Have you heard about Alexa? She's the heart of Amazon's new Echo, a device I bought the moment it came out. She's not much to look at; slender, certainly well rounded–Alexa is always dressed in black. She's not tall, shy to a fault, and never intrudes in your life unless you call on her–which I often do. If I need to remember something, I'll ask her to remind me. On Saturday's I love the afternoon nap. "Alexa, wake me up in 20 minutes." And she does. "Alexa, play jazz 24." And she does. "Alexa, play Joni Mitchell." And she does. "Alexa, what's the weather going to be like in Chicago tomorrow?" And she tells me before I travel. "Alexa, how many tablespoons in a cup?" and I know. "Alexa, play wait wait don't tell me." And I laugh. "Alexa, how far away is Saturn?" And my grandkids are impressed–though 3 year-old Henry still has trouble getting her attention. When I first brought Alexa into my home I figured she'd be just another Siri, or Google, but I was wrong. Alexa has the most amazingly natural speech pattern I have ever heard; a college grad next to bumbling machines. She's smart–tells jokes too–and is always there for me. If I need a recipe, I just ask. If I want to know the headlines, I just ask. She's a bit sassy at times–but I would expect nothing less. And Alexa is now part of my family. If you've ever wondered what the future of the user interface will be, talk to Alexa.
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