I also finally complete my quest for a bean bag chair and offer a review of the Amazon Dot, Amazon’s always-on, always-listing digital assistant.
Getting the Show
- The web redesign continues … slowly.
- I’d hoped to go live in the spring, but four months later I’m still fussing with it.
- Content migration took even longer than I thought (and I thought it would take a long time)
- I’ve been writing the whole time though, so expect a lot of content when it does launch, probably sometime in September.
- I’ve become something of an outdoor geek over the last few years, largely because of our summer vacations to Lake Champlain and my son’s involvement in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
- The family went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons this summer, visiting family and taking in the natural wonders (and ignoring the whole “giant volcano under our feet thing”)
- Old Faithful is the thing people talk about, but the Grand Prismatic Spring is much better – such vibrant colors and a surreal landscape.
- Summer Reading List 2017
- 17 books. 1 novella. 8 graphic novels.
- That’s one more book than last summer … and it’s a lot to read.
- Vacations help with that. Read 5 books in June as the family went to Yellowstone, another 6 in July, many during our traditional summer vacation at Lake Champlain.
- Favorite books so far?
- Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse, Book 6) by James S.A. Corey (Amazon): Satisfying space opera with great space battles
- 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Amazon): solar system-spanning hard science fiction with a climate change edge
- Revenger by Alistair Reynolds (Amazon): Space pirates in a transhuman future. A Numenera setting if there ever was one.
- Is anybody out there?
- For years, I quested for a bean bag chair. I finally got one: Betelgeuse.
- It’s a massive red foam-filled chair by Sumo (thus its name)
- I looked at a lot of options, but this is the one that fit me the best …
- … even if it doesn’t exactly fit the game room.
- It’s been fantastic for relaxing on the third floor, but it takes up more space than I would like on game nights.
- Clearly, I need a bigger house.
- Learn more at https://www.sumolounge.com/
- Is anybody out there?
The Amazon Dot
- My parents got me an Amazon Dot for Christmas.
- It’s an always-on, always-listening device (albeit “listening” for the activation keyword but still … listening)
- My parents use it extensively for music, making to-do lists, etc. We’re a wee bit paranoid about it — it’s in my game room, with voice-activated shopping turned off.
- I like the daily briefings, forecasts, and dice rolling. You can also easily ask it questions about particular topics (e.g. “What is Dungeons & Dragons”) but that knowledge only goes so deep (it doesn’t know how to answer the question “When was Dungeons & Dragons published?”)
- Fun device but it doesn’t understand the concept of a conversation; each question is atomic, and you can’t ask follow-up questions (they are working on that)
- I also like it for streaming music — it’s cool to come into my office and say “Computer, play some Rush” and have it start playing a random track by the band (you need Amazon Prime for that though)
- I haven’t really tried “Skills” yet, which are tools for extending the device beyond the basics.
- Audio and text comments are always welcome!
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