Happy Friday to everyone! Only a couple week until Christmas. I will start off by giving everyone a little Christmas present…I have been working with Brad (@bwyble) to find a few pesky Message Queue issues and get them resolve. Brad has a very interesting use case where his Eufy speakers act not only as a synth device, but also has a mic where it acts as Alexa. He can go into further detail of how he got this to work (maybe start a dedicated thread?), but bottom line is that he can now use NATIVE Alexa Routines and still have them come from the same speaker as his ‘Alexa’. So, basically the output of Ask Alexa (for custom reports, for example) can be initiated by an Alexa Routine and output can come from Ask Alexa…Very nicely done Brad! He also had a suggestion for addition switch state as a restriction within the macros. I did this and added it to the message queue as well. Now you can have simplistic decision making ability within Ask Alexa instead of resorting to something like WebCoRE (which I also love, but has a large learning curve).
As such, I have updated the main app and the message queue extension to fix/add these features. If you integrate your IDE with GitHub, these should already be present. I have also updated the wiki information here: http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Ask_Alexa#Latest_Versions
Thanks to Brad for his patience while we worked through his set up!
Speaking of updates, did anyone see the new little items within the Alexa routines? While it is not free-form text, you can NOW output little phrases with your Routines. I have been testing this for a while and Amazon JUST turned it on this week. In my household this has replaced my Talking Alarm Clock app that I have been using for almost 3 years! I now wake up with a good morning prompt, along with the weather without having to initiate a command or use my Sonos speakers. Nicely done Amazon!
In other news, I look forward to getting my Amazon Spot in the next couple weeks. For those that don’t know, they are a cross between the Show and the Dot. I have a Show in my bedroom currently, and while it is great as a alarm clock replacement, the screen (even when turned off) still gives off a lot of glow. I am hoping the Spot is a better replacement. It still has video capability and I assume when using Ask Alexa will still have the nice icons I spent time creating for the Show. Using this with the Amazon Routine function, I have the PERFECT alarm clock.
As the last word about Ask Alexa, I STRONGLY advise people now if they intend to use SmartThings as the invocation word to split the word into two in the Amazon developer’s area. I have gotten even BETTER results with it recognizing that than the original “SmartThings” invocation. You can also use the room name or something like house or brain!
Finally, while not directly Alexa related, I updated the DTH for the Aeon MultiSensor 6 that I mentioned last week. All props go to Eric (@erocm1231) for the basis of this code….but I love interface design and I optimized this to give a little bit different user experience. Read about it here: [RELEASE] Aeon Multisensor 6 (Advanced). I also started a wiki page on this, which can be found here: http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Aeon_Multisensor_6 It is still rough, but I continue to work on it!