New feature: Talk to Faithlife on your Amazon Echo!

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This post has 92 Replies | 14 Followers

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 12 2017 10:28 PM

Dustin Masters:

Ok, I tracked down the issue. Alexa's API has a limitation to how many words it will read aloud. If you blow past that limit, the skill returns an error. I will ship a fix in a few minutes to automatically truncate readings. Looks like their limit is 8000 words.

So, my reading plan worked, but it truncated Job 1 - 5.  Word reports that at 2,300 words.  It looks like it got truncated a lot shorter than 8,000.  I did a rough estimate and conclude that Word is close to correct. 

I substituted a reading plan with shorter passages and it successfully read Gen 1.  Word reports that at just over 1,000 words.

Tomorrow, when I at work with access to Linux, I'll recheck the word count using the 'wc' command.

8,000 would be great and should allow the largest readings required for traversing the Bible in one year. I could not get a word count for the ESV, but an online source suggested ~727,000 words in the NIV.  The ESV and the NIV should be roughly equivalent.  Dividing by 365 would result in readings of roughly 2,000 words per day.  This result seems to match Word's assessment of Job 1 - 5 reported above, which came from the ESV Chronological Reading plan which should complete in a year.

So, the question would be why did Job 1-5 cut off and not complete?

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 13 2017 12:28 PM

I have used 'wc' on linux and it agrees with the word count provided by Word for the ESV reading on Job 1 - 5.  The linux count comes in at 2,159. 

So it looks like a limit of 8,000 should not be a problem for reading plans which read through the Bible in a year.  But the current implementation did truncate much earlier than 8,000.

I will put put back my plan back to one which reads the Bible in one year and see if truncates on other readings.  I will also note the truncation points, if any, and try to come up with a maximum word count.

Posts 750
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 13 2017 12:30 PM

BTW: I was pleased that after Alexa successfully completed a reading it was checked off in the plan!  That's nice.  I'm interested in finding out how "she" behaves when I am behind as well as if I can get her to read ahead.

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Dustin Masters | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 13 2017 3:03 PM

I had a typo...it is 8000 characters, not words.

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Dustin Masters | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 13 2017 3:04 PM

You can ask Alexa to read ahead by saying "What are my readings for tomorrow"

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 13 2017 3:28 PM

Dustin Masters:

I had a typo...it is 8000 characters, not words.

Well that makes sense.  Thanks for responding.

Linux reports that the truncated passage, Job 1 - 5, is approximately 12,500 characters.  I would estimate that 8,000 is at best half what is needed for a reading plan that expects to cover the Bible in one year.  It would be much better to have a limit of 20,000 characters, or even more.

Assuming that there is no way to increase the Alexa limit, does anyone have any ideas on how to get around this limitation?

Posts 750
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 13 2017 3:42 PM

I just created a plan to read through the ESV New Testament in a year.  I took a single sample: Matthew 17:22–18:14. That reading resulted in 2,601 characters.  That is well under the 8,000 character limit.  As long as the readings don't vary wildly, then it looks like Alexa should be able to read through the NT in one year, nicely.

For myself, I may employ Alexa to read the NT while I am at home and listen to the OT on mobile devices while I commute.

Otherwise, a lot of reading systems choose different sections of the Bible.  Is there any hope that we could get Alexa to switch between reading plans between readings.

Ex: Alexa, ask Faithlife to switch to reading plan B.

      Alexa, ask Faithlife to read the next entry from my plan.

The whole Bible could be traversed with three non-overlapping reading plans.

Posts 750
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 14 2017 11:37 AM

I don't see how Alexa can be used to "catch up".  The "next" reading and the "current" reading both result in reading the passage scheduled for today.  I set up a plan where I was several days behind, but I am unable to get Alexa to access where I left off.

Reading plans are schedules with deadlines we sometimes miss.  It is not helpful to not assume that catching up or reading ahead is not part of the usage case.  When you ask for the next reading and it begins on the current date without any notification that you missed a day, it becomes much less useful as a tool.

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Dustin Masters | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 15 2017 2:24 PM

Thanks for the feedback..I agree it's unhelpful that it skips readings without warning , instead of just picking your next scheduled reading. I'll see if I can make a change to adjust the behavior so it's more helpful.

