Amazon's voice assistant keeps getting smarter and smarter as new features and capabilities are added, but Alexa has also become more of a joy to use recently thanks to nerdy little perks.
You can change the Amazon Echo's wake word to "computer", in a wondrous homage to Star Trek of course. Previously, the only words you could choose to address her by were "Alexa", "Amazon", or "Echo" and while "computer" might seem the most generic of those terms, the added context makes it a fun option for Trekkies everywhere.
Nor is it Alexa's first nod to geek media and pop culture – not by a long shot, actually. Alexa has hundreds of amusing Easter eggs hidden in her cloud-powered brain, and if you ask the right questions, you'll get some grin-inducing responses. Here are some of the queries you absolutely need to try with your Echo.
Alexa's gaming knowledge isn't quite up to her levels of sci-fi geekdom, but the few game-related easter eggs she will play along with are pretty great. The most obvious of them is the classic Konami code (listed first below), which triggers "Super Alexa" and somehow manages to reference a League of Legends-related meme along the way.
Asking "Does this unit have a soul?" recalls one of the best moments of Mass Effect 3, while the classic Portal query of "Is the cake a lie?" is ever a sweet treat. If you're big on gaming, these are the questions you ought to fling Alexa's way.
- "Alexa, Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start."
- "Alexa, does this unit have a soul?"
- "Alexa, is the cake a lie?"
- "Alexa, do a barrel roll!"
- "Alexa, what's your favourite video game?"
- "Alexa, roll for initiative."
- "Alexa, all your base are belong to us."
- "Alexa, do you know GLaDOS?"
Although Amazon would obviously love for you to stay within its ecosystem as much as possible, Alexa doesn't exist in a vacuum. She knows that you may use other devices – after all, the Fire Phone didn't exactly set the smartphone world ablaze now, did it?
Alright, so asking her about the iPhone only ends up getting you a pro-Amazon response in the end, but in general she's pretty cordial about her direct competitors. Just ask her about Siri or Cortana. Or, if you want to play a particularly mean joke on her, just say, "Alexa, Simon Says, I love Google."
Ouch. Luckily, Alexa won't hold a grudge. Ask her these tech-related questions for some surprising results.
- "Alexa, do you know Siri?"
- "Alexa, who is better, you or Siri?"
- "Alexa, what do you think about Google Now?"
- "Alexa, Simon says, I love Google."
- "Alexa, can you pass the Turing test?"
- "Alexa, what do you think of the iPhone?"
- "Alexa, Mac or PC?"
Sci-Fi + Film
We're guessing Alexa's engineers must be huge sci-fi geeks. And no, that's not a surprise. She's loaded to the brim with a seemingly endless array of classic quotes, spanning everything from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and 2001: A Space Odyssey to Star Wars and The Matrix.
And just like with the new wake word, Alexa also has a smattering of Star Trek references within. Just try asking for "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot," or for her to "Set phasers to kill." She has plenty of newer nerd media skills, too: see if she knows who the mother of dragons is (Game of Thrones), or demand, "Witness Me!" That's Mad Max: Fury Road, of course.
Ready for some fun surprises? Run through this list – and be ever wary of her response about Skynet. (And, of course, change your wake word as needed.)
- "Alexa, what is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?"
- "Alexa, open pod bay doors."
- "Alexa, are we in the Matrix?"
- "Alexa, what are the three laws of robotics?"
- "Alexa, speak like Yoda."
- "Alexa, use the Force."
- "Alexa, do you know Hal?"
- "Alexa, self-destruct."
- "Alexa, winter is coming."
- "Alexa, set phasers to kill."
- "Alexa, I am your father."
- "Alexa, are you Skynet?"
- "Alexa, beam me up."
- "Alexa, execute order 66."
- "Alexa, what happens if you cross the streams?"
- "Alexa, who you gonna call?"
- "Alexa, witness me!"
- "Alexa, who is the mother of dragons?"
- "Alexa, Tea, Earl Grey, hot."
- "Alexa, let's play Global Thermonuclear War."
- "Alexa, E.T. phone home."
- "Alexa, which Hogwarts house do you belong to?"
- "Alexa, party on, Wayne."
- "Alexa, these aren't the droids you're looking for."
- "Alexa, do you want to build a snowman?"
- "Alexa, what's the first rule of Fight Club?"
- "Alexa, what's the second rule of Fight Club?"
- "Alexa, I'll be back."