How Do I: create Alexa Skills

Earlier, I talked about how I use Amazon Alexa in my home.

This month, I launched my third Alexa Skill. You can add these to your [daily] “flash briefing” if interested.

An Alexa Skill is what Amazon calls a voice-enabled app to provide verbal content on demand.

Alexa Skills take little to no coding to create.

As a consumer or user of Amazon Alexa, an Alexa Skill can be found and enabled on alex.amazon.com as a part of Flash Briefing (think of it as a series such as a news feeds you customize to receive in audio form) or as a single on-demand app that informs you by hearing what says. News, sports scores, tips and weather updates are common content supplied as an Alexa Skill, but there are many more Skills available.

As an Alexa Skill creator/designer, anyone can go to developer.amazon.com/alexa to create and test an Alex Skill with little to no coding involved. There is a step by step instructions to:

You get to add what the user would request and receive.

If you want an even easier way to create an Alexa Skill that is less nerdy, take a look at getstoryline.com

Criteria and approval of an Alexa Skill is pretty easy within a day or so.

Here are the first three Alexa Skills I created which are available if you have an Alexa Device:

Another DAM Podcast

Blockchain Billions

User Adoption

These Alexa Skills are three of my most popular podcasts and if you enable them as part of your Flash Briefing, you will not miss any future episodes of these podcasts.

For more on marketing Alexa skills, take a look at alexabusinessmarketing.com

Start building a first voice app today.

 

 

Tools I Use: Text to Speech

text to speech

Previously, I wrote about dictation and transcription services I use for speech-to-text.

Now imagine getting anything on your computer read back to you.

There is a little-known tool available on most computers called text to speech.

Why do I use this little-known tool meant for accessibility? I am not illiterate nor blind, but I do use this often because my ears are available more than my eyes are.

This is the same reason I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Ears can take constant input. Eyes are needed for many things to see around you, guide you and also read.

If I need to “read” an online article, email or document (like an ‘exciting’ contract), this will read aloud all text as-is. Your computer may have multiple voices to choose from to read this text Verbatim.

  1. Find ‘text to speech’ in your system preferences.
  2. Select a voice you want to read the text and the rate of speed for the machine to read it to you.
  3. Memorize the hot keys to hit to activate this function
  4. Select some text on your internet browser or within a document.
  5. Hit the hot keys.

It will read just about any text to you so you don’t miss it.

Yes, you can control the rate of how fast or slow you want text read to you.

I use this text to speech to do the first passes of editing and proofreading of my eBooks.

Audio is faster than typing or reading (I speak fast too). This is the same reason why I recently adopted and use an Amazon Echo Dot. I can ask Alexa any of its 15,000+ different ‘skills’ which includes continuing an audio book from Audible.

Some apps call it ‘read aloud’ feature. Adobe Acrobat has this feature to read PDFs back to you as well.

Have you tried using text to speech to save yourself time?