Amazon's Alexa Can Help You Locate Misplaced Items

Marrat/iStock via Getty Images
Marrat/iStock via Getty Images

Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition device might be the closest we’ve yet come to practical artificial intelligence in the home. While it has a variety of skills, there’s one lesser-known feature that could help cement that reputation: According to Lifehacker, users can solicit Alexa’s help when their car keys, wallet, or eyeglasses go missing. All it takes is a little premeditation.

If you are prone to misplacing items, it helps to announce to Alexa where you're leaving something important. Putting your car keys on a table near the back door, for example, might slip your mind hours later. But if you tell Alexa you're putting them there as you’re doing it, the device can remind you of that the next time you go searching for them. Just ask, "Alexa, where did I put my car keys?"

Of course, the act of saying where you’ve placed an item out loud will probably aid in your memory and you might not need to ask Alexa at all. The trick is likely to be more useful for items in long-term storage as opposed to things you pick up and put down daily. Telling Alexa that your tape measure is in the top drawer will help you out if you wind up not reaching for it for weeks at a time. The same holds true for reading glasses, light bulbs, or other things that you’ll need to locate eventually.

Maybe it’s not quite the future we were promised, but it might come in handy. Here are 11 other products that work with Alexa to obey your commands, faulty memory or not.

[h/t Lifehacker]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]