This was the first weekend Alexa came into our home. It was interesting to be able to talk to her and have someone in the room who seemed to like your type of music. I could shout from the front room and she would still hear me.
Alexa is Amazon’s incredible voice controlled digital assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri but in a stand alone device. You state your commands by starting the conversation “Alexa,….” and the results are surprisingly consistent and accomplished. Walking into a the room and stating “Alexa, good morning” brings up a short statement about the day and some element about it. This was today’s message “Good morning, and Happy Halloween! I hope everyone gets lots of candy tonight, and not a bag of rocks. And Linus, if you’re listening, I hope you finally get to see the Great Pumpkin!” Yesterday the response was “Good morning, and Happy Diwali! I can help you celebrate this joyous festival of lights. Just keep talking to me, and I’ll lend my spinning blue and white lights to the festivities!”
This isn’t available in Canada, yet but I suspect it soon will be. It connects to various 3rd parties so access to my Spotify account is enacted by stating “Alexa, play Bob Dylan” and it gets music by Mr. Dylan and starts playing. I can name the exact song “Alexa, play Lay, Lady, Lay” and voila, it starts playing. If you have constructed playlists it starts playing them which give you ultimate control. Want to hear CBC AM? “Alexa, play CBC”.
It has been a learning experience, finding out what you can do. Use it for simple arithmetic, measurement conversions (millilitres to ounces, kilometers to miles), dictionary for words, what happened on this day in history, etc. etc. Each question and response is posted in text on your Alexa app. It really is phenomenal and it opens up huge potential for the future. Siri is portable but Alexa is always in the room with you. And this is just the beginning!
Sometimes you use a service for a long time and it becomes almost taken for granted.
I remember meeting this young man in Seattle at Gnomedex. He had started this blogging service which people were beginning to take notice. We shared our views of the internet and what possibilities and opportunities it would bring. All of us were beginners in some way and it was exciting to be part of it. He was up in Vancouver at the NorthernVoice gathering the following year and we just managed to exchange hellos. A person you would always enjoy to have a good conversation with.
I received this notice as a message in my WordPress blog recently. This is the kind of message that Matt Mullenweg would send you. Thank you Matt for helping change so much of what we need to change.
There was something very unique about Kansas City. It might be the best kept secret in America. There were no expectations before arrving but the city quickly offered some interesting venues, great food and very friendly people. A few of us went there for the Credit Union Water Cooler Symposium and found it a very interesting place to walk around. From the venue site ‘The Alamo’ to Kansas city BBQ eateries there was a positive city character that was portrayed everywhere. My favourite place was the Negro Baseball League Museum. It portrayed. in a timeline, how the league started and what it went through until the late ‘50s. Speaking to a security attendant in the lobby, he mentioned that there are numerous Major League players that come through the museum. A few weeks ago the Molina family were there. Stories like that bring the place alive.
Cities have much to offer and each has a special understanding and character surrounding the place they live. No two are ever the same, which makes traveling so interesting. The buildings put together the framework of living but it is the people who inhabit the city that make it so interesting. There was an article this last week about a Danish town that were digging up the streets for sewer lines and came across a wooden pipeline that was built in the 1500’s. What did they do with it? Threw it away because ‘that is what you do in a city that is over 750 years old.’ No matter what the age or the edifices a city has, it is its character driven by the people that give it that wonderful sense of difference.
There was something magic about the mid 60’s. We had recovered to some extent from those assassinations. We no longer saw alcohol as the drug of choice. Vietnam was the war that was coming into view. There was a darkness that was balanced by something ever so different. Hair was longer, institutional frameworks were no long taken for granted, the clothes were different with giant colours and bell bottoms along with the return of paisley. All of this had a strong touchpoint – music, it was changing as much as it was new. We had the Beattles, the Moody Blues, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. This was a new line in the sand. This was the music that had no definitions but the ones we gave them.
To this day that music brings back those moments full of sounds, sights and smells. The context is as important as the melodies. Without the context the music only becomes notes on a page. Nostalgic for sure but when memories surface they are more than mere tunes.
It was a haunting, fearful time were one encountered doubt. But the music was like a sword that cut those fears to the quick and made happiness part of your own humanity.
Just because your father had it
why do you?
It sometimes trickles in
attached to that foot
without any reason
but then when it explodes and
you curse that 6 letter word
There is suddenly
a radar around you foot
sensing any immovable object
And bedsheets hurt,
staircases are steeplechases,
and you hope your
foot doesn’t explode.
Purines still exist.
As you attempt to forget
until next time.
In today’s Globe and Mail Russell Smith has an excellent review of Michel Houellebecq’s new novel “Submission”. It is provocative and amazingly frank about a book that has recently been published that speaks to the recent events in France.
Russell points to so many areas of concern about the world we now live in. One thinks about the freedom of expression and the need to be vigilant with guarding this basic tenet in our fragile democracy. We need to consider what those that would hamper that right, by the suggestion of ultimate protection with a proposed security regime, would have in the lessening of that freedom. Maybe our understanding of what sacrifice means has to be changed. The freedoms we hold dear will never be guarded by anyone other than the individual and that may mean an ultimate sacrifice.
To people that knock on our door and attempt to convert us to their brand of religion I tell them that though I disagree and will debate what they are presenting, I will stand with them against any group or organization that attempts to take away their right to express their views. Without that diversity of expression, that only comes with that freedom, we will return to serfdom.
with go-karts running
in my head.
My eyes are closed
yet the ceiling
is crystal clear.
You just wait
to get drowsy.
You may see
dawn and are glad
it is fall