Growing Up Alexa

A few months ago, I wrote about how Alexa and Google Home are used in our house. In my experience, these devices are a better way for kids to use the internet than a mobile phone. A phone becomes an extension of a person, isolating her from the group. Interacting with Alexa is more of a family activity with Alexa acting like another person in the room.

Some people think it’s odd to treat Alexa humanely. As a machine, she doesn’t have any feelings. But think about the way we refer to Alexa. It feels more natural to refer to Alexa as a “her” than an “it” because that’s the way we interface with her. And if we interface with her as a person, we should be polite and say please and thank you. Continue reading “Growing Up Alexa”

Entering Conference Codes on Your iPhone

Plugging in conference code numbers for a call can be annoying. On an iPhone, you can put the conference code in after in dial-in number. You add a  PAUSE in between by holding down the # key. You can also be more clever with IVR systems by plugging in a 3 second WAIT by holding down the * key. Here’s some more ideas on how to use these tricks. For some other phone tricks, check out this short talk from David Pogue.