Use a different music service with an echo device.

Amazon music is a nice offering at a good price, but if you are already using a different music service, maybe you don’t need to pay more for Amazon music.

It’s easy to change the default music service echo devices use through the Alexa app. I will show you how.

Open the Alexa app on your phone. You downloaded it when setting up your echo device, so it’s already on your phone, unless you deleted it. Go into settings. Select music and media.

If you want to select a music service or station you must have an account with that service. Link the service to your Alexa app by selecting the desired service and logging in. Once the service is linked to Alexa you can select choose default music services.

From there you can choose Spotify like I did for my default music library, and you can select Pandora like I did for my station service.

Now, everytime I want to hear music on one of my echo devices I just say “Alexa” play a specific song, album, playlist or artist giving me access to over 30 million songs at no extra charge.

Would you like to learn a new language?

I’ve always wanted to learn Italian but never got around to it, until now.

The first time I tried it was with an Italian course in book form, but It was hard to set the time aside to do it, and the book ended up collecting dust.

The second time it was an audio version of an Italian course. I planned to listen in the car, but never got around to it either.

Even though I already failed twice, I knew I really wanted to do this. It’s been about 20 years since I decided to learn Italian, but I wasn’t ready to give up.

One day I came across a smartphone app called Duolingo and I was hooked.

This app lives in my phone, it’s completely free to use (you can pay if you don’t want to see ads) and it lets you go at your own speed. When you first sign in it will ask you what language you want to learn, then it will ask you how much time you want to spend a day doing it. It will even send you an email or a text notification every day to remind you it’s time for your lesson.

It has been almost four months since I started and I’ve only missed my daily lesson twice. I wish I had a perfect streak, but sometimes life gets in the way.

I took a few screenshots of the app from my phone, but you can use a laptop or desktop for the lessons too. All you need are speakers and a microphone, which makes a smartphone the perfect tool. Besides, when was the last time you didn’t have your phone with you?

That’s the way categories are divided in the app. You can go in any order, but I prefer to follow the layout.

This is a sample of the screen where you are asked to translate a sentence.

Here is a sample of multiple choice translation.

This is a sample of the little owl that encourages you and tells you how great you are doing.

I wanted to share how happy I am with Duolingo because it made it really easy and convenient to learn a new language. I already speak English and Spanish and as soon as I finish the Italian course I’m planning to take Latin or French.

If you don’t have access to a smartphone try it on your computer. It’s a fun way to make a better you.

Download from the Apple app store, the Android play store or go to on your computer.

Pixel Launcher 3

I’m having really good luck with the Pixel Launcher 3 on my Note 8. If you’d like to give it a try here is a link to download the apk.