Should Alexa answer all of our home phone line calls?

The landline is dead, of course, but is apparently still live enough that Amazon makes the Echo Connect so that the constant stream of telemarketing calls can be fed directly to the Echo (and so that one’s outgoing calls aren’t mistaken for telemarketing due to having a legit caller ID!).

As long as Alexa is connected to the phone line and able to answer the phone, shouldn’t it be possible to say “Alexa, please answer my unknown calls from now on”? Alexa can then ask “Who lives in the house” and then, if an incoming caller is not asking for one of those people (or company names perhaps), Alexa can play a prerecorded message to the caller. The caller ID would be automatically whitelisted (but could be switched to a blacklist by the user in the Alexa App’s list of recent calls). On a second call from a whitelisted number, Amazon remembers the caller ID and lets the number go to the legacy phone for conventional ringing.

For a large house maybe there needs to be a beefed-up Echo Connect that can sit in front of the conventional phones and get them to ring after the actual call has already been picked up.

What do readers think of the above? It would seem that Alex already has 99 percent of the capability necessary to make a home landline useful again.

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Do they still line up kids at school and give them shots?

I have forgotten the state capitals, but one intact memory of elementary school in Bethesda, Maryland is lining up to get shots (vaccines?) from some sort of “gun”. These were administered roughly every 15 seconds either by the school nurse or a county health worker. It went so fast that I wonder if we were all effectively sharing one needle (HIV and hepatitis were not concerns for schoolchildren circa 1970).

The other day I was waiting for a friend at CVS so decided to use the time to get my “free” (i.e., included in my $ 10,000/year Obamacare policy) flu shot. Ten minutes later my friend showed up. It took roughly another ten minutes before the shot was “ready.” It turned out that three health care professionals had to process various forms on a computer screen, get a one-page questionnaire from me, and finally deliver the shot with a simple needle (less than one minute). A licensed pharmacist was required as part of the paperwork pipeline.

Here’s what I got in hardcopy:

  1. Two-page document regarding the vaccine (Flucelvax Quad). It says “This is an OFF-WHITE SYRINGE.”
  2. CVS Health Notice of Privacy Practices, a two-page document in 6 pt type. It is a paper copy that, among other things, says “You have the right to obtain a paper copy of our current Notice at any time.” It also says what will happen if I am or become “an inmate of a correctional institution.”
  3. A five-page “Vaccine Information Statement” that discusses the side effects (overlaps to some extent with Document #1)
  4. A Vaccine Consent and Administration Record
  5. A three-foot-long receipt for $ 0.00 (coupons following)
  6. A $ 5 off any $ 25 purchase special coupon specific to having gotten a “free” flu shot (i.e., for giving CVS the opportunity to bill the health insurer)

Is there now this much paperwork and process attached to what was, in my youth, a 15-second paperwork-free experience?

[I posted a shorter version of the above on Facebook and it generated the predictable encomiums about the wisdom of Obamacare requiring insurance companies to pay for flu shots:

I think the insurance companies cover shots as a preventative measure, hoping we won’t incur more healthcare expenses related to the flu we’d contract if we didn’t take the shot.

It should be free and universal. That will save the most money, and the evidence for that is stone-cold solid.

In other words, the central planners working for the government are smarter than the actuaries who work at insurers, which didn’t previously pay for flu shots. I decided to poke at this assumption a bit with “If it made actuarial sense to do this, why wouldn’t the UK bureaucrats be smart enough to figure it out? They don’t offer free flu shots to everyone. (source) Are the U.S. central planners smarter than the UK ones who’ve been doing it for decades?” That proved to be an impossible conundrum!]

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

Under the Line

Today is going decently so far. I’ve got three October put positions (XRT, AMZN, IWM) which are doing decently, and my short equity portfolio is overall showing a profit. I’m quite light right now, having started the day with 25 positions and currently at 39 (for me, “heavy” is like 80 positions). The uptrend on […]
Slope of Hope

Hold the Line Emini Hold the Line May 4

Will it Hold?  Will it Hold?

We’re still at a make-or-break key support pivot in the Emini and it’s affecting our trading plans still.

