Gary has apprised us of the SWLing Post review of the Sangean ATS-405. The takeaway is good FM and birdy noises on AM. Overall, the 405 is easily eclipsed by the Tecsun PL-660, so the 405 isn't breaking any new ground.
Thanks, JB, you're the first person to explain to me what the Amazon Echo actually is:
A friend got an Echo (think siri always listening for a command + bluetooth speaker). It hooks into many services, including I-Heart-Radio and Tune-in-Radio.
You simple say "Alexa [one of two names you can give it for now] play radio station [call letters, or some way to identify it]."
We tried KQRS, and no problem. I tried "89.3 The Current" and it found the station I meant. I tried "WCCO-AM" and it found it. I tried "950 AM in Minneapolis" and it found the correct station (KTNF). I tried "KCCK" and jazz began to play.
For those who are into internet radio this is an interesting device. There are no dials, or knobs. You just, from the couch or chair, just say what you want, and the device tunes it. You can control the volume by commands as well. You can tell it to mute (so still streaming, just muted). You can tell it to stop.
It has many other functions as well, but I found that I really enjoyed using it as a voice-activated way to play music (it will also access some standard music services such as Pandora).
It can set alarms, timers, add items to a to do list (which you can see on an app on your phone). Add stuff to your shopping list.
For radio use, I would point out the current firmware does not support any sort of sleep timer. I've read several forums of other users who think this would be useful.
I keep in mind that this is really a product that is in its infancy, and features will be added all the time going forward (hopefully and if is successful).
It's not a cheap device, but it is rather novel, and I think some will take to it quite readily. As I said this was all via a friend's Echo, but I know have one on order as well.
Tom has apprised us of the new Sangean PR-D19 radio, for sell at Universal Radio and Amazon. Price is under $100, a little cheaper on Universal, but you have to buy the AC adapter separately. Even then, it's still cheaper on Universal.
Michael Vinovich's William Gibson article for WatchPaper explores the author's watch obsession. His love of watches led him to conclude that it is better to have fewer but better watches in one's collection. If pressed to choose a high-end contemporary watch, Gibson said he'd choose a Grand Seiko over a Swiss luxury watch. He appears to disdain what he calls "power jewelry."