Alexa, Talk to me!

Alexa, Talk to me!

You know when you have the Amazon Echo, there are times you you don’t have anyone to talk to at home or on the phone.. there is always Alexa. So I end up asking my Alexa  Echo devices(I have 2 of them), some questions. I’m always entertained to say the least. What overwhelms me is the sheer volume of skills that grow every week.  My favorite skill is to play Jeopardy.  Of course I rarely win this 5 question daily skill!

In most cases, I’m just listening to Pandora or just asking for the weather, but when I truly want to engage my Alexa, I try some of the following things. Of course you can see all the skills that Alexa has by searching for them using your Alexa app on your IOS or Android Device. 

The one thing I finally learned is how to make both of my Echo’s simultaneously play music as part of my Home Group.. yeah.. I’m typically late to the party.. but I do eventually get there.

I also look forward to the weekly emails that tell me all the new skills that she can do.. Do I need to get a life? Perhaps, but for pure entertainment value, you can’t beat Alexa as your live in….

Of course you can visit the amazon site for everything Alexa to remain up to date, but that’s too much work for me. so I just read the weekly emails.  From making your home smart to ordering, to shopping, Alexa to me is my one stop.. I think for me the next step is to get the Echo Show to so I can video conference with with my friends and family and annoy them in #realtime.

The one thing I had to get used to and at times still scares the heck out of me is that she is ALWAYS listening for her name and is absorbing.. So if you are on You Tube and this is what happened to me as I was researching You Tube for this post, she heard my computer and you can imagine the rest..

Now in the spirit of the holidays, below are some skills you can try:

“Alexa, help me create a holiday story.”
With the Holiday Story Skill Blueprint, you can create personalized holiday stories told by Alexa with your child as the main character.

Alexa, how many days until Christmas?”

“Alexa, open Holiday Song Quiz.”

Now to really get your jollies, try this: “Alexa, what can you do?”.. This will guarantee to keep you engaged..


Scambusters

Scammers and Web Based insects which attack. How to fight these attacks.

Today with the way technology is proceeding at a breakneck speed, we are all inundated with offers either via email, telephone or by on-line malware. This post talks about some tips to avoid being scammed. In today’s of technology overload, you are your own last line of defense against spam, phishing, malware, virus’s, and any web born aggrevation.

Hmm, do I sound like someone who has gone down this path?

To battle the scourge of being scammed or having your identity stolen, here are a couple of really good sites which help you follow up on this ageless motto:

“If it sounds too good to be true, it absolutely is”.

  1. Scambusters – Check out questionable offers
  2. Scam – On-line community forums

Some tips to avoid being scammed or having your identity stolen (my list of on-line NO-NO’s):

  • Don’t open ANY emails that look suspicious (No you have not won $5M in the European Union’s lottery that you never entered)
  • Don’t confirm any personal information via email – NO valid financial institution will ask you for your pin code to “confirm” your identity.
  • Never ever give your credit card number to anyone on the phone, if you have any doubt of  who the caller is. I encountered this when I kept on getting “restricted” calls from the Policemen’s fund raiser on my home phone. As soon as you ask for proof of identity or email confirmation, the phone line mysteriously goes dead….
  • Make sure your Antivirus, hardware/software firewall, spyware blocker, anti-phishing (browser) addons for Firefox or IE are updated. If this sounds like I’m over-protected, I’m not. Even with all of the above, I’ve seen many of these villans attack my machines at home. So in order to protect yourself, you need to have a combinations. I’ve used both McAfee and Norton. These days I lean towards McAfee, only because, it’s provided free by most web providers (Comcast, Optimum, etc…). I’v also stopped using IE all together and only use Firefox on all my machines.
  • Make sure you disable Pop-Ups (this is how how I caught the dreaded “Your machine has a virus, you need to purchase ….”  virus). You can always enable or override with simple keystrokes.
  • Do not accept any invitation/messages  from anyone that you do not know on social networking sites.  Yes that means me, a noted Facebook and LinkedIn fanatic.
  • Do not accept an invitation : When you get an invite from someone that you have no clue to be your “friend” on your instant messager client (cindyfunxx38  is not your friend)

Overall, I can safely say: “If you encounter stangers bearing gifts, you can almost be assured that you will be given a gift that will last for a lifetime”.

If you know of any additional scambuster sites, leave me a comment.

Tickled by Life – Life Enhancement

I was having a really difficult at work this week. 😦  and I needed something to cheer me up.

I came across the site Tickled by Life and before I could finish reading one article, I realized that this Blog was a keeper and wanted to share with my readers.

I especiallly enjoyed the article What goes around Comes around..

Enjoy!

Thrifty Fun – Fun, advice and blogs

This entry comes as a courtesy of my Sis-In-Law (RM). Good work RM. Bet you never thought you’d be published at Dad’s Taxi! 🙂

Thrifty Fun is a pretty cool site which has some really nice featured articles and newsletters which you can subscribe to. The site is family oriented, so it seems to be a pretty good place for information and tips! Most of the focus of this site is related to the home and tips on how to solve household problems. Found that to be pretty useful.

