Settings and activity

  1. 1 vote

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    Joseph Kesselman commented  · 

    As a stopgap, of course, you can implement this as an Intent in your own application -- but until/unless your app is allowed to use Name-Free Interaction, you'd have to prefix it with then name. "Alexa, tell mySkillName to rewind one minute."

    You can implement it by starting a new audio play with the offset adjusted appropriately, making sure not to go to a negative offset.

    Two points to note:

    1) StartOverIntent is a standard no-name operation which can be implemented as "reset offset to 0"; that handles "Alexa, restart".

    2) Specifying the offset as something deep in the audio file (minute 45 of an hour-long MP3, for example) will sometimes result in a very long delay before sound can start playing, especially if that audio isn't already locally cached. Basically, with a compressed format like standard MP3, the only way to move to a specific offset is to decompress sequentially through the file until that point is reached, basically doing a high-speed silent fetch-and-playback -- and for a long jump that can burn a lot of compute resource. Unfortunately I've found no way to determine whether that decompression delay will occur, so I have my choice of either always warning people that they may have to wait or never warning them; neither is ideal. (I'd settle for having it play a "scrubbing tape" sound effect quietly during the process, so the user can tell something is being done...)

    There are probably alternative compression formats which divide the file into separately compressed fixed-time-length chunks and so can speed up this fast-forward-long-distance process, but I don't know whether the Alexa supports any of those.

    So... basically, as things stand now, the human factors of fast forward/rewind may leave something to be desired, even if you're willing to use "ask skill to". I've left them disabled in my own skill for that reason, pending a better solution.

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    Joseph Kesselman commented  · 

    When developing with the Jovo toolkit, one of the supported options for early test and debugging is to have the skill's handler be a "webhook" URI which then forwards to an instance of the skill code running on your own machine. That doesn't require opening firewalls. Presumably something similar could be done for other development tools. There are some possible issues in terms of securing the webhook mechanism against abuse, admittedly, but this is one possible way to run the service on your private box.

  3. 2 votes

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    Joseph Kesselman commented  · 

    I've implemented a version of this in my streaming skill. It relies on the stream's server providing me with the metadata for the audio currently playing. So that's the first step. I put that through some logic of my own to produce a human-friendly descriptive sentence or two.

    As far as invoking it goes: Using the skill name to "Ask myskill what we're listening to" is a standard Intent implementation. The ASK documentation claims that music and podcast skills can be set up to respond to Alexa's name-free search queries by implementing intents such as AMAZON.SearchAction<object@MusicRecording[byArtist]>, but I have been unable to make that work, or to find a good description that might help me understand why it doesn't.

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  5. 55 votes

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  6. 199 votes

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    Joseph Kesselman commented  · 

    Sleep timers work for skills in progress. ("Alexa, stop in 10 minutes" appears to be identical to "Alexa, set a sleep timer for 10 minutes")

    If they work for home-automation devices, that's news to me and I'm not sure how to phrase the request. Explain, please?

    If Routines can/could have a "wait" step, that might be a partial workaround.

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    Joseph Kesselman commented  · 

    I'd rather generalize that. "Alexa, in 10 minutes [whatever]" or "Alexa, at [date/time] [whatever]".

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  8. 165 votes

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  10. 550 votes

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    Joseph Kesselman commented  · 

    It seems incredible that this capability isn't yet available to developers, but a websearch isn't finding it in APIs, "My Media", or anywhere else I've checked.

    The docs claim:

    The Alexa Music, Radio, and Podcast Skill API enables you to:
    Integrate your service with Alexa so that users can play music, radio, or podcasts from your catalog on Alexa-enabled devices.
    Integrate your service with Alexa features like setting music alarms, multi-room music, and more.
    [...]

    but I'm not seeing an example of that integration.

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