Tag Archives: iDevices

My thoughts and discoveries on how Amazon now uses proprietary AC adaptors on their echo dots.

Posted on January 7, 2019
A month or 2 ago, I read that the new Amazon Echo Dot third generation model no longer was powered from micro USB, but now required a proprietary AC adaptor, I remember the old days when every device had its own AC adaptor,  those were frustrating times. I then got my own Amazon Dot third Gen model, and was annoyed. Then, three weeks ago I read some tweets where others were also annoyed, and questioned why Amazon made that change. I then realized, hey I have an iDevices switch and it can measure energy, so I decided to do some testing and find out.
When  idling, the Dot 3rd Gen model draws about 1.8 watts. I then played Beethoven’s 5th symphony at full volume and could only nudge the Dot up to 3 watts, even in the moments marked fortissimo .  If someone could double that some how, so the Dot drew  6 Watts, or even triple it to , 9 watts, that would still  fit in the generally accepted ceiling of 15 Watts on micro USB 3.1. Yes, even the Amazon Echo Dot third generation can run on micro USB, so it is not a technical limitation.
My thoughts are that people tried to power their new Dots from USB ports on their computers or old USB hubs, where they only got the traditional USB specification of 5.0 volts at 500 milliamps which only multiplies out to 2.50 watts. I’m guessing Amazon got lots of nasty calls when people tried to play music and had problems. They decided instead of trying to tell people that the Dot required 1 amp or throwing in a USB power adaptor they just went proprietary.
Ye it’s still annoying, but I also still enjoyed figuring it out.


How to set up an iDevices switch as a blind person.

Posted on December 18, 2018

All over the internet you can find people write phrases like: “first world problems”. Here’s one probably most people haven’t heard before: “blind world problems”. E.g. problems sighted people will probably never experience.
Earlier this month, I setup my first iDevices switch, but until I knew what I was   doing, it was quite a challenge. I had bought it some time ago so I didn’t have the box anymore, so I  couldn’t get the number needed to set it up in the iDevices app from there. I looked all around on the device for the number using Seeing AI (except for the side with the plug that goes into the wall, didn’t think it would be there) and and gave up for the day. The next day, I got sighted help and was told it was on the side by the plug, that faces the wall, where I didn’t look. So blind readers, the 8 digit number you need for setting up iDevices is on the side of the switch facing the wall , in the space  closest to where you would plug in the thing you want to  control. .
Once I knew that, setting up the switch was very easy. Both Seeing AI and the iDevices app could see it, and the iDevices app is quite accessible.
There are 2 ways to get the number of your iDevice switch into the app during setup. You could paste or type it in to the edit box, but I just capture it with my iPhone’s camera, which, even as a blind person is very doable. When the app wants the number and displays the camera view:
1. Make sure you have good lighting, Even if you used the flash, which the iDevices app isn’t capable of, the number seems unreadable in low light.
2 place the iDevice switch on a flat surface with the plug that goes into the wall facing up.
3. hold the phone directly   above the switch  so the camera lens is positioned next to the plug that goes into the wall, towards   where you would plug in the thing to control.
4. Slowly raise the phone straight up about 1cm per second. You should hear that the number capture was successful within 5 seconds or so.
Beyond that, the setup was very easy and accessible.
People say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I needed almost that many to try and explain where the number was on the switch. Let me know if it made sense. 
One more thing,   I use the same camera technique mentioned above for capturing the number on the iDevices switch when I setup my Apple watch. It  works very well there also.