Another Grab Bag, Less Beaten by your Amazon Dot and Less Beaten by your Clinic

Holiday Grab Bag

Happy Holidays!

I hope you’re enjoying your holidays. I’ve been busy with family in town and haven’t had a bunch of spare time to post. My sister flew home today and I have a tad of breathing room, so here’s a quick update. I’m going to post how I solved the problem with Amazon/Alexa multi-room audio, an echo dot and a bluetooth speaker. Additionally, I’m going to talk about how to solve the problem of a long wait for a simple doctor visit.

First, Unlocking your Echo Dot

So, Amazon released multi-room audio for their Alexa-enabled devices. If you don’t know what that means, it means you can create virtual groups out of your Alexa devices and play the same music across the entire group. This is great. We have an original Echo in our kitchen and a Dot in our front room. That Dot is connected to a bluetooth speaker we have, a Samsung R1. The thinking here was that the Dot would drive the Samsung via a bluetooth connection, there was no need to buy another full echo just to get the sound quality.

The problem surfaced when my son played multi-room audio. The Dot would drop it’s bluetooth connection and play from it’s tiny built-in speaker that sounds terrible. After enough research, I found that multi-room audio drops the bluetooth connection by design. I had to figure a way around this.

So I bought the wrong device. I bought a bluetooth receiver. That failed quickly as I realized I needed a bluetooth transmitter. You see, the Samsung R1 has no aux audio jack, or I could connect it straight to the dot. The receiver was an obvious failure in hind sight, I wanted to SEND from the Dot, and RECIEVE at the Samsung. Once I realized my mistake, I ordered a transmitter. It arrived quickly via Amazon Prime (follow the link for a 30-Day Free Trial). I set it up and boom, no more crappy audio when doing multi-room audio.

I Hate Needing the Doctor When I Already Know What’s Wrong

No affiliate link here, just some great time and sanity saving advice. I hate going to the doctor, mainly because I hate the waiting game. My clinic is almost always completely booked when I have a cold that has grown into an ear infection or sinus infection (yes, I know antibiotics do nothing for a cold itself). Recently I’ve found a few alternatives to your standard doctor’s office for these basically transactional exchanges.

First, Let’s Just Take It To The Phones

Whatever your feelings on “Obamacare”, one of the great things it unlocked were telephone doctor services. Yes, we had all the technology to do this before, we just needed the government’s permission to interact with doctors as was convenient for us. Anyway, I became aware or a new service my insurance offered, Teladoc! This service lets you request a call or video chat with a doctor. In my case, I had a cold that turned into a sinus call. I registered for the service and requested a call. It took about 10 minutes total. Within 5 minutes I had a call, then I had a quick 5-minute chat and I had a prescription for Augmentin on it’s way to my local pharmacist. On top of that, the service cost half that of a standard doctor’s office visit. So, next time you have a simple ailment, consider giving them a call.

Okay, So You Have To Be Seen In Person

If you can’t get diagnosed over the phone (an ear infection perhaps), then the in-drugstore clinics can be a godsend. The local Walgreens in my town is in the Swedish Hospital Network, the same network as my Primary Care Provider. This service they refer to as Healthcare Clinics. They’re staffed by Nurse Practitioners and Medical Doctors and will prescribe non-narcotic medications. One benefit for me with Walgreens is I can simply book the appointment online rather than waiting on my local clinic’s always-busy phone line. The Bartell drugstore in our neighborhood has a Kaiser clinic. I’ve not used it, but I assume it’s similar. It’s for your minor ailments. You can get an appointment easily and not have to fight for priority at the urgent care and not have to wait a week for an appointment at your Primary Care. 

Well, that’s all for today. Hopefully one of these tips helps you or someone else out soon. Any “life hacks” *shudder* you have found?

Image Credits: StudioMONDO