Festool Owners Group

OFF-TOPIC => Computers, Gadgets, Technology => Topic started by: Naildrivingman on December 29, 2017, 07:21 PM

Title: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Naildrivingman on December 29, 2017, 07:21 PM
I only wish.

Actually wondering if any fellow FOGgers have an Alexa. I’m looking for tips, tricks and add-ones.

I have to say the technology fascinates me and scares me in the same moment. Oh well, it’s fun to have.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Peter Halle on December 29, 2017, 07:29 PM
I've had one since they first came out.  Present, I didn't buy it.  Use it to play music and general stuff.  Weird when it starts an interaction with you versus the other way.  Interesting to see suggestions pop up on Amazon after having a kitchen conversation at home without talking to "her'"

Peter
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: copcarcollector on December 29, 2017, 07:32 PM
Do you really want a device in the house that is ALWAYS listening ...?
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Naildrivingman on December 29, 2017, 08:08 PM
Do you really want a device in the house that is ALWAYS listening ...?
I’ve had a smart phone for 10 years...I’m used to it.

AND

I’ve been married for 19 years...I’m REALLY used to it.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: neilc on December 29, 2017, 08:38 PM
I have several.  Useful for checking the weather, controlling my Nest thermostat, adding items to a shopping or to-do list, controlling lights with appropriate smart home hubs.  It's also a hands-free timer, an alarm in the morning and many many other things.  I was surprised I use it as much as I do but have one in the kitchen, one in the workshop and one next to the bed for an alarm.  One of the easiest ways to stream music to either a bluetooth or wired powered speaker connected to them.  I think there are something over 15,000 'skills' out now for the unit to extend it's capabilities.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: jtwood on December 29, 2017, 10:51 PM
I have been using them for quite a while, and have 3 in my house:  1 usable in the living room and kitchen, 1 in the bedroom, and 1 in the garage/workshop.

The more you have them, the more you'll use them.  They keep adding a lot of new features.  Recently, you can enable calling between people that have them.  I gave my brother a set of 3 of the Dots, for less than $100, for Xmas, and all I have to do to call him is ask Alexa to do so.  Don't have to pick up the phone.

Also useful for woodworking:  Alexa, how many millimeters is 58 1/2" ?  Lots of conversions available.

As far as listening all the time, it is listening for the "wake word", Alexa (it can be changed to two other words) and, if you want, you can go online and delete everything it has heard in the past.

Once you buy one and install it (requires an app on your mobile phone), Amazon will send you a weekly email with new things it does, and another good source is CNET.com.  You can sign up for their weekly Alexa email.

Steve
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: McNally Family on December 30, 2017, 12:11 AM

As far as listening all the time, it is listening for the "wake word", Alexa

Steve

you could be in trouble if your spouse was named "Alexa"
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Bob D. on December 30, 2017, 06:01 AM
One in the kitchen and one in the shop. Enable the intercom feature and you can call from the shop to the house if you need help (injury or whatever) or just to find out when dinner will be ready or order another beer.  [big grin]

Turn on the Drop In feature and you can make speakerphone style calls between your home and others over the internet. There are a few knobs and dials to tweak to enable this for security reasons but it's not difficult. Everything you say can be hear din one way or another on any communications medium you choose so I don't see it as any more risky than other forms of communication. POTS and cell phones are easily intercepted, email too. The only privacy you have is what you THINK you have anymore, it's all in your imagination.

Enable the smart home skills and tie it to your HA system. Then you can control lights, adjust thermostat, and such by voice commands.

Set up your Flash Briefing with your favorite news source (NPR, CBS, what have you) and weather report if you want. Then just ask for your Flash Briefing and get a one or two minute update of what's going on in the world.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: six-point socket II on December 30, 2017, 09:29 AM
Hi!

No Alexa, Siri, Cortana etc. for me.

