I’ve got an Amazon Echo Dot, as previously mentioned. One of the things it does is the “Flash Briefing”: basically, a personalised news report. You choose “feeds” — places for it to get news — and then “Alexa, what’s new?” will read them out. I’ve got the BBC and the Birmingham weather report enabled. But I’d also like to know what’s going on in town; specifically, the Birmingham.IO calendar lists the tech events in the city and I wanted my Flash Briefing to tell me about them.
Well, now it does, handily.
To add these to your Flash Briefing, search for “Birmingham.IO” in the Skills section of the Alexa app, or enable this skill in the online Alexa Skills Store.
That was actually quite fun to do! There are some details of how it works in the source. Thank you to surge.sh for giving me a place to deploy it which is HTTPS (as Alexa requires) and not Let’s Encrypt (which, moronically, Alexa doesn’t like). Questions and suggestions for improvement should be directed to the birmingham.io forum post. I submitted the skill and it was reviewed and accepted 24 hours later, which is nice. And there’s a promotion going on right now in the UK where if you submit a new skill during July 2017 then you get an Echo Dot, so maybe I’ll have two! Which is also pretty cool. So, what’s on tonight, Alexa?