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The Difference Between Amazon Alexa and Echo (The “API Mandate” Is Alive!) – New Video

Echo vs Alexa difference YouTube thumbnail with me wearing a cowboy hat

People sometimes use the terms “Amazon Alexa” and “Amazon Echo” interchangeably, as though they are the same thing. But they are actually different. Amazon Alexa is the smart cloud platform used by Amazon, and this can be accessed on our phones, through our smart watches, in our cars – and yes, through Amazon Echo. Amazon … Read more

Amazon Smart Plug Multiple User Guide: How To Make This ‘Work’

Alexa app - give permissions for contacts

The Amazon smart plug is a great way to transform your pre-smart home technology into something a little more state of the art. You can use these plugs to bring your old lighting, appliances, and most other eclectic devices into the smart home fold. One of the biggest challenges with transforming everything into smart technology … Read more

Using Your Philips Hue Dimmer Switch With Alexa – Is It Possible?

Philips Hue dimmer switch showing a red (error) light

The goal of most smart home owners is to get their homes to operate seamlessly and achieve interoperability with all of their smart devices. With the introduction of smart home hubs such as Amazon’s Echo, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit, just to name a few, this goal of interoperability seemed to become a reality. However, … Read more

Alexa & Echo: Are Calls and Messages Free?

Screenshot of Alexa app, on the Communicate tab, showing Call, Message, Drop In and Announce features.

The “Communicate” tab on the Alexa app shows various options, including ‘Call’ and ‘Message’. This allows you to contact your Echo devices, but also people in your contact list. So are these calls and messages free, or do they cost money? The communication options within Alexa and Echo (including calls and messaging) are completely free, … Read more