Friday, February 24, 2023

After Six Months, the Echo Show Goes

I bought my Amazon Echo Show 5 (not an affiliate link) on sale last August.

This morning, I de-registered it from my Amazon account, un-plugged it, put it away, and returned to that bedside table space to my 4th Generation Echo Dot (not an affiliate link).


Let's start with what I liked about the Echo Show first. I liked that I could have it bring up my entire Kindle library on the screen, so that I could just tap the title I wanted Alexa to read me to sleep with. I liked that when I had it play a song, it would scroll the lyrics on its screen.

Two things I did not like, in ascending order of importance:

  1. I never could figure out how to intentionally get it to shut its screen off so that I didn't have light shining in my face all night. Sometimes it would go off, sometimes it wouldn't, and nothing I tried with settings seemed to have any effect on that. Not a terribly big deal, since I generally wear a sleeping mask (lately, one with Bluetooth headphones built in!), but whenever I wanted to sleep without that mask on, annoying.
  2. The big, big, big deal was that it often just couldn't seem to hear me when I addressed it. Sometimes not at all, sometimes not well. Once again, that was intermittent and I couldn't figure out why. I tried changing its position on the bedside table. I tried changing my position relative to the device -- vertically, laterally, and in terms of distance.  Sometimes it couldn't hear me ... but the Dot in the living room, a good 25 feet away, on the other side of a wall with a door nearly shut between me and it, could.
Last night was the final straw.

"Alexa, play songs by Phish."

From the living room: "Playing Kiss, by Prince."

Loudly so that the living room device would be sure to hear: "Alexa, stop."

"Alexa, play songs by Phish."

"Playing songs by Kiss."

Sitting up in bed: "Alexa, stop."

Standing up next to the bed for another angle toward the microphone: "Alexa, stop."

After shutting off a nearby fan that I thought might be producing interference: "Alexa, STOP."

Several more minutes of that, and no, it's not that I'm some kind of big Phish fan, but I feel like maybe I ought to be and occasionally take their stuff for a sleepy-time spin.

Maybe someday I'll look at a newer model of the Echo Show and read the reviews carefully to see if this is a common/ongoing problem. For now, I'll just manage without displayed libraries and lyrics so the fucking thing may actually hear me and give me what I ask for.

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