Dustin

Posts 750
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 15 2017 5:42 PM

Dustin Masters:

Thanks for the feedback..I agree it's unhelpful that it skips readings without warning , instead of just picking your next scheduled reading. I'll see if I can make a change to adjust the behavior so it's more helpful.

Dustin

Thank you!  Actually, I see two ways which might accommodate reading through the Bible in one year while living within the 8,000 character limit.

The first would be a method for the user to manually swap between at least three reading plans.  The readings for each plan could be well under 8,000 characters and still allow traversal of the Bile in a year.

I mention a second, so that you have this in mind when you consider how to make your "adjustment".  A user could make a custom plan to read through the Bible in three years and then schedule the plan to begin three years ago.  Thus, one is always behind.  The user would simply ask to read the next reading three times a day.  It would be a little difficult to determine if you were on schedule.  I personally would build an Excel spreadsheet to map fake schedule dates to actual dates.  On the other hand, dividing each day's reading schedule into three might make it easier to shoehorn into a busy schedule.

This isn't as preposterous as it sounds.  I sometimes use a reading plan to keep track of progress as an alternative to a bookmark.  I expect to be behind.  But I can easily pick up where I left off.  I am currently in that situation with Carson and Moo's Introduction to the New Testament and Groothuis's Apologetics.

If the "read next" mechanism allowed for being so far behind, then the user could also easily read ahead since there is no correspondence between  current plan date and actual date.

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Dustin Masters | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 16 2017 12:10 PM

I was able to adjust the service so it doesn't skip any readings in your reading plan. Every time you ask for a reading, it will find the oldest session up until today's date that you haven't read. If you want to read ahead, you still have to say "what are my readings for tomorrow".

Posts 750
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 16 2017 1:25 PM

Dustin Masters:

I was able to adjust the service so it doesn't skip any readings in your reading plan. Every time you ask for a reading, it will find the oldest session up until today's date that you haven't read. If you want to read ahead, you still have to say "what are my readings for tomorrow".

Thank you, very much, Dustin!  This may fit my second scenario quite well and allow me to set up a read through the entire Bible reading plan where Alexa actually reads everything.

After I wrote my last note, it occurred to me that having the shorter passages might be better.  It would allow me to squeeze readings into periods where I am limited on time.

I will try this out tonight, at home.

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David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 16 2017 7:12 PM

It worked!!  Thank you!

Posts 107
LogosEmployee
Dustin Masters | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 21 2017 5:59 AM

Google has approved our voice app! You can now try this on your Google Home. We are still working on getting account linking working, but you can say:

Talk to Faithlife (sometimes it has trouble recognizing our name so you have to say Faith Life)

What's the verse of the day for today (or yesterday or tomorrow, etc )

What's today's devotional?

What is James 3 verse 1?

More features coming soon...let us know what you think!

Posts 608
Dave Thawley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 23 2017 6:35 AM

Hi Dustin,

Still no Faithlife skill in the UK for the echo :-(

Posts 15
Cary Grant | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 27 2017 5:15 AM

Dustin, thank you working on this for us. I am using the 5-Day Reading program but Alexa is telling me I don't have readings for today. Any suggestions?

Posts 2188
Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 17 2017 11:30 AM

I just found a very peculiar bug.

I recently switched my Alexa language settings from English (US) to English (UK). This caused the Faithlife skill to cease working. I switched back to English (US), and now it's working again. I do prefer English (UK), so fixing this would be great.

Not sure if it's relevant, but my device is the latest generation of Fire TV (Japanese model, connected to Amazon.com account).

Past IT Consultant. Past Mission Worker. Entrepreneur. Future Seminary Student.
Why Amazon sucks: Full background story of my legal dispute with the online giant

Posts 85
Duncan Campbell | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 17 2017 1:42 PM

I would have hoped there would be some way to get this Skill to U.K users by now, some 4 months or more since release, and I still cannot find the skill in th UK.

What can be done to get the skill working in the UK?

Duncan

Posts 108
Tony Walker | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 12 2017 8:46 AM
Can someone tell me how to get Alexa to read in the kjv? I have it set as my preferred bible but it is using another translation. Thanks
Posts 1332
PL | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jun 19 2017 9:09 PM

Hi Dustin,

Can you tell me if there's a similar Logos service for Google Assistant?

Thanks, 

Peter 

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