Amazon’s Alexa has 80,000 Apps—and No Runaway Hit ::  Bloomberg

Echo-branded smart speakers have attracted millions of fans with their ability to play music and respond to queries spoken from across the room. But almost four years after inviting outside developers to write apps for Alexa, Amazon’s voice system has yet to offer a transformative new experience. Surveys show most people use their smart speakers to listen to tunes or make relatively simple requests—“Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes”—while more complicated tasks prompt them to give up and reach for their smartphone.

Amazon’s Alexa has 80,000 Apps—and No Runaway Hit :: Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-11/amazon-s-alexa-has-80-000-apps-and-no-runaway-hit

Give Your WordPress Blog a Voice With Our New Amazon Polly Plugin | AWS News Blog

Today we are launching a WordPress plugin that uses Polly to create high-quality audio versions of your blog posts. You can access the audio from within the post or in podcast form using a feature that we call Amazon Pollycast! Both options make your content more accessible and can help you to reach a wider audience. This plugin was a joint effort between the AWS team our friends at AWS Advanced Technology Partner WP Engine.

Give Your WordPress Blog a Voice With Our New Amazon Polly Plugin | AWS News Blog https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/give-your-wordpress-blog-a-voice-with-our-new-amazon-polly-plugin/

Retailers using leasing power to stymie Amazon Whole Foods expansion

Across the United States, large retailers including Target, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc and Best Buy Co Inc have legal rights in many lease agreements that allow them to limit what Amazon can do with nearby Whole Foods stores, and where it can open new ones.

Documents reviewed by Reuters show bans on Amazon lockers and delivery operations near a Target store in Illinois and also in Florida, where a new Whole Foods is set to open. Lockers for retrieving online orders are a way for Amazon to spur sales through the grocery chain.

— Reuters Technology News http://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-realestate/amazon-rivals-turn-to-legal-fine-print-to-stem-whole-foods-strategy-idUSKBN1CT0ES

This is an interesting development. I wonder if there’s some sort of AI blockchain solution to this? Ha! Of course not, this is actually how a real market works, with competitors and everything.

Integrating Amazon Alexa With a Drupal 8 Site | Mediacurrent


If you’ve ever used Alexa, it may seem like it must be extremely complicated to get her to respond like she does. However, if you have your content inside Drupal, it’s not terribly difficult to get her to utilize that data for your own custom Alexa skill. Let’s take a look at how to accomplish that.

Source: Integrating Amazon Alexa With a Drupal 8 Site | Mediacurrent

This looks easy enough. What if my Drupal site is publishing the latest court opinions? I wonder if Alexa would read those to me.

New – USASpending.gov on an Amazon RDS Snapshot | AWS Blog

[S]tarting today, the entire public USAspending.gov database is available for anyone to copy via Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). USAspending.gov data includes data on all spending by the federal government, including contracts, grants, loans, employee salaries, and more. The data is available via a PostgreSQL snapshot, which provides bulk access to the entire USAspending.gov database, and is updated nightly. At this time, the database includes all USAspending.gov for the second quarter of fiscal year 2017, and data going back to the year 2000 will be added over the summer. You can learn more about the database and how to access it on its AWS Public Dataset landing page.

Source: New – USASpending.gov on an Amazon RDS Snapshot | AWS Blog

Summary of the Amazon S3 Service Disruption in the Northern Virginia (US-EAST-1) Region

Summary of the Amazon S3 Service Disruption in the Northern Virginia (US-EAST-1) Region https://aws.amazon.com/message/41926/

Amazon adds IPv6 support to S3 buckets

Today I am happy to announce that objects in Amazon S3 buckets are now accessible via IPv6 addresses via new “dual-stack” endpoints. When a DNS lookup is performed on an endpoint of this type, it returns an “A” record with an IPv4 address and an “AAAA” record with an IPv6 address. In most cases the network stack in the client environment will automatically prefer the AAAA record and make a connection using the IPv6 address.

S3 Feature Support – IPv6 support is available for all S3 features with the exception of Website Hosting, S3 Transfer Acceleration, and access via BitTorrent.

Source: Now Available – IPv6 Support for Amazon S3 | AWS Blog

This is important since it becomes likely that with IPv6 support each S3 bucket could get its very own address and not need to rely on a combo of DNS and NAT for net access.

Amazon Elastic File System – Production-Ready in Three Regions | AWS Blog

EFS lets you create POSIX-compliant file systems and attach them to one or more of your EC2 instances via NFS. The file system grows and shrinks as necessary (there’s no fixed upper limit and you can grow to petabyte scale) and you don’t pre-provision storage space or bandwidth. You pay only for the storage that you use.

Source: Amazon Elastic File System – Production-Ready in Three Regions | AWS Blog

We’ve been waiting for this. Managing our own NFS is a bit of a pain.

Amazon grows its education footprint with Amazon Inspire, a free platform for learning materials | TechCrunch

Amazon grows its education footprint with Amazon Inspire, a free platform for learning materials | TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/27/amazon-jumps-into-online-learning-with-inspire-a-platform-for-free-crowdsourced-and-premium-materials/