American Federation Of Musicians Celebrates Its 125th Anniversary

The American Federation of Musicians, representing 80,000 professional musicians in the U.S. and Canada, is celebrating its 125th anniversary Tuesday. It was founded on October 19, 1896, by a group of musicians who had gathered at the Hotel English in …

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Alexa can now tell you if your washing machine stops or water is running Breaking News

Recently, Amazon introduced a feature that allowed Alexa to hear certain types of sounds, called Custom Sound Detection. Now, it’s adding two new specific Alexa sound detectors for “water running” and “appliance beeping” that can be used to set up routines or reminders. It also rolled a number of other new features for things like prescription refills, ultrasound motion detection and more. 

It was already possible to have Alexa identify those two specific sounds, but the new update means you won’t have to bother training it. With the new features, you can use the Alexa app to send a notification when the washer beeps to indicate your laundry is done. It can also remind you to turn off the sink of someone accidentally leaves the water running. 

Along the same lines, the update includes the introduction of ultrasound motion detection for routines on select Echo devices. At its September event, Amazon said that a feature would arrive to fourth-gen Echo and Echo Dot devices, designed to use an “inaudible ultrasound wave” to detect if there are people in a room. With the new routines, you can use Alexa to turn on lights when motion is detected near the device, for instance, or lower the thermostat when no motion is detected. 

Another new feature allows Amazon Pharmacy customers to ask Alexa to refill prescriptions and get proactive updates when they’re delivered. “You can also ask Alexa to call Amazon Pharmacy to connect with an Amazon Pharmacy customer care representative who can answer questions on topics like prescription status, account, billing, and also drug information and side effects,” Amazon said. 

Other new features include “preference teaching” that lets you teach Alexa which food or sports you like, dining suggestion (“Alexa, what should I eat?”), a TikTok video launcher, conversation mode (“Alexa, join the conversation”) and hands-free audio calls using Verizon Number share. Amazon also announced that customers can now pre-order the Echo Show 15 and have it ship on December 9th. The new features are now rolling out to Alexa devices, though some may be region-limited.