These 10 Amazon Alexa skills are more weird than useful

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You can make your Alexa devices do all sorts of weird, useless things.
You can make your Alexa devices do all sorts of weird, useless things.
Image: christina ascani/mashable

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is a lot of different things at once. To some people, it’s a useful tool that makes daily household life significantly more convenient. 

To others, it’s a bit invasive and creepy to have something listening to all of your conversations at home. 

One thing most people can probably agree on is that Alexa is weird. A voice-powered home assistant with a huge number of community-made skills you can download for it is bound to get a little strange at times. 

We’ve perused Amazon’s Alexa skills marketplace for some of the oddest ones around, and these are the most bizarre picks we could find. 

Cigar Pairing

Alexa can help you find the perfect Cigar pairing.

Alexa can help you find the perfect Cigar pairing.

Image: Roberto Machado Noa / LightRocket via Getty Images

All of the Alexa skills on this list have varying degrees of usefulness, but the Cigar Pairing skill might actually be pretty helpful in the very specific situation it was designed for. Cigars are typically enjoyed with some manner of “adult beverage” as the official description says, and this skill can help you pick the right one to pair with a cigar.

It can make recommendations whether or not your cigar of choice is in its database or not, which is a nice touch. That might be more easily accomplished with a Google search, but this Alexa skill is here just in case that isn’t an option.

Good Night

This could be you, thanks to the power of Alexa.

This could be you, thanks to the power of Alexa.

Image: Shutterstock / Maksym Povozniuk

The Good Night Alexa skill is perfectly harmless in a charming sort of way. It’s simple: You tell it “Alexa, good night” and it tells you “good night” back.

Sometimes it’s just a nice thing to hear. 

‘Skyrim’ Very Special Edition

Imagine this, but without being able to see any of it.

Imagine this, but without being able to see any of it.

Image: Bethesda Game studios

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of the most beloved video games of the last decade. It actually became so much of a running joke that Bethesda kept releasing it on new platforms so many years after it first came out that they put together a voice-controlled Alexa version.

The trailer starring Keegan Michael Key is probably all you need to see to get the gist of it, but it’s on the Alexa skill marketplace if you want to play Skyrim in the weirdest way possible.

Countdown to ‘Game of Thrones’

This Alexa skill will only be useful for a little while longer.

This Alexa skill will only be useful for a little while longer.

Image: Helen Sloan / HBO

The wait for the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones has been agonizing for fans. It just isn’t fair for a TV show with so many hanging plot threads to take almost two years off. 

Thankfully, there’s an Alexa skill to remind you exactly when the new season starts. The countdown skill will let you know how many days, hours, minutes and seconds until the April 14 premiere. This one is actually useful, but probably won’t be for much longer.

Egg Facts

Finally, you can learn more about eggs thanks to Alexa.

Finally, you can learn more about eggs thanks to Alexa.

Image: Nasir Kachroo / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Egg Facts has been around for a couple of years and is a good go-to example of a bizarre Alexa skill. There are actually multiple Alexa skills under the same name, somehow. 

Install Egg Facts, tell Alexa to launch the app, and it will give you facts about eggs. It’s beautifully simple.

Cat Food

There are probably easier ways to summon your cat than using an Alexa skill.

There are probably easier ways to summon your cat than using an Alexa skill.

Image: Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Cat owners know that the quickest and easiest way to get the attention of a feline friend is to open a can of their food. The sound alone is enough to stir them from slumber and this Alexa skill aims to take advantage of that.

Its sole purpose is to simulate the sound of a cat food can being opened. That’s it. Perhaps the best part is that user reviews claim their cats weren’t fooled by it.

Unofficial ‘Star Wars’ Galaxy Characteristics

Alexa might be able to tell you how tall Luke Skywalker was.

Alexa might be able to tell you how tall Luke Skywalker was.

Image: John Wilson / Lucasfilm

The Star Wars movies do a lot of things, but one thing they don’t do is regularly dive into things like character height. The Unofficial Star Wars Galaxy Characteristics Alexa skill is a possible solution to that specific issue.

If you want to find out Boba Fett’s eye color or the technical specifications of an X-Wing, this might be the skill for you. 

Golf Quotes

Get motivated before you hit the links with some golf quotes courtesy of Alexa.

Get motivated before you hit the links with some golf quotes courtesy of Alexa.

Image: David Cannon/Getty Images

It may not always be easy to find the time to hit the golf course, but there’s an Alexa skill to help fans stay in the golf mindset. Golf Quotes is exactly what it sounds like: A skill that enables Alexa to recite famous quotes about the game of golf to you.

It’s a simple and somewhat goofy concept that actually seems to be executed well. The skill can spout almost 200 quotes about golf and user reviews are highly positive.

Who’s On First

Alexa can deliver comedy routines now.

Alexa can deliver comedy routines now.

Image: Bettmann Archive / Getty images

Abbott & Costello’s “who’s on first” bit is one of the most famous comedy routines in history. Naturally, there’s an Alexa skill that allows you to hear it delivered in Alexa’s creepily detached robot cadence.

There isn’t much else to say about this one other than that virtual assistants should probably leave it to the professionals.

