Virtual Assistants - Return of the command line?

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Virtual Assistants - Return of the command line?

Post by Andy1979 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:34 am

Slightly random post, but I recently received a Google "Home Hub" smart display as a freebie with my new Pixel phone contract, and I already owned a couple of Amazon Echo devices.

While trying to get the Google hub to play my music through my surround sound, and grappling with the Alexa 'Skill' for logging our newborn's feeds and nappy changes, I was struck by how similar these interactions are to the good old fashioned command line. Although they understand "natural" language, and you can engage in a 'conversation' with it, you still need to know the right words and phrases and syntax.

For example: "OK Google, play my Baby playlist on Lounge Speaker". Any deviation from this and pretty much anything can happen :lol:

Likewise "Alexa, log a dirty nappy" either does nothing or adds "dirty nappy" to a shopping list somewhere in the ether. I need to say "Alexa, tell Hatch Baby to log a dirty nappy" in order for it to work properly. Controlling our Hive heating is a similar exercise in careful phrasing.

I think this might be why my wife (an arts student) struggles with them more than I do (a self confessed computer nerd). You need to remember to talk to it as if it's a 1980s computer.

Anyone else thought the same? Give me a decent GUI any day of the week! (except when my hands have just changed a nappy :lol: )

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Re: Virtual Assistants - Return of the command line?

Post by geraldholdsworth » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:39 pm

Congratulations on your newborn.

Personally I don't like the Amazon Echo - it has to work on WiFi, so you can't plug an ethernet cable into it; you need a 'smart' phone to set it up (I do have one, but it stays in my bedroom 99% of the time acting as an alarm clock); and it can't understand my wife's Scottish accent.

I've busy building a control system based on an AMX master controller with touchscreens to control my home hi-fi setup.
Gerald Holdsworth
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Re: Virtual Assistants - Return of the command line?

Post by Elminster » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:56 pm

They are very useful for turning the lights out when you have two cups of coffee in your hands. The alternative I sometimes use is my nose.

Edit: noses are useful, I control iPad with one when I am doing washing up

Edit2: I think this topic got created twice, seems to be a duplicate post
Last edited by Elminster on Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Virtual Assistants - Return of the command line?

Post by JonC » Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:50 pm

Wouldn't touch one with a barge pole. They are always listening and aren't overly secure.

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