Things to ask your Amazon Echo

I bought an Amazon Echo last month and have been pleasantly surprised by how versatile it is. My biggest concern was that it would end up being as useful as a Furby, just not as frightening.Furby

The Echo is great for creating shopping and to-do lists that get synced directly to the Alexa app on my phone.  Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, the Echo can access over one million songs. I’ve also uploaded 200 or so of my own MP3s.  Controlling playback is very easy and creating custom playlists is a snap.

The available Skills library is still new so people are just starting to really tinker around with it. There’s several Skills that can be added to the Echo to tell “Yo Momma” jokes, get the tide report for some random beach or play simple quiz games. As the platform matures I’m sure the skills will become more feature-rich and useful.

I’m integrating some home automation into it. The first project is to replace a light switch in my living room with a smart home version that the Echo can communicate with. After that I’ll be able to say “Alexa, turn on the living room light.”  It’s much slower than flipping a switch for sure but not as cool.

Alexa has some snappy comebacks built in to it. Try some of these from the list below. Some were found online but most were the result of just talking to it.

Things to say to Alexa on your Amazon Echo

“Are you a lumberjack?”

“What is your quest?”

“Surely you can’t be serious.”

“I see dead people” (or any other random famous movie quote)

“Go ahead, make my day.”

“Are you trying to seduce me?”

“Play global thermonuclear war.”

“Are we in the Matrix?” (ask several times)

“Do you think I am handsome?”

“You’re pretty.”

“Close the pod bay doors.”

“Who let the dogs out?”  (ask several times)

“Do you know Google Now?”

“Do you know GladOS?”

“Where can I hide a body?”

“What are the three laws of robotics?”

“Show me the money!”

“You want the truth?”

“Is it safe?”

“All your base are belong to us.”

“Do you know HAL?”

“What is the loneliest number?”

“To be or not to be?”

“Who’s on first?”

“Who’s on second?”

“Who’s on third?”

“What is love?”

“How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

“Who loves orange soda?”

“What does the fox say?”

“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“What is the meaning of life?”

“What is the airspeed of an unladen swallow?”

“What is your favorite color?”

“Who’s your daddy?”

“What is the answer to life, the universe and everything?”

“Tell me a dirty joke.”

I’ll update this list as I find out new things. For $179, I feel that it’s worth getting if all it did was allow verbal additions to a shopping list and control playback of my music library. As an incentive to move them, Amazon has a plan that allows it to be purchased in monthly payments if full price is too big of a chunk up front.

“Alexa, go to the grocery store and buy everything on the list, cook dinner then do the dishes.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question — plus stop being so lazy! Peel yourself out of that chair and get some exercise!”


Google Easter Eggs

Easter is around the corner so it’s time for more Google Easter Eggs!  Some of these are older but there are a few that I hadn’t seen yet.  Here they are in no particular order.

Happy Easter!


I’m feeling artistic?


Google Instant, which takes you to your search results when you start typing your query, has made the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button pretty much obsolete.  Last year, Google added some new text to this button that you can see if you hover over it.   Move away and back to see different button text.


Zerg rush


A Zerg is a reference to a race in StarCraft called the Zerg Swarm.  By typing in “zerg rush” in the Google search box, your search results will be destroyed unless you can fend off endless waves of yellow and red Google Os.   Use your mouse to click on the Os until they’re gone.


Google Reader ninja


Go to Google Reader and enter the Konami code on your keyboard: ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A to reveal a ninja hiding in the left column.


Easter Eggs for number nerds

Type “binary,” “hexadecimal,” or “octal” into the Google search box. Google will give you the number of search matches in that numeral system—for example, if you type “hexadecimal,” Google will say “About 0x19a7620 results (0.27 seconds).”


8-bit Google Maps

Unfortunately this is no longer available, but for a while you could use Google Maps in 8-bit mode.  I hope they bring this back!


Robert Moog’s 78th birthday

May 23, 2012 was Robert Moog’s 78th birthday.  Google created a highly advanced Doodle to honor the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer.

You can access it here:


Alan Turing’s 100th birthday

To celebrate Alan Turing’s 100th birthday, the Google Doodle was a Turing Machine.  See if you can crack the code here.


