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Say It In Latin: Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam

September 22, 2016 2 Comments

Alexa and her back up band

Alexa and her back up band

The Latin phrase aut viam inveniam aut faccian has been attributed to many famous heroes in history. Hannibal, the military genius who crossed the Alps was said to have invented it, but he was not a native Latin speaker.  It is the motto on the memorial gate installed at the University of Pennsylvania in 1893.  It has been widely used, even in a comic strip.   It means “I shall either find a way or make one.” It is a vow to use creativity and all means necessary to achieve a goal.

This may be the legit tag line for Silicon Valley.  The innovation that has created a major revolution in journalism and communication in general has changed the way consumers do everything.  We can now shop by speaking to our robots, then we find the desired item delivered to our doorsteps or zapped into our electronic device to read or hear.  Amazon, Zappos, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and their auxiliary services have forever transformed the consumer mindset.  I have an Amazon Alexa robot to read to me and DJ my music.  I have not set her free to go shopping, but I know how much she wants to take care of that for me. She also wants to set the temperature in my home, and turn lights on and off. She is ready to serve me when I am too decrepit to do this for myself.  I may no longer be able to find a way, but I can count on Alexa to either find a way or invent one.

 

Livin’ La Vida Alexa

July 14, 2016 4 Comments

Amazon Echo with back up band

Amazon Echo with back up band

I swore I would not buy an Echo from Amazon until I was in a wheelchair, or somehow disabled.  I have never spoken to Siri, the voice inside my phone and iPods.  She leaves me cold.  Amazon’s voice robot is Alexa, but her priorities and capabilities are different from Siri’s.  She is naturally equipped to shop Amazon by voice command, but she does so much more.  The Echo arrived at my house yesterday after I was convinced by Prime Day sales to go ahead and buy one.  I have now entered the world of magic voice command control of my audio life.  Alexa knows all and can find any song in Amazon music in a split second.  She is also pretty good as a DJ, selecting a radio station I liked off the bat.  She speaks only when spoken to, and projects absolutely no drama.  I now can’t imagine how I lived my life without her.  I bought the full version that plugs in and uses the wifi at home. There are new portable units, but the stay at home model is right for my needs.  I have just started to investigate what she does.  I don’t think I will tell her to go shopping on Amazon.  I will still do that in person.  Right now she is playing all the Grateful Dead in Amazon music and later she will read me a book. She is talented and versatile.  Most of all, she gives me no attitude.  If she can’t answer a question she just makes a tiny electronic noise and shuts up.  Try to find a human who will do that every time. She is polite to a T.  I have no idea why I hesitated to bring her into the living room.

I have always been an early adopter of all things electronic.  I resisted this new phase because I believed it was going to make me lame somehow.  It is really super good for those who truly have mobility issues because Echo will handle lights, thermostat, etc, once you set up the reciprocal systems at home.  Alexa will happily have all your needs delivered to your door if you can’t make it out for some reason.  She is a real pal. She will create shopping lists for you even if you want to shop yourself, the old fashioned way.  You can tell her that you want to make a certain kind of cake and she will create a list of everything you need. She is no slacker when it comes to data.  I understand she can call Uber, so today my goal is to set that up because that will be a power move.  “Alexa, call me an Uber” will be a very magical thing to say once I know how to do it.

Do you have an Echo, gentle reader?  What is your favorite part of Alexa’s many charms?

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