Alexa, Open Words on Photography Please

Two mannequins in the window, the Domain, Austin, Texas, USA

I wanted to play around with the voice-based technology and make an Alexa skill for a while now. It’s just something I wanted to try out, sort of take it for a spin if you will. Recently, I happened upon something called “Blueprints” which is basically Amazon’s way of simplifying Alexa skill making. You don’t even need to know how to code, you simply use one of their boiler plates or “Blueprints” as they call it, to craft your skill from a template for one of the many common skills out there. Since I wanted to make a skill, I decided to give this a try. I used one of the “Blueprints” for inspirational quotes to make my very own Alexa skill, which is now available in the Alexa Skill store (for free) over at Amazon.

I came up with something called “Words on Photography,” which is basically a photographic quote machine. If you have been following Carol’s Little World, you know that I once ran a “quote of the day” on photography a while back. Basically, I copied those into one big Alexa skill and then fed it into the “Blueprints” machine to see if she would choke on it or just really what she might spit out having been fed that much about photography in one big bite. She did a fairly good job of it, mangling some of the names (Joyce Tenneson, anyone? And, of course, she still pronounces my name the Italian way) but spitting out the quotes in a pretty consistent manner.

You can checkout the skill yourself here:

If you have an Alexa device, once you enable the skill, you should be able to say simply, “Alexa, open words on photography” and she’ll spit a wonderful quote on photography at you. Now, it’s still a bit of a work in progress (I’ve got no quotes in there from Minor White, for example, and he’s like the Kevin Bacon of photographers: nobody is ever more than six degrees away, right?) I want to add a few things to it, so I might republish, but I plan on keeping it free and available to anybody who wants to hear some great quotes on photography (and life itself, but mostly photography.) I have been using myself, enjoying the randomness and feeling inspired by the photographic greats. Photographers really do make for some interesting conversationalists (and, no, I’m not just saying that because I am one, let’s go with, “so I’ve been told,” and leave it at that, OK?)

I hope you like my little Alexa skill too and, should you be so-inclined, please hit me up with any additions you would like to see or just any suggestions to make it better. I believe you can also rate the skill in the Alexa skill store if you are inclined to do that as well.

Until next time…

PS This one from a new project I’m tentatively calling “Domain.” You know how I love mannequins and these were just so bright and special, why, I could not resist. Taken with the Canon 5DS and the walkabout lens in Austin, Texas, a recent shot fresh off the flash pile. Yeah, I’ve been out shooting again. You know I can’t stop, right?

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