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Nothing is more important than acculturating ghetto kids out of their pidgin patois and into real English with all of its tenses, verb forms, and cases.It’s more important initially than learning arithmetic, history, and science.
You probably don't want to watch a movie on that 7-inch screen, but for casual playback, or stuff like CNN video clips, it's ace. The thin-crust pizza dough I want is not displayed in the first set of recipe options, so I have to call up recipes, then scroll across the touchscreen with my finger and pick the right one, then open it. And every time, before I can read all the ingredients and their ratios, they vanish. It strikes me that the Echo Show is treating text and images similarly to the way Echo treats sound.
And because she works for Amazon PR, and we only talked to test the device, it would kind of weird for her to call me first thing in the morning, on a Sunday. For the several seconds of the call, my father’s video screen would appear fogged over. And to be clear: This happens even if he doesn’t answer. Honestly, I haven’t figured out what to think about this yet. Because I only have one other contact with an Echo Show (again, the nice woman who works for Amazon), I only made a handful of video calls. (Eventually, these video calls will also work with the Alexa smartphone app, in addition to the Echo Show.)Long ago, when we imagined the future, we often imagined video calls. My 6-year-old wanders into the kitchen and asks Alexa to play "California Girls." Instead, it plays "California Gurls."“Alexa, stop! It’s long bothered me that there’s no way to ban Alexa from playing songs with explicit lyrics.
Unless he declines the call, audibly or by tapping on the screen, it goes through. And although they’ve been around forever, doing one from a mobile phone, or a desktop computer, never felt quite as futuristic as this pulsing thing in my kitchen that’s always watching me, and always listening, ready to do what I tell it. (It will restrict content from You Tube.) The screen makes it worse, especially for eager young readers.
(It already does this for voice calls with the Echo.) And to facilitate these conversations, it has a “Recently Active” feature that tells you who from your Drop In contacts (see below) has been up and about, and interacting with their Echo Show. Drop In lets you give people permission to automatically connect with your device. Let’s say my father has activated Drop In for me on his Echo Show. If you’re used to placing video calls on a phone, or a tablet, this is an entirely other experience. (Or at least their voice does; the screen is tiny.)I don’t like the way Alexa makes me look. It doesn’t do it for every song, but it seems to do it for most.
So, conceivably, it could have told other people that I'm active, but at this point I only have one Drop In contact with an Echo Show. All I have to do is say, “Alexa, drop in on Dad.” It then turns on the microphone and camera on my father’s device and starts broadcasting that to me. Video calling, both Drop Ins and garden-variety video chats where one party initiates a call and the other accepts it, are the Echo Show’s killer feature for now. Without having to hold it in your hands, or prop it up. If you place it on a countertop, or table, or desk, it peers up at you from below. Sometimes I wonder if anyone at Amazon has figured out that children exist, often in the same household as their parents.