California News update 4/16/2018

Team Name (tag this post with your team name as well): California News

What we did the past week: We have put the finishing touches on our schedule for who is doing what each day, and we have begun posting daily. 

Issues we had with gathering material (finding sources, verifying facts, interviews, etc.): We had no issues with gathering material, this is probably the easiest part of producing content- the hardest part is converting it into a form more suitable for audio.

Issues we had with producing the content (writing, recording, editing, etc.): The main issue for producing content is maintaining the schedule, as we have to post it at the correct time to make sure the content is fresh. Other issues we had was finding the best method for attributing sources.

Technical issues (with WordPress or Alexa, etc.): No issues that we have noticed yet, the content is published through Get Storyline and the audio is coming up when we ask Alexa. 

Other questions we ran into: No other questions we have to ask yet, but if something comes up we will e-mail Julie.

What we are going to do this week. Things to improve. Who is doing what: This week, we are making sure we are consistent with out posts so we have a week’s worth of content. We can improve the quality of the posts by making sure the converted story is suitable for listening rather than reading. Next up I believe is Tiana who will be posting Monday and Tuesday.

How we are going to test our skill this week: We will continue to check to see if the audio is coming through clear and concise. We will also be adding SSML to add some flavor in the story when necessary (especially for the fun stories!)

Help we need: No help needed yet, but we will contact immediately if it is necessary.

Team California Speaks update 2018-04-11

What we did the past week:
I spent the past week learning about how Amazon Web Services works, and modifying the existing skill code to store all of the files on AWS. It should theoretically work using the AWS Lambda interface that Alexa recommends but I don’t think it actually does yet.
Technical issues (with WordPress or Alexa, etc.):
A lot of the AWS documentation seems outdated. But I got it mostly working with trial and error.
Other questions we ran into:
How much money are people willing to pay to make this work? It seems like we will pass the free limits eventually.
What we are going to do this week. Things to improve. Who is doing what:
I’m going to make sure the basic functionality works, and the downloading and encoding process fully works on AWS. If there’s time afterwards I’m going to implement the “search” functionality.

SJSU NEWS week 1 Status report

`Nick built the app, but stopped short of publishing as it was thought to be a better idea to spend longer in development and use wordpress pro to steam both text and audio. Nick wanted the user to have more options than just asking for their “flash briefing” assuming people would want to set that to a more official news service. Nick was the only one in class, and wanted the ability for us to apply our new knowledge of dialogue trees with Alexa.
The user will cue the skill by enabling SJSU NEWS and saying
“Alexa, open SJSU NEWS” through the amazon skill store.
Nick is currently hoping that the user will be able to ask for the weekly or daily stories.
Weekly would be an 1 minute 30 second  
Daily will be 40 to 80 word stories built for Alexa to read as we test this feature.

Jessica send over a voice story to publish about the campus response to a burglary and
Jose adapted 2 stories to our format on 4/11

As of 4/11 4 stories are prepared, but technical problems with posting and understanding off the app are holding us from publishing.

Nick created a spreadsheet overview over the weekend

Here is a link to our team drive where we plan to collaborate.

Weekly Status Update

Team Name (tag this post with your team name as well): SJSU Crime Watch

What we did the past week: Posted one flash briefing. Gathered info for one in-depth story.

Issues we had with gathering material (finding sources, verifying facts, interviews, etc.): The material is not posted on the SJSU crime bulletin in real time so we have to wait 24 hours before we can see it. Our posts will include events from the previous day instead of the day of publication.

Issues we had with producing the content (writing, recording, editing, etc.): None

Technical issues (with WordPress or Alexa, etc.): Vinny cannot access storyline.

Other questions we ran into: None

What we are going to do this week. Things to improve. Who is doing what: This week we will produce an in-depth story and update SJSU Crime Watch skill every day or as many days as there is content on the crime log.

How we are going to test our skill this week: Ask Alexa to read the in-depth story.

Help we need: Ideas for future in-depth stories.

Skill Pitch


User: Alexa, open The California Scene.

Alexa: OK. Would you like to hear upcoming events or daily news?

User: Daily News.

Alexa: OK. Here is today’s view of The California Scene.

