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Old 02-05-2019, 11:05 AM   #3496
OtinG
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John F View Post
I'm not talking about variable action phrases, I'm talking about fixed action phrases. If you typed in the phrase, Alexa should either get it right/wrong 100% of the time.

So what would be the harm of Amazon implementing it? It wouldn't work for you and you wouldn't expect it to since it doesn't currently work, and it would work for me. Win, win.

For example, I have a routine with a trigger phrase "Good morning", and I would say that it works 99% of the time. I have a couple of these routines, and once I find a good trigger phrase, they are pretty reliable.
First of all, Alexa is marketed as VOICE control, not TEXT control. So I doubt Amazon will feel the need to spend the time to make her have a usable and easy text command interface. I agree it would be nice, but that really is beyond the scope of her design capabilities.

Second, I think you are overly optimistic that Alexa would always 100% accurately interpret and carry out text commands. I notice that she often accurately hears what I say, but stills screws up the commands. I suspect the algorithms she uses to interpret and then carry out commands is flawed. (Probably server side errors.) For example, I've had her tell me a certain named device does not exist, when in fact it does. A second or third command to turn on that device finally works. In all instances I can see that she actually correctly identified the device's name, yet was too stupid to realize it actually existed. Entering the text command to turn on that device would have probably failed too as there is apparently an algorithm error taking place that is not related to how she hears but is related to how she identifies devices, scenes, etc. Two months ago I was bragging about how much better Alexa was interpreting and carrying out voice commands. But lately she has fallen back into her old ways of screwing up a lot. The server side software is certainly suspect as it is fluid and constantly being updated. Sometimes they make it better, sometimes they screw it up worse.

One thing I have noticed is that you have to be very careful in how you name devices, scenes, routines, etc. If the device name is too similar to a scene or routine name, then it seems there is a greater likelihood of a failed command taking place. Personally, I think they made the whole scene and routine aspects much more complicated than they should have.

Another failure point is with the Amazon Alexa servers. Sometimes things just go into gaga land when the Alexa device sends it off to be processed by her server. In such cases there will be failure regardless of what you do.
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:45 AM   #3497
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Originally Posted by OtinG View Post
First of all, Alexa is marketed as VOICE control, not TEXT control. So I doubt Amazon will feel the need to spend the time to make her have a usable and easy text command interface. I agree it would be nice, but that really is beyond the scope of her design capabilities. ...
And yet it has routines, skills, let's you type in phrases, ...

I believe it would be much easier to interpret a typed in text, than trying to interpret spoken text. I believe you can go back and see everything that you said as text.

Quote:
... Second, I think you are overly optimistic that Alexa would always 100% accurately interpret and carry out text commands. I notice that she often accurately hears what I say, but stills screws up the commands. I suspect the algorithms she uses to interpret and then carry out commands is flawed. (Probably server side errors.) For example, I've had her tell me a certain named device does not exist, when in fact it does. A second or third command to turn on that device finally works. In all instances I can see that she actually correctly identified the device's name, yet was too stupid to realize it actually existed. Entering the text command to turn on that device would have probably failed too as there is apparently an algorithm error taking place that is not related to how she hears but is related to how she identifies devices, scenes, etc. Two months ago I was bragging about how much better Alexa was interpreting and carrying out voice commands. But lately she has fallen back into her old ways of screwing up a lot. The server side software is certainly suspect as it is fluid and constantly being updated. Sometimes they make it better, sometimes they screw it up worse. ...
I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I'm relatively ignorant on language/command/AI processing, but at some point, the command (voice or text) would be parsed and made into tokens, and the parsing is much easy with text than audio. If those tokens are processed differently (everything else being constant), than it is a bug. Bugs can be dealt with, non-existing functionality can't.

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... Another failure point is with the Amazon Alexa servers. Sometimes things just go into gaga land when the Alexa device sends it off to be processed by her server. In such cases there will be failure regardless of what you do.
The "server going gaga" is a red herring. Whether processing audio or text, going gaga is going to happen.

Do you really believe that it easier to process audio spoken commands than typed in commands?
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:55 PM   #3498
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:09 PM   #3499
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Originally Posted by OtinG View Post
I never thought that and I never said or wrote that, so not sure why you think that is the case. I happen to agree with you that having text input would be a nice feature, but I also know that Amazon probably doesn't won't to use up resources to make that happen. Amazon has a habit of ignoring what users request. Take the Kindles and the Kindle books they display as an example. Amazon refuses to give us the ability to set text formatting beyond the very basics, nor the ability to have greater control over things like line height, margin sizes, etc. Why? Because they just won't do it. Makes no sense, and people have complained for many, many years, but Amazon still mostly ignores those complaints and requests.
Looking at it from the outside, I don't see it using up a lot of Amaxon resources to make it happen. All they would need to do in the Alexa app is add a text option in routines; I'm guessing the server side would take up even fewer resources. They added skills and routines, text commands seems like a no-brainer for expanding routibes?.

