New Alexa skill "Magic History"

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Joe Pecore
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New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » November 25th, 2016, 7:23 am

If you have an Amazon Echo device (or one of the latest Fire tablets), I created an Alexa skill called "Magic History (a magicpedia fan)".
Once you find it and enable it, you can ask "Magic History" what happened on a specific date in history. It will retrieve the events from MagicPedia and tell you.

Examples:
Alexa: Ask Magic History what happened on August 30th.
Alexa: Ask Magic History what happened today.

I'd appreciate any feedback.



(Creating the skill was fun. Getting it certified by Amazon so others could use it was interesting. I first tried to call the skill "Magic Pedia", but Amazon wanted me to prove that I had permission from the trademark owner. I didn't want to fight that battle yet.)
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Jack Shalom » November 25th, 2016, 9:18 am

Joe, I'm not familiar with Alexa. Is it possible to ask, "Who invented the Brainwave Deck," etc?

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » November 25th, 2016, 10:40 am

Jack Shalom wrote:Joe, I'm not familiar with Alexa. Is it possible to ask, "Who invented the Brainwave Deck," etc?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Echo

Not with this skill, but I've been tinkering adding "Alexa: Ask Magic Pedia about The Brainwave Deck" and have it reply back with the summary from http://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php ... nwave_Deck
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2016, 1:28 pm

Joe, that's great!
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » November 25th, 2016, 2:17 pm

If people actually find it useful, I'd like to change it to "Ask MagicPedia".

But they want me to provide documentation demonstrating that I have the right to use the trademark “Magicpedia”. The documentation must be a confirmation letter from the intellectual property rights holder.
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » November 25th, 2016, 2:18 pm

Here is the directly link to the skill for Alexa users: http://alexa.amazon.com/spa/index.html# ... B01N0C2BK8
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Evan Shuster » November 25th, 2016, 4:03 pm

I just enabled the skill and played with it a bit. Good fun! Well done, Joe!

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » November 25th, 2016, 4:24 pm

Evan Shuster wrote:I just enabled the skill and played with it a bit. Good fun! Well done, Joe!

You are the first person to let me know it's actually working. Thanks!
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Sean-Dylan » December 1st, 2016, 9:37 am

I purchased an Echo Dot for Black Friday and set it up last night. I enabled this skill and think it is great! Very interesting! Does anyone know if there are any applications to perform a magic effect through Alexa?

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » December 1st, 2016, 5:23 pm

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Evan Shuster » December 2nd, 2016, 1:52 pm

Joe Pecore wrote:If people actually find it useful, I'd like to change it to "Ask MagicPedia".

But they want me to provide documentation demonstrating that I have the right to use the trademark “Magicpedia”. The documentation must be a confirmation letter from the intellectual property rights holder.


Hey Joe,
Looks like you are going to have your wish granted. Alexa now prefaces the response with a message stating that the name will soon be changing.

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » December 20th, 2016, 6:48 pm

Finally had some time to make some updates to the "Ask Magic History" Alexa skill.

You can now "Ask Magic History" for:
* The magic quote of the day
* What the cover of Genii magazine was for a particularly month/year.

More info at: http://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php ... ic_History
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Evan Shuster » December 30th, 2016, 5:03 pm

Hey, Joe...
Just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying this. I start each day with a little history and a quote. Nicely done, sir!

Looking forward to future developments.

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » December 30th, 2016, 10:49 pm

Evan Shuster wrote:Hey, Joe...
Just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying this. I start each day with a little history and a quote. Nicely done, sir!

Looking forward to future developments.

Great!
Been thinking of creating a Flash Briefing version, so you add to your daily news there too.
For now, you might like next update which does both using one command "ask Magic History to give me my daily dose.of magic." :)

Been mostly having fun just learning how to program using voice. It's different.

If you or anyone else have any cool magic related ideas to try and add, let me know! Always looking for something new to try.
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » January 3rd, 2017, 7:04 am

Latest version was approved by Amazon. Two new features added.

* Daily dose of magic
Get the events that happened today, the daily quote and a random genii cover all in one command.

* Brainstorm a new card effect
I wanted something a bit more substantial to try and code, so I decided on this.
Alexa will suggest a new card effect to create by randomly selecting an effect/method/object (a la the Fitzkee's Trick Brain generating idea) using Giobbi's Card Magic Classification published in Genii Magazine (http://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php ... sification).