It’s here that I found another link to an interesting My Frugal Life Blog site.The site offers some excellent advice, free newsletters, tips and so much more.  You can browse the various topics and much more.

What I liked best  was the disclaimer for the site. Now I gotta figure out how to do the same for Dad’s Taxi.

Take a look along the bottom of the page and you’ll find some interesting sites for budgeting, savings advice, couponing, ezines (newsletters), etc..

Overall, the site is really nice and deserves a detailed look.. enjoy..

PS. Thanks RM.

CELL PHONE DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

Cell Phone Do Not Call Registry. Registration process

Mea Culpa. After I posted this entry, I realized that I had fallen into one of the olders email hoaxes that has been on the Internet.

A good friend of mine directed me to the Urban Legends site which discusses the below.

There is no deadline. Below is the excerpt which makes this entry moot. Again I don’t normally post this kind of information without verifying, but in this case, I did.

Comments: Yes, you can add your cell phone number(s) to the National Do Not Call Registry.

But no, you won’t suddenly be at the mercy of 10,000 telemarketers if you don’t.

While it’s true that several of the major wireless phone providers announced a plan some years ago to establish a 411 directory of customers’ cell phone numbers, it is not true that the plan involved publishing said directory for any and all to read. Participating companies said the numbers would be made available only via telephone, only to users who dialed directory assistance and paid a fee, and only with customer consent.

In any case, the point has been moot since 2006, when the plan to create a 411 directory for cell phone numbers was indefinitely postponed.

******************************************************************

Notice: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public next month.

Starting February 2009, Cell phone numbers will go public.

If you want to avoid telemarketing or sales calls, follow the process below, and it should put your cell phone on the DO NOT CALL LIST put into place by the Federal Trade Commission.

This is the National Do Not Call Registry sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission.  You may also register your home phone number on this number too but it is essential to register your cell phone because all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sales calls.

…. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS MADE TO YOUR CELL PHONE.

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone:    888-382-1222.

Important thing here is that you MUST call from the number you are registering. According to the site:

Your registration will not expire. Telephone numbers placed on the National Do Not Call Registry will remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008. Read more about it at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/04/dncfyi.shtm.

It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.

HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS.

If after you do this and you continue to get those annoying sales calls on your cell, you can always call to the National Do Not Call Registry to initiate a complaint against the cell phone spammer!

The National Do Not Call Registry Serves multiple purposes:

  1. Register multiple phone numbers to be put on the DO NOT CALL List with the FTC
  2. Verify that your number is on the DO NOT CALL list (via email)
  3. Initiate complaints against the organizations that continue to call you when you are on the DO NOT CALL List.

Thanks to my tennis buddy Drew for enlightening me with this tidbit..

Of course if you like sales calls interrupting your privacy, you can ignore… 🙂

Clark Howard Highlights – Tips for your Financia Life

A few weeks ago I talked about Clark Howard. He’s the guy who has is an a excellent advocate for consumers. His tips and tricks give you excellent ideas on saving money in your every day financial transactions.

Today, I came across the CNN site with videos by Clark on his weekly TV Show.

As I’ve said before, what I like about Clark Howard’s information is that it’s very useful in everyday life. Take a look.

mashable – All Web news

Mashable – all the Web related news that’s fit to read.

I was bored and cruising (yes everyone knows how easily I get distracted/bored) and came across the mashable site.

This site provides an excellent summarized summary of NEW things happening. I could just waste hours and hours of time on the popular category of  Facebook, Firefox, Google and my fav iPhone.

What I liked about the site,  is that you can leave comments on any of the stories that are published here.

I like the clean structure and the a could look at the popular categories. I’ll give you one guess which one I gravitated to. the iPhone area.

What I liked even more of this site is the Jobs section.

  • Here you can see job postings (besides your Monster,  and careerbuilder). The interface was clean. I just selected the state I was looking for a job in and voila,  I saw the jobs in a simple list.
  • Updated 11/15/18: without doubt the best aggregator site today is Indeed. This site puts together jobs from multiple sites for a one stop job search

Take a look at mashable , I added the daily feed to my Yahoo, of course this site allows you to add subscribe to this site.  I give this site 4+ stars.

One of my next blog entries  is going to be dedicated to how to network in this crummy (yes that’s a technical term) economy and the inside tricks to finding jobs others won’t find.. Stay tuned for that.

Howcast – An How to video Site

So if you are like me, you are constantly googling to figure thing out or to figure out how to do things. I found Howcast to be an excellent video site for the how-to junkie.

Now you are probably wondering how did you find Howcast? I found how cast because I was reading time magazines top 50 sites.. Another one of my favorites..

Bonus of the day: Howcast is a free APP for your iPhone via iTunes

Second bonus of the day: A new Apple site which has just launched – “Iphone for you life“.. Guaranteed to be a major time waster for me… 🙂

My next goal is to see the video on how I can publicize this Blog better!

As I always say.. Seek and you shall find.

ASM