I see a lot of bang for the buck in doing it.

And we seem to have very different behaviour with Alexa. If I really try, I can get voice commands to execute 95% of the time. I would expect text commands to be 100%.

Last edited by John F; 02-05-2019 at 08:34 PM. Reason: changed voice to text in last sentence.
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:24 AM   #3500
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:26 PM   #3501
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T-Mobile customers who want to use Alexa Drop-in feature

If you are a T-mobile customer who wants to use the Alexa Drop-in, Messaging, Calling features, then you might need to call T-Mobile CS to get them to unblock verification codes being sent from several major businesses which includes Amazon.

I was trying to setup my T-Mobile iPhone the past two days to allow Alexa Drop-In. The Alexa app had me enter my phone number so it could text me a verification code. I never got a code, and I tried having it resent dozens of times until I finally got a message saying I was no longer allowed to request one until the next day. I tried again this morning but still did not receive the code from Amazon. I called Amazon CS and they informed me that with T-Mobile a lot of the customers have a block on receiving verification codes. Some companies have taken advantage of the verification code text messages to send spam, so T-Mobile blocks a lot of these automatically, and that includes the ones sent by Amazon. Amazon CS told me to call T-Mobile and have the block removed, which I did, and soon thereafter I was able to receive the text message verification code to use my iPhone with Alexa Drop-In.

BTW, T-Mobile CS told me the verification code block includes Amazon, Google, several banks, and other retailers and businesses. It doesn't include all verification codes from all sources though. I have been using verification codes from different businesses for a few years now without issues until this one. So if you have T-Mobile and you have trouble receiving verification codes, call their CS.
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:33 PM   #3502
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When I called Amazon CS this morning about the above Alexa app issue I did so sitting a few feet from a Dot 3rd generation. As I tried to explain to the CS rep that I had an Alexa app issue I was loudly interrupted by Alexa via the Dot 3 when she heard her name and started trying to answer my question, even though I had not actually asked it yet! Pretty funny. Both me and the CS rep were laughing. Of course it took a bit to get Alexa to shut up and then I turned off her microphone. Mental note to self, turn off Dot 3 microphone BEFORE calling Amazon CS!
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Old 02-06-2019, 12:35 PM   #3503
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Originally Posted by OtinG View Post
Send Amazon your request. I suspect it will never be read by anyone with any real authority to act upon it, but it doesn't hurt to try. ...
I was disappointed with the customer service I received when I asked this question (I felt I got the run-around), so I emailed the Bezo's email address, and here was their responses:

Quote:
...I'm Nadia R. of Amazon's Tech Support Executive Customer Relations team. Jeff Bezos received your email and I'm responding on his behalf.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I apologize for the experience you've encountered with Customer Service when looking for assistance with Alexa routines. Our mission is to provide a premium quality service, and the experience you described certainly doesn’t meet our service standards. We'll also make sure any misses are coached, as we continue to work hard at improving our Customer Service and ensuring that. We definitely want to make sure all of our customer service associates always assist you properly.
...
Quote:
... I've confirmed that the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and the Fire TV Cube cannot be controlled through your Routines in the Alexa App. Although, I'd have to say the idea is brilliant and I've passed the feedback to our development team.

I have looked deeply into your request and can confirm we do not offer any similar features to the feature you'd like to add. We will be seeing features like these added to our skill set as time goes on- and thanks to you, we receive new ideas every day. ...
And back to your posts ...
Quote:
... BTW, most of the devices sold with Alexa capability do not even have a text entry capability, so I seriously doubt Amazon will think adding text input to the Alexa app and the few devices with text input capability would be cost effective. Amazon harps on the voice input capability, they rarely speak about text when it comes to Alexa. So expect a huge brick wall between your request and Amazon Alexa decision makers. That is not an opinion, just the facts, like it or not. ...
[Ripley voice]Did IQs in the room suddenly drop?[/Ripley voice]

The devices do not need text input, the Alexa app does. We are talking about text input for routines.

