Tech round-up for October 2: 5 new Echo devices, ask Alexa to get you a job, OpenTable does delivery, dog sounds, Puzzle Quest on Nintendo Switch

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, get Alexa on more Echo devices, have Alexa get you a job, and OpenTable moves into food delivery. Plus, the dog starring in a video game and the joy of Puzzle Quest on the Switch.

Amazon doubles down on smarthome hardware

Last week, Amazon revealed five new Echo devices for the modern home, all of which are available for pre-order now and which will be available before the end of the year.

The Echo Studio is a speaker built to play music on, and Amazon says rivals the Apple HomePod for sound clarity. This costs $260.

The Echo Flex fits anywhere you’ve got a wall outlet, and gives you access to Alexa wherever you need it for only $35.

The Echo Dot has been upgraded with a digital clock, making it perfect for bedrooms. It’s $80.

The newest Echo Show sports an 8-inch screen and costs $170.

Amazon is also updating the basic Echo with better sound and design for $130. That means the second generation Echo is only $100 for a limited time.

Along with the new devices, Canadian Alexa users have access to new features from the digital assistant.

The coolest is that when you whisper to Alexa, Alexa will whisper back to you. This is for those moments in the early morning or late night when you want to keep things quiet.

And Alexa can understand and speak in Quebecois. Simply ask a question in French and you’ll get a reply in French.

C’est bonne.

Alexa (and Google) can help you get a minimum-wage job at McDonald’s

Speaking of Alexa, you can now ask the assistant to get you a job.

McDonald’s Canada has built a digital application flow that begins with a job seeker asking Alexa or Google to, “Help me get a job at McDonald’s.”

The service will ask applicants to answer a few questions and will then send a link so the application process can continue online.

Try asking Google for a raise.

Get your restaurant order delivered through OpenTable

Like many people, I’ve often used OpenTable to reserve a spot at a restaurant. I used it last week while visiting Toronto, actually, to get the city’s best Thai food at Pai.

Now when you find a restaurant in your OpenTable iOS app, you’ll see an option to get your meal delivered.

OpenTable has partnered with Uber Eats to provide the service. OpenTable also has an Android app, but at the moment, only the iOS version offers the “Get it delivered” option.

Dog sounds recorded for Halo game

When you play Halo Infinite, hopefully sometime next year, some of the sounds made by the aliens you enounter may have been created by Gyoza the pug.

The pup is the pet of a technical art director with 343 Industries, which is creating the game in metro Seattle. Just listen to the little charmer. He sounds like there’s something trying to get out of him.

Playing Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns on my Nintendo Switch

I’ve got fond memories of Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. It was the first game I ever encountered that took a puzzle game and used it as the core of a bigger, narrative experience.

By matching gems, your character can deal damage to enemies, collect mana for spellcasting, and even gather loot. The mashup of a strategy and role-playing game with the match-three puzzle mechanic is wonderfully satisfying.

I played most of that first game while my wife was in labour with our first kid. It was a long time, but I passed it with my PlayStation Portable and Puzzle Quest. I was hooked.

Now, I’m playing the game again, more than 10 years later, on my Nintendo Switch. And for the $15 cost, you get much more than one game.

Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns includes Challenge of the Warlords, the game that started it all, as well as the sequel, Revenge of the Plague Lord and a new expansion, Attack of the Golem Lord. It’s developed by Infinity Plus 2 (formerly Infinity Interactive) and published by D3 Go!

The new collection includes five new classes of character, too: Blood Mage, Elementalist, Monk, Paladin, and Priest. Each gives you a different approach to the game.


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