When I started streaming over a month ago I researched everything I could. I wanted to make sure I had the tools to make myself a good streamer from the beginning. I already owned a Elgato Capture Card HD60 for my Xbox One so I had that covered, but what I found on Elgato’s website was even more intriguing. It is called a Elgato Stream Deck and it is a pretty neat piece of hardware. What is it you ask? Well to put it in the most simple of terms it is a personal broadcasters board, and does everything a streamer could need to make their stream run smoothly and efficiently. At a press of one it’s buttons it can do a slew of things for you! One of it’s most amazing functions came with their latest update, they added “Multi Action” and “Timer (delay)” commands that allows you to hit one button and runs several commands one right after another! Let me give you an example.
When I click my Starting button it does the following with a 1 second delay command in between.
All I have left to do after that is turn on my mic and switch to my scene that I want to stream.
There are way so many great commands the stream deck can do for you as a streamer. For instance.
Run a hotkey command.
Control your audio software.
Not to mention control you OBS and Xsplit software.
Another cool feature is the fact you can actually create your own icons so you can make it fit your style! They even have a Key creation website to help you with that as well. The wallpaper function will actually take a image and break it up into 15 icons!
If you are a streamer the Stream Deck will streamline everything so you can concentrate on what you do best, Entertain!
So I have been using my Amazon Echo for over two weeks now. It took some getting used to with how to phrase your question or request allowing Alexa to understand you, but I am sold. I use this piece of tech more and more each day.
The first couple of days I just used it to listen to music and I have to say the quality that comes out of it makes my ears hum with pleasure. As I started to explore I was pleasantly surprised to find some really cool things I can do with it. I have listed below some of the commands I use on a daily basis with my Echo.
Listen to my Spotify account. I love spotify and the music sounds great coming out of my Echo! You can also listen to your Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Tunein music as well as listen to your Audible and Amazon Kindle books!
To do list… If I have some tasks that I need to do and want list to show up on my phone in the Alexa app, all I have to do is ask “Alexa add “X” to my to do list” and it is done!
Shopping list… Just like the “To Do” list I can ask Alexa to add “X” to my shopping list and it shows up on my phone in the Alexa app.
Alarms… You can set up multiple alarms just by asking “Alexa set an alarm for “X:XXam” and your Echo will set an alarm! (A side note: as it stand the alarm is only good one time and you have to turn it back on each night. I would like to see the ability to set an alarm and repeat it on certain days.)
Timers… I have to say that this is one of my most favorite abilities of the Echo. I can start cooking something come up stairs and ask Alexa to start a timer for “X” minutes.
Weather… All you have to do is ask. For local you just have to ask “Alexa what is my local weather?” and she will give your current and nighttime weather. You can also ask Echo what the weather is in another city and it will answer with the weather for that city.
News… You can setup “Flash Briefings” and what you ask your Echo for the news it will play you the recorded news. I have NPR as my briefing and is pretty good at giving me the highlights of what is going on.
Control Wifi enabled household appliances, thermostats and lights. At this time I do not have any of these but hope to try it out in the near future. You can check them out here!
To find your history of what you have asked your Echo all you have to do is open up the Alexa app and you are greeted with it. If you want to manage any of the lists, alarms, or timers just click on the menu icon on the upper right hand corner and it will open up a menu giving you the option to view or edit anything you wish on your Echo. This where you can connect your music and book accounts as well as changing your settings for the Echo.
If you do find it difficult to see what you want on your phone there is an option to allow you to access that same page from a web browser. As long as your Echo is connected to your network via your WiFi you can open the following address in your browser giving you an easier way to access the site. alexa.amazon.com
Combined with the Alexa App for my Android phone the device is very powerful indeed.
So as you can see it is more than just a speaker it actually has kept me from burning my dinner, over sleeping, and forgetting things at the grocery store!
Setting up the Amazon Echo was super easy…. I mean a monkey could do it…. well maybe not that easy. First thing you have to do is to plug the Echo into a wall with the included power adapter. Once you do the light ring on the Echo will turn blue, and then Orange where you will here Alexa’s voice for the first time greeting you. This is where the fun begins….
Next you need to download the free Alexa app for your chosen device. To download the Alexa app, go to the app store on your mobile device and search for “Alexa app,”.
You can also go to https://alexa.amazon.com from Safari, Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer (10 or higher) on your Wi-Fi enabled computer. Your device operating system will need to be Fire OS 2.0 or higher, Android 4.0 or higher, iOS 7.0 or higher.
Once you have the application installed it is time to connect your device to it. This is easy just open the Alexa app and then follow the instruction. The first thing it will do is connect your Echo to your local Wi-Fi. Once that is done it is time to start speaking to Alexa. The Alexa app has a nifty little setup process called “Voice Training” that gives you 25 statements to read to Echo to allow it to learn you speech patterns and help Alexa understand you better.
That is it… Alexa is ready to listen to your request. Just say for instance “Alexa play “Bring Back the 80’s from Spotify.” and she will respond with a confirmation and then start your request. I know do not judge me I still love to listen to “Karma Chameleon”!
Next time we will delve into my first couple of days of using the Echo!