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Old 05-04-2021, 01:28 PM   #4411
John F
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
When I tried using the Amazon smart plug and the Alexa app, I didn't see a way to set a routine. I may try that plug in another room and play around with ways to get it to do what I want.

I did manage to set routines to turn Christmas window lights on and off, so I'm not totally hopeless!
In the Alexa app:

From the home screen, pick more
Pick routines
Pick the + in the upper right hand corner
give the routine a name
For "When this happens" pick a voice command
For "add an action", pick custom, and type in the command mentioned a few posts above.

Good luck.
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Old 05-04-2021, 02:59 PM   #4412
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Originally Posted by OtinG View Post
I have an Amazon Smart Plug I use with Alexa, and I named it "HEPA Filter Plug" because I use it to control a HEPA air filter.

When I open the Alexa app on my iPhone XR and select Devices at the bottom of the screen, I can see an icon for "Plugs" at the top of the Devices screen. (See attached images.)

When I select the Plugs icon, on the Plugs screen that displays I can see my plug named HEPA Filter Plug.

When I select More at the bottom of the screen, I can see an option for Routines on the screen. When I select Routines from the list, I see the Routines screen displayed which shows the four routines I created for my Amazon smart plug I named HEPA Filter Plug.

I basically wanted my HEPA air filter to run from 00:00 to 06:00 every morning, then again from 12:00 to 18:00 every afternoon. That allows to to run six hour then rest six hours then repeat that. I used four routines to accomplish that. One would have been better, but when I set these up I couldn't figure out how to combine them into a single routine. Regardless, I know this is different from what you want to do in that you want to be able to turn on your smart plug by selecting it in your Alexa app, then have it automatically turn itself off in 1 hours time. I'm not sure how to do that, but as you can see from my attached Alexa screen captures Alexa can see my Amazon smart plug.

I honestly don't remember how I went through the setup for this plug though as that was at least a year ago. Plus Amazon made a huge interface update to the Alexa app since then, so it has changed considerably.
I'm sorry you went to so much trouble on my account, OtinG; I meant to say I couldn't find a way to set a routine for the specific sleep timer function I wanted--I have set up simple on/off routines in the past with the Alexa app. I do agree that it's crazy that there needs to be one routine for on and a separate routine for off!

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Originally Posted by John F View Post
In the Alexa app:

From the home screen, pick more
Pick routines
Pick the + in the upper right hand corner
give the routine a name
For "When this happens" pick a voice command
For "add an action", pick custom, and type in the command mentioned a few posts above.

Good luck.
I did see that and wished that the "when this happens" had allowed me to indicate "when device is turned ON," the action should be "turn it OFF after 60 minutes." That would be the sleep timer function I'm looking for, and would avoid the need to give Alexa a voice command every night.

Anyway, as I said, I'm happy with the way Wemo is working now, and not inclined to tamper with it.
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Old 05-04-2021, 03:38 PM   #4413
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I'm sorry you went to so much trouble on my account, OtinG; I meant to say I couldn't find a way to set a routine for the specific sleep timer function I wanted--I have set up simple on/off routines in the past with the Alexa app. I do agree that it's crazy that there needs to be one routine for on and a separate routine for off!
No trouble at all. I'm glad you got it working in a satisfactory manner.

It is definitely a shame that smart home devices often require such a complicated and limited system for controlling them. They need to be crazy simple and easy to use and program for the average person, otherwise people will get frustrated and not use them to their potential. So far, from my experience anyway, Amazon, Apple, Google, and other companies have failed to deliver systems that are genuinely simple and easy to set up and program. They are slowly getting better though.
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Old 05-04-2021, 04:07 PM   #4414
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
...


I did see that and wished that the "when this happens" had allowed me to indicate "when device is turned ON," the action should be "turn it OFF after 60 minutes." That would be the sleep timer function I'm looking for, and would avoid the need to give Alexa a voice command every night.

Anyway, as I said, I'm happy with the way Wemo is working now, and not inclined to tamper with it.
It does seem like an oversight by Amazon. Along with not having widgets.

And just a reminder, you wouldn't need to use voice Commands if you had a routine; the routine could have two actions (turn on the plug and set the timer), and then you could press play on the routine (although it may be tedious to get the routine).

I can understand that people have an aversion/trouble with voice commands. But for me, if an Alexa device is available, I would rather say "Alexa goodnight" than have to pick up my phone, swipe to the widgets, and then press the power button on the appropriate widget.
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Old 05-04-2021, 04:34 PM   #4415
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No trouble at all. I'm glad you got it working in a satisfactory manner.

It is definitely a shame that smart home devices often require such a complicated and limited system for controlling them. They need to be crazy simple and easy to use and program for the average person, otherwise people will get frustrated and not use them to their potential. So far, from my experience anyway, Amazon, Apple, Google, and other companies have failed to deliver systems that are genuinely simple and easy to set up and program. They are slowly getting better though.
Exactly. They need to allow imprecise voice commands--maybe at least have Alexa ask Did you mean ...? The last protracted conversation I had with Alexa, I was trying to buy a Kindle book because Amazon was offering a promotional credit if buying with Alexa. The book I wanted had a rather nondescript title that confused Alexa with too many possibilities, so I tried ordering by author, then author and title. At one point Alexa was trying to sell me the audiobook version, but couldn't manage to even find the e-book version. It was ridiculous. I believe I eventually gave up and complained to CS and got the buck credit or whatever it was, which was a lot of effort for such a paltry reward.