Kind regards,
Oliver
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: eeeesh on December 30, 2017, 12:06 PM
Also have had once since we were 'allowed' to purchase them  (you had to get on a waiting list when they first come out).  Currently have 4 Alexa's and 2 dots.  The dots just don't have a large speaker but they do have bluetooth to connect with an external speaker

The dot actually comes in very handy in the garage.  It has the ability to set timers and alarms.  Alexa set a 30 minute glue up timer.  Alexa set a 60 minute recoat timer,  Alexa, play some classic rock - you get the idea

Works great with my Honeywell Wifi Thermostats.  Alexa, what is the temperature.  Alexa set the thermostat to ** degrees 
Also controls about 30 Z-Wave devices - mainly lights

As noted, built in intercom, can play music to multiple rooms at the same time.  Has the ability to create 'routines' - when you get up Alexa, good morning - turns on water heater recirculator to get the hot water flowing, turns on lights, plays radio station, gives the weather report, etc

You can change the wake word to Echo, Amazon, Computer

You can actually access a lot (but not all) of the settings from a PC, which I find to be easier

If you don't have one, you are really missing out.  At least buy an Echo Dot to play around with while they are still on sale for $30
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Resendes on January 12, 2018, 11:05 AM
I'm at a complete loss why someone would ever want to try testomax (http://www.ncfirstrobotics.org/) have a listening device in his living room, or even pay money to install one.

My son wanted to get us Alexa for Christmas. Call me old fashioned, but I'm kind of spooked by a thing that listens to you all the time. Unless you unplug it of course, but what's the use for it then.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Bob D. on January 12, 2018, 07:28 PM
My son wanted to get us Alexa for Christmas. Call me old fashioned, but I'm kind of spooked by a thing that listens to you all the time. Unless you unplug it of course, but what's the use for it then.

You don't have to unplug it unless you want to, there is a mute button that disables the microphones.

Yeah, that's what they want you to believe. :-)
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: bkharman on January 12, 2018, 09:14 PM
This is (nerdy) funny.

https://youtu.be/LEz9AU9c2qQ

Cheers. Bryan.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: SRSemenza on January 12, 2018, 11:41 PM
Well that should keep the two of them busy for a while  [big grin]

Seth
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: lunchman on January 13, 2018, 08:10 AM
That video woke mine up when I played it.  :) It also happens if someone mentions her name on tv or if I ask my sister on the phone how her granddaughter Alexis is doing.  Yeah,  it's a close enough match. I've started using a Harry Potter reference when talking about her and say "she who shall not be named".

I bought two Echo Dots during the Christmas discount,  find them quite useful.  I even bought tp-link wi-fi leds and can control some lights in the house.  They turn on and off automatically and are dimmable.

I know it sounds lazy but I use the shopping list feature the most.  In the past, I'd think of something to add and when I finally went to do so with the paper list would forget what it was. Side effect of being old. Or I'd get to the store and forgotten the list at home.  Now it's always with me since I always carry my phone.

Could I live without it?  Sure.  But it's fun to have.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: estley on April 05, 2018, 06:03 AM
i have three thru the house, paired with the smartthings. They're really useful, as others have said, timers and alarms, music, for the first time we have a shopping list that's actually used, and the lights....


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Gregor on April 05, 2018, 05:50 PM
I'm at a complete loss why someone would ever want to have a listening device in his living room, or even pay money to install one.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: GoingMyWay on April 05, 2018, 06:49 PM
I'm at a complete loss why someone would ever want to have a listening device in his living room, or even pay money to install one.

I couldn't agree more!
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Alex on April 06, 2018, 02:44 AM
Same here. Especially now it's becomming clearer these big internet companies use everything they can to spy on you.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Richard/RMW on April 06, 2018, 07:55 AM
I tend to acquire gadgets unannounced to the rest of the household. SWMBO has pointedly asked more than once "We don't have any of those things anywhere in the house, do we?" This coming from a woman with blue painters tape covering the cameras on her i-stuff and Surface. Needless to say we don't have one.

I am more of the "let them listen to me and die of boredom" school of thought.

RMW
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Tinker on April 06, 2018, 08:26 AM
The Boss and I were at our son's house for Easter dinner. After dinner, we were sitting around the living room and the subject of music came up. All the music I can hear are crickets, katydids and sometimes cicadas, so I have no idea how the subject came up. My wife is a fan of Wagner and she was telling a little of history of the German composer.  Finally, my son asked, "Would you like to hear some Wagner music, Mom?"

"I would love it." She is always ready to hear music from any of the old German composers and has many of their biographies committed to memory.

