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Rod Trent

Engagement, Education, and Conference Director ,

Rod Trent is the Engagement, Education, and Conference Director for Penton. He is a leading expert on Microsoft System Center and Cloud technologies and has more than 25 years of IT experience. Rod has written many books, thousands of articles, and speaks at various conferences and user groups. His professional focus is evangelizing technical community on the web and in person. Rod was a Microsoft MVP for 10 years and is a charter member of the Dell TechCenter Rockstar program. He's an avid gadget fan, a die-hard old television show and cartoon buff, a health and exercise freak, and comic book aficionado. Follow Rod on Twitter

Alexa Voice Support with the TP-Link Smart Plug Mini
I have several Alexa-enabled home automation products on the way to begin a slow, methodical project to test, review, and report for DIY’ers. One of the first items to show, provides one of the simplest, cheapest, and quickest ways to get started with home automation.
First Look: Hi13 2-in-1 Tablet from Chuwi
Announced in November of last year and then revealed at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, the Hi13 2-in-1 tablet is a powerhouse and is positioned as a direct competitor with Microsoft’s Surface Book and Apple’s iPad Pro
Introducing ‘Blackout’ Sessions for IT/Dev Connections 2017
There are a number of speakers who would love to share NDA information with attendees, but hold back because of fear of being recorded. To make it easier for those speakers (usually program managers from big vendors) to talk without worry, we’ve created Blackout sessions.
Alexa Skill of the Week: RuneScape Quests - One Piercing Note
Each week, we take a look at new and important Alexa skills you might want to consider enabling for your Alexa device. Amazon continues to improve Alexa with its own updates, but skills are software components that allow Alexa users to extend functionality across all Alexa-enabled devices in use for very specific functions. This week’s skill: RuneScape Quests - One Piercing Note
Alexa Tip: Locating Kindle Books Alexa Can Read

In addition to streaming music, podcasts, and radio channels, Amazon’s Alexa devices can also read books to you.

Alexa can play audiobooks and other premium audio programming from Audible and Kindle Unlimited. The ability to read Audible books is a given, considering Amazon owns Audible and those are already developed as digital products. But, there are a growing number of Kindle books that can also take advantage of Alexa’s voice playback.

Alexa Tip: Voice Controls for Music Playback

One of the more popular uses of Amazon's Alexa devices is music playback. Alexa currently supports playback from TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Spotify Premium, and Amazon Stations (Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Music, and Amazon Unlimited). If you want a very basic set of voice controls for , you can use the following list:

LIGHTIFY Users Left in the Dark When Alexa Skill Went Missing

Imagine getting used to controlling your home using Amazon's Alexa and then it just stops working. What do you do? Do you remember how to the turn the lights on manually like 98% of the rest of the world?

Campaign Kick-off for the First Alexa-Enabled Smartphone
As shown at CES, Huawei is producing the Mate 9 smartphone - which is an Android based smartphone with a kick: Alexa capability comes built in.
Have Alexa Locate Your Missing Keys

In a recent Skill of the Week, I highlighted TrackR. TrackR is a good Alexa skill that enables you to find your smartphone even if the ringer is turned off. TrackR has plans to develop the ability to track other things using Alexa, but right now it only works with an app installed on the smartphone that is connected to the Amazon Alexa service.

Alexa Tip: Enabling Skills

Personally, I think Amazon makes enabling new skills pretty easy, but I’m not everyone – and I constantly see that some still have difficulty with this task for one reason or another. Sometimes having too many ways to do something can cause confusion about which is proper or which is best.

Fortunately, the three ways Amazon provides, all work the same.

Here’s how to enable new skills…

Robot Hacker Takes Alexa to Creepy Level 10
January 30, 2017

I don't think there's anyone here in editorial that would disagree with you.

My Attempt at Simulating Microsoft Band Guided Workouts for Garmin Devices
January 4, 2017

I am able to receive notifications from Outlook on iOS no problem, but haven't tested Android. I do know that there's considerable discussion about even the Microsoft Band...

Windows 10 Updates Not at Fault for New #BatteryGate Issue, Says Microsoft
September 23, 2016

I'm not sure exactly how common it is to forget about your laptop for a week. But, I could be wrong. :)

More Movement in Microsoft’s Health Platform?
September 23, 2016

I've unofficially started to do that:

And, will definitely continue. I suspect this is where we'll see...

Using Microsoft Band App without Microsoft Band
September 21, 2016

For Windows 10/8.1 and it was intended to capture steps (and distance, etc.) that the Band might miss when it was being charged (not worn). However, it didn't work for Android...

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