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A “Dot” For Your Thoughts


The Echo Dot, Amazon’s smaller entry into the personal assistant area, is one of those gadgets that few knew we as a society needed but is an area that now exists because someone decided that we need things like this.

What the Dot is is a little device, which looks like a hockey puck, which you plug into the wall and which can answer various questions for you, among other duties that it can perform.

You have to call it by its name, Alexa, which prompts the device to go to work for you.


You can ask it just about any question, and even if it doesn’t know the answer, it will let you know that.

But most of the time, it will answer you.

“Alexa, what time is it?”

“Alexa, what is the weather?”

When you ask such questions, it comes out with a nice, polite woman’s voice.

“It is 4:51 a.m.”

“The weather in (your city) will be warm, with highs in the 70s.”


It can do much more, but at its basics, it really is just a question and answer device.

It can do other things, however; it can order you a Domino’s Pizza, it can call you a Uber cab, and it can turn on and off lights and devices if you have a “smart” home.

It can also play music, and you can hook it up to speakers and listen to music from Pandora and Amazon Music from the device.

It really is nothing more than a gadget, a true novelty, and nothing more. You can get sports scores, and since it is hooked up with Wikipedia, you can ask it about various people and events and entities and it will give you a short answer.

A personal reflection: the other night, I woke up very early in the morning, and since I went to bed quite early that night, I did not know the Yankees game score.

I went into the kitchen in the pitch dark and asked it for the score.

But I did not hear a replay.

With a half an eye open, I searched with my hands for the device, but the Dot was nowhere to be found.

Finally, I opened up both eyes, and I saw that my wife had moved the device elsewhere, but it was not plugged in, which it must be to work.

I plugged it in, asked Alexa for the score, and it came out loud and clear.

My wife has since moved it into the living room, and if we have a question about a TV show or an actor or something else, we can ask Alexa from the comfort of our couch.

Is the Echo Dot a necessary appliance for every home?

No, it isn’t.

Is it a novelty item more than anything else?


“Alexa, why do you exist?”

“I don’t have an answer to that question.”

Lawrence Lapka