Ambient Sounds: Snoring

Alexa can simulate this experience for you.

Alexa can simulate this experience for you.

Image: Felix Hörhager/picture alliance via Getty Images

As a primarily sound-based piece of technology, Alexa’s skills marketplace is full of ambient noise generators. One of the more unusual ones is meant to simulate the sound of someone in the same room as you snoring through the night.

Not everyone likes the sound of snoring, but this could potentially make a room feel less lonely at night. Unfortunately, negative user reviews cited technical issues that made it less effective than it could have been.

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The best new Amazon Echo deals could save you over £40

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New deals to check out.
New deals to check out.
Image: amazon

Here we were thinking that everything has been a little quiet over at Amazon lately, and then four new Echo deals drop out of the blue. You can now save on the Echo, Echo Spot, Echo Show, and Echo Input from Amazon UK.

These devices don’t go on sale very often, so when they do, it’s important to act fast. You can pick up an Echo for £69.99, an Echo Spot for £99.99, an Echo Show bundle for £189.99, and an Echo Input for £19.99, up until March 13. 

The Echo is one of Amazon’s most popular devices, with a massive 80 percent of customers giving it a five-star review. The Amazon Echo connects to Alexa to play music, make calls, set alarms and timers, ask questions, check your calendar, manage shopping lists, control compatible smart home devices, and more. It’s no surprise it’s so popular, really.

With so much love for the Echo, it made perfect sense for Amazon to release a whole host of Echo devices, and we have tracked down the best offers on each:

These deals aren’t going to stick around for long, and it could be quite a wait until they are discounted again, so make sure you don’t miss out.

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Pocket Casts for Amazon Echo picks up where your phone left off


Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts, widely hailed as the best podcasts app around, is coming to Amazon’s Echo smart speakers. An Alexa skill is a natural progression for the premium app, allowing users to pick up where they left off on their smartphone at home. Using a series of voice commands, you’ll be able to continue listening on your Echo device, ask for a recommendation, request a random podcast, or play the latest episode of your favorite show. Of course, you can currently beam audio from Pocket Casts to smart speakers like Google Home (via Cast) and the HomePod (via AirPlay 2), but the Alexa skill lets you go hands-free.

It follows a major update to the app in November — just months after its acquisition by a collective of public radio stations, including NPR — that brought with it Siri Shortcuts, enabling iPhone users to set up voice prompts. Other notable features included episode search and improved syncing across mobile and desktop. The app costs costs $3.99 on iOS and Android and $9 on the web.

Beyond Pocket Casts on Echo, users of rival smart speakers can also fire up podcasts using just their voice. Google Home, for instance, syncs up with the dedicated Google Podcasts app to let you request playback from Assistant. And Siri on HomePod lets you listen to any show in Apple‘s massive podcasts library.

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Cedars-Sinai puts Amazon Alexa in patient rooms as part of a pilot program

Los Angeles medical center Cedars-Sinai is currently piloting a program that places Amazon Echos in more than 100 patient rooms. The smart speakers use Aiva, a voice assistant platform for healthcare, and is intended to help patients communicate with their caregivers. Letting patients use Alexa to perform basic tasks like changing TV channels also frees up nurses to perform medical care.

Backed by Amazon’s Alexa Fund and the Google Assistant Investment Program, Aiva also participated in the Cedars-Sina accelerator program for healthcare startups. The platform also works with Google Home.

After a patient tells Alexa what they need, Aiva routes it to the right person’s mobile phone. For example, if someone needs medicine, their request goes to a registered nurse. If a response takes too long, Aiva reroutes the request “up the chain of command.”

Voice assistants are currently being tested in several capacities in healthcare. For example, voice assistants in Boston Children’s intensive care unit let nurses ask for administrative information, like who is the charge nurse on duty or how many beds are available in a ward. Boston Children’s also piloted voice-enabled versions of the checklist used to validate organs before transplant, with prompts to help reduce error. KidsMD, a program powered by Alexa, is meant to be used by parents at home to help them decide if their kids need to see a doctor.

Amazon still holds the top position in the smart speaker market, and likewise Alexa is currently the voice assistant most often used by hospitals, according to Healthcare IT News. So far, its devices have been used in Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Commonwealth Care Alliance, Northwell Health in New York, and Libertana Home Health in Los Angeles, in addition to Cedars-Sinai.

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Amazon's Echo Wall Clock is back on sale after connectivity fix


Stephen Brashear via Getty Images

A few weeks after being pulled because of connectivity issues, Amazon’s Echo Wall Clock is once again available. The clock can once again be purchased for $29.99 from Amazon. A spokesperson for Amazon confirmed the availability of the clock to Engadget. The company also said that a software update will be made available for customers who have already purchased the clock. That update will be received automatically when the clock is connected to an Echo device.

The Echo Wall Clock was first announced by Amazon in September and started shipping just before the holidays in December. Just over a month after the clock was first made available to buy, Amazon decided to pull it because of problems with Bluetooth connectivity. That feature is essential to the device’s function, as it needs to connect to another Echo device in order to operate with voice controls. With the fix, users will once again be able to set alarms and timers via Alexa that will be displayed on the 60 LED lights around the edge of the clock’s face.

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