Fascinating people, advanced technology, Artificial Intelligence


Brand New! Alexa in Your Car

A few months ago I saw on Amazon that they would be introducing an Echo product that would reside in my automobile which got my attention. I have four active Amazon Echo products in my home. In my living room I have an Echo Fire TV Cube for my Samsung 4K Smart TV, in my office I have a Second-Generation Echo with Alexa, and in my bedroom I have an Echo Show, and on my Samsung Galaxy S8 I have the Amazon Alexa Application which makes it a part of that intelligent group and is the intelligent app to drive that group.


To continue,  I learned that I could opt in to receive an invitation from Amazon to be one of the first people to buy and get the Echo Auto. Four days ago I got an email from Amazon saying I was selected to buy the new Echo Auto and because I was part of that select group it was offered to me at a significant discount. I think that was pretty cool. But, as excited as I was, I didn’t jump in immediately.


This is because between the time that they brought up there being a new product coming and my getting an invitation, I experimented with using the Amazon on my phone by interfacing with my car system. In January, I leased a brand-new 2018 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback. It has an intelligent control panel and system including navigation, analog radio, FM radio, High Definition (HD 1 and HD 2) radio, Bluetooth access to my phone, and hands-free calling which also has my contact list from my phone. As part of that I had learned that it actually uses my phones Alexa App to perform quite a few Alexa applications but not as many as I would like. Additionally, I have stored on my phone thousands of songs that I bought from Amazon either from direct download and/or CDs and can play those on my car system.


There was one more potential deal killer. The Echo Auto sits on the dashboard in a position where I can talk to it and thus do all the other neat Amazon echo things I can do at home. It sits, however, on a molded piece made exactly for the Echo Auto that has an adhesive bottom to attach it to the dashboard. My concern was if I wanted to remove the holder for the Echo would I damage the dashboard? I called Amazon and they put me in touch with the group that is responsible for that device and I talked with a really helpful lady named Taylor who let me know that any residue that was left on the dashboard could easily be removed with a Clorox wipe.


I thanked her and let her know that as soon as our call was finished I would be ordering the new Echo which I did. Happily, I received it the next day. I waited until yesterday to install my Echo Auto and with little difficulty got it running beautifully. Just for kicks, from my car I asked Alexa what the temperature was in my home and Alexa told me. Is that neat or what?


Other things I can do from my car include:

  • set the temperature in my house
  • turn the lights on and off
  • see  who is at the door
  • record a TV show and/or a movie
  • whatever I can imagine.


I definitely recommend getting Amazon Echo Auto. It’s like living in the sci-fi world I could only read about, only it’s not sci-fi anymore.

Dan Pufahl: A Man For All Seasons

Recently, we had an event that no one wants to happen, and that was our air conditioning failing at the beginning of a heat wave. We have a maintenance contract with our local gas company so I called them to come and fix our air conditioner. They were able to come out within two days and the tech guy determined that our AC was dead and irreparable.

We also have a replacement plan with our gas company that pays us a rebate toward our replacement and they came back with a suggested air conditioner which they could install in two weeks.

Just a few years ago, and before having a replacement plan, we bought a new efficient furnace system from Dan Pufahl who had gone to high school with some of my children. Dan now owns an HVAC company. He had done an exceptional job putting in the furnace he sold us and thus I called him to see if he could put in an air conditioning system for us in two days that was high-efficiency and competitively priced.

Coincidentally, as a result of a gift card I had received from AT&T, I purchased an Amazon Alexa Echo which is pretty impressive. So the next most obvious thing to do was to purchase a Google Nest intelligent thermostat that integrates nicely with the Alexa Echo and our new air conditioning system. My reasoning is, if you put in a new system you might as well make it an intelligent system too.

Instead of two days Dan came with the AC unit the next day and his crew and began installing air conditioner and the necessary coils and wires into the furnace.

The day that Dan and his crew installed our air conditioner was the beginning of the heat wave which lasted through the weekend and into the early part of the next week and at one point officially hit 100°F. Needless to say I’m grateful to Dan. He has proved to be a friend to my family and to me and has gone out of his way to be helpful.

Dan’s business is truly one for all seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.

If you’re interested in contacting Dan, the name of his company is Top Dog Mechanical. It is located in Elk River, Minnesota. His phone number is 612 – 578 – 2436 and his email address is topdogmech@yahoo.com. You won’t regret it if you do contact him.