User: Ask Magic History to brainstorm a new card effect
Alexa: Try to create a new Hypnosis & Hallucinations card effect, using Card Counting / Clocking, with a marked deck.
User: Ask Magic History to brainstorm a new card effect
Alexa: Try to create a new Coincidences card effect, using Black Art, with a gaffed card


As always, more suggestions welcomed.
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » January 7th, 2017, 7:49 am

I wanted to learn how to program something a bit more interactive.
So now you can have Alexa help you with practicing the Si Stebbins or Eight Kings stack

Alexa will say the name of a random card and ask you what is the next card in the stack sequence (until you say stop)

* User: Ask Magic History to practice Si Stebbins.
* Alexa: I will name cards until you say stop. What card in the Si Stebbins stack comes after the 3 of clubs?
* User: Six of Hearts
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 7th, 2017, 1:23 pm

Joe, this is really amazing!
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » January 9th, 2017, 7:28 am

Thanks :)

Some people were having trouble with the link on mobile devices. Here is a better link to the Alexa Skill: https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Pecore-Ma ... B01N0C2BK8
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 9th, 2017, 3:11 pm

Joe,
I don't know if it's already been done, but it occurred to me that a possible Alexa skill would be to create a two person code act with Alexa playing the part of the Medium.
Consider this a challenge! :)

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Ian Kendall » January 9th, 2017, 4:10 pm

Heh. I mentioned exactly that on another forum. Working on it now :)

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » January 9th, 2017, 10:54 pm

Brad, been playing with an idea of using a.2 person code for playing cards.

Ian, let us know when the skill is ready.
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » January 17th, 2017, 9:00 pm

I have the bare bones idea coded for performing a 2 person code with playing cards, with Alexa.
It's based on Harry Lorayne's idea called "Codecto" in Apocalypse Vol. 11 No. 2 (Feb. 1988).

If anyone with an Alexa device that would like to help me flesh this idea out as something that could be performed, PM me.
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » January 21st, 2017, 11:22 am

My quick attempt at programming an Alexa skill to send 2 person codes.

Getting an Alexa skill "certified" by Amazon can be tricky because they are very picky about how skills interact with the user. They have a very specific "voice style guide" you must follow to pass their certification. So, I wanted to make sure my idea of sending "codes" to Alexa would pass their process .

For my test, I created a new command for the "Ask Magic History skill" to reply with a "random card" It does that, but it also includes a secret two person code in which you can tell Alexa what "random" card you would like returned. (F.Y.I. Alexa can already select a random playing card for you without any skill enabled. Just ask "Alexa, give me a random playing card.")

Here are the basics of my "random card" Alexa skill.

* To really get a random card:
Magician: Alexa, ask Magic History to select a random card for me
Alexa: three of clubs
Magician: Alexa, ask Magic History to select a random card for me
Alexa: eight of spades

* To tell Alexa to send a specific card using a secret code (As mentioned earlier, loosely based on Harry Lorayne's "Codecto"):
Magician: Alexa, ask Magic History to name a playing card for me
Alexa: nine of hearts

Magician: Alexa, ask Magic History to name a playing card for me
Alexa: nine of hearts

Magician: Alexa, ask Magic History to choose a random playing card
Alexa: ace of spades

Magician: Alexa, ask Magic History to select a random card
Alexa: king of diamonds

Warning: You sometimes need to speak slowly and pause between each word (working on ways to fix this).

You can probably figure out the basics here, but contact me if you have the skill enabled and want to know the full code to get any card.


I submitted this initial version to Amazon and it got "certified"!!
This may have gotten through easier because it's an update to an existing skill, rather then a new one. I did find some problems, so an update is currently going through certification again now.

Programming a skill in Alexa to use the "2 person code" was a bit difficult, because I think Amazon uses "fuzzy logic" to parse what the user says in order to determine what routine in your program to call. Also, I could not find a way to get back the "exact phrase" the user said. Only parts of the phrase I specifically identified before hand. This may have been complicated a bit by all the other commands I've created in the skill. It may be a bit easier if this skill was only doing this one thing :)

This was just a basic test to see how hard it would be. But, I think I can use this skill "as is" since I don't believe users will notice the slightly different phrasings. Users are probably already used to Alexa being smart enough to typically figure out how to respond even though you say things slightly different each time.

But, now that I have the basics for sending/receiving a 2 person code with Alexa, it would seem to open up some possibilities. Obviously, it would be better to send the code to Alexa in a command prior to revealing the answer. But It's fairly easy to save information during a "session" and respond with that information later. I've already done that with other skills.

If you have any specific ideas, let me know!

I had fun and learned quite a bit doing this.

For more info on the "Ask Magic History" Alexa skill see: http://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php ... ic_History

To get notified when "Ask Magic History" updates with new functions, follow "MagicPedia" on twitter.
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 21st, 2017, 11:34 am

Amazing, Joe!
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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Evan Shuster » January 21st, 2017, 11:49 am

I'm amazed at how much you have been able to do with this. It's really very cool, and fun to watch it continue to evolve. Well done, Joe! Nice of you to share.

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Re: New Alexa skill "Magic History"

Postby Joe Pecore » June 15th, 2017, 8:08 am

I searched the Alexa skills looking for new magic related ones.
I updated http://geniimagazine.com/wiki/index.php ... exa_Skills with what I found.

I've not try them all yet, but some look interesting.
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