As a real estate agent, my job is to know what’s trending in smart home technology—that strange, ever-evolving realm of products and mobile apps that are designed to boost your home’s IQ. I’ve seen firsthand how young home buyers gawk at cool techie features like video doorbells and smartphone-controlled, auto-adjusting thermostats. Even small touches, like a keyless entry for the front door, can make a home stand out in the minds of prospective buyers.
So, imagine my excitement when I treated myself to the hottest smart home product to date: the Amazon Echo. For the rare few who haven’t encountered one yet, the Echo ($140) is a sleek, hands-free speaker that listens to you and carries out your instructions to do … whatever. Play music. Make restaurant reservations. Add items to your Amazon shopping cart. Google whether or not Abe Vigoda is finally dead (he is, RIP). This smart home hub converses with you via the Echo’s best feature: Alexa, a Siri-like, voice-activated virtual assistant who’s at your beck and call.
Alexa responds to a huge list of commands. To name a few: “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride,” “Alexa, find me a nearby pizza restaurant,” and—my personal favorite—“Alexa, tell me a joke.” Bad puns are her specialty. (A recent gag: “What did the dog say after a long day of work? Today was ruff.” Har!)
Since my purchase a few months ago, Alexa and I have been inseparable. But no relationship is perfect. Alexa has her flaws, and boy are they annoying.
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