The Model T

When I got online back in the stone age (1994), before cool things like IFTTT, the internet was text-based and one had to use Unix commands to do simple things like check email and search. When the World Wide Web began (different than “The Internet”) I had to get someone to help me hook up this thing I BOUGHT called a “NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR” to my Netcom account. I gave a stranger access to my account and within two days, he’d hooked up this thing called “TIA” which stood for “The Internet Adapter” and I could look at “web pages” and use the Yahoo directory to find and download pictures of naked ladies on my 2400baud modem at the rate of 1 photo every 2 minutes or so.


This is all to say that it is important to remember that we are only in the 2nd decade of web ubiquity. We’re using the Model T’s of phones. I try to be mindful of this when I’m wondering why my phone autocorrects “Hi Honey” to “Grapes for breakfast.”


The Amazon Echo is an even newer technology built, for all intents and porpoises, by Amazon. The Alexa interface is fairly smooth, though sometimes trying to listen to my son’s music playlist: “Alexa, play Duncan Faves on Spotify” returns “Duncan phelps on spotify.”

It seems like it’s happening less… maybe Alexa is learning? Maybe not. Who knows?

Using Spotify (so happy they added it!) and getting an Uber is one thing. However, the Amazon Echo doesn’t interact with every smart device out there.. yet. So what do you do if you have a connected thermostat or lights that Echo doesn’t play with?

Various smart people with the time to do such things have taken the time and written recipes in IFTTT to get the Echo to interface with other 3rd party solutions: GE Appliances, LIFX, D-Link and others are just a few. Amazon just added Lutron functionality.


Head to https://ifttt.com/recipes/search?q=amazon+echo and browse all the cool things others have done. You can create your own recipe, as well. It’s not that difficult. Set a “mood” or other color (assuming your light has color options) with a recipe you create on IFTTT. Instead of just an sound, you could also instruct your smart lighting to flash the lights as a way to wake yourself up.


Maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t have their phone with them every second of every moment of every day of their life… I don’t understand you, but maybe that’s you.

What do you do now if you misplace your phone in your house? Now you can use one of the alerts or customize your own to find your phone. Mine is “ALEXA, TRIGGER WHERE THE SAM HILL IS MY PHONE?!” and boom, my phone rings and now I don’t have to get all the neighbors over to the house to help me and my family find my phone.

I’m an Apple disciple, so if the phone is on vibrate, it’s not as effective. The smart people who use Android can get IFTTT to turn on the ringer and then even set the volume to super-duper.



The appointments and reminders I set on the Echo don’t go to my google calendar. Well, they didn’t. Now my lists and and to-dos can be set in IFTTT.



If you’re interested in educating your house… er… making your residence “smart”, check the Amazon Smart Home Store.

It’s easy to manager your smart home devices with Amazon Echo & IFTTT. Locate the app for whichever service you have and then find that hardware for the app. There are
Mr. Coffee coffee makers that are compatible with Amazon Echo. Create a recipe “Alexa, it’s Joe time!!”

If you want to control the kitchen from another room (with an Amazon Echo, Dot or Amazon Tap, obviously) try the Smart Slow Cooker from WeMo! Take an extra long shower and heat up some stew! It could also notify you by dimming the lights.

With all of the smart devices, from garage door openers to security cameras, the only thing limiting you from controlling everything with your voice besides your imagination is money. And, since we are in the stone ages of smart devices, the prices are not low. This too shall pass, but you wouldn’t have an Echo if you weren’t an innovator, would you?


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