I'll have lots of time over the next few months to refine it and add things like
- comment summaries
- selecting posts by topic, and eventually
- answering questions about articles
To keep in touch, talk to me on Twitter or by email:
I looked into developing one last week, but as far as I can tell, you can't programatically manipulate the feed in any way. You just give it a RSS feed, and it reads the first five results.
As a user:
1) The only thing I can really control is what sources are in my feed and the order. For example, I added NPR, but it reads out the entire story instead of just the titles. And the stories are so long that I removed NPR completely.
As a developer:
1) I tried creating a flash briefing for a particular subreddit, but the Alexa developer console said the feed could not be parsed even though I could open the feed just fine in Firefox. From what I could tell, the backend was being very strict with what constitutes a valid feed. If I could use code, I would just fetch the feed and parse it myself. Since I can't, it seems like there's nothing I can do.
2) I was also surprised to learn that existing skills can't serve as flash briefing sources. It'd be great if I could add your HN skill to my briefings, but as I understand it, you'd have to create/host a RSS feed and then create yet another skill that is just a flash briefing one.
Thanks for your comments! I wonder if I can create some kind of personalized briefing based on which stories people seem interested in.
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Right now I'm using this:
but may switch to a more expensive one and may supplement with manual edits.
We place sensor tags in an environment and then ask Alexa "whats wrong" and she will reply with any events the infra has.
We have some other neat things we did with it...
Ill ping you off HN - we are also in SF-Bay.
My back end is a simple Python service on GCP that handles HTTP requests from Alexa. The same service also downloads the HN front page from the FireBase mirror and gets summaries from this API:
It's not perfect though, so I may switch to a more expensive summarization API, supplement it with manual summaries, and/or train my own summarization model.
For free-form speech recognition in Alexa, the best option I've seen mentioned on the public Alexa Slack team is using the "SearchQuery" slot. So you'd still have to make a weird catch-all intent that would eat up some of the words (and you wouldn't be able to see them). At the same time, you shouldn't assume that Alexa will give you very good results with such loose constraints. Even in my simple skill it's very bad about confusing certain pairs of words.
As an aside, did you hit 100 enables yet? If so, congrats on the free dot :)
There are so many options it seems like the right thing to do is to release on those your potential users have access to.
:( This is super useful, would love to install it!
Its strange that Amazon did this, because its clearly not because of licencing (you didn't restrict it). Although this does happen quite frequently for me, mostly when clicking links on reddit (streamable for the win)