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Smart Speakers in the Kitchen

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Posted (edited)

I'm wondering Alexa users are using it for kitchen or cooking-related tasks.  

 

I couldn't find a dedicated thread but found some comments from other threads:

On 11/1/2017 at 8:48 PM, Shalmanese said:

I've found from my friends that those who just have the Joule use it way less than those who have both a Joule and an Alexa. The ability to voice command the Joule removes a lot of fiddliness vs using the smartphone app.

 

On 11/1/2017 at 11:21 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Alexa and I have a love hate relationship.  I can't live with her and I can't live without her.  Sometimes I have to raise my voice.

 

On 7/18/2017 at 6:20 PM, bonkboo said:

...We added the OurGroceries app to all our iPhones.  Everyone has access to the grocery list at all times.... Additionally, you can add to it via Alexa (Amazon Echo.)  

 

On 7/13/2017 at 12:06 PM, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Alexa would keep a shopping list for me but I don't want to impose on her. 

 

I am new to the Alexa party and jumped in late last year after Alexa got the Sonos skill, enabling me to control my sound system.  I was mostly interested in being able to do that in the kitchen, so when I'm listening to a podcast and some noisy appliance makes me miss a sentence, I can just tell Alexa to "rewind 10 sec" and I can catch up.   I paid $25 for a Dot, with a coupon from Sonos.  After trying it out for a while, I spent $30 for a second Dot over the holidays.  I already have speakers in every room, so I didn't need an Echo. 

 

I absolutely love using it to set timers - so much easier to use voice than need to dry off my hands to push timer buttons or fiddle with my phone.  Unlike a timer, I don't have a display to check but Alexa will gladly tell me that I have 7 min left on the oven timer, 30 min on the laundry timer and 12 min on my dough timer and when time is up, she tells me which timer is up.  For me, it's worth the $25 just as a multi-channel timer. 

 

I wish Alexa had a good measurement conversion skill so I could ask how much a tablespoon of something weighs in grams - she does OK with some things but not others.  

I also wish it had the ability to group devices so I'd be able to have the timer I set in the kitchen go off on the other Dot on the other end of the house. 

 

How about you?  How are you using Alexa?  Successes?  Failures?  What would you like to see added?

 

Host's note: this topic was originally titled "Using Alexa in the Kitchen" but renamed when it quickly morphed into a broader range of speakers.


Edited by Smithy Changed title; added host's note (log)

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I love Alexa, I have two Dots and an Echo. I mostly use the Echo in the kitchen. It's great for timers. It's also great for cooking information, like the internal temperature of ribeye, the recommended temp for brownies, etc... She's also great for store locations, hours and directions. And of course, she's great for music.

 

I think it's a success, I got them at a bargain, so I feel I've gotten value for my purchase.

 

Failures? The AI is not that good, Siri is better. She doesn't answer complex questions, actually she can't answer 75% of the questions I ask, they have to be very basic. I can't stand how one Alexa will pick up commands given to another Alexa in another room, but won't shut off when commanded. But for $25, I can't complain.

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I have six Echo devices but so far have not found space to place one in the kitchen.  So no culinary applications for Alexa, unless it counts asking Manathu-Vorcyon (my Roomba) to pick up bread crumbs from the floor.

 

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34 minutes ago, Smokeydoke said:

I can't stand how one Alexa will pick up commands given to another Alexa in another room, but won't shut off when commanded.

I can see how that would be annoying.  Mine aren't really in hearing range of each other so I haven't had that problem yet. 

 

15 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I have six Echo devices but so far have not found space to place one in the kitchen. 

You may not need to actually put the device in the kitchen - I only have 2 duplex outlets in the kitchen and wouldn't want to dedicate one for this I put one Dot in the family room, where it's about 15 feet away from the kitchen, but Alexa can hear me (and vice versa) quite well.  I put the other Dot in the master bathroom and I can ask Alexa to change the music  without getting out from under the covers in the adjacent bedroom, about 17 feet away.  

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31 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I have six Echo devices but so far have not found space to place one in the kitchen.  So no culinary applications for Alexa, unless it counts asking Manathu-Vorcyon (my Roomba) to pick up bread crumbs from the floor.

