Using Overcast on my Apple Watch in a smart home is my new method of enjoying Podcasts

Anyone who has followed us for some time will probably know that I love smart speakers, over the past few years I’ve owned Amazon Alexa speakers, Google Home’s and HomePod’s. Currently I use my HomePod for most of my music needs and home automation but I also have multiple Google Home mini’s for communicating around the house, some smart home automation and for playing my local radio station around the house.

One thing I love to do is listen to podcasts, I tend to run them via overcast on my Apple Watch and AirPods. I love Overcast and think it is one of the best podcast apps put there, however, I recently tried connecting my Apple Watch to my Google Home Mini and I was impressed enough to now ditch the need to wear my AirPods around the house. Now I must state that the bluetooth range isn’t amazing from the speaker to the watch if I go from one end of the house to the other, however, for my needs of listening to the podcast in the room that i’m in is perfect for my needs.

Personally I use Overcast syncing to the Apple Watch so I can enjoy podcasts without my iPhone nearby so I can in effect leave my iPhone on it’s wireless charger in another room and just enjoy podcasts with just my watch and my google mini. For anyone interested in trying this out simply say to your Google Home device “hey google enter pairing mode” then on the Apple Watch open settings -> Bluetooth and under devices you will see the name of your bluetooth speaker now tap and wait for it to connect.

Amazon & Google Smart Speaker Wars

Since Amazon first launched their smart speaker Alexa, Google has been hot in their heels Both are fighting for market share around the globe whilst Apple lags behind with their aim at the premium smart speaker price range

Every Black Friday and Christmas we often see both Amazon and Google discounting their speakers Amazon has just launched its Spring Sale, with several discounts, on its own devices. Their latest version of the Amazon Echo Dot just £29.99. Google isn’t far behind to match it with a great Google Home Mini deal at just £17.99 Spotify are still currently running their free Google mini when you sign up for family sharing.

Apple Music expands to the Amazon Fire TV


Apple Music is steadily expanding its territory on third party devices, Apple introduced Amazon Echo support in the USA back in December and is now rolling it out to the Fire TV as well.

Apple says support will be coming to the U.K. in the coming weeks. To start using Apple Music on Fire TV, enable the Apple Music skill in the Alexa app, you can then ask Alexa to play your favourite song, artist etc. ensuring you say Apple Music in the phrase for Alexa to understand. If you already activated Apple Music for Amazon Echo, it should be available on Amazon Fire TV automatically.

Original source 9to5mac


Amazon error gives a user access to 1,700 voice recording from a stranger


an Alexa in Germany attempted to access his own voice history as per GDPR rules, however, he suddenly found he was able to listen to around 1,700 voice recording from a stranger after an Amazon employee sent the wrong files via a link. The company is obviously wants to avoid these types of incidents but puts this down to human error.

In a statement provided to TechCrunch who originally reported on the incident an Amazon spokesperson said “This was an unfortunate case of human error and an isolated incident,” “We have resolved the issue with the two customers involved and have taken steps to further improve our processes. We were also in touch on a precautionary basis with the relevant regulatory authorities.”

After the user who was mistakenly given access reported the error to Amazon, but didn’t hear back initially, however, Amazon deleted the files from the link. Unfortunately the action was too late as the user had already downloaded them to his computer. A man and woman can be heard speaking in the recordings, according to the report. A local publication who was given access to the files was able to determine the identity of the user based on details from the recordings.


Apple Music is coming to the echo


Apple Music users will soon be able to enjoy their music collection on amazon echos, in a statement released by Amazon the ability is being added as an Alexa skill.

Once it’s available, you’ll simply add the Apple Music skill in the Alexa app and then link your Apple Music account. After that, you’ll be able to use a command along the lines of ‘Alexa, ask Apple Music to play …’

Music has always been one of Alexa’s most popular features and today we’re excited to announce that Apple Music will be available on Echo devices beginning the week of December 17.

Customers will be able to ask Alexa to play their favorite songs, artists, and albums—or any of the playlists made by Apple Music’s editors from around the world, covering many activities and moods. Customers will also be able to ask Alexa to stream expert-made radio stations centered on popular genres like Hip-Hop, decades like the 80s, and even music from around the world, like K-Pop. Just ask Alexa to play Beats 1 to hear Apple Music’s global livestream including in-depth artist interviews— all completely ad-free.

This will be a welcome addition as currently the only way to listen is via a HomePod or Sonos speaker, Amazon offers a variety of cheaper echo devices.


Remote App Basics for Fire TV

remote

remote

Remote App for Fire TV

Remote App Basics for Fire TV , first published in Tasso’s Tips©® on 12/16/2016, has had a few updates. Where can I use the remote app ?:

The Fire TV Remote App is available on:

  • All 4th Generation and later Fire tablets
  • Android devices (running Android OS 4.0.3 or higher)
  • iOS devices (running iOS 7.0 or higher)

Before you can use the Fire TV Remote App, you first need to connect the device you used to download the app to the same Wi-Fi network as your Amazon Fire TV device.
You can then pair the app with your Amazon Fire TV device.

