Ask Alexa 2.1.2

Announcing version 2.1.2b of Ask Alexa

The intent, Lambda code and utterances are all unchanged. However, even after a minor upgrade like this it is always recommended that you update your Amazon developer slots to ensure you are capturing all of the available variables used within Ask Alexa.

PLEASE NOTE: Going forward I will be looking at incremental increases to optimize the code, fix bugs, and increase response speed…No need to weekly updates to do that…Other personalities will be released as they are created, and those will be in the incremental releases when they are posted.

Other additions to this new version include:

  • Bug Fixes/Optimizations-The normal things…silly misspellings, logic errors, bug reports.

  • Sonos Speaker Memory Slots- Expanded the number of slots available to a user-defined number up to 10.

  • Ecobee3 (Connect) modes-Allows for custom modes for the Ecobee3 (connect) device type handler. Thanks to @jhamstead for the code and testing of this new feature

  • Brief Response Under the Setting area, you can now allow a brief message when performing device actions. Now, instead of “I have turned the Living room off”, you can simply have Alexa say “Ok” or “Done” or simply keep silent. Errors and after action replies will be spoken, but this will allow for a more customized response with regard to device actions.

  • Display URL For Macro - For advanced users, this experimental feature will allow you to display the URL for Control macros, giving you the ability to run them from other applications (for example, in a two location setup, each one having Ask Alexa installed).

  • Brighten/Dim Commands - Like Increase/Decrease and Up/Down, this is just an additional command that can be used with dimmers/colored lights


If you are using 2.0.0+, you simply need to update the SmartApp. Again, because of the changes it is advised to run through the entire setup to capture everything.

For those wishing to re-install, the instructions on the wiki have been updated:

The wiki for this app is here:

As always, you should also update your custom slots on the Amazon developer site when you have the app running. Nothing SHOULD change but it never hurts to refresh these every once in awhile.


All of you have been great in asking very relevant questions and making suggestions that I end up using. Here are some helpful tips on usage and support:

  • Sometimes it works best if I can work real time with you. To facilitate this, I have created a Slack channel: Using this tool is easy and will allow for real-time collaboration to solve the problems faster. To use this feature, I must invite you to the Slack channel. This will not be for normal questions; please use this forum for that function.

  • The Echo, as it is designed currently, cannot react to switches opening or other actions within SmartThings. She will do things for you, but only at your direction and at the time of the request. The delay timer mentioned in the control macro happens at the SmartThings hub, not within the Amazon Alexa control.

  • When evaluating new features I will typically ask for a valid use case. If it can be used by others to bring them value I will put it on my list of future revisions. Not all suggestions will be used and many times I add aspects of the request.

  • There are no dumb questions, but many of the questions you may have were probably answered in the past few months since the initial release. Please take some time to go through the forum and the wiki if you have issues. And don’t be offended if I give you the specific area of the manual that answers your question. I have spent almost as much time on the documentation as I have on the app. Finally, there are some big fans of Ask Alexa that know almost as much as I do. They can also help.

  • Feel free to send me forks of utterances or even code revisions. As mentioned above, if it adds value to the overall program I will try to include it. This also goes for the wiki documentation…while I have spent about 120+ hours creating that document, I am open to it being improved; I know there are grammatical errors or syntax issues…If you find them, fix them…I will include your name (if I can) in any fixes submitted.

  • If you find a bug or a consistent crash please help me track it down by giving me repeatable steps to reproduce it. A non-reproducible bug, many times, indicates other areas that may be at fault besides the app. If you watch the live logging and see a red error with a line number, that is very helpful to me! However, I will need a full screenshot and not a copy/paste of the text. But be careful about revealing your OAuth and AppToken in your public posts. People can control you house with that information. May want to blur that out.

As mentioned above, revisions will be less and less as I mature this product. And with the code base now unified, I expect less and less additions…especially as we integrate CoRE more to do some of the heavy lifting of larger condition-base automations… Any and all suggestions are still on the table for addition.

