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Well hear we are, time marches on as usual, so it's time for another monthly chat topic, feel free to drop in and let us know how 2017 is working out for you so far, since yee gods it only seems a second since christmas!

Yes, I should've started this one yesterday, but hay better late than never.

Well over here it's bloody freezing and covered with ice and snow, and has been all week. Yesterday I did manage to hack my way to the shops which is good. ACtually this is the time I most rely on Reever since I'd lost all my usual landmarks and would've been very stuck without her, Mrs. Dark is definitely feeling the severe lack of a guide dog right now.

Today however the weather is even worse since all those snow drifts have frozen and it's like an ice rink, only a lot rougher.

I'm feeling a bit sorry for my brother, he and his fiance had booked to go to Ireland and do the game of thrones tour this weekend, but it doesn't look like that is happening, ---- I want to tell him "winter is coming" big_smile.

This weather is making Mrs. Dark and I very much want to just sit in and read a lot, which is okay accept I have annoying amounts of work today on my thesis, though fortunately I kcan keep dropping in to land of Livia for a quest or two to leven the monotony. Also I'm now reading Araminta station by jack Vance, a really awesome and humourously snarky sf novel from the 1980s set in the future on an alien planet in a rather Dune like society of inter family politics, which I'll certainly be reviewing when I'm finished.

I read it years ago but predictably the RNIB only had the first book in the trilogy, and it ends on the most cliff hangery of cliff hangers I was not pleased, so it's nice to now be able to read it in full knolidge I have the second and third books on hand.

unfortunately the arrival of  my new Cambridge audio surround sound speakers is rather delayed by, You guessed it), the grumpier than usual gods of the british weather, but still I've waited this long so waiting a little more isn't too bad.

Hope everyone else is having fun and is hopefully a little less cold than I am.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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2 (edited by Orko 2018-03-02 17:50:18)

This is so not fair! That cold or flu I caught last January that kept me in bed for three days and made me miserable for most of two weeks is back.

Fortunately it appears that the antibodies from the last round are still with me as this one doesn't seem anywhere as bad as that last one was.

Still, nobody likes having a cold or flu.

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3 (edited by Angel 2018-03-02 17:16:07)

A new month, new things to do, the winter is coming late here, as always, time to set things up for going in the UK, only a month and some days.
And by the way, this is 2018, not 2017!
smile
But, not a problem, I liked martch from 2017.

I am your friend, your spam bot reporter, I am what ever do you wan a be to you, but if it is not good, I will not be!
And please, give me a tumbsup, it makes me happy to see one.
Thanks.
Angel Productions, the producer of nothing :)

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Phoey! Alexa is down again, if I had to pick one bad thing about the Amazon Echos, it would be how often the Alexa service they depend on goes down.

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Meh, well today is my birthday, as if I could possibly give a crap.

The bipeds think this place belongs to them, how cute.

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Youch didn't realize I had the year wrong,  still that is what edit function is for big_smile.

Alexa hasn't been bad for me in general in terms of connectivity, but the one thing that irritates me are the amount of times you ask Alexa for something and it tells you to "check the alexa ap" even down to giving definitions, checking Alexa settings or capabilities etc.

Honestly if I wanted to look something up online or use the Ap I wouldn't  be using my Echo dot in the first place.

I have also noticed that some skills randomly go down for no reason, though whether this is to do with updates I'm not sure.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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It looks like Alexa may be down for quite a while, my Echo lost its connection with Alexa this morning, and now, about five hours later the service is still not available. If this keeps up, I may start seriously looking at a Google Home. Having Alexa order stuff for me is nice and convenient, but I can do that just as easily with my computer. Everything else I use it for is for entertainment and I can use other devices or services for that.

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8 (edited by Orko 2018-03-03 10:10:44)

LOL! Now I feel really stupid.

What I thought was the Alexa service being down was just the Echo with the microphones turned off!

Well, at least I now know that the microphone setting is persistent in that it survives the Echo being powered off.

There is probably visual feedback via the Echo's light ring that lets users know that the microphones are off, it would be nice if when the microphones are off, when the Echo hears the wake word, that it produces an audio cue to let blind users know the microphones are off, but that would defeat the whole idea of turning off the microphones.

The Alexa service did go down though, it was more than likely back online soon after though and only my microphones being off made it seem like it was still down.

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Happy birthday Ironcross32.
And please, tell me if the Alexa goes down again this month, cause if it does that, I will buy the google home mini instead of ecodot.

I am your friend, your spam bot reporter, I am what ever do you wan a be to you, but if it is not good, I will not be!
And please, give me a tumbsup, it makes me happy to see one.
Thanks.
Angel Productions, the producer of nothing :)

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@Orko, yes the light ring goes red when the mikes are off, also though the echo dot produces slightly different bonk sounds for turning the mike on and off so if  suspect the mikes are off and hitt the button you can tell by the bing whether you've just turned them on or not.

