My new Amazon Echo Dot 2

A few days ago bought an Echo Dot 2 on taobao.com for 400rmb (about $70). Plugged it in, and took most of the day to get it working. The problem is that I am in China and it is not set up for China. Tried to run alexa.amazon.com on the PC and it would just stall before even getting to the login screen. Got to the login once and then it failed when setting up the Dot. So, needed to get the software on my Huawei 5 phone but cannot load google.play on my phone. Finally downloaded Google Chrome on phone, downloaded alexa app and got it loaded. But when trying to hook up the Dot, it would still stall on the installation screen. Finally after many tries and a few resets of the Dot, got it loaded.

Disappointed. I would invoke the Dot with “Alexa, what time is it?”. It would listen then start to say something and quit. And that was it. Tried to get music going. It would say “Shuffling your…” and then nothing.

So then I went through marathon session of playing with my router. Moved it, changed parameters, and finally Dot would work, at 4:00 in the morning.

The short of it is I found that the Dot’s poor response was due to low internet bandwidth in my location. I am in a University apartment, throttled no doubt by a university server and during the day when students are playing games bandwidth can drop to below 1 mbps and this is when the Dot balks.

So came up with the following checks for successfully using Dot in my location:

  1. Bandwidth must be above 2mbps or it just won’t work reliably. Mine works great as long as I have some bandwidth.
  2. Load http://speedtest.xfinity.com/  to do speed tests and check effect of router parameter changes.
  3. Played with router channel (decided on 13 because of small overlap and no other users, and mode (finally just let router decide for me although n mode worked good).
  4. Set router antenna within sight of Dot because these massive brick walls kill the signal.
  5. Download and use Wifi Analyzer software to check signal.
  6. Check voltage – the voltage is not consistent in my apartment outlets.
  7. Joined http://www.echotalk.org for more info about how it works, problems, etc.
  8. Selected Asia as the location so that it gives local time even though address had to remain in USA.
  9. Use Big Sky skill to get local weather by inputting china zip code. Works great
  10. Love that I can play free radio stations and my music on Amazon, and the weather, and even just getting the time and getting the definition of a word or wikipedia or using the Bible skill.

Some folks are worried about the fact that Alexa is always listening. It does but I monitored the packet traffic through my router and noticed that it does not send anything out until you wake it up with the wake up word – so no, it is not always listening in reality. Does it have the potential to do that, absolutely. Amazon could send out a command to send back everything it hears and we wouldn’t know about it except by monitoring packets.

Unfortunately cannot do much about bandwidth and cannot seem to make my phone a wifi hotspot so will have to just enjoy Dot in early morning hours. But, not sorry I bought it and I look forward to how it will become more useful in the future. Learned a lot about router configurations.

Posted in miscellaneous, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hillary Loses Election – I am so Happy!

Posted in religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dawkins and Harris Aren’t Very Smart

Dawkins has made no bones about what he thinks should be done about Christianity – exterminate! But his approach is just to write books that propose how ridiculous Christianity is scientifically speaking. What he really should do is organize an effort to remove the use of BC/AD BCE/ACE when referring to dates as these explicitly and implicitly refer to the birth and life of Jesus Christ which places him at the very center of history.

If Dawkins was smart he would begin a movement to remake our current system of time accounting based on some naturalistic scientific principal – of which I have no idea what that might look like – perhaps some Stardate similar to that used on Star Trek.

Personally I believe it would be impossible to change our dating system based just on the insurmountable logistical task it would entail in changing all our computer systems, historical records, etc. And spiritually I believe it would also be impossible to take Jesus Christ out of the equation.

Isn’t it interesting that many non-believers do not think that Jesus was even a historical personage. How is it possible that a mythological person could be made the very pivot of our historical records? Every time Dawkins uses BCE he still witnesses to the life of Jesus Christ. He is such a hypocrite.

 

 

 

 

Posted in religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plight of the Sagan – Dawkins – Hitchens

“As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God, without knowing to which of these two states I shall be for ever assigned. Such is my state, full of weakness and uncertainty. And from all this I conclude that I ought to spend all the days of my life without caring to inquire into what must happen to me. Perhaps I might find some solution to my doubts, but I will not take the trouble, nor take a step to seek it; and after treating with scorn those who are concerned with care, I will go without foresight and without fear to try the great event, and let myself be led carelessly to death, uncertain of the eternity of my future state.” quoted from Pascal’s Pensees.

Such is the uncertain and unexamined life of atheists.

 

carl_sagan_cosmic_priest_by_jimmydemello-d6bmmel

My painting of Sagan as a priest of science.

 

 

Posted in artwork, astronomy, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Wormwood a Deadly Asteroid?

In Revelation there are some prophecies that speak about what seems to be celestial events and could be swarms of asteroids or comets on a collision course with Earth.

7The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

8The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

10The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— 11the name of the star is Wormwood.a A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

12The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

The thing about prophecies is that they are impossible to figure out until after they have happened except in their general sense. Comets are indeed like hail or large conglomerates of ice and asteroids could be aptly described as large mountains.  It is interesting that there is so much much effort being paid by scientists toward asteroid collision detection these days and an emphasis on learning how to deflect their paths away from Earth. Perhaps we should be paying more attention to the stars as this seems to be a prophetic event culminating in  Jesus Christ’s grand finale.

Posted in religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nice Ukulele Chord Progression in Dm

 

 

Posted in ukulele, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Where is the Ark of the Covenant?

The last mention of the presence of the ark is in King Josiah’s days around 622bc (2 Chronicles 35:3). From then on it is not obviously in anyone’s presence. And the prophet Jeremiah said in 3:16:

In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.

So it was probably concealed during Josiah’s reign.

It does get a final mention in a most interesting place:

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. Revelation 11:19

 

 

Posted in religion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment