Last Call: What are your favorite ways to use the Amazon Echo?

Illustration for article titled Last Call: What are your favorite ways to use the Amazon Echo?
Photo: seewhatmitchsee (iStock)

Besides finding out the time and the weather, that is

I bought the family a set of Echo Dots for Christmas and I have to say, I really enjoy having Alexa around. I love having whatever music or radio station I want in every room, and the kids are having fun setting up their own alarms and whatnot. But yesterday in a Takeout meeting, Alexa’s “Shopping List” feature came up, and I realized there are probably tons of uses for my Echo Dot outside of finding out the time and weather, which I do about 100 times a day. So per usual, I turn to you, genius Takeout commentariat: What’s your favorite feature on your Echo? What should I definitely be checking out? [Gwen Ihnat]


About that Facebook 10-Year Challenge meme…

In this piece for Wired, Kate O’Neill speculates about the true purpose of Facebook’s so-called 10-Year Challenge, a widespread meme in which people are uploading side-by-side photos of themselves now, and 10 years ago. (If you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen this. Guaranteed.) If a company was developing facial-recognition algorithms on age progression, O’Neill wonders, aren’t these user photos exactly the type of data you’d want? Yes, it’s a bit of a conspiracy theory, but an interesting one to ponder. Every day just pushes me one step closer to deleting Facebook once and for all. [Kate Bernot]

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


My mom is 90 with memory issues. Since I’ve moved in, I’ve set up a few things for her. On the nights when I work late, it reminds her at 6:00 that I won’t be home for dinner and she should eat alone. I also put a dot in the basement and linked it to her cell phone. It acts as peace of mind for my brothers, because now if she goes down when I’m not home and has a fall, she can just tell Alexa to call me or my sister. It hasn’t happened and I doubt it ever will, but it stopped my brothers from worrying so much.

The third thing is more personal. I applied for a job with a longer commute a few months ago. My mom misunderstood when I tried to explain it to her and got it into her head that I was moving out. She worried herself sick about it for a couple days despite my reassurances. Now, every day at 4:00 Alexa tells her “Janet will never leave you.”

We also use it to play music when we’re both home. I always put on her music, Forties stuff or crooners or Christmas songs. My mom is very motivated to be accommodating since I moved in, so much so that she lies through her teeth by saying, “I want to listen to whatever you want to listen to.” My general response to that is to tell her she’s lying and I can prove it, then say “Alexa, play The Gories.” She actually made it three songs once before she begged me to turn it off, and that’s only because she was being stubborn and didn’t want to admit I was right.