I'll admit I've never seen the alexa service down to the point that it literally didn't respond. Occasionally certain skills are slow or the response time is down, but it's never been %100 off completely.

Well I'm rather annoyed, my parents turned up today with my new 5.1 surround sound system and after hours spent putting up speaker brackets and cables, they're not registering my pc at all!
I phoned the place where we bought them and they're first question was whether my pc's HDMI cable was optical only, which it certainly isn't, or at least dam well shouldn't be!

the upshot is they're coming on monday to have a look and I tthus far have a number of very expensive bricks around my living room which I'm not pleased about, I hope they dam well work given what I ended up paying for them.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Yeah, the Echo does the same thing when you press the microphone button, my problem was an is, I don't remember ever turning off the microphones. That being said, I'm sure the Echo also turns the light ring red as well, unfortunately, unless I take the Echo down and hold it less than an inch from my eyes, I can't see the light ring at all, and since I've never tried, I'm not sure holding the Echo close to my eyes would do any good either. I am just a step or two away from being totally blind, even windows on a bright sunny day are hard to see.

Alexa goes completely unresponsive for an hour or two about once a month. Sometimes you're only aware of the outage if you ask it to do something, otherwise the Echo just keeps doing what it's doing, like streaming a radio station.

It is possible, given the nature of the internet, that the outages aren't because of Alexa but are because of a server somewhere along the way. Either way, the Echo loses its connection to Alexa.

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Funny Orko, I don't think I've seen the Alexa go down like that at my end, then again my wife and I only use it a time or two each day to listen to the news or play some games etc not to stream stations or continuously, so it might be that I've just got lucky.

I do notice individual skill outages, indeed some skill never work at all, which is quite frustrating.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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Dark, it could also be that Alexa is still new over there, where as it's been around for better than two years here. Not sure if how old the service is has anything to do with it, but I would imagine that the Alexa service in the US uses a lot more servers than the service in the UK uses, and the more moving parts there are, the more likely it is that something will go haywire, or do you brits prefer the tterm wonky. (wink)

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That would be annoying if it went down while streaming something and it wouldn't stop tongue. I'd imagine that all the speech to text stuff is done in the cloud, so it wouldn't be able to understand what you said and you'd probably have to unplug the damn thing just to get it to stop.

The bipeds think this place belongs to them, how cute.

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This cold is just as bad as the last one, it just took longer to get rolling. It's also different which is probably why I caught it.

This one comes with a sore throat and a headache that won't quit that the last one didn't have. This one also doesn't have the body aches and pains that came with the last one.

Ugh! Just spent most of the day in bed and after a bowl of chicken soup, probably going right back there.

@ironcross32

Not only the text to speech, but also the speech recognition is done in the cloud, just like Siri. So you are more than likely right in that if Alexa goes down and you want your Echo to stop what its doing, your only option is to unplug it.

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@Orko, So thank god that it's summers here cause I don't actually like winters lol! I hope you get well soon! smile

Some day I'll become a game developer! Rofl!

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Well, after several days, I'm probably headed into the emergency room. Whatever this is just keeps getting worse. Yesterday my cheek bones became tender, applying any kind of pressure to them hurt, plus my ears felt like I needed to equalize them but my head is so stuffed I can't do anything about it, and now today I have ear aches. I'm not so sure that this is just a simple cold or flu anymore.

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Earlier this morning, I gave up and headed into the emergency room. Considering how bad this flu season has been and how many people have died from it and suspecting that I had it, I wasn't willing to take any more chances. Well, the good news is I don't have the flu, the bad news is that I have acute bronchitis, which, though not lethal, can be just as bad as the flu with all the symptoms you suffer. They prescribed an antibiotic which should be able to knock it out in three to five days. After what this has been like the past four days, that'll feel like a slice of heaven!

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@vaibhavbhandari I'm rather jealous it's summer where you are. Thankfully after one of the worst februaries on record and March that was so thick in snow it wasn't funny, it finally! seems to be warming up around here which my lady is very relieved about, for someone who originated in Pennsylvania where it can get both very cold, and! very hot, she really has a terrible tolerance to cold lol.

one thing I was pleased about is apparently the gas company has been over charging us, which is nice to know since if we're not using much heat in such extreme weather, it means that all my mum's dire predictions about us having astronomical heating bills in the new house aren't true, then again my mum has always had a weird obsession with heating being uba expensive.

Well not a lot to report. Sadly the guy came from the shop, did a great job with my cambridge audio speakers which lead to my lady and I spending a wonderful time on Monday listening to many many things we've missed, only for the speakers to go ponk about two hours later. My computer isn't recognizing the AV cable they're plugged into, indeed I suspect it's a simple question of settings not being saved on the tv. The problem however is that  both the tv and the speaker box having inaccessible digital menus we'll need to ring the company  to fix things and the guy we spoke to isn't in until Saturday.
So once again my living room is full of effectively £1600 worth of bricks which are no earthly use, which is of course bloody annoying, doubly so since I think the setting is probably comparatively simple but of course it's one that I can't do myself as it's not on the computer so have no access to it.