Reporter: Justin Bieber was spotted two blocks away from Selena Gomez’s Malibu home holding two cups of iced coffee. Did someone say at home Starbucks delivery? The Biebs tweeted at Gomez later that day saying, “Maybe I should become your personal door dash.” Stay tuned to your daily view of the California Scene to see if the love is still alive between the two.

Alexa: Would you like to hear upcoming events near you?

User: No, thanks.

Alexa: OK. I hope you enjoyed your view of The California Scene. Goodbye.

8 Assignment

Part I:

The skill I would like to create is an air quality advisor. The Skill will tell people what the air quality is like in their area of the state. It will give information such as Air Quality Summery, Current Air Quality, Air Quality Forecast, Incidents and Advisories, and tell users if it is Spare The Air day.

I chose this idea because I a very active person and like to hike and do outdoor activities. I remember how bad the fires were around the state last year and how hard it was to find out information the air quality on the web and on the news for a specific location. I think knowing what air quality is like would be useful to anyone who has a job that is outside, people planning a trip, going to a outdoor event, or taking part in out door sports. People don’t always know what precautions to take or how to plan when it comes to air quality. The information is available in other places but the websites are hard to navigate and the news gives a general rating for the area not a specific location. The name of the skill is Blue Skies.

Part II:


User: Alexa open Blue Skies

Alexa: Welcome to the Blue skies skill. I can tell you the current air quality, give you the 5 day air quality forecast, tell you about incidents and advisories tell you if its a spare the air day or give you the air quality summery which would you like to here.

User: Current Air Quality

Alexa: The current air quality is good with an AIQ of 46 the pollutant types present are Ozone. The current color level is Green. No health impacts are expected”

Alexa: Thank you for using the blue skies skill.

Scrip 2:

User: Alexa ask Blue Skies if its a Spare The Air Day

Alexa: there is no Spare the air advisories in effect today. No health impacts are expected. Barbecuing and wood burning stoves/ fireplaces are okay to use.

Alexa: Thank you for using the blue skies skill.

Part III:

Part IV:

The data for the skill would come from and the skill would use Alexa voice and SSML


Week 8 assignment

Part 1. This skill will give users news related to their local beaches. For example, how busy it is (determined by traffic), shark sightings, crime reports, weather, upcoming events, wave heights, Shark reports, local restaurants, weather (wind speed) ,  areas to surf, areas with bonfires, areas to skate (or like what kind of wheels are allowed), traffic (lightest/ heaviest traffic) (alternate routes) Inform users of upcoming events happening in the area, and general local news.

I chose this idea because I am from San Diego and I go to the beach a lot which is what gave me the idea. Than I spoke with my three sisters who all currently live in San Diego and these were some of things they were interested in knowing. I think knowing the traffic and how busy the beach is at the moment would be the most useful because I know a lot of times we head out to go to the beach and then to get their and see that there’s a million people there so we end up driving to another one when it would have been nice to know before we got there. In general I think people don’t always know what to do or need help planning their day and I think this skill would help. As well as provide local news to a very specific area. I think there will be two sets of users for this skill. First people who are local to the area and then tourist. I think the people who would interact with this skill will be trying to plan their day or weekend. So they would be using the skill in their homes right before they leave to go visit or spend a day at the beach or, they could also be using it in the car on the way to the beach. It will make planning your day or vacation easier. I think this skill allows users access to multiple resources all in one. The information might be available in other places but this skill brings it all together. The name of this skill is the Beach Report. I chose San Diego just as an example I think the skill could be used all throughout California. 

Part 2.


User: Alexa open Beach Report

Alexa: Welcome to the Beach Report. Would you like to hear local news, weather, traffic reports or more topics?

User: Weather

Alexa: In what area would you like to know the weather?

User: Pacific beach

Alexa: It is currently 72 degrees and partly cloudy.

User: Thanks.

Alexa: Your Welcome. Is there anything else I can help with you?   

User: Yes, what’s happening at mission beach today?

Alexa: Today the grunion run will begin. Would you like to hear more about it.

User: No

Alexa: Ok.  Would you like…

User: Alexa how high are the waves in La Jolla.

Alexa: Currently the waves are 1 to 2 ft or ankle to knee high.

User: Are there fire pits at La Jolla.

Alexa: There are 6 fire pits at La Jolla Shores.

User: Thanks.