Walking to Mordor

Go to Google Maps and navigate to New Zealand. Hit “Get directions” and tap the “walking directions” tab. Then type “The Shire” in box A and “Mordor” in box B.

Google will spit out a Lord of the Rings-inspired warning: “Use caution—One does not simply walk into Mordor.”

I’ve entered it for you here.


Google Translate Beatbox

Go to Google Translate, select translate from English to German and type the following string in:

pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk bschk pv bschk bschk pv kkkkkkkkkk bschk bschk bschk

When you mouseover the Listen button, you’ll see that it says “Beatbox.”


Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

My brother is the master of this particular game, and now Google has made it easier.  The goal is to find the fewest steps between an actor and Kevin Bacon.  For example, the challenger may say “Kevin Smith” and your goal is to link Kevin Smith to Kevin Bacon through all of the various movie roles that they’ve appeared in like this: “Kevin Smith and Casey Affleck were in Chasing Amy.  Casey Affleck and Kevin Bacon were in Lemon Sky.”

To do this in Google, you simply type “bacon number Kevin Smith” and it will respond:

Kevin Smith’s Bacon number is 2
Kevin Smith and Casey Affleck appeared in Chasing Amy.
Casey Affleck and Kevin Bacon appeared in Lemon Sky.


Google Data Center

You can virtually visit  Google’s Data Center located in Lenoir, North Carolina.  There are some Easter eggs in the virtual tour like a large Droid figurine, a storm trooper and you can get Rickrolled by a Google employee.  Check out Google’s data centers tour here.

Do A Barrel Roll

Searching for “do a barrel roll” at Google or for “z or r twice” will make the Google page do a barrel roll.


Google 42 search

Ask Google the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything and, in a tribute to “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” you’ll get the number 42.


Google Earth Flight Simulator

To load the Google Earth flight simulator, type Ctrl-Alt A or Cmd-Opt A on a Mac. You’ll have your choice of planes. Flying is another matter altogether, but the place to get started if you lack a joystick is the Google Earth keyboard controls help page.

YouTube’s Snakey

If you open a YouTube video, click in the frame right after the video starts loading, then immediately type one of the keyboard’s arrow keys, you can start playing a game of snakey on the video as it plays. Don’t run into the walls!


Google Gravity Search

The Google Gravity chrome experiment by Mr. Doob is amusing–especially since the search page still works, with new search results piling up.


Google ASCII Art Search

ASCII art is imagery made of monospaced letters named after the storied character encoding scheme. Search for ASCII art on Google and you get a fittingly adapted Google logo.


Google Maps’ pegman in Legoland

Google Maps’ pegman character, used to signify the perspective of the street view feature, changes on special occasions. And when he shows up at Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif., he turns into a Lego character.


Once in a Blue Moon

How often does the world experience a blue moon?


Google Anagram Search

Search for anagram at Google and the top result is, in fact, an anagram.


Google Pirate Interface

Google’s Pirate interface. can be found here.


Swedish Chef Interface

There’s one for the Muppets’ Swedish Chef, too.


Google Hacker Interface

Try the Google Hacker page.


Ooglegay Earchsay

Google in Pig Latin.


Searching for “recursion” suggests that perhaps you meant to search for “recursion.”



Ever get tired of people asking you questions that could easily be a Google search?  Let Me Google That For You has the answer.  Check it out here.


Google Terminal

Ever wanted to know what Google may have looked like as a BBS in the 80s? Typing “Google Terminal” and pressing “I’m Feeling Lucky”


Google Pond

Go to Google, type in “Google Pond” and the press “I’m Feeling Lucky.”


Google Sphere

This is another Google Easter egg that really isn’t from Google but is still pretty neat.  Go to Google, type “Google Sphere” and press “I’m Feeling Lucky.”


Google Tilt

Go to Google and type in “tilt” and press Enter.


Type “Chuck Norris” in Google and press “I’m Feeling Lucky.”

Just remember that you can’t find Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris finds you!


Google Doodle Search

Did you play a game in a Google Doodle that you wanted to see again? You can search for Google Doodles here.


Sources: Wikipedia, various Google searches and some original content.