Cool Stuff

Amazon Echo

My Amazon Echo experience and review.

In five words: Pure Awesome but not perfect.

Key features I use and needed:

Where it fails a little:

  • Sometimes it just doesn’t understand exactly what I say. I would say though its about 90% accurate, rough guess.
  • Adding calendar events can be interesting. I say, add event for tomorrow at 8AM, Call Bill about invoice. And I’ll get, the right time and date, but the memo is something like Call Bill about flowers. Or something random. Normally just adding it is enough for me to remember what to do, regardless of the actual memo. Still interesting when it happens.
  • There are a few times where I will say, Alexa… and get no response. It hasn’t happened in a while. There has just been a few times, where the room is silent, I say Alexa and it just doesn’t hear me. Even being a few feet away. I’ll say Alexa a couple times and then at some point it responds.
  • Local searches aren’t perfect. Doesn’t always find the place I’m looking for.
  • The lights control sometimes doesn’t work, I just say turn this light on again and it works on the second attempt. No real big deal.

Amazon Echo is a huge time saver and I recommend it to everyone looking to have a few extra minutes in the day. I won’t say it saves me hours but I bet it saves 20-30 minutes a day. All on random things but it does save time. Makes life easier and with more integration of IFTTT, it can do a lot more. If you want to add some time to your day and convience, get a Amazon Echo. There is a new version now, the Echo Plus and then the Echo. This is the 2016 model, or generation 1 in the picture.

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Cool Stuff

Grid-It Organizer

This thing has been a life saver when traveling, even in the office. When you have thousands of cables and you need to carry a ton of them with you for work or vacation trips, this thing is just pure awesome. I can throw all my stuff in there, leave it in there, then when I get a call to fly to X place tomorrow, guess what? I’m not messing around with, what do I need to bring for cables?

It has a neat interlace strips that grip to wires and small items to keep them in place. It also has a pocket with a zipper on the back of it. Which is great for manuals or paper work of some sort. It has to be folded if its normal letter size paper but so what? It is just a time saver and organizer that works really well.

Highly recommend. Here is a link to buy one.

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Cool Stuff

Surface Pro

This is a quick and simple post. Figured it would be a good post for the cool stuff category. I got a Microsoft Surface Pro for really simple reasons (although mine is the Surface Pro 4, links in this post are for the lastest version).

Simple reasons

  1. Because I was going to a lot of meetings and got sick of having 20 pages of notes that were not searchable
  2. See 1. Searching notes. Finding that one thing I wanted to remember
  3. I could sit there make notes, add stuff to my calendar, handle that email quick and get back to that text, all the while present in the meeting. Never pulling my phone out.
  4. Sync notes between my laptop and the Surface Pro. I can pull up those notes I wrote last week on my laptop, search for that one thing, add more notes. Then grab my surface and take my notes with me to the next meeting where I add more notes to that same set of notes.
  5. Transcription and hand writing to text – see Cons on this one.
  6. Record meetings and have them transcribed.

Pros

  • Does everything I need it to do and does it well. Except 5. in my list above. See Cons on that one.
  • It keeps up and isn’t slow. I got the i5 128GB version.
  • Charging is quick
  • Windows Hello is nice (might be a battery drain though)
  • Made my life a 1000000x more organized
  • Makes meetings so much better
  • Way more on top of things
  • Nice to grab and work while watching TV or going some where
  • Easier to use on a plane or somewhere with little space

Cons

  • Just start right off the bat, the hand writing recognition isn’t the best. Lately it stopped working for me. Haven’t really had time to dig into that problem yet.
  • Battery life isn’t as great as I thought it would be but isn’t that the case with all tech these days?
  • Windows Hello can be hit or miss sometimes
  • The pen sometimes stops responding but that can be solved by just restarting so no big deal
  • When I leave it in sleep mode it still draws a decent amount of power (I’ve read this is because of Windows Hello, so I might disable that)

Neither Pro or Con

  • Need a Office 365 subscription to really benefit from it. You could go without but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Beyond all that I still love it and it still makes my life a breeze. I have become a lot better with notes and organization since I got it. I have less and less paper work in my life thanks to it. Even with the battery not lasting the longest it still makes it through all my meetings, I still have power left over. I can normally use it for an hour here and there through out the day and not have to charge it for a day or two. Honestly I wish I got one sooner.

Here is a link to buy one on Amazon.com. Microsoft Surface Pro.

*Full disclosure there is a affiliate links in this post.

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