Random Ramblings: January 7, 2017

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Earlier this week I wrote a wonderful piece for this feature, it was a “Random Ramble” that was so good, so well-written, so brilliant, so artfully done that they would have made a Pulitzer Prize for blogging after reading it. Much to my dismay however, I now see that my blog has been hacked, no doubt by the Russians, probably by Mr. Putin himself, and has been stolen.

Great.

Now I have to come up with something else, and it will never be as good as the one the Russians got.

I’m guessing you aren’t buying my story…

This past Christmas, I received and Amazon “Echo” as a gift from my wife; it was the first I ever heard of an “Echo” and to be completely honest, for a few days I felt like the kid who got an electric train set from his Dad for Christmas. If you’re my age you might recall the famous picture of Dad with a big smile on his face playing with the electric train set with the boy sitting next to him with his arms folded looking really mad because Dad wouldn’t let the kid play with his trains?

That’s what it was like for me with the Echo; my wife loves things like that.

If you aren’t familiar with the Echo, it’s a device that ties into your wireless network and is entirely voice-activated. You can ask questions, have it play music or radio stations, give you the weather or read books to you from your Amazon library. It can even run your heating and air conditioning, start your car or turn on your smart TV… at least theoretically. I read somewhere it can operate kitchen appliances, if they are enabled.

I hope to get a turn soon.

There is one thing about the Echo that strikes me as a little creepy, though. You see, it’s tied into your network, and it’s always listening. Any time you want to talk to it you say “Alexa” because that’s “her” name. So it just sits there and waits for you to say “Alexa…” and then it does its thing. Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to a program on WMAL radio in Washington, Dc, a great news station. They were talking about Alexa, and the guest, who was on the show via telephone, was asking questions, beginning with “Alexa…” as a demonstration of the cool things it can do, and my Alexa heard him and answered his questions: That’s freaky!

So, if I work for Mr. Putin, do I send Mr. Trump an Amazon Echo for the Oval Office, you know, just in case he wants a report of the weather or something? (After all, she’s always listening… and connected to the internet…)

My guess is that the Secret Service wouldn’t allow Alexa anywhere near the property, but who knows for sure?

I don’t feel comfortable saying much around Alexa, how about you?

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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18 Responses to Random Ramblings: January 7, 2017

  1. Mia Squires says:

    I do not own one, but have have heard many complaints about it. It seems to invade privacy! but what tech does not anymore?!?

  2. Mel Wild says:

    I hate it when the Russians do that to me, too. My wife is the same about these kinds of things. She’s talking to Siri all the time on her iPhone (man’s voice with a British accent…hmmmm…)

  3. Bette Cox says:

    She / he / it / they are always listening, always recording. Did you ever read 1984?

  4. I read a story where a home was broken into and the occupant killed, he had an Alexa. The police want to access the historical files on Amazon to see if it picked up anything that might lead them to the suspect. Amazon has, thus far, refused to release anything.

    It worries me that something in my home might always be listening and, possibly, recording. Seems I read a book about this sometime in my youth, back before 1984. Didn’t turn out well for them.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Bette Cox mentioned the same book; one of my favorite. Interestingly, Alexa can control your home security system I understand. Hmmm… “Alexa, turn off the alarm”

      Yikes!

  5. dwmartens says:

    If it were Aleksei instead of Alexa, we’d know for sure it was Russian! 🙂

  6. Little Monk says:

    Anyone else remember “Ferbies” a while back, and the number of workplaces where they were not permitted to enter?

  7. BelleUnruh says:

    The only thing I would use it for would be to read books to me. But her voice would probably be irritating. No, I wouldn’t want something in the house that might listen to my hubby and I argue., although maybe we could ask Alexa which one of us is right.

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