Alexa: Your Welcome. Would you like to hear more about your local beaches?

User: No, that’s enough.

Alexa: Ok, enjoy your day at the beach.

Part 3. Link to map

Part 4. For this skill the data would come from, GPS and I think mainly local news sources. So in this case my focus was San Diego so the sources could be the San Diego Reader, (wave, wind, and tide reports) as well as the information from the city of San Diego website. I would also like to track how many people are in a certain area or how long the wait is at a certain restaurant near the beach is. I know google does this but I am not sure how we could do that with Alexa.

Nicholas Girard Week 8, presentation intro, audio portion, and flow chart link

After tossing out many more complex ideas, a few concepts seem like they’ll be easier to understand on the user and programming side I came up with an Idea that reads news from publishers near you with a local tag.

People don’t want to search for the news, and getting your local news can sometimes be hard to seek out. I’m aiming to increase the connection between a local and their local news agencies.

When I’m working in the kitchen or when I would hang out by myself, I wanted to just listen to NPR through tunein, but sometimes I wanted more local stories. Asking to read websites by name doesn’t work. Asking for stories from local publishers like the San Francisco Chronicle doesn’t work.
Now I’m introducing the idea for Alexa local news.
On first time setup, the skill will save a small bit of data that tells Alexa where to search.
IP to address isn’t very accurate, but the skill could play a story with 100 mile radius to search and still be just a few miles off without a problem, so we can use this and the “local” tag on newspaper websites to play samples, and with user permission, their full stories.
We can also search twitter with a list of names and play the story with the most retweets in a
We can also cross reference the papers with twitter usernames and “local” in the headline.
early development would just cover urban hubs in California to create the headline lists.

This is a mock interaction between a User and Alexa (myself) for a news service.


User: Alexa open local news:

Alexa: Welcome to local news
Pick a local news source: 1.Mercury news. 2. San Francisco Chronicle 3. Silicon Valley Business journal

User: 2
Alexa: Here are a few headlines to choose from
1. The Regulars: Carpenter crafts cable cars’ beauty


  1. SF on verge of banning sales of new fur clothes


  1. Comments on housing bill disappear from SF candidate Kim’s Facebook page


User: 2

Alexa: Much to the chagrin of Union Square clothiers, San Francisco is on the fast track to becoming the first big city in the country to ban the sale of new fur clothing.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote Tuesday to bar the sale of everything from mink stoles to fur-lined gloves to hats — even rabbit’s foot good-luck key chains. Owning furs would still be allowed, as would sales by secondhand and charity stores.

Berkeley and West Hollywood already have similar bans — but neither one has San Francisco’s reputation as a fashion center, let alone the number of stores that sell fur.

“It is estimated that around the world some 50 million animals are slaughtered in gruesome ways so that we can wear their fur and look fashionable,” said Supervisor Katy Tang, the ban’s author. “My hope is that it will send a strong message to the rest of the world.”

Alexa: do you want to hear more?

User: No

Alexa: Do you want to hear another SF Chronicle story?

User: Yes

Here are a few headlines to choose from
1. The Regulars: Carpenter crafts cable cars’ beauty

  1. SF on verge of banning sales of new fur clothes


  1. Comments on housing bill disappear from SF candidate Kim’s Facebook page

User: 1
Alexa: Luis Ferreira moved to San Francisco over 30 years ago from Madera, Portugal, with ambitions to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a master craftsman. Today, he serves as one of four carpenters who are given the unique responsibility of restoring and repairing San Francisco’s greatest tourist attraction, the cable car.

His specialty, according to his team, are the one-of-a-kind curves it takes to make the seats and roofing of the cable car.

“They learned that I have this technique to work on these garlands and curves and twists,” says Ferreira. “The better the challenge, the more I put my mind into it.”

The SFMTA Woods Division cable car shop does not build new cars from scratch; their only task is to repair and restore the 44 cars that are currently active in the fleet. Ferreira doesn’t see himself leaving his position anytime soon. He enjoys being a part of San Francisco’s history.

Alexa: do you want to hear more?
User: no
Alexa:  Do you want to hear another SF Chronicle story?
User: no

Alexa: Do you want to exit?
User: Yes

Alexa: okay, just say Alexa: open local news when you want to come back.

Here’s how it works