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.
The World Cup
Alexa's been busy geeking out with football trivia, which is just as well since the world is truly in motion and football fever is spreading faster than the Premier League diving epidemic.
It's not only football fanatics who can merit off this fountain of knowledge from their Alexa box, asking for daily round-ups, scores and football trivia. For the unfortunate souls who have no choice but to sway along to Three Lions after work drinks on a Friday night - Alexa will unpick footie jargon and give you the top line info to help you survive through the next month or so.
Ready for a kick around? Limber up, these are what you should be asking Alexa (if you don't know already)
- Alexa, what is a ‘false nine’ in football?
- Alexa, what is advantage in football?
- Alexa, what is pressing in football?
- Alexa, what is counter-attacking in football?
- Alexa, what is ‘putting it in the mixer’ in football?
- Alexa, what is ‘parking the bus’ in football?
- Alexa, what is ‘Row Z’ in football?
- Alexa, why do international footballers win ‘caps’?
- Alexa, what does it mean when a football player plays ‘in the hole’?
- “Alexa, when’s the first World Cup game?”
- “Alexa, what teams are in the World Cup?”
- “Alexa, who won the last World Cup?”
- “Alexa, what country has won the most World Cups?”
- “Alexa, what group is Sweden in for the World Cup?”
For keener ballers:
- “Alexa, when do England play next in the World Cup?”
- “Alexa, who scored for Germany?
- “Alexa, when do Iceland play next in the World Cup?”
- “Alexa, what’s the score of the Panama game?”
- “Alexa, did Japan win in the World Cup?”
- “Alexa, who scored for France?”
Bonus: Mr. Robot
And lastly, if you watched the latest season of Mr. Robot, you might have caught Alexa's prominent cameo. You too can ask Alexa about when the world is supposed to end, and if you ask her about the show, she'll even reference her own appearance. Bit full of herself, eh?
- "Alexa, when is the end of the world?"
- "Alexa, what do you think of Mr. Robot?"
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, roll for initiative."
- "Alexa, all your base are belong to us."
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?"
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."