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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 139 – Past Innovations

Show description

On this episode, Aleeha, Jason, Leslie, Meaghan and Michael discuss some of the great technology released in the last decade. While talking about the Amazon Echo devices, the comical Echo Silver Video from Youtube came up and we thought we would share the link with you for your entertainment.

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A new podcast will premier in a few weeks. Hands-On Safety will be a monthly podcast discussing topics pertaining to personal safety and awareness for people with disabilities.

Picks

Meaghan: Apple TV+
Leslie: Amazon Echo Show
Jason: Beats Solo-Pro
Aleeha: 2019 16 inch MacBook Pro
Michael: Star Trek Picard

Providing Feedback

We love hearing from you, so feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page. If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our PayPal and Patreon pages. If you wish to interact with us during our podcasts live then please do join us on our Slack channel.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 132 – Amazon Echo Announcements 2019

Show Description

On this episode, Michael and Jason discuss the wide range of new Alexa products announced at Amazon’s September 25th event. These include the Echo Studio, Echo Buds, Echo Frames, Echo Loop, and so much more.

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Providing Feedback

We love hearing from you, so feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net. You can follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Also, don’t forget to check out our YouTube page, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page. If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our PayPal and Patreon pages. If you wish to interact with us during our podcasts live then please do join us on our Slack channel.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

iA UnboxCast 39 – Amazon Echo Show (Second Generation)

Show Description

On this episode, Michael, Aleeha, and Leslie unbox the second generation Amazon Echo Show.

Providing Feedback

We love hearing from you. Feel free to send an email to feedback@iaccessibility.net, or follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find us on Reddit, and all around the web. Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel, and for all things iACast, check out our iACast page. If you’d like to help support us, you can do so via our PayPal and Patreon pages. If you wish to interact with us during our podcasts, please do join us on our Slack channel.

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iA Cast iA UnboxCast

#iACast UnboxCast 24: Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

On this episode, Aleeha, Michael, Scott, and Chelsea unbox the third generation Echo dot which has some amazing new features and a few drawbacks.

Features

The third generation Echo Dot has amazing sound for a small device. It is bigger than the original dots, but it has a brighter light ring. The buttons are also move tactile than the previous models.

Drawbacks

There are only two drawbacks to this device. The third dot uses the second generation Echo power block, which does not have micro-USB support, and may make it difficult to use with certain power strips. The third gen Echo Dot also does not have great bass at higher volumes. The speaker is definitely great and loud, but you will get the best low end sound at lower volume levels.

Conclusion

While there are a few drawbacks, this device will be perfect for anything even without a set of speakers connected to it. It will even work well as a good travel device.

Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation

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iA Cast

#iACast DemoCast 5 – Echo Calling

On this episode of the iA Cast, Michael, Jason, and Aleeha discuss the latest updates to the Alexa app and how to use the new communications features for the Alexa app for iOS.

Alexa App for iOS
Alexa App for Android
Amazon Echo Calling and Messaging

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iA Cast

#iACast DemoCast 4 – Echo Dot

In this episode of the iA DemoCast, Aleeha sets up the Amazon Echo Dot for the first time with iOS Alexa app. She then demonstrates a few things you can try with your own Alexa enabled device.

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Alexa App for iOS
Amazon Alexa App for Android

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 35 – Hands Free Purchasing Power

Welcome to our latest episode of the iA Cast. This week we discuss the following topics.

We will have one more episode this week and then we will have new content fresh from the CSUN 2017 conference

We are looking for new ways to bring you into the conversation, and we encourage people to join us for the podcast recording on TeamTalk at teamtalk.iaccessibility.net. We only ask that you mute while we record the podcast.

We hope that you have enjoyed this episode. Please email us at feedback@iaccessibility.net for suggestions or to leave comments or feedbac.

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iA Cast iA Cast Weekly

#iACast 34 – iA DemoCast 2: The Braille Challenge

Last year we released the Braille Challenge skill to the Alexa Skills Store. Join Michael as he demonstrates the use of this skill in this episode of the iA DemoCast.

You can find the Braille challenge at the following link.
The Braille Challenge – Alexa Skills Store

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Ashley’s fav device of 2016

2016 was a great year for technology. One of the things I am excited about is the Amazon Echo Dot. I received the Dot at the end of the year and have come to love the Dot as soon as I started explore some of its capabilities.

Design

The Amazon Echo Dot is a smaller version of the Amazon Echo. The Dot is its own speaker. It can hear you from a good distance away with the seven microphones places in the Dot. You can use the Dot as a Bluetooth speaker for your phone or tablet. You can also connect powerful speakers to the Dot via Bluetooth or the 3.5 MM jack.

