Amazon Echo Show 5

A NEW review! The Amazon Echo Show 5.

Usually, in the tech world, a numeral following a product name indicates a version. In the case of Amazon’s Echo Show 5, the number indicates NOT a version, rather, it indicates the screen size! Very odd and NOT unlike Amazon to twist something for marketing purposes.

I’ve read much about the device and the reviews have been GREAT! The picture is described as “very good” and the sound “amazing” for a device its size. And, it has all the functionality of any Amazon Echo (“Alexa”)!

There’s something happening in the world of voice assistants: they’re starting to include screen. Now, instead of being voice in/out, they’re becoming visual assistants as well. How nice to be able to say “Alexa, rewind (the cooking show) ten seconds” or “Alexa, show me the front door” (meaning the view from your smart doorbell [with camera] or your front-facing security camera).

The device can play music, too. And with the millions of titles available on the Amazon Prime Music service, you have hours, days, weeks, months of streaming music available to calm your stressed-out inner beast.

iPhone X Review

OK, so I’m not the first person to offer a review of the iPhone X and I doubt that I’ll be the last!

I believe I’m becoming a bit jaded: I received my “X” on Friday, the first day it shipped. I did NOT set it up (or even open the box) until Saturday. Yawn.

Out-of-the-box set-up was crazy simple. The device seemed to anticipate EACH step from getting facial recognition set to restoring apps from my old “7+” … except … (and this is B-I-G!) Once set-up was complete, the “X” seemed operational. Note: I said “seemed” … It was NOT until the following Monday, after dropping my wife off at the commuter train (BART, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area), and driving home that I realized the “X” didn’t “bing” my wife’s usual message that she was “on board and rolling.”

Hmmm…???

When I arrived home, I checked the phone. The Message app indicated “awaiting authorization” (?!) SO did the Phone app ?!

Apparently, I had been carrying around a “brick”. The final step in the set-up was contacting the carrier (in this instance Sprint) and telling them to authorize the device.

Would have been nice to read that I must contact the carrier to authorize the device somewhere in the set-up instructions (I don’t remember reading any set-up instructions!)

I’m still adjusting to the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the “X” and the “7+”. So far, so good. The facial recognition is excellent! Swipping up in lieu of the double press on the Home button to “Close” apps is taking a while to adjust to and switching among apps is easy and fast!

I’ll use it more and add to this brief review at a later date.

Isn’t it a GREAT time to be alive?!!

August Update

“TechTalk” is a bi-monthly gathering that I host to discuss all things techie that might be of value to the Baby Boomer generation. Today was our first August meeting and it was a winner!! We were introduced to “ELLI-Q” from Intuition Robotics.

“ELLI-Q™ is an active aging companion that keeps older adults active and engaged.”

Although NOT available to the public as yet, the company appears to have an excellent outreach program that introduces the concept and one of the original working prototypes to groups of older adults. These presentations take the form of a focus group. Our presenter, Danielle Ishak – User Experience Researcher – provided us with company background and then dove right into the gist of ELLI-Q stopping along the way to ask for questions and suggestions, likes and dislikes.

It’s a clever device that “emotes” with easily-interpreted gestures and sounds. She speaks, similar to Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Assistant, however she’s much more. Once “on-boarded”, ELLI-Q begins to “learn” her owner’s likes and dislikes and begins to – proactively – make suggestions for anything from playing music (“Shall I play Iron Butterfly’s In a gadda da vida?”) to playing games (“Hey! You’re going to be playing bridge with the girls this afternoon, would you like to practice for awhile?”).

She’ll also do all the routine things like reminding you to take your medications and to go for a walk and she’ll monitor your environment and your activity to be sure you’re safe. If she detects that something’s not right, she’ll alert whomever you have on her call list.

ELLI-Q is still in beta and the developers are working through kinks while adding new behaviors. And, they’re seeking the input of the folks they want ELLI-Q to live with: us!

Check ELLI-Q out: I’ve included the link above and another here.