Announcing version 2.1.1 of Ask Alexa
Lambda code updated to 1.2.1
Both the Intent and Sample Utterance files have changed as well.
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.
This is a larger change with the SmartApp, Lambda code, intent and utterances changing. It is always recommended that you update your slots to ensure you are capturing all of the available variables used within Ask Alexa.
YOU MUST install all areas of Ask Alexa, including the intent file and the utterances, along the smartapp code and the Lambda code for this upgrade to be successful!
Please note that this is a single SmartApp; it no longer has a parent/child code base.
The only issue encountered so far with this unified code is on Android mobile apps. If you are editing a macro, clicking “Done” will take you back to the mobile app and NOT the main Ask Alexa menu. This is NOT Ask Alexa related, but the mobile app itself; iOS does NOT appear to be affected by this. Either way, a ticket has been opened with SmartThing to address this. If you find this issue annoying, please open a ticket with SmartThings as well to increase visibility.
Other additions to this new version include:
- Bug Fixes/Optimizations-The normal things…silly misspellings, logic errors, bug reports.
- PIN/Password Usage Expanded the PIN usage to granular control in macros. Now you can choose to have a control or CoRE macro (Basically, any macro that could change your security or open/close/lock/unlock) able to be protected with a PIN. Simply enable this option and append your command with ‘password xxxx’ Suggested by @Matthew_Freestone
- Snarky Responses - Based on the recent survey many of you completed, you can now choose how Alexa addresses you during the continued responses. This DOES NOT change the underlying action responses, however, any continuing commands now change based on your settings. Snarky presents more ‘off the cuff’ responses than the normal response. This includes changing your name to other random silly names you designate.
- Lambda Code-Added the “Snarky” personality responses. These are randomized and can include your name in the response. Other small bug/syntax fixes.
- Sonos Speaker Memory Slots- Suggested by numerous folks, most recently by @joecwong. By enabling the Sonos option within the Device Specific Commands under Settings, you can replay specific songs or internet channels that have recently played. This is an expanded implementation from other SmartApp solutions as it polls ALL speakers you have set up in your SmartApp and presents every song recently played (up to 20). You can then play a song on any of the speakers you have set up within your account and SmartApp. To play one of the memory slots, simply say “Alexa, tell SmartThings to Play MemorySlotName on SonosSpeakerName”. This ONLY has been tested on Sonos speakers. Until SmartThings published a better API for all speakers this may be the only system this works on.
- Utterances/Intents - These files changed based on addition passwords to macros and the new Sonos Speaker Memory Slots. Be sure to update these in the developer website to use these functions. Remember when adding new intents, slots or utterances, the order in which you should install them. First do the slot updates (save), the the intents (don’t save) then the utterances (save). If you find this order doesn’t work for you, try changing the order and report to the community the proper order that works for you.
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: http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Ask_Alexa
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: https://askalexa.slack.com. 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 80+ 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: https://www.paypal.me/mstruck . 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