 

My Echo sits in the pass-thru between the kitchen and family room.  I've had it for a couple of years but have only really used it as a multi-timer.  And, I'll admit to swearing at it many, many times; it can be super annoying.

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36 minutes ago, lindag said:

 And, I'll admit to swearing at it many, many times; it can be super annoying.

Interesting.  Alexa and I haven't come to swear words yet.  Then again, my expectations are low - I'm the one always screaming, "SPEAK TO AN AGENT" into every automated phone system :$

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Maybe this thread should be called "Smart Speakers in the Kitchen" as there are a few different models, all doing essentially the same tasks. Instead of Amazon Echo with Alexa, I use the Google Home with Google Assistant and I hear that Apple will be introducing a smart speaker as well. 

 

I like the Google Home because it's actually quite good at answering most questions, since it has access to Google's powerful search engine. Its sound quality for music may not be quite as good, but I'm OK with it. It's super easy to make shopping lists that are immediately shared with my Google Pixel smartphone. Timers are indeed useful.

 

But since my smartphone has the voice-activated Assistant built in also, I can do many of the same things with it. Timers, weather, general information, etc. So I don't always appreciate what the Home is adding, other than a bigger speaker. But it's still fairly new to me, so I'll keep exploring. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

Maybe this thread should be called "Smart Speakers in the Kitchen" as there are a few different models, all doing essentially the same tasks. Instead of Amazon Echo with Alexa, I use the Google Home with Google Assistant and I hear that Apple will be introducing a smart speaker as well. 

 

Excellent point. I should have thought of that!  Ditto on the smartphone as they can do many of the same things.  I've been such a voice-recognition-phobe that I haven't explored that option.

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I also sometimes listen to my audiobooks on the Echo....the Dot that's in my bedroom has lesser sound quality so I don't use it for that.

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1 hour ago, lindag said:

I also sometimes listen to my audiobooks on the Echo....the Dot that's in my bedroom has lesser sound quality so I don't use it for that.

 

Yes, I was thinking this would be an excellent use for my Google Home, wonderful to listen to a book while I am sewing/quilting! Haven't tried it yet though.... 

 

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Google Home mini here. Love, love, love, the multiple hands free timers! Would buy again, even if that was all it did. Still exploring the capabilities though. 

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We have one but mostly only use it for music and timers - we tried asking questions a few times but it comes up with such dumb answers I’ve given up. I also wouldn’t trust it to follow along a recipe for me, no matter what they claim in commercials.

 

I do have a smartphone but the benefit of Alexa (a dot specifically) is it’s in the kitchen, not wandering off with whomever set the timer, so if a timer goes off someone near the kitchen can respond to it. There’s pretty much always someone in hearing distance of the kitchen Alexa so that works out.

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I also occasionally use mine to keep a shopping list.

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I think the whole world has basically turned into an episode of The Twilight Zone.

 

I have this weird fetish for these things called pen and paper. Funny for someone whose first job was in Silicon Valley, at Advanced Micro Devices, no less.

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17 minutes ago, weinoo said:

I think the whole world has basically turned into an episode of The Twilight Zone.

 

I have this weird fetish for these things called pen and paper. Funny for someone whose first job was in Silicon Valley, at Advanced Micro Devices, no less.

I’m ambitextrous. I use both. 

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3 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I’m ambitextrous. I use both. 

So does Significant Eater; that covers it for me.

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Posted (edited)

Ohhhhhhhh.....I received several 'smart' Christmas gifts. :D

An Eufy Genie, which is an Alexa device similar to an Echo Dot.

As with the Dot, the speaker sucks but the sound isn't bad when it's connected to decent PC speakers.

I also received a Google Home, Google Home Mini, Chromecast HDMI (for the TV) and two Chromecast Audios—which connect to speakers.

The Google Home, Mini and the two Chromecast Audios are connected, via wi-fi, to form an audio group.

In other words, they play in sync—when specifically commanded.

The Google Home's and the Mini's speakers aren't great, but the Chromecast Audios sound good when connected to good speakers.

