Alexa - what bin day is it?


Row of recycling bins - photo by Dave Goodman

Bin day is the most magical time of the week! Children of all ages cry "Which bins is it?! Oh! Which bins?" Is today recycling day? Or green waste day? Or humble landfill day? Should my food caddy go out? Gosh! Who can keep track? I mean, obviously I could look at my calendar. Or […] Read More

UK Flood Forecast on Amazon Alexa


A skill submission form

You can now get the UK's flood forecast as part of your Flash Briefing on Amazon's Alexa. I've tried previously to create an interactive Alexa skill - it did not go well. This time, I thought I'd create an easier skill - a Flash Briefing. You ask Alexa for your daily news report and it […] Read More

Amazon Alexa and Solar Panels


A listing of every possible subject object verb combination

I can now query my solar panels via my Alexa Amazon Dot Echo thingie (why so many names?). I flatter myself as a reasonably competent techie and programmer, but fuck me AWS Lambdas and Alexa skills are a right pile of shite! Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but they're a pain in the […] Read More

Anatomy of an Amazon Phishing Attack


Fake amazon SMS

Phishing is the devious practice of tricking users into giving away their usernames and passwords to fraudulent sites. It is big business, and the best defence against it is constant vigilance. I'm going to walk you, step-by-step, through a scam that targetted me today. Along the way we'll see how to avoid falling prey to […] Read More

Some thoughts on Amazon's 2FA


A screen from Amazon showing how to use 2FA

Amazon now let you secure your account with Two-Factor-Authentication (2FA). This means you can log on with a one-time password which changes every minute. For some reason, Amazon call it Two-Step-Verification (2SV) - but it is exactly the same as all the other 2FA solutions. The Process There's no direct link to 2FA settings. So […] Read More

Goodbye Amazon Prime


(To the tune of the popular Elton John song.) I've often joked that if my employers could pay me in Amazon vouchers, it would save me a lot of hassle. I'm one of those insufferable people who prefers a delivery driver dropping off a single light bulb rather than having to pop to the shops […] Read More

Get Cheaper Amazon Prime *Without* Instant Video!


tl;dr If you have no need for Prime Video, you can ask Amazon for a discount. They'll knock £30 off the price - taking it down to £49. I spoke to customer services - here's the transcript (edited for clarity) : To be clear, Amazon weren't forthcoming in whether this was available to everyone. I […] Read More

How To Crack Amazon's Kindle Best Seller List? Sell 4 Books!


Late last week, I released an eBook copy of the Voynich Manuscript on Amazon. I sent a few tweets encouraging people to either download it for free from my website - or buy a copy from Amazon. Amazingly, given the choice, some people decided to throw a couple of quid my way! Once I saw […] Read More