Alexa Car Review – Voice Command Life with Echo Auto

I love technology that makes life easier, but those of you that know me know that I can be prettyfrugal. I drive my 12 year old car with pride. The premium speaker package with CD-changer has an earlier version of Bluetooth that doesn’t let you play audio through it. I was using the auxiliary cable to plug in my phone until I “upgraded” to an iPhone 7 without a headphone jack. It did come with an adapter, but those eventually stopped working and I switched to new bluetooth earbuds. I did have an old Bluetooth adapter that played through the radio, but reception wasn’t the best.

In the past voice command technology was pretty terrible, but then the first decent virtual assistant landed on my iPhone 4s back in 2013. Then Amazon introduced the Echo and I was loving the Echo Dotand Echo Showin multiple rooms in our house. So when Amazon announced Echo Auto for my car I knew I had to try it.

The device initially scrolls an orange light that reminds me of KITT from Knight Rider. Initially I had trouble pairing my phone, but once that that was done I was able to connect services like Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, & more.

Voice command like playing songs worked great for the most part, although some songs play remix or other version, and since I sometimes drive in areas with bad cell reception it may not pick up voice-command, although you can still manually control things with your paired phone.

It definitely is better than what I had before, so it is a great product even with the few annoyances.

You can see a list of all the best selling Echo products here

What is your favorite voice-command device, and what do you like best about it? Let us know in the comments

Disasters Like Hurricanes – Save Time From Store Lines And Ship It Fast

So one thing for those of us on the east coast like Florida deals with is hurricanes. When they are announced, everyone lines up to the gas station & fighting over supplies like water bottles. Obviously I try to get those essentials early, but many times my friends and family forget that there are other options like last-minute shipping! One popular program is Amazon Prime, which now includes shipping essentials the next day. For those of you that don’t already have an account, you can click the following to try it for 30 days free http://www.amazon.com/tryprimefree?tag=digitalbeyond-20. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m getting ready for a 5K race for tomorrow morning before our beach trip 🙂

Manage Your Online Family Accounts So Your Data is Safe and Accessible

Having to deal with accounts is inevitable. Back in the day for computers and devices this used to be local accounts that were created. 

Nowadays everywhere you go they want to know about you. I visited my friend a few months back and wanted to try out his new game system. It took me some time to setup the online account and add my e-mail. 

On tablet devices, you could be tempted to use your same account for the rest of the family, but that is not a great idea especially if you are having your kids use your personalized device. Luckily many have a family account that can be created and controlled. 

The first online computer account I can remember using is America Online (AOL). Our first for our kid’s was actually an e-mail account that we used to send them letters from major moments in their lives that they can read when they grow up. Another account we created was an account for the game Minecraft so they could save their worlds (Microsoft purchased them years ago). 

Years ago I was very hesitant of saving information anywhere besides locally, but I’ve seen too many lose old files after a system crash, and no backups to go back to. 

Luckily our family has Office 365 that comes with 1 TB (yes terabyte) for up to 6 people. That lets us save all our photos and videos and access it from anywhere, but also allows us to use the Microsoft Office applications as well. The service as of 2019 costs us $99.99 yearly, but it is something we find value in. If you’d like to to learn more and purchase, you can find it by clicking the banner below:

You can setup your family accounts at https://account.microsoft.com/family/about  

Once they have their accounts they can login using those as long as the device is connected to the Internet. 

We also have other devices such as tablets and phones from Apple and Google. The setup is similar, and they can request approval to install applications so you can track what they are doing on the devices. 

Definitely think ahead on the account to create, so never using something easy to guess such as their name or birthday in the account or password. 

Keep in mind that for kids under 13 in the US rules are governed by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act COPPA  

So some online accounts like saving shortcuts & passwords in FireFox they’ll have to wait until they are older. 

Fly high

Birds fly in every direction 

Don’t let limiting beliefs from others stop you from flying in your direction 

There are broke people spending all their money that are afraid you are saving and investing too high 

There are uneducated people who think we can’t learn topics like technology or money for ourselves and need to pay experts as the only way 

There are obese people that don’t want to think too much about the food that enters our bodies, and worry we’ll injure ourselves practicing sports like ninja obstacles 

Don’t be afraid to fly 

Fly high 

Imagine Dragons – Birds (Animated Video) 

The Library and Safe Searching with an Internet Encyclopedia

Growing up in the 80’s only the lucky few had a home computer or even knew what the Internet was. The first time I connected our home computer was just over 20 years ago. Now smartphones, tablet computers, and a multitude of devices are all over. 

So how did I find out about things? Well when my parents couldn’t give me a solid answer on something, they had me start by looking the subject up in an encyclopedia, or see what books or other materials are available. We visited our county library regularly. We bought an encyclopedia set from them during one of their sales, and from that a world of knowledge opened up for me. 

Nowadays we have the Internet. Open a search engine and see what you can find. But how do you know what you are looking at will be of value versus harm? The Internet can be an amazing but also scary place. In future posts we’ll explore this further, but I’m starting with the basics first. 

Luckily most of us have access to an impressive amount of online resources available from anywhere through – yes, the library. 

We’ll get there by opening a web browser. We chose FireFox since it is one that can work on practically all devices and doesn’t track your online activity like other popular services out there. We opened the FireFox app and used a search engine that doesn’t track you – DuckDuckGo.com

Our family lives in Broward County, FL so we searched for “Broward County Library.” 

It is easy to become overwhelmed given all of the services a modern library offers nowadays. In our case we want to see what “Online Resources” are available to us, so luckily the site has an icon from their main page. Their list is massive, and in our case we want to look under the “Education” section. Scroll down and you’ll eventually see “Scholastic GO.”

You’ll need a Broward library card to access some of the content such as this, so make sure you sign up either online or in-person to your appropriate library. 

On Scholastic GO we searched for “dinosaur” and found an age-relevant link for level 1 (grade 5 and under). We saved a shortcut to the Library’s Online Resources as well as Scholastic GO in FireFox so we can visit those sites regularly.

As we access services like the library we’ll create accounts along the way. It is helpful to manage all these accounts, so check in next week for more on that. In the meantime feel free to discuss your favorite services from your library and other places in our Facebook group

Welcome to the Next Level

Computers and the Internet have changed everything, enabling new services and business opportunities. 

As I grew up in the US, it wasn’t hard to think of the many things that America is number one in! That is not always a good thing though. We waste a lot of time watching TV or going online without a clear purpose or direction. How can we possibly change this mess? 

We can educate ourselves and then share what we learn with others. I’ll focus on doing this regularly as my kids grow into this new world. I also know that family, friends, and everyone can benefit from this.

Our game plan is to spend time once a week starting with the basics with using technology and build from there. The topics we’ll cover may not come up much in a formal educational setting, but we have the resources to make it happen. 

Ready? Let’s begin.