06 December 2016

#HomeAutomation Intranet Brain FTW! #AmazonEcho #Prize

I spent time over the last several months looking at home automation options. I determined that I wanted to automate security, locks, lights, blinds, thermostat, media center and any SmartKitchen appliances --- at the very least. Based on the current market of smart assistants (AI engines), I also determined that Amazon's Alexa platform is compatible with and in many cases integrated into most of these consumer product categories. Thus, I thought it worthwhile to acquire an Amazon Echo. (I planned to use it as the hub around which to build my home automation intranet.)

In addition to being DIY crafty (a natural born engineer), I'm also $ thrifty (a natural born economist), and as a result, LOVE contests and smart shopping deals. My motto could be: Why spend money on something if you can get it for free or very, very cheap? I knew with the holiday season upon us chances to win various "hot ticket gifts" would abound. I spent a few minutes on Twitter searching for contests featuring either an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. I probably entered 10 or so, most only requiring a tweet.

Obviously, random drawing contests are hit or miss. Depends on the number of entries received, the cycle of the moon, the crow of the cock, etc., etc., but as the saying goes "you can't win, if you don't enter". I'll throw my name into the proverbial hat, if entering is simple (a fill out a form, send a tweet sort of thing). I don't jump through any hoops for merely the chance to win.

However, I prefer contests of skill. Because I'm damn good at skill based contests. It's the nature of the beast. If the entry requires some talent (essays, equations, design sketches, etc.), I like my chances. I wasn't the star student in EVERY academic subject in secondary school, for nothing. I'm like "Bring it"! So I also entered a contest that asked me to tell a story built around a set theme for a chance to win an Amazon Echo. And what do you think happened?
My Prize

Roughly within a week of deciding I needed an Amazon Echo, I'd won one, told the contest organizers which color I wanted (blackety black black black) and accepted delivery of my prize. It came direct delivery from Amazon.com in a beautiful gift bag with a lovely card attached.

My niece, the one who calls me "the luckiest aunt on the planet" could only laugh when I told her about my new toy and ask me for the umpteenth time to pick some lotto numbers. I keep trying to get her to understand that my "luck" doesn't work like that. But yeah, I am laughing.

Having acquired a Brain, I can begin sewing together the Body Politic of my home automation network. Why do I feel like Doctor Frankenstein... wait a minute, did the label on that jar the brain came out of read "Abby Normal"? Oh, that's merely Amazon attempting to give Alexa a sense of humor. I got jokes, folks.

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