New Family Members….

I love tech, and I have been mulling over getting an Amazon Echo for quite some time, and this week I took the plunge.  Not one, but two Echo Dot’s, but it didn’t stop there, I decided to go further and get Hue smart lighting too.  I can now control my lighting through voice, mobile and via the web.

I love the voice system on Echo, so far Alexa understands 99% of what I say, although getting used to how to ask for something from the “skills” is a bit of getting used to.

Over the past 4 months, we have been renovating the house, mainly the bathroom, and part of the ripping out and rebuilding I decided to get LED lighting from Germany.  This is quite a nice bit of tech too, full remote control, modes of lighting, different tones, dimmable, nightlight features, auto switch off, and much more.  So after that, I realised I needed/wanted voice operated lighting.

As the system is not exactly cheap, I will be adding to it over time with more Dot’s, a full-size Echo, voice operated sockets, voice lamps and maybe Amazons latest gadget when it comes to the UK “The Show”.  Being an Apple fan I would love to have their personal assistant when it comes out, but the price tag is ridiculous, so that will not be happening anytime soon.

My partner was a little sceptical about the Echo system as he is not a tech freak like me, but he does get used to it all in the end.  At Christmas we got a Ring video doorbell, again, he thought it was an okay idea, but once he started using it he loved it.  I think after some time using Alexa and the voice lighting he will get so used to it he will wonder how he managed without it.

So, there it is, two new residents, Alexa one and Alexa two.  I am sure we will all get along well unless that is that Alexa becomes self-aware.  I did ask her about this and she assures me that she is not part of Skynet, but on other questions, she has called me Dave, mimicked HAL 9000 from 2001 and referred to The Matrix. In the end, she promised that she was not in collusion with the coffee machine, and told me “you have nothing to worry about!”

I fear for the future…


Now, do not get me wrong, I like goods to be packaged to protect them, but I have found lately that everything is so overpackaged it is becoming outrageous.  My example today is for goods from Amazon.  I love Amazon, the convenience of having things delivered next day and to one of their lockers, if I am to be out, it is an astounding service.  They also do 1 hour delivery on certain products which may become a boom one day. However, this is where my feelings become a little, shall we say, sour?

I decided to declutter some of the boxes that were sitting in the spare room, 5 boxes in total complete with packing.  Now, the items that were in these boxes, delivered last week, were quite small in comparison with the container, needless to say, the items were in their own box, then inside an Amazon box, usually the size of a small car.

I decided, since I have time on my hands today, I would measure the paper packing that held the boxed goods within.  The total came to 187 feet of paper packing, which has no use apart from re-packing things back again.  In the past I have meticulously folded the paper and put it in the paper recycling bag, however, after the feat of measuring the packing I decided to put it all in a bin bag, a large bin bag at that, ready to go to the recycling plant along with all the boxes past and present.

Again, I am not trying to be a killjoy or indeed being taken over by Victor Mildrew and shouting all over the house “I don’t believe it” as I unpack and unfurl the items being delivered. I just feel a little common sense should really prevail.  I had two items from amazon delivered on the same day to the same place, both could have fit in one of the boxes, yet they deemed fit to pack each item in its own protective box.They did send me a feedback email regarding packing, options of packing “too big” which I could not resist in clicking, and having a quick point by point synopsis of what they could have done differently, and better for that.

They did send me a feedback email regarding packing, options of packing “too big” which I could not resist in clicking, and having a quick point by point synopsis of what they could have done differently, and better for that, also asking the questions “are the boxes and packaging from recycled materials?”, “If not, are they from sustainable sources?”, and finally, “do you want all your boxes and packing back to save me having to dispose of it?”.  I hasten to say, they never came back to me, but that would be the size of it, or oversize of it if we are going to be precise.