I’ve never heard of the Amazon Echo until today. I’m actually dumbfounded that this is the case because the Amazon Echo seems absolutely astounding. It truly seems to be a technological marvel. This is a letter from the Founder and CEO!

Dear Customers,

Today, we are excited to announce that Amazon Echo is available to everyone.

We launched Echo as an invitation-only program in November to learn how customers would use and enjoy it most. The response has been overwhelming.

Amazon Echo

Echo was born from a simple idea: create a computer, controlled entirely by your voice. This idea required some incredible invention. It had to understand natural language requests, from many voices, from across a room, even when music is playing. It also needed to be informative, entertaining, and useful—while always getting smarter.

With seven microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo achieved this goal by enabling far-field voice recognition. And Alexa, our cloud-based voice service that powers Echo, provides information, music, news, weather, and more—and she is constantly learning new skills.

Since launch, we have added streaming music from Pandora, audiobooks from Audible, calendar access, live sports scores and schedules, traffic reports, Amazon.com re-ordering, control of connected devices such as lights and switches from WeMo and Philips Hue, and more. Many of these features are a result of feedback and suggestions from our customers—thank you.

I am excited by what the team has done in a short period of time with your help—and we’re just getting started. We hope you enjoy  Amazon Echo

.

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

You have to admit it sounds bloody amazing! It would make the perfect gift for almost any occasion. I’m sure that most people would love the Amazon Echo for a gift. Especially those who are handicapped in some way. Reading some of the reviews a wife got one for her wheel chair bound husband. She loves that its given him back some of independence.

I’m sure it would also be great for the visually impaired as well! Here are just some of the things the Amazon Echo can do.

Just ask

Echo is always ready, connected, and fast. Just say the wake word, “Alexa,” for:

NEW – Audible: Play audiobooks from Audible with Echo. Plus, Echo supports Whispersync for Voice to continue right where you left off.

NEW – Calendars: Check your upcoming schedule by asking what’s on your Google calendar.

NEW – Shopping: Restock on previously purchased items by re-ordering Prime-eligible products in your Amazon shopping history.

NEW – Connected home: Control compatible WeMo and Philips Hue devices with your voice.

NEW – Traffic: Hear commute time and the fastest route to your destination.

NEW – Sports: Ask for sports scores and schedules from the NFL, NBA, MLS, MLB, and more.

NEW – Pandora: Listen to and discover music from Pandora’s library of over 1 million tracks.

Music: Listen to your Amazon Music Library, Prime Music, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.

News, weather, and information: Hear up-to-the-minute weather and news from a variety of sources, including local radio stations, NPR, and ESPN from TuneIn.

Questions and answers: Get information from Wikipedia, definitions, answers to common questions, and more.

Alarms, timers, and lists: Stay on time and organized with voice-controlled alarms, timers, shopping lists, and to-do lists.

More coming soon: Echo automatically updates through the cloud with new services and features.

As usual I have incorporated the following information below straight from the Amazon site so you don’t have to leave this post. But believe me when I tell you it looks so much better if you check out the Amazon Echo at Amazon.

Introducing The Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo - Black

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Product Description

Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask. Echo has seven microphones and beam forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with 360° immersive sound. When you want to use Echo, just say the wake word "Alexa" and Echo responds instantly. If you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot, Alexa responds intelligently from the Echo device you're closest to with ESP (Echo Spatial Perception). Amazon Echo provides hands-free voice control for Amazon Music—just ask for your favorite artist or song, or request a specific genre or mood. You can also search for music by lyrics, when a song or album was released, or let Alexa pick the music for you. Listen to any song with Amazon Music Unlimited. Amazon Echo also provides hands-free voice control to Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Plus, Echo is Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream other popular music services like iTunes from your phone or tablet. Echo has been fine-tuned to deliver crisp vocals with dynamic bass response. Its dual downward-firing speakers produce 360° omni-directional audio to fill any room with immersive sound. Tucked under the light ring is an array of seven microphones that use beam-forming technology and enhanced noise cancellation. With far-field voice recognition, Echo can hear you ask a question from any direction—even while playing music. When you want to use Echo, simply say the wake word, "Alexa," and Echo lights up and streams audio to the cloud, where the Alexa Voice Service is leveraged to recognize and respond to your request instantly. Always Getting Smarter Alexa—the brain behind Echo—is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter. The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. And because Echo is always connected, updates are delivered automatically. Just in the last few months we've added local search from Yelp, movie showtimes, Samsung SmartThings support, Google Calendar, Audible audiobooks, text-to-speech for Kindle eBooks, and over 100 new skills from third-party developers. Echo has Skills Skills add even more capabilities like ordering a pizza from Domino's, requesting a ride from Uber, opening your garage with Garageio, and more. Enabling skills lets your Echo do even more—simply discover and enable the skills you want to use in the Alexa App. New skills are being added all the time. You can also see ratings and reviews to learn what other customers are saying about skills in the Alexa App. Control Your Smart Home Use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or space heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger. Echo works with smart home devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, Wink, and more. Do More with the Alexa App With the free Alexa App on Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, you can easily setup and manage your Echo. Use the Alexa App to connect services you already use like Spotify, Pandora, and Google Calendar. Setup your smart home devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, ecobee, and more. See what books are available to read from your Kindle and Audible libraries. View shopping and to-do lists while on the go. Control your timers and set custom tones for your alarms, and much more. The Alexa App is also where you discover and enable third-party skills.

