217: The Alexa Show (Ep 135)


Episode Summary:
Today’s podcast is all about the voice-activated personal assistant, Amazon Alexa.

  1. What can Alexa do?
  2. What are Amazon Skills & Flash Briefings?
  3. How do you get your podcast on Alexa devices?

Subscribe to Podcast:

Mike Murphy Unplugged

Pro Tip for Podcasters & Livestreamers:

Mute the microphone before recording or going live:


Alexa is a cloud-based, voice-activated virtual assistant and speaker created by Amazon in 2014. Alexa is the brain behind the devices and the two most popular are the Echo and the Echo Dot. Alexa uses artificial intelligence (so it’s always improving) and she can listen, understand and answer most questions and is always improving and updating her features automatically.

Amazon Echo & Dot

Basic Operation: How to use Alexa devices:

You wake Alexa by asking a question or tell her a command by first saying her name and then speak to her and she will do what you ask. Alexa is always on and always listening, so ask away.

Control Alexa with iOS or Android App


  1. Questions & Answers: you can use Alexa just like Siri or Google and get answers to your questions.
  2. Media & Entertainment: Stream radio stations, music from Amazon Prime, Spotify, play podcasts and even tell your kids bedtime stories.
  3. Productivity & Tasks: Set alarms and timers, make to-do lists, check your calendar and help you in the kitchen with measurements, etc.
  4. Information & News: She can keep you informed with the weather, news and sports scores
  5. Calling and message device if you want to call your friends and family who also have an Alexa device
  6. Smart Home Devices: Alexa will control your smart home devices such as turning on/off lights, thermostats, and any compatible device. One of my favorite things to do is tell Alexa to turn on my studio light. It’s so simple but really handy.
  7. Fun & Games: Alexa has a good sense of humor so ask her to tell you a joke or to sing or one of my favorites is to ask her to tell me a pun. Alexa can play jeopardy and other games.
  8. Shopping: Tell Alexa to buy things from Amazon. Shopping is not going to be restricted to Amazon either as there are areas where you can order Dominos, call for an Uber and order Starbucks for pickup. And don’t worry, there are restrictions you can put on shopping so not anyone in your house can order stuff.
  9. Amazon Skills: Amazon Skills are like Smartphone apps and open up endless possibilities. #tipoftheiceberg


Amazon Skills

The power behind Alexa devices as they are what expand the services and functionality. Think of skills like iPhone apps and there are already 1000s of them available. 3rd party developers can create skills and you can enable them to use on your devices through the Alexa app on your phone or on the Amazon website.

What are Flash Briefings:

Flash briefings are a special type of Alexa Skill that is designed to give short news and information updates from various sources including RSS feeds from blogs and podcasts.

My Podcast as Flash Briefing

How to make Flash Briefings?

This is not a full tutorial. I’m just giving you the starting point for now.

  1. Support & Help Tutorials:
  2. Create a New Skill (Flash Briefing)

RSS Feed Issues & Fixes:

This can get complicated and requires an entire article, but I just wanted to point out a couple of things as my RSS feed was rejected the first time and I just wanted to note that and let you know how I resolved it.

  1. Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates will not work for Amazon Flash Briefings. Let’s Encrypt is free and popular way to make your Wordpress site have https://. I use it, but as of now, it is not on Amazon’s list of accepted SSL Certificates.


To listen to my podcast, I would say, “Alexa, play Mike Murphy Unplugged on TuneIn” and Alexa would pull up my latest episode.


How To Get Your Podcast in the TuneIn Directory?

You may have already done this when you launched your podcast, so do a search on TuneIn and if you find your show, there is nothing you need to do.

Fill Out The TuneIn Form

Podcast Promo Video

Every week I make a video using Adobe After Effects to accompany my podcast episode and I post it on various social channels. This week’s video is a little chaotic. #doneisbetterthanperfect

Can I Help You?

I create content and help people figure things out.



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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy


Podcast & Tech Handyman. I make tutorials and help people figure things out. Email: mike@mikemurphy.co