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Alexa Skills

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Offline jwlv

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Alexa Skills
« on: March 07, 2016, 08:24:52 am »
Has anyone noticed lately that there are some 35+ pages of Skills on the Amazon Echo? I tried several of these skills and most of them are just garbage.

Are there any cool skills that you'd like to mention or talk about?

There's one skill that I really enjoy. It's the Eliza AI. I've played with Eliza many, many years ago while studying NLP. I was fascinated by it and had always wanted a voice to voice interface with Eliza. Several years later, when text to speech was readily available, half of the conversation could be by voice. And now, someone going by the name Asimov made the other half using voice recognition via Alexa. It's what I've always wanted.

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2016, 02:41:06 pm »
>>>   Has anyone noticed lately that there are some 35+ pages of Skills on the Amazon Echo? I tried several of these skills and most of them are just garbage.

Yes, and totally agree.  What a waste of time, and there is NO organization; not even grouped into categories, as I have mentioned to Amazon in some questionnaire once.

Let's start a thread of our Top 10 skills.  I have none to add at this time!

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2016, 05:52:33 pm »
Yeah, most are either redundant, poorly done or just pointless exercises in, "Oh, look!  I've created an Alexa skill!"  Some are just goofy, sophomoric fun if taken in small doses (I mean, c'mon...farts and "yo mama" jokes are always funny after a couple of bourbons).  But there are a few that have popped up that are at least beginning to tap the practical, useful potential of the interface.  For instance, in no particular order:

  • "Domino's Pizza":  Honestly, I don't even really like Domino's.  Their pizza is OK, but a bit boring compared with the other major delivery chains' current offerings.  But they're leading the pack in leveraging new consumer technologies to make ordering from them easy, and even just a litle bit fun.  And their implementation of the skill is quite well done, given the inherent limitations of the interface.
  • "The Bartender":  Provides on-demand ingredients and preparation instructions for over 12,000 drink recipes.  'Nuff said.
  • "Fidelity Investments":  Near real-time (the usual 15 minute delay that all free services are hampered by) quotes on individual stocks as well as all the major indices.

OK, that's not much (especially out of 40 pages of skills), but at least it shows that some companies are starting to realize Alexa's potential and take some advantage of it.

StarLanes!
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2016, 08:33:49 pm »
If you don't mind self-promotion, I'd love to point you at one of my own skills: StarLanes.
You are right, most skills are garbage. Simple templates that an amateur could bash out in an hour. Part of the point of StarLanes is to show that you can do something much beyond that. Something that shows what is possible on the Alexa platform.

StarLanes is a multi-player strategic game. You control a Thoughtship in a Sci-Fi universe in support of one of two factions. You can move around combat drones from star to star to try to take over worlds for your faction. On worlds you own you can set up factory drones to make more drones.

You can earn talents (the in game currency) and use them to buy more drones if your factories don't make them fast enough, or improve your ship to carry more or have greater range. There are 40 badges/achievements you can earn, and a leaderboard where you can see how you measure up to the top 20 players. A web interface may be used to check in on the game when you are not near your Echo, or to send messages to other players.

Outside of the game there is a forum (http://starlanes.freeforums.net) where players can plot, plan and taunt each other, and a wiki (http://starlanes.wikia.com) which contains helpful information. There is also a web version of the leaderboard (https://tsatsatzu.elasticbeanstalk.com/starlanes/leaders).

The game is in active development. The next version, 3.0, is in late beta. It introduces missions, to add some RPG element to the strategic gameplay. For 4.0 there will be added improvements you can make to stars your faction owns to bolster their offensive and defensive capabilities. Further out there will be companion games StarTrade, StarScout and StarSquad that introduce interrelated trading, exploration, and tactical gameplay.

