Round up #194: AI shopping list, device sale

Round up #194: AI shopping list, device sale

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Alexa devices on sale for Fathers’ Day

Amazon device sale (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

There are a number of devices on sale right now in the USA. Check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze that buy button…the price may not apply in your market, and you may see this after the sale. Just a couple of highlights:

  • The Echo Auto, which is an important part of my week, is $29.99 instead of $49.99 (40% off). It’s hands-free Alexa in the car. I use it for a lot of things, but mostly to have it read me my Kindle books with text-to-speech and to hear the news (including my own Alex Flash Briefing skills…I don’t do that every day, but I do like to hear what they should like
  • The Kindle Paperwhite, which I think is my most comfortable way to read (including paper), is $124.99 rather than $159.99 (22% off)

By the way, the second gen Alexa remote is an amazing improvement over the old one…it has volume buttons for the TV, a mute button, and a button to turn on the TV! I got my Significant Other one when we had to replace a remote, but I borrow it a lot. It’s not on sale (it costs $29.99) but you can get it and a Fire TV Stick for that price because the Stick is on sale!

Sideloading HBO Max

Out of all the streaming services out there, HBO Max has perhaps the best collection of movies for buffs. There is a free trial, and we get it free as part of AT&T. Unfortunately, Amazon and HBO haven’t worked out a deal yet to get the app on to Fire TV devices (the same is true for Roku). Fortunately, it’s not that hard to “sideload” it. First, on your Fire TV, go to the Settings. Go to My Fire TV. Under Developer Options, turn on Apps from Unknown Sources.

Next, you need the “Downloader App”. If you search for it, it should show up pretty easily. It’s got a downward pointing arrow and sort of a peach color.

When you open it, go to the Browser option. You are going to go to APKMirror (I don’t take responsibility for them, or really, for any of this, but that one is well-known).

There, you’ll search for the HBO Max app. Download and install the one for an “Android TV”.

That’s it: worked fine for us. The only weird thing is that the icon is for HBO Now, rather than HBO Max, but once it opens, it’s fine.

You’ll log into the account the same way you would on another device: either through your service (we used AT&T or with an account you’ve created).

Amazon and the pandemic

It might seem like the pandemic would be a boon for Amazon, and in some ways, it is. However, they also have supply chain disruptions, and reconfigured markets. Like many companies, they are giving some things away free. Certainly, Amazon will eventually come out ahead when the economy (not just the stock market) really recovers, but there are undeniably challenges in the short run. We’ve noticed that their delivery speeds have, for many things, gotten back to where they were before.

AI categorization of items on the Alexa shopping list

This was a surprise and I wasn’t quite sure what was happening at first. One of the features we used the most on Alexa is the shopping list. We actually don’t tend to use it through Alexa, but it in the Alexa app.

Recently, I noticed that items were categorized: tortillas under Beans & Grains, for example. I thought my Significant Other had been using some new feature, but then I noticed it does automatically.

Interestingly it didn’t put “Fujis” under produce…until I called it “Fuji apples”. 🙂

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: (

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