My son said, loud and clear, "Elizabeth, play some Wagner."  With that, the record player came on, went thru the motions to change a record (Hey, I grew up with the ancient 78's. I still have a cabinet my dad built for the old handcrank job with the horn on top. I don't have any idea what all this modern stuff is called. Y'all get the idea, I am sure) Suddenly, we were listening to Wagner.

I just figured my son had the whole thing set up and had a remote in his pocket.  I just came across this thread that explains all to me. I don't think I care for it. My wife would have the whole thing set up in our house so I would have to listen to her. My crickets and katydids would no longer be an excuse.  Ugh! :o
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: demographic on November 16, 2019, 03:26 AM
Same here. Especially now it's becomming clearer these big internet companies use everything they can to spy on you.

That.
Huge issues around loss of privacy, them selling your data to other companies and so on, you couldnt pay me to have one.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Alex on November 16, 2019, 04:45 AM

As far as listening all the time, it is listening for the "wake word", Alexa

Steve

you could be in trouble if your spouse was named "Alexa"

Hmm, I wonder what would happen if you were called Alex. [scratch chin]

As far as listening all the time, it listens ALL the time. Only when it hears the word Alexa it reacts to you. But in the mean time, everything you say is send back to headquarters and sorted for keywords. I can't believe you would allow that in your house just to save a few seconds on making a phone call and other trivial tasks.

I'd love to have a thing like in Star Trek when they say "Computer, do this, do that", but I'd like the computer to work for me, and not for somebody else.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Kevin D. on November 16, 2019, 07:22 AM
I just bought two more of them.  We don't use them much, but so far so good.  Works nice with the Ring video doorbell I installed last summer.

And there is a way to change it's 'wake-up' name from Alexa to something of your choosing.  I just haven't come up with a name yet.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: greg mann on November 16, 2019, 08:15 AM
The only feature that would tempt me is if Alexa could let the dogs in and out.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Bob D. on November 16, 2019, 09:10 AM
The only feature that would tempt me is if Alexa could let the dogs in and out.

That is possible with HA and a connected pet door.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: mwolczko on November 16, 2019, 01:04 PM
I recently hooked up a Dot in my shop to my dust collector.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Gregor on November 16, 2019, 02:55 PM
I’m looking for tips, tricks and add-ones.
Unplug, recycle, don't get any new alleged 'smart speaker' (as it's the opposit of both).
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: vkumar on November 16, 2019, 11:58 PM
I use these Amazon devices for home automation, news weather and music. I dont understand what the fears are of Amazon listening all the time. At the  most they will sell you more stuff you dont need.   

Unlike Google and Facebook that sell your  information to others with or without your permission. Amazon merely sells you more stuff inside their own website. I am ok with that. Of course your assessment may be different.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Bob D. on November 17, 2019, 04:11 AM
I recently hooked up a Dot in my shop to my dust collector.

I did the same for my room and filter. Unfortunately you can't tell Alexa to turn something on for a minutes or turn off after x minutes. I guess the safety concerns of those actions are why those commands are not available.

So I can turn it on or off verbally only. However it is possible to program a smart plug to turn off after it has been on for a number of minutes.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Gregor on November 17, 2019, 08:20 AM
To put
I dont understand what the fears are of Amazon listening all the time.
At the most they will sell you more stuff you dont need.
into perspective, these two sentences are logically equivalent with

I don't understand how it works and I don't care about someone being able to make me act against my own interests.

Does someone here really believe any someone, when already able to make you buy stuff you don't need, would stop there?
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: vkumar on November 17, 2019, 01:12 PM
Just for the record Amazon is not in the business of selling page views to anyone unlike Google or facebook or most other free to view websites.
You have your opinion and I have mine, no need to be condescending.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Alex on November 17, 2019, 01:39 PM
Amazon, started with books, now sells almost everything. I would not be suprised if the next things you find are a rocket to Mars, a battlecruiser, and your life story.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Jesse Cloud on November 17, 2019, 01:43 PM
I did an experiment with Alexa's listening behavior and the consequence.  For about a week I would say something like "I need a new drill" or "I wish I knew where to buy a drill" also "I wonder what a drill costs" a couple of times a day in front of Alexa when it was just in listening mode.  I expected to see ads for drills when I logged on to Amazon or at least an email mentioning a great deal on a drill.  Nothing happened.