Since then, the only time I talk to Alexa is to ask for music, and not even anything specific, because she can't seem to handle that, or to ask how many tablespoons are in a quarter cup, because I can never remember.
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Old 05-04-2021, 04:52 PM   #4416
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It does seem like an oversight by Amazon. Along with not having widgets.

And just a reminder, you wouldn't need to use voice Commands if you had a routine; the routine could have two actions (turn on the plug and set the timer), and then you could press play on the routine (although it may be tedious to get the routine).
But that's what I couldn't do in the current instance--unless I set a scheduled time for the plug to turn on and turn off. That's how I worked my Christmas lights--I created a routine for them come on at five and go off at midnight.

Quote:
I can understand that people have an aversion/trouble with voice commands. But for me, if an Alexa device is available, I would rather say "Alexa goodnight" than have to pick up my phone, swipe to the widgets, and then press the power button on the appropriate widget.
Most of the time, I'm using the dedicated remotes and not any app. So I just hit the off button (or the sleep timer when they have that function); no Alexa needed. Old school!
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Old 05-04-2021, 05:32 PM   #4417
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But that's what I couldn't do in the current instance--unless I set a scheduled time for the plug to turn on and turn off. That's how I worked my Christmas lights--I created a routine for them come on at five and go off at midnight.
I am lost. With a routine, you can do what you want with your Amazon plug.

Quote:
... Most of the time, I'm using the dedicated remotes and not any app. So I just hit the off button (or the sleep timer when they have that function); no Alexa needed. Old school!
But in this case, we were talking about a smart plug, which doesn't have a dedicated remote?


And I can appreciate having a dedicated remote, but for me, instead of having a bunch of remotes by my bed/chair, I would rather say something like "Alexa goodnight" and have it turn off my tv, my receiver, and the fan instead of using 2 remotes. And in the morning, I can say "Alexa good morning" and have it turn on the TV, the receiver, tell me the weather, and start my video streaming app, ...
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Old 05-04-2021, 11:21 PM   #4418
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I am lost. With a routine, you can do what you want with your Amazon plug.


But in this case, we were talking about a smart plug, which doesn't have a dedicated remote?


And I can appreciate having a dedicated remote, but for me, instead of having a bunch of remotes by my bed/chair, I would rather say something like "Alexa goodnight" and have it turn off my tv, my receiver, and the fan instead of using 2 remotes. And in the morning, I can say "Alexa good morning" and have it turn on the TV, the receiver, tell me the weather, and start my video streaming app, ...

I responded to this hours ago; I know I did. I don't know why my response didn't post.

Anyway, I don't see any option to create a sleep timer without a voice command.

Re remotes, I don't want everything to go off at the same time. I need the remotes to control other functions anyway, so Alexa doesn't reduce the end table clutter.
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Old 05-05-2021, 06:25 AM   #4419
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...

Anyway, I don't see any option to create a sleep timer without a voice command.

...
As I previously said, you can do it with a routine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John F
And just a reminder, you wouldn't need to use voice Commands if you had a routine; the routine could have two actions (turn on the plug and set the timer), and then you could press play on the routine (although it may be tedious to get the routine).
And if you are old school, and need a physical remote, get one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072C4KCQH
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Old 05-05-2021, 09:22 AM   #4420
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I'm not sure if this is better posted here or in Vent & Rant:
We have a new Fire HD10...well, new to us, it's the model that's just about to be replaced this month...makes me almost want to try to exchange it for the new one, though it's well over a month old now...but I digress....
Verizon just gave us a free 6-month trial of the Discovery+ streaming service. As with Disney+ (which we also got free through Verizon...but I digress again....) I'm not quite sold on the "new cable" model of niche streaming services, but Discovery does have a LOT of content we like, and, hey, free.

But to the point: It seems we can watch Discovery+ just about anywhere: Computer, phone, Roku, even a Fire Stick if we had one...but NOT the Fire tablet! There's no available app for it in the Amazon store and the sideloaded apks I've tried won't work. The reason would appear to be tied to the fact the Discovery+ is now available as a channel in Prime Video. This would appear to be ideal, since Prime video is built in to the Fire tablet....but you can only watch it if you subscribe through Amazon! There is no way to sign in with an existing account!! What a cheap, scuzzy play, Amazon!

Yeah, I guess this should have gone in V&R, sorry.

ApK
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Old 05-05-2021, 09:45 AM   #4421
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As I previously said, you can do it with a routine.
We're going in circles. I said I couldn't set a sleep timer with a routine; I was told I could do it with voice commands; now you're telling me I can do it without voice commands. How?
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:16 AM   #4422
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We're going in circles. I said I couldn't set a sleep timer with a routine; I was told I could do it with voice commands; now you're telling me I can do it without voice commands. How?
You can create a routine that executes any voice command as if it were spoken. That's the "custom action." You type in there what you would say for a voice command.

