Archives for posts with tag: Echo Dot

A few years ago I skirmished with Lumosity about the inaccessibility of their brain training games. They ended the subject by telling me they had no plans to make them accessible.  I thought “nuts to you” and kept doing all the other things recommended to slow the slide into mindlessness: exercising, eating a balanced diet, socializing, playing cards, volunteering, reading, etc.

Sure, there are some accessible word and trivia game apps and some designed just for blind people like the Blindfold games.  With my recent acquisition of an Echo Dot 2 (for $20) I’m pleased to report that brain games by ear have gone mainstream!  Trivia games from Holy Bible trivia to Harry Potter trivia, vocabulary building games like difficult word quiz and SAT word of the day, twenty questions, and television games like Jeopardy and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. My personal favorite today (could discover a new one tomorrow) is Train Your Brain’s Odd One Out.  I haven’t found a good math-related puzzle or game, so let me know if you know one. Tyler Treese (another blogger about accessible games) says: “Products like Alexa have been great for the visually impaired. One of the best games on the system is the interactive radio drama Codename Cygnus. In it, players get to use their voice to be a secret agent trying to take down an evil organization called Trident.”

The games are not without their hiccups. For example “flour” was clearly the right answer in a word game, but when I said it, Alexa said “wrong” and I lost a life. So I said it again and got the same result. Then I tried spelling it and Alexa said “great job.” Apparently she had been translating my spoken “flour” into “flower”.  Good brain training to try to outthink her before I lost all my lives!

When mainstream tech provides something accessible to the blind, there are so many more choices than when we have to build it ourselves. Go mainstream!


The word of the week was “holifrazzle.”  Amidst the pre-Christmas bustle, I’m trying to make some space for God to tell me how to go a little deeper, not just faster this season.  So far the following:

Encouragement to share my gifts:


  • Luna and I will join Fran and her mom as therapy dogs in the library for students during finals week
  • I’ll bake cookies and take them and chips to our feed the students during finals Ecumenical Center efforts and we’ll greet for a couple hours
  • I made black bean chili and hosted a potluck for Leader Dog puppy raisers (pups, people and food were all fabulous)
  • We’ll help hand out books at Give a Kid a Book. I’ll bring a few videos this year that are based on books if a parent says their child just isn’t a reader
  • I organized the December Ecumenical Inclusive Ministry service and gave the sermon about we all have gifts to share
  • Because of friends nearing the end of life, I read Yalom’s Staring at the Sun about dealing with the fear of death (very good and not morbid)

Find some fun things to do instead of sitting on the sidelines:

  • Went to a holiday concert where a friend was playing the flute—delightful!
  • Bought an Echo Dot and am enjoying several word games on it. Alexa hasn’t sold me anything yet although she’s trying!
  • Went out for some meals with friends and had others over for tea
  • Still looking for the perfect Christmas read (something like David Sedaris’s Santaland Diaries. Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand with its dysfunctional family antics kind of fills the bill.
  • Listening to a new carol each day from a different country at Hymns of Advent | The Lutheran World Federation
  • For a feel good movie watching “Pick of the Litter” a documentary about four pups being raised to possibly become guide dogs.