Quote:
I spent over 25 years working on various software development teams with companies like IBM, BMC Software, and Computer Associates. So I know from experience that what seems like a simple change to us can actually be a major undertaking to a development team. And I guarantee everyone with a say so on the team will have a different opinion on if/how any changes should be implemented. Ultimately the decision will likely come down from a pencil pushing exec far removed from the team and not that familiar with software development. Likely a bean counter who looks at how much the change would cost, how many customers would actually use it or have requested it already, and weighs the decision almost totally on a financial basis. Trust me, a lot of decisions on which functions to include, add, delete are not supported by the actual software developers, but they are told to do it or else. IBM came closest to empowering the development team with a lot of decision influence, but BMC and CA both were like working for dictatorships!
I'm going to avoid the who has the [most experience] argument and the rambling curmudgeon comments.

But for somebody with "25 years", you seem to be making some fundamental errors.

Last edited by pdurrant; 02-08-2019 at 11:03 AM. Reason: language
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:07 PM   #3504
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:10 AM   #3505
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Some of that was offensive to me, and uncalled far. I am merely trying to help you understand how things work in a a company like Amazon. Obviously you are NEVER wrong, so I will shut up now. [snip]
[snip]

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Old 02-08-2019, 06:24 AM   #3506
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Old 02-08-2019, 10:55 AM   #3507
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LOL! Jeff has to pay for his ongoing divorce and battle with the tabloids! I wonder if Alexa recorded any of his nasty monkey business on the server? (No offense Monkey.) If so I hope she keeps it to herself!

I find it amusing that Amazon put its Alexa devices on sale for Valentines Day. I guess nothing says "I love you sweety" better than introducing another person named Alexa into your household! I guess we will have a Presidents Day sale too in the USA, and maybe a sale on nearly every obscure holiday. Welcome to American retail...

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Old 02-08-2019, 11:08 AM   #3508
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:06 PM   #3509
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Alexa/Audible Interactive Audiobooks


Choose Your Own Adventure (2 books)
  • FREE -- Journey Under the Sea
  • FREE -- The Abominable Snowman

Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure

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Quote:
Explore an immersive Audible experience
The iconic book series that took millions of readers on exciting, unpredictable journeys, comes to life with this official Choose Your Own Adventure® Alexa skill. Take the lead in an interactive story that features professional narration, exceptional sound design, and danger at every turn.

You begin with the adventure, you decide your next move, you alter your own fate. Where and when it ends is up to YOU.


How do I start playing?
Just follow the step-by-step guide below to try the skill for yourself.

Alexa, open Choose Your Own Adventure
Use this command on your device to open the skill.

Snowman or Sea?
Your first decision is whether to begin with The Abominable Snowman or Journey Under the Sea. Then get ready to make some tougher calls.

Take a New Path
If your adventure ends, don't despair. Just say go back or change story to make another choice.


The Abominable Snowman
You are on a quest in the Himalayas to discover the legendary Yeti. Is it real? You must survive harsh elements and violent smugglers but can you survive an encounter with the beast?

Journey Under the Sea
The fabled city of Atlantis calls to you from the murky depths. You search, encountering shipwrecks, dangerous sea creatures, and a whole new species of people. Hold your breath!

Your Next Adventures
Stay tuned. The future may bring new journeys, new dangers, and a new decision. Will you be ready?

Choose Your Own Adventure

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You decide what happens next in these classic Choose Your Own Adventure stories brought to you by Audible.
In each professionally narrated story, you are the adventurer who makes the choices that decide your fate.

To help you on your journey:
Say “go back” to go back one scene if you don't like the choice you made.
Say “start over” to start your current story over from the beginning.
Say “change story” if you are ready to switch to another story.
If you need help, just ask.

Current stories available:
The Abominable Snowman
Journey Under the Sea

Features:
28 total endings in The Abominable Snowman
37 total endings in Journey Under the Sea
Progress tracking and automatic bookmarking for resuming later
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Old 02-08-2019, 12:15 PM   #3510
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LOL! Jeff has to pay for his ongoing divorce and battle with the tabloids! I wonder if Alexa recorded any of his nasty monkey business on the server? (No offense Monkey.) If so I hope she keeps it to herself!

I find it amusing that Amazon put its Alexa devices on sale for Valentines Day. I guess nothing says "I love you sweety" better than introducing another person named Alexa into your household! I guess we will have a Presidents Day sale too in the USA, and maybe a sale on nearly every obscure holiday. Welcome to American retail...


Did you catch the super secret Groundhog Day sale? And don't forget, Pi Day is just around the corner.
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