Any routine you set up, whether it uses voice commands or anything else, can ALSO be activated by pressing the play button by the routine name in the Alexa app.
Getting to that screen to press the button is what I assume he meant by "although it may be tedious to get the routine."

So if you can do it with a voice command, you can create a routine that does that same voice command, and activate it with a touch.

By the way, being able to do stuff like turn off lights (and, by extension, set sleep timers) from bed by voice command is THE killer app for Alexa in my house. You really should try to improve your speaking relationship with Alexa!

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Old 05-05-2021, 10:52 AM   #4423
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I'm not sure if this is better posted here or in Vent & Rant:
We have a new Fire HD10...well, new to us, it's the model that's just about to be replaced this month...makes me almost want to try to exchange it for the new one, though it's well over a month old now...but I digress....
Verizon just gave us a free 6-month trial of the Discovery+ streaming service. As with Disney+ (which we also got free through Verizon...but I digress again....) I'm not quite sold on the "new cable" model of niche streaming services, but Discovery does have a LOT of content we like, and, hey, free.

But to the point: It seems we can watch Discovery+ just about anywhere: Computer, phone, Roku, even a Fire Stick if we had one...but NOT the Fire tablet! There's no available app for it in the Amazon store and the sideloaded apks I've tried won't work. The reason would appear to be tied to the fact the Discovery+ is now available as a channel in Prime Video. This would appear to be ideal, since Prime video is built in to the Fire tablet....but you can only watch it if you subscribe through Amazon! There is no way to sign in with an existing account!! What a cheap, scuzzy play, Amazon!

Yeah, I guess this should have gone in V&R, sorry.

ApK
This is as good of a place to vent about Amazon devices as any other. We do that a lot here.

I agree, forbidding the installation/use of the Discovery+ app in order to force one to purchase the Prime Discovery+ Channel instead sucks. I don't have a Fire tablet, but I do have a couple of Fire TVs. The Fire TVs do allow one to install the Discovery+ app, BTW.

My main complaints about Prime Channels is that they are often difficult to navigate, and worse still, they often don't have as many episodes of programs as the "stand alone" apps do. Plus, you can only watch Prime Channels via the Amazon Prime Video app. To watch a Prime Channel on my ATV 4K or Roku or iThingie, I have to open the Prime Video app and watch it there. The "stand alone" apps can be watched on non-Amazon devices and usually have much better interfaces and offerings. The only time I purchase an Amazon Prime Channel is when they have holiday specials and offer them at a huge savings or free access for a few months. I get them then, but cancel when the savings or free access expires.

I've got the Discovery+ app on my ATV 4K, Fire TV Cube, and directly on my Sony TV running Android TV. I watch it quite a bit. Funny how some of the Discovery channels are "must have" for me, while others are pretty much never viewed by me on a cable TV or channel streaming system. They are either great or trash. I like the science, history, documentary, crime programming, but hate the scripted, so-called reality garbage. Regardless of the garbage, Discovery channels and app have a lot of programming to watch. But when watching them live on their cable channels there are more reruns than anything.

Last edited by OtinG; 05-05-2021 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 05-05-2021, 11:01 AM   #4424
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You can create a routine that executes any voice command as if it were spoken. That's the "custom action." You type in there what you would say for a voice command.

Any routine you set up, whether it uses voice commands or anything else, can ALSO be activated by pressing the play button by the routine name in the Alexa app.
Getting to that screen to press the button is what I assume he meant by "although it may be tedious to get the routine."

So if you can do it with a voice command, you can create a routine that does that same voice command, and activate it with a touch.

By the way, being able to do stuff like turn off lights (and, by extension, set sleep timers) from bed by voice command is THE killer app for Alexa in my house. You really should try to improve your speaking relationship with Alexa!
What APK said, and see post 4411. If you have a fire tablet, you can also get to routines from the lock screen.
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Old 05-05-2021, 11:12 AM   #4425
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Exactly. They need to allow imprecise voice commands...
I run a skill called Brown Noise at night to help me drown out neighborhood noise so I can sleep better. I typically turn it off in the morning by saying, "Alexa, stop." That works well. I have a grandniece named Alexis, so I occasionally get mixed up and use "Alexis" rather than "Alexa". This morning I said, "Alexis, stop." The Echo Plus lit up, thought a few seconds, then continued playing the skill. After the third time it finally dawned on me I was saying "Alexis" rather than "Alexa", so I then said, "Alexa, stop." That worked. You would think the two should work interchangeably. After all, I quite often have Alexa go into a long winded discussion about nonsense when she hears a word similar to "Alexa" on TV, even words that are not nearly as close to sounding like it as does "Alexis."

And BTW, I grabbed my iPad and opened the Alexa app hoping to stop the skill, but the newest interface is so crappy I could not quickly find out how. Fortunately I figured out I was using "Alexis" by mistake. The Alexa app looks like it was organized by hoarders--stuff piled here and there with no particular order making things difficult to find.
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