Alexa Changed my Life AND Has Almost Stopped TXTing and Driving

Crushing It CoverI first installed Alexa on my iPhone back in ’18 after reading the @garyvee book Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence and How You Can Too.

I knew about Voice First Technology of course. I had been using Siri for ages and played round with Cortana which was a little less impressive. I just didn’t feel I needed it on my laptop. I still touch-type fast.

When Alexa started connected to my WiFi and Bluetooth displays, things changed. I had a mix of audio and video in the rooms in the house where I wanted it. Then there’s my car.

I didn’t get to CES 2018 unfortunately but I didn’t really need to. I got the picture from videos.

A big difference was getting Alexa in my car.

Navdy goneOf course I already had my Navdy, which had hand gestures but the company went under as I was waiting for my software update, because the navigation maps were no longer current. I can’t tell you how gutted I was about that. I’m still using it, but a lot of the new freeways and subdivisions aren’t on it. With Alexa a lot of the the other features are now redundant.

Anyway, two major things happened.

One is how my life has changed with VFT and the other is that distracted driving accidents from people TXTing and driving have reduced by about 10% each year for the last 5 years and its not because of driverless cars. They STILL haven’t become popular. I guess people still enjoy the drive. I still do, that’s why I have a Corvette right? I didn’t buy a muscle machine so it could drive me.

This is a little bit of what my day looks like with Alexa

I wake naturally, I have a good body clock. I ask Alexa the weather. She says its 11 degrees (That’s just under 52 degrees for my American readers.) and we are heading for a high of 15 C.

I get her to turn up the climate control for the lounge dining area and go to the bathroom where she is connected to my shower speaker from AliExpress and get my personalized news. I have a mix of New Zealand news as well as CNN and BBC.

Then its time for a traffic report. It’s school holidays so it is only going to take me half an hour to travel the 12 km to work, that’s great. I can linger over breakfast (asking her to add milk and English muffins to my grocery list) and dictate my morning vlog.

20160507_153136 (2)I get Alexa to open the garage door and unlock my front door and the car, she points out that I am not carrying my phone and gives it a quick chirp so I know where it is.

I start up my driveway to work, confirming she has locked the front door and closed the garage door, all the lights are off as is the electric towel rail which I always used to forget to switch off! ; and I get her to open Spotify (yes I’m still using it) and start my Daily Playlist 5.

I don’t use Alexa much at work, except while I am walking to the Sushi shop the long way and listen to a podcast. It’s an open plan office.

On the way home, I use it to ask Gaspy where the cheapest 98 octane fuel is for my car. It’s getting very expensive and not many gas stations have it any more.

When I have my tank full ($150! Petrol is heavily taxed and way more expensive than in the US or just about anywhere else in the world), I turn on the heat pump at home to 24 degrees so the house will be nice and warm when I get in and turn on the front door and hall lights.

She opens the garage door and front door as I’m getting ready to reverse into the garage.

My wife isn’t due home for another hour so I get Alexa to order our usual Chinese takeout from Uber Eats for 7 PM. I’m not much of a cook and we couldn’t cook a meal cheaper than that for two anyway.

Getting changed I ask Alexa for another news update and for my fitness info. I only walked 3,000 steps today, a little over 3 KM. Most of that was the 2 km circuit I do after I buy my sushi.

I then play a quick game of poker online and use Alexa to translate the Portuguese that the Brazilians are talking because it frustrates me that I can’t understand them and they often dominate the table. Then I get Alexa to translate my English and dictate it back to them, telling them to pull their heads in. They lol.

We sit down for dinner in the lounge and Alexa finds where we are at on Suits Series 12 and casts it on the 85″ TV that I finally managed to get spousal approval for, on the basis that the US Tennis Open would look so much better on the 16k TV screen. The resolution is way better than being there and the sound is amazing. I’m still frustrated that they are not broadcasting 3D, but she doesn’t like it anyway.

Bedtime and Alexa turns off the heat pump and the lights, as we leave the lounge. she confirms the front door is locked and it’s goodnight world.

Just another day.

 

 

 

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TomTom Live Gets Real Time Car Park Availability

I’ve been a fan of TomTom Live products ever since they launched HD Traffic which was put set up for New Zealand and Australia by GeoSmart has saved me so much time over recent years, whether its getting to a business meeting on time (or letting them know exactly what time I would get there) or to my childrens’ concerts and sport competitions.

I love the new TomTom Live Carpark feature! It doesn’t just find a car park it finds an available car park closest to the destination you enter!

The signs on city streets that tell you how many car parks are available are ok, but you have to drive to where the signs are to find out which car park to head to and it could be quite a way from your destination. The new TomTom feature now hooks up to curbside car parks that have sensors monitoring them which connect to the network. It even tells you how long the car parks are available for and how much they cost.

It’s been really good for local residents in Ponsonby who had a real problem in the past with commuters parking outside their homes, many of which don’t have off road parking, they get exclusive resident access to those parks after 6PM and they don’t show on the TomTom again until 7 the following morning. It’s also really good when I go to visit business partners like Tech Day in Ponsonby, notorious for having to circle like a seagull a couple of times before finding a park.

The other day I went to my Second Friday Networking Lunch meetup in Ponsonby. I often get there a little late and scramble for a car park and hoping they haven’t started without me.  This time I  just set my destination on the  TomTom and it found me a car park on a side street about half a kilometer from the restaurant I was heading to.

That was OK, it wasn’t raining for once, but then just before I got there, it chimed and said, “There is now a car park closer to your destination, would you like to re-route?”  Nek minnit (OK I know that’s a bit old school now) I’m getting out of my car right at the front door of Safron.

They say there are two kinds of people in the world, those that find car parks and other people. With my new TomTom feature I am definitely one of the former.