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Alexa’s new celebrity wake words ‘Hey Samuel,’ turns the assistant into Samuel L. Jackson

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Alexa just read me Monday’s baseball scores. It was great for two reasons. First, the A’s shut out the Mariners 9-0 in the second game of a doubleheader. And second, she did so in Samuel L. Jackson’s voice. With Amazon based in Seattle, I assume they’re happy I’ve chosen to focus on the latter fact for the rest of this post.

Alexa heads Toni Reid and Rohit Prasad joined us onstage today at Disrupt to discuss the smart assistant’s history, biggest obstacles and future. They also used the occasion to announce that the highest-grossing actor of all time now has his own wake word. After installing the Samuel L. Jackson celebrity voice skill, Alexa users can make the “Pulp Fiction” star their default assistant voice, triggering him with the wake words “Hey Samuel.”

I’ve been using the skill on an Echo Show this week, and it’s a fun addition to Alexa that swears sometimes. In fact, there’s a warning when you install it that it’s not particularly family-friendly (like the real Samuel L. Jackson, he uses MFer a fair bit more than your standard voice assistant). Most of the commands are just standard Alexa stuff in Jackson’s voice, but there are some gems on there, like asking questions about reptiles on aircraft. He’s a bit less up on some of the deeper cuts from his filmography.

The addition of Jackson for Alexa follows Google’s own introduction of celebrity voice cameos from John Legend and Issa Rae. It’s clear that both companies believe a little star power goes a long way toward keeping users engaged with a virtual assistant. Honestly though, Jackson is one of the best gets you can imagine, both in terms of name recognition and novelty. It’s hard to think of too many names that might top it (Obama? Oprah? Pee-Wee Herman?).

One of the stories Amazon is interested in telling here is how surprisingly difficult it was to create a secondary wake word. The Samuel L. Jackson skill was available before, but essentially required the user to say ““Hey Alexa, ask Samuel…” Essentially a smart assistant game of telephone. The novelty wears off pretty fast, to be honest.

“The Alexa wake word has billions of interactions every week,” Alexa Senior Machine Learning Manager Shiv Vitaladevuni says in a post tied to the news. “However, there was a paucity of training data for the ‘Hey, Samuel’ wake word. To develop the multi wake word model for ‘Hey Samuel’ and Alexa, we had to develop new training and data modeling techniques, while drawing on learnings from the past.”

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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