Nightstand Voice Assistants Deeply Discounted

Competing Google Assistant and Alexa-powered nightstand assistants are on sale today. While I’m reluctant to bring the stylish Echo Spot into our bedroom, given its video conferencing camera, the full-color 2.5″ touchscreen is a source of frequent temptation. And, at a discounted $99, available in white or black, it’s not a bad deal for what … Read more

The Amazon Echo Button Tease

As with so many things ‘Alexa’ the Amazon Echo Buttons, at a mere $14 for two, are tantalizing close to greatness. Initially introduced as a gaming accessory (meh), the Alexa platform was updated a few weeks ago to allow the buttons to trigger smart home routines. Awesome! Or so I thought. It turns out the … Read more

Amazon Alexa Grows Up

For those looking to automate their homes, the Amazon Alexa platform took great strides this week with significant “Routine” enhancements. While some were fired up by location-based triggers, I can’t say I’ve experienced consistent reliability over the years with geofencing. However, two new conditions make all the difference as I look to standardize on a … Read more

Poor Sonos, Apple Music Coming To Alexa

Sonos, the original Switzerland stand-in for digital music services, is about to be undercut by Amazon. Apple Music subscribers will be able to enjoy Apple Music’s 50 million songs on Echo devices. 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 … Read more

Hacking Amazon Fire TV Recast DVR

Now that Amazon’s surprise over-the-air Fire TV Recast DVR has been out a few weeks, we’ve begun to learn more about its capabilities. While it’s not the right solution for me, as I run mixed streamer household, it seems like a great value with tons of potential. And, as such, AFTVNews has begun hacking the … Read more

Replace Your Echo Dots. All Of Them.

The new Amazon Echo Dot is out. And Alexa’s reviews have been exceedingly positive. From The Verge: I’m going to cut right to the chase: the new Echo Dot smart speaker is so much better than its predecessor that it would not be totally out of line to replace a whole houseful of old Echo … Read more

Amazon Fire TV Update Closes Gap On Roku

Folks routinely ask for streaming box recommendations. And, for a few years, I took the position that Roku and Fire TV were largely equivalent and indicated the decision should come down to content and app preferences. Need Kodi? Amazon is the answer. YouTube? Roku. Etc. However, the math changed last fall when Roku refreshed its lineup with smartly integrated volume-control capabilities. For many with streamlined configurations, a Harmony is unnecessary or overly complex (with additional clutter) — whereas simply adding some CEC and IR control to an expensive streamer may be exactly what the doctor ordered for increased efficiency. Well, today, Amazon ups the ante with similar from the $50 4K Amazon Fire TV Stick… and then some.

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Amazon Recalls Bricked Cloud Cam(s)

Can’t tell you how many devices this applies to, but Amazon wants my buddy’s Cloud Cam back.

About two weeks ago, he had told me the WiFi camera died. He attempted a factory reset, but no love. He hadn’t found time or energy to follow-up with Amazon when, out of the blue, he received a voicemail and an email “message from Amazon’s Engineering Team” (device-recovery@amazon.com) this week stating:

I was calling to talk about one of your Cloud Cam devices. I’d like to get you a replacement Cloud Cam device as soon as possible at no additional cost to you. Additionally, I would like to schedule a pick-up to have the original device delivered to our lab for analysis.

Read moreAmazon Recalls Bricked Cloud Cam(s)