I have been a long time Alexa product user. Amazon has easily infiltrated my home in several key areas not to mention key rooms of the house itself. What started off as one simple, original Echo purchased on sale has now evolved to a point that I am too cool for my remote. Maybe that should read “too lazy” but I prefer “too cool” for obvious reasons.
That first Echo had nothing to do with the TV. In fact, it wasn’t anywhere near a TV and was in a room with one that was only on maybe an hour or so a day. I can remember thinking… this Echo thing sounds cool but what would I do with it? Being a technophile with limited impulse control I purchased it anyway.
This wasn’t exactly the street corner crack method of gaining customers but that is only because they didn’t give it away first. Cool tech is digital crack to some of us. Just give us a taste and we’re part of the family… until we get a better taste elsewhere.
Bezos and team are insanely clever and to say they know marketing would be an understatement. All you have to do is look at these devices in my house and studio to see who’s hooked to know someone may need a digital crack 12 step program in the future.
This also means that I have to be vigilant and keep these things as secure as possible including opting out of the new Amazon Sidewalk. Nothing against the new feature if you want it but I don’t have a sidewalk. Ok… I know it’s not really that simple and I’d like to help out with neighbors’ devices staying connected and all but until I’m sure it's secure… no. The automatic opt-in was a slap to the face but then when you are as big as Amazon you can slap a few folks around and not feel it.
You can see I am an Amazon junkie. Living in the middle of nowhere… Amazon and Walmart online are great places to get things we couldn’t get in the 20th century but now it’s the 21st and this old cowboy hasn’t looked back. I want it fast, easy, and on my doorstep.
Now to get back to the Fire TV thing (no… I wasn’t rambling… there was a point in there somewhere), that first Echo purchase, as I said earlier, led to multiple devices including an original Fire TV and original Fire TV Sticks being deployed across the realm of WarLordia ad infinitum. All was well as they synced between each other and I could easily continue any show from room to room or house to studio and so forth.
The remote control with voice was awesome once I got the hang of it so you can understand my confusion when I was getting little tastes and small whiffs of the voice-activated Fire TV Cube. Being the quick-witted and astute country boy that I am… I was immediately confused.
I already had voice on my existing remote controls. Keep in mind that for every Fire-based device there is a remote with voice, so each room holds one of those in a place of prominence. I blew it off.
A bit later I upgraded the old Fire Sticks for newer 4K when they were on special and now could eliminate all but the Fire remote. This meant TV and sound system remotes could be retired and I was happy with my newer Fire Sticks.
Until I saw the Cube on special… and like a moth to flame, I bought that sucker and within a few days had it set up in which my main TV system including soundbar and all that. Just like its cousins the Fire Sticks, the setup was easy, and paired all my devices to the Cube.
I sat down pondering what I had just done and why until I said: “Alexa… turn on the TV” and the entire system fires up. Soon I’m looking at the Fire TV’s familiar menu.
Next, I asked Alexa to play YouTube which opened up to the last video I was watching. Basically, where I left off. I have to admit to having a bit of a smile on my face at this point, but it was the next morning during my exercise that I fully appreciated what it could do to make my life better.
Standing in front of the cold TV I told Alex to open YouTube and as before it all fired up and did just that. Then I gave a command I was sure it couldn’t follow:
Alexa… open 5 Minute Tai-Chi Module 3 on YouTube… and… it did! No fumbling around, back, and forth or sideways scrolling. Just boom and it’s there.
I was not only pleasantly surprised but realized that this was BIG! Mega BIG! Universal BIG! I no longer have to hold a remote control.
OMG!!! I’m too cool for my remote!
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.