Details

  • Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Introducing Alexa calling and messaging, a new way to be together with family and friends. Just ask Alexa to call or message anyone with an Echo, Echo Dot, or the Alexa App.
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads the news, reports traffic and weather, reads audiobooks from Audible, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
  • Controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, DISH, and more


Sometimes it’s not the expense of the gift is not as important as the thought behind the gift. Sure we would all love to gift someone a brand new Apple Watch but for a lot of us the expense is way too great. But lets say that the person we’re wanting to buy a gift for already has an Apple Watch! If that’s the case, with a little thought the best gift could be one of the many Apple Watch Accessories that are available.

Cool Apple Watch Accessories

apple watch accessories A great Apple Watch accessory is the Spigen® Apple Watch Charging Dock! I reckon this means that the Apple Watch chews up a lot more juice than your normal watch. But then again, the Apple Watch is not a normal watch is it?

The Spigen® Apple Watch stand has several interesting features including;

  • A convenient stand which holds the Apple Watch for a comfortable viewing angle
  • Charger and cable openings compatible with both versions of Apple Watch charger
  • Stable aluminum stand with TPU dock avoids scratching the watch
  • Compatible with Apple Watch (2015)

Because the Apple watch is so new there’s only 3 reviews for the Spigen® Apple Watch stand, and all three of the reviews are positive 5 star reviews. 

Here is one of the Apple Watch reviews.

Fortunate to get a chance to check one of these out early, this is definitely the stand to beat. Unlike some of the other ugly Apple watch stands out there, the Spigen charge dock is everything you would expect to complement an already expensive investment: it has a clean industrial design which complements the watch, it is very stable, its materials look and feels sophisticated, and it serves to charge your nice watch and in a way that it is nicely presented and usable while it is being charged. My only minor thought; it would have been great if the stand was even a tiny bit heavier at the base to cut down on chances of accidentally knocking it over.

Another great accessory is the Spigen® Apple Watch Case! Heck, they have a great looking expensive watch, I’m sure they’re going to want to protect it right. They say this watch case fits like a glove. ;)

These gifts would be great for birthdays as well as Fathers Day and Mothers Day.



PradaI reckon we all know that most women love fashion. Those who love fashion also love designer labels. If you disagree with this surmise feel free to let me know in the comments.  :whistle: So, we’ve established that most women love designer labels. This post is all about one such designer brand, Prada. Actually, Prada Bags to be exact.
Being a bloke and all I don’t know much about Prada. Heck the first time I heard about Prada was when my wife forced me to watch The Devil Wears Prada some years ago.That very wife and daughter swear by Prada saying how exquisite Prada bags are. Not that they have any personal experience mind you. Until recently that is.You see, my daughter has just recently returned from Europe and while in Europe she visited Florence. Yep, you guessed it, while in Florence she went to the Prada store and got herself her very own Prada bag. The very one that I am featuring in this post.

Prada Saffiano Leather Bag Review

When we picked Nadia up from the airport she was proudly carrying her Prada bag, with this huge smile on her face. I didn’t get to examine it until we got home. I have to admit the workmanship was stunningly perfect. I compared against some of the knockoff bags that they own and the quality between the Prada and the knockoff was like chalk and cheese.

The bag is made from Saffiano leather. What is Saffiano leather I asked her. Apparently the saleswoman explained that the leather is stamped in such a way that it renders the bag virtually scratch resistant. This also means the bag is very easy to clean.

It’s the distinctive markings of diagonal lines and cross-hatch designs stamped into the leather that makes the Saffiano leather stand out from the rest. Considering that Saffiano leather was invented by Mario Prada himself one would expect Prada to be experts in the process.

Once the saleswoman explained to Nadia how good the leather was, how the process renders the leather very resistant to stains, scratches and being very easy to clean she just had to have it. Yeah, right? As if she wouldn’t have bought it anyway.  :whistle:

So, is Prada a great gift for a woman? Are you kidding? Prada is the perfect gift for the woman in your life. You give her a Prada and she’ll be yours forever.

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