Here’s today’s updated Emini (@ES) trading levels for your trades:

In simplest terms, price established a trading range between the 2,380 and 2,390 easy-reference levels.

In terms of short-term planning, remain “range neutral” between these zone again;

bullish toward 2,400 on a positive reaction above 2,390;

and finally continuation (breakdown) bearish on an actual (not trap) breakdown beneath 2,380 (toward 2,370).

If you’re new to this style of simple level trading, welcome aboard and keep checking back or get more details beyond just the @ES (stock scans, money flow, education) by becoming a member!

Afraid to Trade Premium Content and Membership

Follow along with members of the Afraid to Trade Premium Membership for real-time updates and additional trade planning.

Corey Rosenbloom, CMT

Afraid to Trade.com

Follow Corey on Twitter: http://twitter.com/afraidtotrade

Corey’s book The Complete Trading Course (Wiley Finance) is now available along with the newly released Profiting from the Life Cycle of a Stock Trend presentation (also from Wiley).”


Afraid to Trade.com Blog

Emini Holding the Support Line for Now April 27

After a surge toward the prior high, we’re seeing a logical pullback toward a key price pivot.

Here’s today’s updated Emini (@ES) trading levels for your trades:

We’ve seen a powerfully impulsive breakout from 2,350 toward the 2,400 target and here is the natural pullback.

Watch our “Final Fib” level at 2,381 which is exactly where buyers and sellers are balanced at the moment.

Note the “deeper pullback” plan beneath it and the “another bullish bounce” plan above it.

Either way, frame your intraday trades in terms of the “departure” from 2,381.

If you’re new to this style of simple level trading, welcome aboard and keep checking back or get more details beyond just the @ES (stock scans, money flow, education) by becoming a member!

Afraid to Trade Premium Content and Membership

Follow along with members of the Afraid to Trade Premium Membership for real-time updates and additional trade planning.

Corey Rosenbloom, CMT

Afraid to Trade.com

Follow Corey on Twitter: http://twitter.com/afraidtotrade

Corey’s book The Complete Trading Course (Wiley Finance) is now available along with the newly released Profiting from the Life Cycle of a Stock Trend presentation (also from Wiley).”


Afraid to Trade.com Blog

Across the Finish Line

I have mentioned Finish Line (FINL) again and again and……….again!………as a short candidate, both here on Slope and on tastytrade. Well, the analog I’ve pointed out ad nauseum is really kicking in, dropping nearly 20% on Friday alone. As is so often the case, my charting was brilliant and my trading was idiotic. I covered […]
Slope of Hope

The Line and the Shooting Star

Just a quick late-night post, now that earnings are out. Four big announcements came out – Starbucks, Intel, Microsoft, and Google (oh, sorry, Alphabet) all announced, and judging from after-hours trading, the results were nothing to write home about. The NASDAQ has been lurching to lifetime highs on a daily basis, so it’ll be interesting […]
Slope of Hope

Below the Line

It’s always a good morning to see equity bulls get torched. We’re only an hour into the day, but so far, so good – – -the only good bull is a disappointed one, so watching the ES plunge from a huge green open to slipping swiftly puts a smile on my face and a stride in […]
Slope of Hope

Computer program to keep telemarketers on the line

Thirteen years ago (ouch!), I posted a thesis idea for someone studying computer science:

To a master’s student looking to do something with speech, I’d say “build a system that will occupy telephone solicitors.” The challenge for the computer is to keep the phone solicitor under the impression that he or she has reached a human being for as long as possible. The beauty of this system is that if installed in a wealthy area there would be a near-endless stream of calls on which to test the quality of the result and that, if a high quality system were widely installed on PCs nationwide, it would put the phone solicitors out of business (because they’d be spending so much time and money talking to computers programmed to keep them on the line indefinitely).

Companion: National multi-school contest for the best system.

It seems that the glorious day has come to pass! Gizmodo has published “Today’s Hero Made an AI That Annoys Telemarketers For As Long As Possible” about jollyrogertelephone.com. Not a bad effort, but a lot more could be done by someone researching speech recognition.

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog