This section will discuss Amazon products and services
Many of these have changed since the last classes were taught. During that time, many changes have happened to the current product line as well as the release of Echo.
Because the Amazon product line is used primarily by older demographs (the reason why the classes started) sometimes the questions covered on the product line have had difficulties updating with Amazon's website as new products and updates are released. This site will attempt to address it. Many Amazon device models are very different from model to model. A newer Kindle tablet (the one used just for books) is very different than models produced two years ago. This site will cover the current version.
Our household uses Amazon products for streaming and other mobile purposes using Fire TV, Kindle, Echo, and Kindle Fire. In the next few weeks the page will be updated to go over them.
My association with Amazon started at the beginning of the company when distribution channels were being setup during th 1990s throughout the Puget Sound Area. As a vendor for Amazon at the time, I did assist in support and repair of office equipment some of it with Jeff Bezos looking over since he was very hands on the early days of the company. Before the current distribution centers were in operation in Kent and Algona, the system was spread out all over the valley floor. Thankfully it is a bit more consolidated these days.
After relocating to the Willamette Valley, there was interest by the City of Albany to teach classes at the local senior center the started in June of 2012 and continued until March of 2016. The classes were expanded over time to over subjects that were taugh in Saturday morning sessions (the reason why this website was setup).
Since that time, Amazon has expanded their distribution channels into the Willamette Valley as business grows. Many have enjoyed using their electronic book systems and their tablets that are low cost and have better battery lives than the competitor models. While they are designed to benefit Amazon services, there are some options that you can use to make a tablet into a portable computer system as well.
This section will go over the uses and applications.
A standard Echo Dot in vehicle using a magnetic attachment to clip onto a/c vent (using 12 volt USB adapter with 1 amp).
Alexa in your car?
While the hardware that Amazon has released before Christmas is new, the idea of having an Echo device in your car isn't.
In fact for the last few years my Chevy S10 Blazer has an Echo Dot installed (using hardware to attach it to the air conditioner vent). For a truck that doesn't have some of the up to date electronics, it is useful.
It doesn't have to be hard wired into your vehicle and can operate through a 12 volt adapter using the cigarette lighter adapter (only use 1.5 amps or less).
If you want hands free for using you phone and leaving text messages to others (they must give their consent first using the Alexa app on their own device) it does work well as long as it is paired to your phone (this includes having hotspot on your phone). This doesn't work on all phones and you should check with Amazon before purchasing for compatibility questions.
The new model does include a 12 volt adapter as well as a mount to connect the Echo to your air conditioner vent in your vehicle. There are certain style of vents that will work. Check with Amazon to see if your vent will work.
I have used the device for weather, news, Sirius XM (even though the truck has one installed), Bible studies, and even stock trading. I have enjoyed using it to play Jeopardy! on the way to work as well.
They are great for audio book reading and music playback (with your subscription services). I don't care much for the radio stations in the area I live in and there isn't a great many choices in the South Willamette Valley market (unless you like country music) but your phone and sattelite radio can do the same thing.
Turning the lights on and setting the temperature before you get home is great too. Keep in mind though that Amazon likes to show you commercials that present the end result blowing off the steps and hardware to get there (remember those casting commercials back in 2013 that they did that didn't work for those that were in classes).
Keep in mind that other hardware is required to make controlling your home from your car happen. This includes:
The Alexa app installed on your mobile device or a Kindle Fire tablet with Alexa services enabled (includes the app). This free app must used to link the echo device to your Amazon account, a wi-fi device, any bluetooth sources, and managing apps required to control devices in your home as well.
An internet service provider
A wireless router in your home (it would be a good idea to use one that doesn't come from your internet service provider and one that is already compatible with Alexa).
Controlers, appliances, or lights that are compatible (and paired to your home network) for Alexa use.
A wireless hotspot in your vehicle either through your phone or a hotspot router.
Security setting activated or deactivated on your home network that you may or may not want to do for security reasons (firewall settings, DNS settings, a DNS provider if you have a dynamic IP address through your internet service provider (the techie stuff)). If you can get into in that easy, you may be concerned if others can as well.
Alexa is available as an app on your phone as well (especially if you installed the echo devices in your car or home). If you have the phone already paired to your vehicle through bluetooth, you may find that having the Echo in your vehicle is redundant.