It’s been a while dear friend…

Sadly with working shifts and long hours for a local telecoms company, I haven’t had the chance to do as much as I would have liked to in my spare time.

I really wanted to get involved in the whole home automation side of things and this idea is still pending and still on the “to-do” list.

Since I last wrote on this blog, I have moved house to a lovely little flat and both Bear (my dog) and I feel relaxed and at home now.

It has been such a long journey to get here. After breaking my ankle and needing surgery and having a plate and 7 pins fitted and then having to learn to walk on my foot again and then being able to drive again etc etc but we are finally here.

Anyway, so going back to the point of this blog, the whole tech theme, I have finally dug out the Raspberry Pi 3 I purchased ages ago. I blew off the dust and dug out all the other bits I purchased along side it for the project I wanted to carry out: to turn the Pi 3 into an Amazon Echo device.

I had done my homework on this and I knew that although it wouldn’t connect the Alexa Voice Service to any audio apps like Spotify, I could still use all other features, known as “skills” that work with the Echo.

Using the pi brought up a few snags though. First of all, because I was connecting the Pi to a TV using an HDMI cable, the audio automatically defaulted to playing through the TV and of course I did not want that feature as once I had installed everything, I wanted it to be headless.
I had to force the audio through to the 3.5mm audio-out that the Pi had but it was simply one line of code so nothing too drastic to grumble about.

I also had a problem with getting the voice recognition software to work. I was following a tutorial from online and I was literally just doing a copy and paste from the page to Raspbian CLI. There were two choices, one was a trial version and the other was a full version of KITT.AI but I believe, because the version had changed, so had the file name as well as it’s location so it wasn’t just a case of doing a copy and paste.

I also had to contact Amazon as apparently, there is no phone number for the Alexa Voice Services department, just a forum and I was struggling because I had started up my JAVA applet which I was going to use for recording my voice and sending it to the Alexa server using localhost:3000 but when I went to accept the T&C’s from Amazon, it was flagging up an error and the site wouldn’t communicate back to my applet to give me a bearer token which is what Alexa Voice Service uses so that it knows exactly what device you are using and what profile it is from. I even went into my router settings and setup port forwarding so that all communications on port 3000 would definitely reach the Pi but still nothing.

I haven’t resolved any of the issues above yet so this is a bit of an adhoc blog but I will be adding resolutions to this once I have found out more information.

Oh and just to go back to my old ways and repeat myself again, I am still hoping to learn C# over the summer. I know it is not like the alphabet and once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. I understand that it is a forever learning process but you have to begin somewhere so watch this space as I am hoping that blogs are going to start coming through thick and fast now I have escaped the clutches of a corporation and finally have my life back to enjoy some me time.

Ciao for now!

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