. “Alexa, who is singing this song?” or “When did this song come out?”

With this command, you can ask Alexa to identify a song that is currently playing through the speaker.

To activate this feature, say “Turn on Song ID.” You can also ask him to disable the feature if you no longer want to use it by saying, “Turn off Song ID.”

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10. “Alexa, convert” or “Alexa, calculate (math problem)”

Alexa is a great resource in the kitchen. He can convert measurements to a simple voice command. But beyond the cooking world, Alexa can solve complex math problems in seconds.

11. “Alexa, what wine is good for (food)?”

When you have finished preparing dinner, it is time to find the perfect wine to pair it with. Alexa can help. Just activate this Wine Pairing skill from the Alexa skill shop, and you will be fine with a fancy dinner at home.

12. “Alexa, ring (radio station).”

Alexa can play your favorite radio stations with voice commands as well. That is easy to use if many of us do not change. You just have to make sure you know the name of the station you are asking for.

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13. “Alexa, Wikipedia (subject).”

If you are the type who wants to settle arguments on the spot, this command is for you. Just ask Alexa on “Wikipedia” a topic you want to discuss and she will read aloud a preview of the entire article.

Do you want more privacy? Tap or click here to see how you can tell Alexa to delete what you said.

14. “Alexa, spell (word).” or “Alexa, define (word).”

If you are a stickler for spelling and grammar, this command is another great argument-fixing tool. Alexa retrieves all this information from Webster’s dictionary, so you don’t need to.

15. “Alexa, tell me a joke.”

This is an oldie but a goodie. Not only is Alexa useful – she’s fun too. Most of his soundbites are daddy’s jokes and jokes, but there are a few that are really funny. Try them:

  • “Alexa, how much do you weigh?”
  • “Alexa, find Chuck Norris.”
  • “Alexa, do you know the man muffin?”

16. “Alexa, give me quotes from (movie).”

If you want to hear what Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator sounds like in Alexa’s voice, you can ask him to give you a quote from “Terminator 2” – or any other movie for that matter. It no longer remembers hearing him say, “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Are you looking for some new skills? Tap or click here to download 9 Alexa skills you will love.

17. “Alexa, how many days until (date or holiday)?”

This is similar to Alexa’s calculation ability, but with a more practical daily use. Now, when your kids ask how far Christmas is, you can give them the right answer. Better yet, they can ask Alexa and leave you here.

18. “Alexa, drop a beat.”

And for aspiring rappers out there, Alexa can come up with a synthesized tune. The beats are surprisingly enticing.

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19. “Alexa, what is the value of Pi?”

This is one of the nerdiest things you can ask Alexa, but she is more than work. Alexa reads you the value of Pi up to 100 digits, which is surprising and a bit scary to hear.

20. “Alexa, what do you think of Siri?”

A little friendly rivalry never hurts anyone, right? Ask Alexa what she thinks about Siri, and you’ll get a backhanded response you might not have expected.

Need help from a tech expert you can trust? Post your tech questions and get solid answers from me and other tech pros. Try it now.

What are the questions of digital living? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to see it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio show. Kim receives calls and dispensations for advice on digital lifestyle today, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.


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