 

The Google Home is beside my computer in the living room.

The Mini is in the Kitchen, as is a Chromecast Audio.

The other Chromecast Audio is in the 'man cave,' as is the Eufy Genie.

 

They're useful in many, MANY ways.

 

In terms of food related stuff, as mentioned above, they're great for easily setting timers—even multiple timers (and reminders.)

"A Google Home feature you will find most helpful in the kitchen is the timer function. To set a timer, just say, "OK (or Hey), Google, set a timer for five minutes." Check on the status of a timer with, "OK (or Hey), Google, how much time is left on my timer?" To cancel, pause or resume a timer, just tell the Google Home.

You can also be a little more specific by giving a timer a name, such as, "OK (or Hey), Google, set a 20 minute time for pizza." Then you can check on that specific timer by saying, "OK (or Hey), Google, how much time is left on my pizza?"

Unfortunately, at the moment, timers only work on the one device that they are set on. Hopefully that'll change in the future.

They're great for conversions: "Hey, Google! How many grams are there in 17 ounces?"

Nutrition information: "Hey, Google! "How many grams of carbohydrate in 150 grams of broccoli?"

Various other cooking and food related questions.

 

I can cast relevant podcasts and such to the audio group—from my Android phone or from Chrome browser.

I can cast relevant video to the Chromecast HDMI—connected to the TV.

 

I have a recipe PC (and tablet) in the kitchen so I have no need to use Google Home or Alexa for recipes.

 

They're fun and useful devices. :)

 

Can you tell that I'm an extremist? :D

 

 


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)
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Posted (edited)

Normally, I leap into the arms of a new technology. 

With this one I don't see the point.

And i have vague worries about listening devices, North Korea and the KGB.


Edited by gfweb (log)
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18 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Normally, I leap into the arms of a new technology. 

With this one I don't see the point.

And i have vague worries about listening devices, North Korea and the KGB.

 

 

I'll trade NSA in my kitchen for being able to call 911 after spilling boiling oil.  (Though I am a little worried the KGB finds out I'm cooking Georgian dishes.)

 

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17 hours ago, weinoo said:

I think the whole world has basically turned into an episode of The Twilight Zone.

 

I have this weird fetish for these things called pen and paper. Funny for someone whose first job was in Silicon Valley, at Advanced Micro Devices, no less.

 

‘The most techie person in this house is also a MASSIVE pen and paper nerd. And a software developer/networking geek. Our house is weird.

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It's clear I must install an Echo in the kitchen.  Now it's 1:30 and I am finally sitting down to my evening mai tai, after grueling dinner prep.  But this brings to mind the incident last night.  I was about to start shaking my mai tai when I remembered my precision timer traceable to NIST was in by the computer at the other end of the apartment.

 

In desperation I called out:  "Alexa, start a forty five second timer!"  The Echo in the bathroom reached out and heard me.

 

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On 08/01/2018 at 11:53 PM, gfweb said:

Normally, I leap into the arms of a new technology. 

With this one I don't see the point.

And i have vague worries about listening devices, North Korea and the KGB.

 

I would be troubled enough about Amazon, Google and Apple, without even getting to hackers or government agencies. I guess it marks me as a Luddite or a privacy crank, but there is literally no combination of features that would entice me to introduce an always-on surveillance device into my home. 

 

 

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On 1/13/2018 at 7:40 AM, chromedome said:

I would be troubled enough about Amazon, Google and Apple, without even getting to hackers or government agencies. I guess it marks me as a Luddite or a privacy crank, but there is literally no combination of features that would entice me to introduce an always-on surveillance device into my home. 

 

 

 

You are talking about smart speakers right?  They maybe always on but only listening for key words.

 

https://www.wired.com/2016/12/alexa-and-google-record-your-voice/

 

Nothing you say gets sent out until you say the magic words.  Easy to monitor your wifi data use from the device to prove that to yourself.

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Probably not as potentially 007 as smartphones—which can also be used as a 'smart' speaker.


Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

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I just discovered a new use for my Echo

I enjoy games and Echo has one, it's called 'Escape the Room'

Try it by saying 'Alexa, open Escape the Room'.

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