Amazon's S3 Service Rocked By Technical Issues

Submitted by Peter on Wed, 01/03/2017 - 00:58

Today Amazon suffered a major failure on 1 of their online services. The S3 services in the US-East1 (North Virginia) became unresponsive. The outage lasted several hours and impacted some quite large names.

So why am I raising this here? The region impacted is in fact the region primarily used for hosting Alexa Skills (the only other option is Ireland) there is potential that some skills were affected by the issue. Up until recently the North Virginia location was the only possible data center set that an Alexa skill could be hosted however this has now expanded ito Ireland.

Alexa Skill Milestone Reached

Submitted by Peter on Mon, 27/02/2017 - 22:18

The Amazon Alexa team recently posted on the Alexa blog. The Amazon Echo was initially released on November 6th 2014 to Prime members (and June 23rd 2015 for non Prime users). To have achieved sp many skills in such a short period of time is made even more impressive by the fact that skill developers currently cannot monetise their skill.

New Calendar Added To Alexa

Submitted by Peter on Fri, 24/02/2017 - 20:12

1 much requested feature for Alexa was the ability to use Office 365 calendars. In todays Amazon Echo newsletter they mentioned that support has been added for @outlook.com, @live.co.uk, @hotmail.com, @hotmail.co.uk and @live.com calendars. Of course an office 365 account does not end in any of these but I thought I would give it a try regardless. To my delight it worked.
 

Alexa Dev Chat Podcast - Edpisode 10

Submitted by Peter on Fri, 24/02/2017 - 19:53

Episode 10 has just been released of the Alexa Dev Chat Podcast.

The following is the podcast details:

In the episode Dave chats with Alexa Champion, John Wheeler. John is the author of the popular Flask-Ask framework which helps developers quickly create and test high quality Alexa skills using the Python programming language. 

Links:

Hackster.io Contest, Delays in Prize Allocation

Submitted by Peter on Thu, 16/02/2017 - 01:45

At the tail end of 2016 Amazon partnered with hackter.io to create a new Alexa API Mashup contest. The aim of the contest had clearly been to create an influx of newly created skills. Amazon has partnered with hackster.io a number of times prior and since this particular contest was created.

Major Tap Update?

Submitted by Peter on Thu, 09/02/2017 - 18:47

Over the last hour there have been reports that a new over the air update is following out for the Amazon Tap. At present the Tap requires a button to be pressed prior to being able to invoke a command. Well the update reportedly changes this and allows the Tap to listen out for the wake word in the same fashion as the Echo and Dot.

I have checked the Amazon help and support page however the latest firmware is listed as 564197320 which introduced:

Amazon Voice Services UK And German Release

Submitted by Peter on Tue, 07/02/2017 - 14:42

While logging into the Amazon Developer Portal yesterday I noticed that there was a notice that the terms and conditions had been updated to take into consideration the release of Amazon Voice Services (AVS) in the UK and Germany (looks like the T&C's were actually updated in the 30th Jan). To be honest I was quite surprised as I had not seen any news to suggest that the service had been released in the UK. Looks like I was not going crazy.

Hello Alexa Event

Submitted by Peter on Mon, 06/02/2017 - 13:30

Amazon have announced a Hello Alexa event in London's CodeNode.

The event is a 2 day event aimed at bringing you up to speed at creating Alexa Skills. What's more the event is free of charge for anyone.

Alexa Dev Chat Podcast - Edpisode 9

Submitted by Peter on Tue, 24/01/2017 - 20:10

Just a quick heads up. Episode 9 has just been released of the Alexa Dev Chat Podcast.

The following is the podcast details:

In the episode Dave chats with Bob Lautenbach. Bob is an Alexa skills developer who has published a bunch open source projects that aid developers in creating Alex skills using C# and Visual Studio.

Links: