Please say, “Alexa, Please…” Monday, Jan 28 2019 

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Inside voices. Mind your manners. At the very least, say “please” and “thank you.”

And then we get an Alexa and shout orders at an inanimate object that immediately follows are commands. No “please” or “thank you” required.

It’s estimated that more than 100 million Amazon’s Alexas have been sold. With a variety of models beginning at about $20, Alexa is affordable and can be used to accomplish tasks and respond to questions or requests such as: “Alexa, set an alarm.” “What is the weather tomorrow?” “What’s in the news?” “Is the pharmacy open?” Or, “Call Donna.”

It also can work with other devices. And, with the help of an adapter, Alexa  can turn on or off anything plugged into an outlet.

My daughters gave me an Alexa for Christmas. After not using it for weeks in the kitchen, I moved it to my bedroom. Perhaps I’ll grow increasingly more dependent on my little companion, but I doubt I’ll ask much of it.  Right now I call on Alexa only to play music and turn on and off a lamp at the other end of the room.

Many are concerned about the device violating our privacy. My concern is that it doesn’t require basic manners. I believe Alexa should not comply without us asking “please” or saying “thank you.” Far too many of us are shouting commands at her. We learn by example, and the example we show our children with Alexa is to demand, not ask, for what we want.

Do you own an Alexa or similar device? What do you think about smart controllers? How do you use it? And do you have any concerns?

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(Check out posts on my other blog including Jesus, I Trust in You, How Do You Know What God Wants?, and The Magician’s Escape Plan.)

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Time for Lunch? Monday, May 2 2016 

In a perfect world, there’d be no laundry. And believe it or not, it may be the way of our, albeit, distant future.

As reported in the journal, Advanced Materials Inerfaces, researchers in Australia have discovered a way to embed minute flecks of silver and copper within cotton fabric. When exposed to light, the metal particles, called nanostructures, release bursts of energy that degrade organic matter on the fabric in about six minutes. The particles are invisible to the naked eye and don’t change the feel of the fabric. Nor do they rinse off in water.

This process is in the early stages of research. Studies have yet to determine how long it will take stains, such as ketchup and wine, to degrade in natural sunlight and if odors can be eliminated.

I don’t know about you, but I do laundry nearly every day. I’m already planning what will replace all that time I spend sorting, washing, drying, folding, hanging, and storing laundry. Maybe we can finally meet for lunch.

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(Have you seen my posts on Mary K Doyle Books or my Mary K Doyle Facebook page)

©2016, Mary K Doyle

Fold or Hang? Tuesday, Aug 19 2014 

What is your preference of handling clothes? Do you fold them and stack on shelves or in drawers or do you hang them in the closet?

The choice is often determined by our ratio of closet to shelf space, but if we care about our clothes, some care helps them last longer.

I’m a hanger. I prefer the ease of pulling clothes out of the dryer and hanging them directly on hangers as opposed to folding. I’m not a good folder and have little space for folded clothes, so they get more wrinkled when I do.

Either way, clothes should not be overcrowded. Stuffed drawers or closets will lead to wrinkled clothes. I knew a man who hung his suits precisely two fingers apart on the rods. It was a bit eccentric but showed an appreciation for what he had.

To keep your clothes in their best shape, the all-things-home expert, Martha Stewart, suggests:

  • Hang – lightweight shirts and blouses made of linen, rayon, or cotton.
  • Hang – blouses made from delicate fabrics, such as silk and satin, on padded hangers.
  • Hang – jackets, overcoats, and suit jackets on sturdy hangers.
  • Hang – skirts on skirt hangers.
  • Hang – trousers over sturdy hangers.
  • Hang or Fold – pants made of thicker fabrics, such as jeans and corduroys.
  • Hang or Fold – heavy sweaters. (If hung, fold over hangers.)
  • Fold – lightweight sweaters.
  • Fold – evening dresses, especially if they are beaded or made from heavy fabrics,  so that their shapes are not distorted.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Bigger than a Bread Box Monday, Feb 25 2013 

Is it bigger than a breadbox?

This standard question was coined by Steve Allen on the old game show, What’s My Line?

Younger readers are now asking, “Who is Steve Allen”, “What is What’s my Line?” and, “What is a bread box?”

Before we had plastic bags to keep bread fresh, boxes rested on everyone’s kitchen counter to preserve a loaf of bread. Typically the boxes were made from wood or metal. The limited airflow in the box prevented mold yet protected the bread from mice and insects. Rarely do you see these boxes today, although they are available online.

It’s hard to remember a day before  the use of plastic bags to store bread and other items. But the sandwich bag wasn’t invented until 1957 and bread wasn’t sold in bags until 1969. Prior to that, homemakers stored loaves in the boxes, wrapped sandwiches in waxed paper or cloth, and covered leftovers with a plate over a bowl.

A famous line in the 1967 movie, The Graduate, was a piece of advice given to the young Benjamin Broddock (Dustin Hoffman) to invest in plastics, a cutting edge idea at that time. Now we are re-assessing the convenience of plastics, especially when used in bags. The sturdy product takes decades to break down.

Which leaves us with one more question:  “Is the impact of plastics on our landfills and oceans bigger than a bread box?

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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