Just an anecdote, but I found it interesting.

Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: mwolczko on November 17, 2019, 02:55 PM
I’m hoping that after learning to listen to my planer and table saw Alexa will know when the blade gets dull and tell me to order a new one.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Gregor on November 17, 2019, 03:57 PM
Just for the record Amazon is not in the business of selling page views to anyone unlike Google or facebook or most other free to view websites.
Amazon (as google and basically everyone else in capitalism) is in the business of parting your from your money, employing whatever means the most effective from a cost/gain consideration as long as these just dosn't cross the line where the owners and/or top-level execs would no longer be able to weasel out of being lined up against a wall for their crimes against humanity. And the current hot thing is big data combined with 'AI' which allows to profile humans in a way that makes their reactions deterministic enough on a statistical scale that the results can be used to selectively influence on an individual basis in a highly predictable way.

We're being subjected to robots that are constantly watching our behaviour, with the goal to figure out how to push what of our buttons to make us behave as intended. And for that technology it's irrelevant if the goal is to push toward buying more (or higher markup) items, to vote for the ones that give the better tax breaks for the peer group of the robot owners (= the super-rich) or to support killing some another several hundred of thousands of humans (aka. the next 'peace'-intervention of $yourcountry).

The problem with that technology is that it works and it works better the more data it was able to digest, the more interactions it was able to observe, the more A/B test it is allowed to run.
Quote
You have your opinion and I have mine, no need to be condescending.
Sorry, intention wasn't to belittle you - I just see the need to point out the implication of what you said in words clear enough to make the problem visible, in the hope that more people realize that not knowing how that stuff works while hoping for the best isn't a good plan to end up in a future that's fun to be in. You shouldn't allow this technology in your life, in case your actually care for it, as this technology isn't made to serve you (but others who perceive you as a resource to be exploited) and is openly aiming at destroying (or at least subverting, as much as possible) your free will*.

YMMV.


*) whatever free will may actually be and regardless of it actually existing - but even in case we as humans would be fully deterministric in regard of our reactions to external stimuli we likely still wouldn't like the idea of someone knowing how to remote-control us.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: HarveyWildes on November 17, 2019, 11:58 PM
I’m hoping that after learning to listen to my planer and table saw Alexa will know when the blade gets dull and tell me to order a new one.


Why not just get Alexa to install them for you as well?  I don't think I ever installed a set of blades as precisely as the factory - it would have been nice to have expert installation along with shiny new edges.  I'm waiting for the day when it will put a wet-sanded oil finish on my projects for me.  I just can't get my wife to do that - I've tried.


I tried changing the wake-up keyword from "Alexa" to "Computer" so I could sound like Star Trek, but I quickly realized that "computer" is a word we use much too frequently for that to work.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Cypren on December 18, 2019, 01:08 PM
As a preface to what I’m about to say, I’m a novice woodworker, but have been a software engineer for over twenty years; these devices are squarely in my area of expertise.

The Alexa device has two modes of “listening” to you. One of them is indeed always on: this one is controlled by a specialized microprocessor on the device itself and is listening for someone to say “Alexa” (by default) or the keyword you’ve chosen to wake the device. The other mode is listening to what comes after the wake word, sending that to Amazon’s servers, and processing it to understand what you said.

When the device is operating in the first mode, it’s not sending any data to Amazon. This can be (and has been) verified with tools that can monitor all network traffic from it. So fears that it’s listening and recording everything you say are vastly overblown; it’s provably not doing that. (And it’s not in Amazon’s interest to do that; it would be phenomenally expensive compared to the potential value.)

What does happen, however, is that sometimes the onboard processor makes a mistake and thinks you’ve said “Alexa” when you’ve said something else. At that point, it will start transmitting, but the servers on the other end (which are a lot “smarter”) will analyze what you said and discard it as a false alert. In that case, a recording has been sent to Amazon, and they often do keep these for analysis, because it helps the engineers working on the product figure out how to prevent it from happening in the future.

One nice thing about most of the Alexa devices is that they have a blue light-up ring around the top that glows when they’re transmitting to Amazon. If it’s not glowing, what you’re saying isn’t being recorded anywhere.

But with all that said, I have Alexa units all over my house, but not in the bedroom.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Gregor on December 18, 2019, 01:33 PM
... have been a software engineer for over twenty years; these devices are squarely in my area of expertise.
About the same here.

Quote
... Alexa ...
I agree with the general assessment of the functionality. The technical problem I see is that these are black boxes, with the ability to remote-update, sitting inside your network... which is a no-no for me, always has been, even before this guy (https://youtu.be/efs3QRr8LWw?t=9). The non-technical problem is these 'smart speakers' (which they arn't, they're in the first place listening devices) leak too much of your life to their corporate masters and given the improvements in big data and deep learning my view is that being predictable to machines isn't what I want, ever. YMMV.

Quote
But with all that said, I have Alexa units all over my house, but not in the bedroom.
Did you skip the bedroom because blue led light is bad for your sleep cycle or are there other reasons?
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Cypren on December 18, 2019, 04:24 PM
The technical problem I see is that these are black boxes, with the ability to remote-update, sitting inside your network... which is a no-no for me, always has been, even before this guy (https://youtu.be/efs3QRr8LWw?t=9).
Fair, but note that if you use a cell phone or laptop that isn't completely open-source, including all hardware, then the same is true. I'm not sure if you're familiar with James Mickens, but I really enjoyed his lecture on computer security, where he describes dividing potential threats into "Mossad" and "not-Mossad". If a technologically advanced nation-state wants to get into your business, they are going to get into your business. There is literally nothing you can do as a private individual to stop them unless you have the resources of Bill Gates and the paranoia to devote a significant chunk of it to ensuring your privacy. (And maybe not even then.) Concerns about firmware being surreptitiously updated to become permanent listening devices fall into this class in my view; that kind of thing can't be done on a widespread scale without being detected, so it's really only a threat if it's done to a single targeted individual.
Quote
The non-technical problem is these 'smart speakers' (which they arn't, they're in the first place listening devices) leak too much of your life to their corporate masters and given the improvements in big data and deep learning my view is that being predictable to machines isn't what I want, ever. YMMV.
Everyone's tolerance for this is going to be different, but I don't think most people are aware of how much information they're already giving away by having a debit or credit card, or using a web browser with Javascript turned on. If you're doing either of these two things, your consumer habits have probably already been modeled to a level far exceeding what an audio tap picking up random conversations could do.

One thing that worries me when people raise privacy concerns is that they often seem to fixate on theoretical, low-risk violations of privacy like smart speakers while completely ignoring the primary vectors that data-harvesting operations actually use to build comprehensive profiles. Sometimes I almost wonder if this isn't the point, a sort of collective sleight-of-hand misdirection trick on the part of corporate America.
Quote
Did you skip the bedroom because blue led light is bad for your sleep cycle or are there other reasons?
I like having one room in the house where I know that whatever I say is going to be private and won't be leaked to someone else, even by accident. And it's not I room I spend a lot of time in while conscious.
Title: Re: Alexa, bring me a Festool...
Post by: Gregor on December 18, 2019, 05:46 PM
That this kind of devices (alexa & co) gets ubiquitous (together with privacy nightmares like ring, where the devices already aim outside the sphere of the owner). While this sounds benign and the argument that a global firmware update that would turn them evil would certainly be noticed sounds reasonsable at first glance... the problem is that we (as civilization) are installing a turnkey surveilance system that will make every kind of dictatorship invincible - and the next dictatorship will neither care about people noticing that update nor hesitate about pushing it. Take WWII where the US interned anyone remotely looking asian and we germans even fucking gassed and burned people wholesale and industrial style, state backed, nothing to see here, all is well and as it should be, please move on, have a good day.

We should keep that in mind, else we failed to learn from history and are doomed to repeat it.
'Hey $device' IMHO has way too much potential to be abused.
Quote
[whataboutism: cellphonesl, laptops and state actors]
Dosn't help. On the other hand one could argue that google, apple, amazon already have surpassed states... given that states have massive problems collecting fair taxes on the profits made in them by these companies.

I disagree on the misdirection trick though, simply as warren buffet admitted way back (https://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26every.html?_r=0) what's going on. So it's not misdirection but plain and simple in the open.

Anyway, quite likely YMMV.