So, if you are looking for something more significant on your Echo, I would be most happy if you tried out StarLanes. Our top players play it for up to an hour a day. So I'm pretty confident that it has more interest than your average quiz or cat-facts skill. ;)

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2016, 11:04:36 am »
Yeah, most are either redundant, poorly done or just pointless exercises in, "Oh, look!  I've created an Alexa skill!"  Some are just goofy, sophomoric fun if taken in small doses (I mean, c'mon...farts and "yo mama" jokes are always funny after a couple of bourbons).  But there are a few that have popped up that are at least beginning to tap the practical, useful potential of the interface.  For instance, in no particular order:

  • "Domino's Pizza":  Honestly, I don't even really like Domino's.  Their pizza is OK, but a bit boring compared with the other major delivery chains' current offerings.  But they're leading the pack in leveraging new consumer technologies to make ordering from them easy, and even just a litle bit fun.  And their implementation of the skill is quite well done, given the inherent limitations of the interface.
  • "The Bartender":  Provides on-demand ingredients and preparation instructions for over 12,000 drink recipes.  'Nuff said.
  • "Fidelity Investments":  Near real-time (the usual 15 minute delay that all free services are hampered by) quotes on individual stocks as well as all the major indices.

OK, that's not much (especially out of 40 pages of skills), but at least it shows that some companies are starting to realize Alexa's potential and take some advantage of it.

I agree with your 3 but havent used Dominoes yet.  Bartender I use frequently. 

Maff

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2016, 01:58:17 am »
I just wish there was a way to search through the skills, whilst filtering out the words "Trivia", "Quiz" and "Facts"!! That would wittle it down considerably ;)

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2016, 08:17:15 pm »
Agree, finding an appropriate Alexa skill is like finding a needle in a haystack.  Amazon needs to publish an organized list of the Skills so people can sort through them.  Maybe they (or someone) has already done this. Time to Google.

Got some hits: here is a recent one, check it out:
https://www.reddit.com/r/amazonecho/comments/48mkpk/complete_list_of_echo_alexa_skills/



Offline dxguy

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2016, 08:02:24 am »
Maybe someone should make a skill to find other skills easier.


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Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2016, 05:28:09 pm »
Keep in mind both Skills and even Connected Home are becoming obsolete. It will go under the new Smart Home API.

Cheers,
Alex

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2016, 06:13:44 pm »
So, Alex, what are you implying here? Amazon Echos will be obsolete real soon?

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2016, 05:22:40 pm »
So, Alex, what are you implying here? Amazon Echos will be obsolete real soon?
Nothing like that at all - just stating that skills are becoming obsolete and everything is moving to the NEW Smart Home API

Cheers,
Alex


Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2016, 05:41:30 pm »
Nothing like that at all - just stating that skills are becoming obsolete and everything is moving to the NEW Smart Home API

Cheers,
Alex

No.  The Smart Home Skill API (see: https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/overviews/understanding-the-smart-home-skill-api and https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/content/smart-home) is not a replacement for the current Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)....it's an addition to it that is geared specifically toward allowing developers to create their own integrations between Alexa and cloud-connected home automation devices (generally via cloud-based services).  The current types of skills are not becoming obsolete, nor is anything based on the ASK "moving" anywhere.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2016, 05:49:08 pm by DParker »

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2016, 05:56:15 pm »
Yep, I had just looked up and found same link.  So "what's new" about this?  Seems like this is already been happening.  Agree, Alexa Skills are something else, and for the most part quite a few of us find the Skills kind of useless and in a class by themselves (i.e. "Stupid and of limited utility things you can do with Alexa").

Has anyone found a real useful Alexa skill yet?  (Meaning, you had time to peruse the most unorganized list of anythings to be found anywhere!)

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2016, 06:11:36 pm »
So "what's new" about this?  Seems like this is already been happening.

The Smart Home Skill API is new (as in, a new addition to the Alexa Skills API).  I explain that in my previous post.

Has anyone found a real useful Alexa skill yet?  (Meaning, you had time to peruse the most unorganized list of anythings to be found anywhere!)

There are a few listed in this very thread.

Re: Alexa Skills
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2016, 05:18:16 am »
Didn't see any; I guess "useful" is in the eye of the beholder.