Skills

With the Dot, you have access to many skills. To find skills that you are interested in, check out the skills section of the Alexa app.

Some of my favorite skills in no particular order are:

  • Ocean Sounds: This skill will play ocean sounds for a limited period of time. There are two similar skills that are a big favorite, thunder sounds and rain sounds.
  • Bed Time Story: Ask Alexa to open Bed Time story and tell her your name and be put to sleep, or not!
  • Dominos: Yes, go ahead and order up some pizza. Dominos has a skill for Alexa.

I hope with this short post you have learned a little about the Amazon Echo Dot . The Dot is a great buy if you want a portable device that is able to control devices in your home; for example, lights, switches and more.

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Google Home First impressions

We are entering a market where the internet connected products that is controlled via voice is starting to get competitive. Up until now Amazon’s Echo has been the well-known product on the block. Now, in November 2016, Google Home is released. In this review, I hope to talk about how Google Home stacks up against Amazon Echo.

Unboxing and Setup

Unboxing the device, you find the unit, the power cable and some printed cards telling you about the Google Home app which you can download for iOS and Android. Physically, the device looks like an enlarged air freshener. You have one button on the back which controls if the microphones are on and off. You also plug in the AC cord on the back of the device. The base of the device is removable should you want to purchase additional bases. The base attaches magnetically and it covers the area where the speakers are located. On the top, you have a touch panel that you can use to adjust volume by moving your finger in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction, also you can start and stop media via this touch panel by tapping the touch panel with one Finger.

Setup

Once I plugged in the Google Home, I got the Google Home app on my iPhone 7 Plus. Setup was simple, I signed into my google account and connected the home to wifi. I was also able to link my Google Home with Spotify for music playback.

What Can you Do with Google Home?

You can do a lot of the same things you can do with Amazon Echo including ask for the time, the weather, tell me a joke, set alarms etc. You can play music and podcasts as well. You use “OK Google” as the phrase to wake it up.

Some things that are different include playing games like a trivia game show, it can walk you through the completion of madlibs and you can ask the crystal ball what your future holds. I found those quite fun I must say. The Home is also very conversational. For example when I asked it Who Is Donald Trump”?   I then asked, “When was he born?” The Home knew I was talking about Donald Trup from my last question. That is something that currently, Amazon Echo does not do at the time of this writing.

Things I Did Not Like

I did not like the speaker. It was mono which to be fair, so is the large Echo. However, I found it muffled and just not suitable for my ears for any music playback. You do get some bass and some highs, but overall, I just did not like the sound of the speaker. I hope in future we see a new home with much better sounding audio or the ability to use your own audio like you can with the $50 Echo Dot.

I also think the platform needs to mature, which to be fair, the Echo had to as well. The Echo has a wealth of skills and other things you can do at this point. I hope we see developers embracing the home platform going forward. I found at this point in 2016, everything I tested on the Home feature wise, my current Echo and Echo dot can do. I will be watching this platform as time goes on.

Pricing

The Google Home is $130 US. Below, find the link if you wish to purchase a different base.

https://store.google.com/product/google_home_base

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The Braille Challenge is coming to Alexa

Do you have the Amazon Echo with Alexa? If so, then you will soon be able to test your knowledge of Braille by playing the Braille Challenge game on the Amazon Echo, which is coming soon.

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Echo Accessibility

In 2014, Amazon released the beta version of its Echo device that lets users speak and get answers to questions. The Echo seems to be Amazon’s version of Siri, but with a few features Siri does not have.

I just purchased an Echo, and have loved my experience with this device. The Echo will always listen to what’s going on, and it will listen to the code word that is set. I kept mine set to Alexa. I can say things like, “Alexa, what is the weather today?” or, “Alexa, continue reading my book.” which would then have Alexa continue reading my Kindle book. This is one of my favorite features, because I like getting books for my Kindle Voyage, but I sometimes would just like to listen to the book, and Alexa makes this possible. It does get a bit annoying as they promote Audible each time you start reading a Kindle book, but it doesn’t take long before Alexa starts reading again.

The one thing that Amazon could do better with this device is to create a better Echo app. You have to do all setup in the Echo app, but the app layout could be made better especially in the skills section.

Conclusion

While there are many personal assistants out there, the Amazon Echo stands above the rest with its features and personality. They also have a great speech synthesizer built in that provides more inflection to words that make the device have some of the best human sounding speech that is out on the market right now.