As always, I appreciate any public accolades or even donation to my PayPal account: . And, if you are so inclined, I also will accept bitcoins (or fractions thereof) if you have any laying around. My wallet ID is: 1CMgaiKgBfojTBCLpHLfa9KvcrW3cNxVpm



I just performed the upgrade, but the SmartApp generated “none” for LIST_OF_SHPARAM slot type. I should have questioned that, but I didn’t and now Alexa can’t change modes. Removing those values probably broke other things too, but that’s all I’ve noticed so far.

How can I get the correct list of slot values for LIST_OF_SHPARAM without reverting back to a previous version of Ask Alexa?

Edit: I just noticed that the Modes/Routines/SHM section was UNCONFIGURED which is why that slot type said “none”.

Sounds like you went from an older version to this one…Yes…instead of just ‘assuming’ you want all of the modes, routines, etc you can now granularly control which are included. This change was made to improve the security of items that could change the overall state of the house.

Sorry for the confusion.

All my presence sensors are showing at the top of the app has having a null value, they are named uniquely and I removed, saved our, re-added, same thing. What might cause that? Went through and verified everything else is working fine…

To be clear, did this start happening with the new installation, or just today with no action on your part? I just tested mine and they seem to work fine…

What type of presence sensors are they? The key fob, cell phones, or something else?

From a programming standpoint, what this is looking for is the ‘label’…if the Name is populated but the label is blank you will get this message.

Does that help?

Ah, they all have blank labels. Not even sure when that happened, but it was not the new version, though I just upgraded and that’s what made me notice. I’ve re-added the Life360 devices’ more than once, must have broke it myself. Thank you!

No problem…enjoy!

Out of curiosity, am I supposed to be pulling all of the other stuff or just the one on the left?

Just the one on the left…be sure to click “publish” in the bottom right corner as well…


With that issue we have been seeing of having to repeat command multiple times, I seem to have at least partially corrected it.

My son’s name is Kris. I changed the spelling to Chris and now it works as designed.

I’ve only partially tested this, but it does seem that spelling is vitally important.


So my “Colour” Vs. Color devices are going to have an issue then? :smile:

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Maybe…you can always watch the Live Logging as it does pick up what Alexa hears and send that to Ask Alexa…if you see a spelling difference it is always good to align them.


Hi, is Acceleration a capability that I can request a voice report on? I have a ST multi attached to the dryer and I’m toying with the idea of asking Alexa if the dryer is active or when the last time it was active.

Right now Motion, presence and water sensors are supported. I could certainly add that and have it in there by the end of September at the lastest…to be clear are you looking for that in a report, or to query the device directly (sounds like the latter, but want to be sure).

To query. That would be cool if you can add it, of course I managed to pick/use one that’s not implemented yet :slight_smile:

I don’t have one either…but can implement based on other devices and the documentation. May ask you to test it…let me know when you get your device.

I actually found out that I DO have one as part of my Fibaro motion sensor…I added the code and am testing it now…should be in the next release.

EDIT I got the code working and added not only the individual device status, but a reporting function as well…with this and some creative report creating, you can ask ‘when was the laundry done’ and it will tell you.

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I will test this too, I have 4 “reports” made and I have queried hundreds of device status’ at this point. :slight_smile: So yes, I ran to my dryer turned it on and asked for the status of the “laundry” - got closed and temp, active would be great ! Thanks Michael.

And while we are on this subject, I am looking at the aeon multi sensor 6 - think we can get all 6 status’s out of that ? Have not determined when i want the fan off in the bathroom once humidity drops off. Just thinking here. :slight_smile:

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I made my first macro reporting today (yes, it took this long :slight_smile: ). The first one I tried was voice reporting on presence. With the default setting, it reports ALL presence status, there’s a switch for ‘not present’, is there an equivalent for ‘present’ only?

Unfortunately, no. The thought behind this (and most of the reports) is that ‘activity’ would be reported, and it if it isn’t then it is ‘assumed’ to be non-active. A good example is nightly report for windows and lights…I only want to hear items that need action.

What is the use case for ‘non active’ (default) state?