Amazon’s Techy Bits That I Love

Audible  

If you read one of my earlier blog posts on ‘How To Have The Perfect Pamper Evening’, you will recall me mentioning that I like to use Audible to listen to books, as opposed to reading them.  As I seem to be using Audible more and more these days, I thought it would be useful to give you some more detail on how I use the app, when I like to listen to it, and the kinds of books I like to purchase through it…….

If you are like me, you are the kind of person who really likes the idea of being up to date with all of the popular and interesting books on the market, but you just don’t love taking the time to sit down and actually read them.  I love browsing nice book shops, but I rarely pick up a book to buy because I just think to myself ‘nah, I won’t read it’.  I know it’s a silly thought, but I just feel like the time that I would use to read the book could be better spent (basically I just don’t have the patience for it lol).  I have always been envious of people who can just sit down for hours and read a book.  I know it’s a great way to relax.

Luckily for me, I am married to a bit of a nerd (don’t worry, he is proud of this! lol) and when he introduced me to Audible, my world of books changed for ever! A bit dramatic I know, lol but it was honestly such a great discovery for me. I finally have access to all of the amazing books that I want to read, but don’t have to sit for hours to get through them!

Audible is owned by Amazon so it runs through your Amazon account.  You have to download the Audible app from the App Store.  Once you have made your purchase through Amazon (but be careful, as not all books are fully ‘Audible’ enabled), you can listen to it through the Audible app.  It is so simple.  Whilst I mainly use Audible for books, they also offer radio and TV programs as well as audio versions of magazines and newspapers.  It’s amazing!

My absolute favourite thing about Audible is that I can listen to my books any time I want.  It allows me to multitask, which is amazing.  I love that I can do something else whilst I listen to my books, and don’t have to take the time to actually sit down and read the book.  I like to use Audible when I am in the bath, when I’m cooking or cleaning and especially when I am at the pool.  It is so much easier than holding my book up and squinting at the Sun lol. All I have to do is stick in my headphones and voila!

There is such a wide variety of books to choose from, and there is absolutely no consistency between the type of books I like to listen to.  I listen to all kinds, depending on my mood.  You will find anything from biographies to novels to inspirational books in my Audible app.  Here are some of the my most recent listens:

  • Pretty Iconic by Sally Hughes (link)
  • Angles and Demons by Dan Brown (link)
  • What I know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey (link)
  • Girl Online (books 1-3) by Zoe Sugg (book 1, book 2, book 3)
  • Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso (link)
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (link)
  • Love, Tanya by Tanya Burr (link)
  • The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight (link)

You can find information about the price and different membership offers here.  They also offer a free 30 day trial if you would like to try before you buy (that’s what I did!).

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Alexa / Echo Dot

Another techy gadget which my ‘nerdy’ husband (sorry Dan, lol) has introduced to my life is the Amazon Echo Dot (also known as Alexa).  If you have ever visited the ‘Things I Love – Lifestyle’ page on my blog, you will have seen the Echo Dot on there.  I must admit that I was sceptical at first, but I am now completely sold on this and have come to rely on ‘Alexa’ quite a bit lol. We have the small ‘Echo Dot’, which is not very big at all and you can put it pretty much anywhere without it standing out. Another option that they have is the original ‘Amazon Echo‘ – the functionality is exactly the same, but it also doubles as a bluetooth speaker and has much better sound quality if you are playing music.

The Dot is basically a handsfree, voice controlled device that can play music, set alarms, read the news to you and will attempt to answer any question you wish to ask her (yes, her).  The best way I can describe her is like a more advanced version of Siri on an iPhone. Her skills are endless! I can call out items for her to add to my shopping list, and they will appear in my app once I get to the shops.  It’s not available in the UAE, but in the UK you can even do things like order a Dominos pizza, order an Uber or check the traffic on your morning commute.  The best part about Alexa is that she will even read my audio book to me through its built-in speaker 😊.  Another feature that I use all the time is the ability to stream music through it. We signed up for the Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, which is only £3.99/month for a single Echo.  The library isn’t quite as big as Spotify or Apple Music, but it has all of the latest pop music that I want!

To use Alexa, all I have to do is say her name followed by my question or request.  Here are some examples of questions I ask her on the daily:

  • ‘Alexa, play Ed Sheeran’
  • ‘Alexa, what is on my calendar for today’
  • ‘Alexa, add xx to my shopping list’
  • ‘Alexa, what time is it in Ireland’
  • ‘Alexa, what is the weather like in Abu Dhabi today’
  • ‘Alexa, read me the news headlines’
  • ‘Alexa, read my book to me’

I test her daily with new questions lol.  Today I asked; ‘Alexa, how do I pronounce computer in Arabic’.  She responded with; ‘I do not know how to pronounce it, so I have sent the answer to you Alexa app’.  She then went on to tell me that I can enable the translation tool from the app store. This is just an example of how she operates.

As much as I love Alexa, she certainly isn’t perfect! Of course she has to be reactive to her name, but making a sound that is close to her name can be enough to set her off.  Sometimes when we are watching TV and she hears something that sounds like her name, she will start chatting away.  Sometimes, saying her name is a bit like saying a swear word in front of a child; we have to whisper it if we don’t want her to react!  One time she started talking while I was on skype to my mum so I had to say, ‘ALEXA STOP’, and my mother thought I was talking to a Dog lol lol. Sometimes she will also get confused by my pronunciation of words.  I could ask her to play a particular song and she hears it wrong and plays something completely different.  Of course there will be these teething problems with any new technology but Amazon are constantly making updates to it and trying to improve.

Sometimes it frightens me how far technology has come.  I am sure this is only the beginning of some sort of home robot and Alexa’s of some sort will run households one day (Dan informs me that they already can).  It does, however, impress me as much as it frightens me and I am all for new and exciting technology.  I am definitely not a leader in understanding how it all works, but I certainly enjoy the benefits of it once I know how to use it 😊

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Let me know if any of you are a fan of Audible or the Echo Dot or if you have any recommendations for other techy bits from Amazon which you think I might like 🙂

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3 COMMENTS

  1. | 1st Jul 17

    Claire…. can you and Dan sort us out technologically please?!

    • Claire | 2nd Jul 17

      Of Course! 🙂 Always happy to help! Everyone needs an Alexa in their lives lol xx

  2. 5 Things I Am Loving Right Now! - Claire Baker | 14th Oct 17

    […] the one song I chose is over lol.  I love that I can play it from my, desk, my phone or from my Amazon Echo (“Alexa”).  If you are like me and are questioning whether or not to get an account, […]

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