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A 14-year-old built an Alexa skill for checking the status of AWS

The Amazon Echo.


If you rely on public cloud infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run your website or app, every now and then you may encounter a technical issue. Usually if you suspect that it’s at the AWS level, at some point you’ll check the AWS Service Health Dashboard, which shows the status of AWS’ many individual services in different data center regions. But now there’s another way to check AWS status for those who have an Amazon Echo or any other device that uses Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.

The CloudStatus skill will give you a quick summary of how everything is working on AWS. And after you’ve set it up, by saying, “Alexa, enable the CloudStatus skill,” you can get answers to questions about specific regions, too.

The technology, which has been available for several weeks now, was developed by Kira Hammond, the 14-year-old daughter of Eric Hammond, an AWS “Community Hero” and longtime customer, according to a post today on Amazon’s mobile app distribution blog. Her father simply wanted an easier way to find out how AWS is doing, Amazon’s Zoey Collier wrote.

It’s a cute anecdote, but it suggests that making Alexa skills is so easy that a kid can do it. And that’s important. More than 1,500 Alexa skills are available now, and that number stands to keep growing because of the apparent simplicity of the development process. Plus, Alexa has the lead, in a sense, as other device makers rush out Echo killers — just as AWS has long had the lead in the public cloud business.

If you want to give CloudStatus a try but you don’t have an Alexa-compatible device, visit the Echosim online Alexa simulator. The skill will work just fine.

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Ms. A. C. Kennedy
My name is Ms A C Kennedy and I am a Health practitioner and Consultant by day and a serial blogger by night. I luv family, life and learning new things. I especially luv learning how to improve my business. I also luv helping and sharing my information with others. Don't forget to ask me anything!

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However, the very existence of the hole has still raised a concern: are Microsoft's security tests as thorough for third-party apps as its own software? The company has declined to comment, but that kind of screening may prove crucial if Microsoft is going to maintain the trust of Windows users. It doesn't matter how secure Microsoft's code is if a bundled app undermines everything.

Source: Monorail, Tavis Ormandy (Twitter)

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