First Impressions on Google Home and Alexa Dot

I have been playing with Google Home and Alexa Dot and these are my initial impressions:

Google Home

  • Get a Chromecast and it becomes an invaluable combo.
  • The IA reactions feel more personal.
  • The IOS App is annoyingly requesting the iPhone/iPad to be set in American English and localized in the US, otherwise it does not work properly.
  • Games are fun.

Alexa Dot

  • Voice recognition feels more precise.
  • Music quality is decent but (expectedly) not the best without a separate speaker.
  • Integrates seamlessly with Amazon services.
  • The tiny size makes it a perfect travel companion.

Do you have any of them? Do you have any cool hack to suggest?

Los Angeles

I’m spending a few days in Los Angeles, in-between vacations and a conference in Vegas next week. This city is extremely fascinating to me. It’s gritty but beautiful. It looks like being in the movies, mostly because most of the TV series I was watching when I was a teenager were based in LA.

It’s a massive city with a thousand different neighbourhoods. I’ve been here a few times before, but I will never be able to say that I know it well. And maybe it’s just the beauty of this gigantic urban conglomerate.

Back to Business

I have spent the last two weeks on vacation in California. I explored San Francisco, visited a few wineries in Napa and Sonoma, and spent some time in Pleasanton, at my friend Carmine Gallo and his lovely family.

The trip started with four days in San Francisco. I had been already a couple of times before, but never as a tourist. This time I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, ate crab at Pier 39, had a blast driving GoCars on the empty streets in the early morning of the first day of the year.

We then moved to Napa where we had the chance to visit amazing wineries and learn a ton about Californian wines. The attitude towards wine is completely different to the European one. I’m profoundly fascinated by marketing practices in the wine industry, and California gave me solid food for thoughts.

The last few days were spent in Pleasanton, visiting my friend Carmine Gallo and his family. Their hospitality was extraordinary. It was a great pleasure spending a good time together. His wife Vanessa and his entire family made us feel at home, and we are so grateful for that.

Now, after two weeks off, it’s time to get back to business. This new year has already started, and I feel ready to take on new exciting challenges. As usual, I won’t have any new years resolution, but some solid planning will be required.

For the first time in my life, I have a clear financial overview of the past year, and I’m getting better at managing my resources. Last year I started tracking all expenses, and it worked well, this year I’m into some serious financial planning.

Work-wise there no substantial changes. Last year Automattic announced .blog domains, and I have been involved with them ever since. I will keep focusing on domain names for the time being.

WordCamp Europe will see me leading the volunteer’s team, in Paris in June. We are organizing an army of 250 volunteers to run the smoothest, yet biggest, WordCamp ever. You should consider attending it!

In 2016 I played with Arduino, home automation, slackbots, telegram. This year I’m exploring AI, integrating the old projects with Google Home, Alexa, and Amazon AWS AI. I’m also a little bit into Lego Technic and robots. It’s a fascinating topic, and it’s great fun too!

I wish you all a fantastic new year, drop a comment if you had the strength to read this long post, I’d be happy to hear from you!