Pairing the Remote App

  1. Connect your mobile device to the same Wi-Fi network as your Amazon Fire TV device.
  2. Launch the app and select the Amazon Fire TV device you want to pair with.
    Note: If you can’t find your device, you may see a prompt to Sign in to your Amazon account.
  3. Tap the Sign In option and enter your Amazon account information to help the
    Fire TV Remote App discover devices registered to your account.
  4. In the app, enter the code displayed on your TV screen.
  5. In addition, once you pair the Fire TV Remote App, you cannot unpair it. However, if you factory reset your Fire TV device, all paired remotes and controllers are removed.

Most noteworthy, if you are having trouble pairing the devices, see this help source.

 

Where to Download?

To download the Fire TV Remote App, go to your preferred appstore from any compatible device and search for “Amazon Fire TV Remote App.” Follow the onscreen instructions to complete installation. The Fire TV Remote App is available for download from:

 

The Basics

remote

Voice Search:

  • Press and hold the Voice Voice Button icon  Voice Button   at the top of the screen, then drag down. Don’t release the icon until you’re done speaking.
  • Say keywords related to the content items you want to search such as the title or genre for example. For more information concerning Voice, use this link. ( *see note below)

Navigation:

  • Select an item, tap the touch pad.
  • To move your selection, swipe from the middle of the touch pad in the direction you want to move.
  • To scroll, swipe and hold.

 Menu – Open more options, based on the content or screen currently selected.

 Back – Return to the previous screen or action.

 Play/pause – Start or stop playback.

 Rewind – Press once to skip 10 seconds backward. Press and hold to continue navigating backward in the video. Additional presses allow you to cycle through available speed options.

 Fast Forward – Press once to skip 10 seconds forward. Press and hold to continue navigating forward in the video. Additional presses allow you to cycle through available speed options.

Keyboard and Gaming

Enter text with a keyboard, this may not be available within third-party apps.

  1. Select the keyboard icon in the top right corner of the screen.
  2. Enter text.
  3. Tap Done to close the keyboard.

Due to the Fire TV Remote App not being designed to play games, some games might work, but performance will vary.

*Note

The Alexa voice 2nd generation is included with:

  • Amazon Fire TV (3rd Generation)
  • Amazon Fire TV (2nd Generation)
  • Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice
  • Fire TV Stick with Voice 

For more information on a wide assortment of other topics, please use this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Deezer comes to the Amazon Echo


The French music service Deezer has finally made its way to the Amazon Echo, up until today Echo users were able to use Amazon’s own music service or Spotify.

Users will need the Premium+ Deezer account to work instead of the free version. Amazon says “We’re working on making user-created playlists available, but for now you can ask Alexa to play any Deezer playlist.”


Alexa is having voice issues


Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa is having some issues currently, with lots of users reporting that their echo is either suffering with delayed responses or just total loss of connection. Down Detector is showing widespread outages reports. Some user are seeing messages on their app that Amazon are aware of an issue and are working on it.


First Alert’s Onelink smart and carbon monoxide alarm with Alexa, Apple Airplay 2 and Google Assistant


First Alert is no strange to working with smart home products, the company launched Onelink smart and carbon monoxide alarm which was the first to hit the market with support for Apple’s HomeKit and includes voice feedback when alarms are triggered.

First Alert has announced a new version at CES 2018, Onelink Safe & Sound is a new version that includes a built-in music speaker and will support AirPlay 2 for real music playback when the feature launches this year. AirPlay 2 was announced with the HomePod which enables multi-room audio playback from iOS with improved playback performance compared to the current version of AirPlay.

Safe & Sound doesn’t stop at AirPlay 2 support they have also included Amazon Alexa built-in for voice control, voice assistant needs, and music playback from sources like Spotify and Pandora. The unit also said to work with Google Assistant. It will be interesting to see if the built in speaker is any good at playing music back, pricing and availability are to be determined


Improving your smart home experience with a tp-link switch


Since I purchased my Amazon echo last November I have been totally addicted to the smart home scene, I have Phillips hue hub and bulbs, I tried the Google home and I am in the process of waiting for a Google mini arrival. One thing I’ve held off purchasing was the tp-link switches, the main reason for this was purely the price.

Black Friday in the UK saw several outlets offer deals on the tp-link switches some were better than others, I picked up two switches, one will be dedicated to Christmas tree lights this winter and then reused elsewhere, as always I have filmed an unboxing, and setup.

One downside to the tp-link is there is no Homekit integration, however, the app is usable and the Amazon echo skill integration is ridiculously easy as I am sure the Google Home integration will also be just as easy.


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