Solar Battery and Alexa - in 30 lines of code

by @edent | # # # # # # # | Read ~101 times.
A list of phrases used to activate the device

Amazon Alexa is a fun little bit of kit. But it can be tricky getting it to work with all your smart devices. Not every company has an Alexa skill - just like not every company has an app. Using Flask-Ask it is possible to bring Alexa smarts to a range of previously mute devices. […]

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Alexa - what bin day is it?

by @edent | # # # # # # | 2 comments | Read ~682 times.

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 […]

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UK Flood Forecast on Amazon Alexa

by @edent | # # # | Read ~200 times.

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 […]

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Amazon Alexa and Solar Panels

by @edent | # # # # # | 5 comments | Read ~11,321 times.

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 […]

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Anatomy of an Amazon Phishing Attack

by @edent | # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~221 times.

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 […]

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Some thoughts on Amazon's 2FA

by @edent | # # # # | 2 comments | Read ~246 times.

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 […]

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Goodbye Amazon Prime

by @edent | # # # # | 5 comments | Read ~353 times.

(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 […]

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Get Cheaper Amazon Prime *Without* Instant Video!

by @edent | # # | 3 comments | Read ~4,114 times.

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 […]

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The Curious Case of Amazon's IMDb Adverts

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment | Read ~147 times.

The Internet Movie Database is one of the most venerable sites on the Web. It was founded by a British programmer in 1990 as a collection of Usenet posts (kids, ask your parents). By 1993 it was on the nascent World Wide Web - and was hosted out of Cardiff University in Wales. IMDb was […]

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I Still Don't Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem

by @edent | # # # # | 30 comments | Read ~33,433 times.

One of the most popular blog posts I have written is called "I Don't Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem". In it, I rant against service providers trying to lock their customers into a monoculture. Companies are always looking for the edge which will make them stand out - they think that restricting […]

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