God I hate! unreadable digital menus, especially in a time when there is no need for such.

That aside things continue. I've written a review for Jack Vance araminta station which I've submited and should hopefully be appaearing on fantasybookreview.co.uk at some point in the near future my lady and I are now reading Joyland by steven King as a break before we go on to Brandon Sanderson's Oathbringer. I'm enjoying Joyland so far, though it's very different from King's other books  but I'll discuss that in the Steven King topic I think when we've finished it.

Game wise other than land of livia things have been a  unsettled though I have had a couple of goes at code 7. If I can get through episode zero I might well buy the full whack, though I want to play through a reasonable amount before I start on a db page.


One mildly irritating issue is I'm not really sure how saves in the game worrk, since while I'm told I have a save file that is partly complete, when I select continue I start again from the beginning, though it's entirely possible I've just not got far enough to find a checkpoint.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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If I recall correctly, there are no save points in episode 0 because it is rather short. But it's been months since I played it, September I think, and my memory could be wrong.

Here I thought with the antibiotics, this bronchitis would be gone soon, but late yesterday it came back with a vengeance as if I had never taken the antibiotics.

Pity, my family is having a pig roast this weekend, but I'll probably have to skip it to avoid passing this on to others.

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Hi Orko, Bronchitis is a pain literally.

Well I had an interesting morning today. I was phoned at half past nine by a gentleman calling himself "mike" who purported to be from Microsoft, he was in an urgent hurry to tell me that things had been downloding to my pc and my harddrive was corrupted. he was just telling me I needed to download something when I had had enough, told him he was a scam artist and threatened to call the police.

As he then rang back twice, (from a Uk area number I add), urging me about the horrors threatening my harddrive which according to him was corrupted I'd had enough.
I phoned the action fraud hotline and gave them his number, apart from a very long telephonic wait, hopefully they will catch up with him, or at least get his phone number canceled.

I suspect he got the data from Bt, my phone provider who's call centers are dodgy as hell, not the least because who knows how well they vet their customer services reps in India to make sure people aren't up to no good, heck, to be honest I don't really trust BT as a company anyway not to go selling data to third parties, but hay that's what big companies are like, they  anything to anyone, your details included.

Needless to say I'll be making my number x directory this afternoon.

In other news just finished Steven King's joyland with my lady which I wrote some thoughts about in the steven king topic. A good book on the hole though with it's issues.
I also have finally put a page together for code7, although I couldn't say to much about gameplay or plot for fear of spoilers, still hopefully it'll get the game some publicity.

i'm actually thinking of getting episode 1 at some point, though at this moment I'm more in an action than adventure mood hence why I've redownloaded the demo of the gate and am giving it another try.

I also am very pleased because we got the 5.1 speakers working. it was just one switch that needed pushing! it's awesome to be able to listen to music with my lady again.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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For the past several months, my sister and I have been looking forward to a trip from Tampa, Florida to Seattle, Washington to visit our mother who was moved to a nursing home last fall because she could no longer live on her own. Yesterday, we got some very sad news from Seattle that our mother had suffered a massive stroke and passed away. The news wasn't a surprise because we knew she wasn't in very good health and didn't expect her to survive the year, but it is disappointing that we won't be able to see her one last time.

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Youch  Orko sorry to hear about your mum.
That actually comes rather close to home since my lady's mother died in November of 16, and  father is not a very well man and probably won't be around for long either, indeed it's a rather difficult situation since he's catagorically refused to go anywhere else and is living full time with my sister in law and her husband (who even had to remodify the house to get him in).

Being in the Uk the best we can do at the moment is facetime audio calls fairly often.

Well the tale of the scam artists thickens, since it transpires they actually phone my mum as well, at ten to six the same morning they phoned me. When my mum expressed displeasure at getting an early wake up call they said "it is morning!" and accused her of being rude, to which my mum responded with "your rude!" and put the phone down.
Sadly she didn't get their number but at least this means it's not specifically my number that is compromised, indeed this is good evidence for the fact that it is! bt who are responsable since my parents were registered with them before changing companies, and I did specifically register with BT as Doctor since I was getting so much crap from them otherwise.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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I keep getting calls from some place promising to help me with my student loan debt, which is a legitimate problem here in the states. The funny thing is I paid off my student loans years ago. To those calls, I don't say anything, I just hang up. Eventually they get the message and quit calling. That's actually how I handle all such telemarketing calls.

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I was a bit staggered at the amount of telemarketing there is in the states, it seems my lady's sister was getting calls once every three or four days. Here there is a good deal less, especially if your number is registered with the telephone preference service.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

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