Pleasantly Surprised by Technology that Works

If a device is meant to make our lives easier, its interface with us should be simple, clutter-free, intuitive and does not require specific tweaks from its users.  I may have found just that device!

When my wife got my 9-year-old an Amazon Alexa Echo Dot, you should see my face twitching.  I thought to myself: “not another piece of junk that’s going to meet its fate in the dumpster.”  My wound was still fresh coming out of trying to use Siri to text people and find information on some of the most routine things.  After trying to text with Siri several times, it almost made me think that I wasn’t good enough to use an AI or I should go back to grade school to learn to form sentences!  Not so with our new friend Alexa.  From across the room, my 9-year-old asked Alexa to play Taylor Swift songs:  “Alexa, play Love Story by Taylor Swift.”  Alexa happily obliged and started to play “Love Story.”  Then after getting tired of the slow pace of the song, my daughter asked Alexa to play the next song.  Alexa happily stopped “Love Story” and started to play “You Belong With Me.”  Then before the song ends, she decides to enjoy a moment of silence.  Alexa paused with its blue glow on around its top to listen attentively and then happily obliged again after my daughter said “quiet please.”  Alexa is not only good at playing songs, it also provides answers to weather, math, location and many other questions correctly.  To add to my “pleasure” of using Siri, I asked for the location of the closest bank as I couldn’t remember exactly where the bank was while I was driving and when I was about 1000 yards from it.  It kept directing me to another branch that’s about 6 miles away.  Only when I was about within 500 yards from it that it finally dawned on Siri that my destination had been there all along!  That was the final nail in Siri’s coffin for me.  I get it, each AI is supposed to be good at some specific things based on the data available to it.  I found Alexa to be responsive, inexpensive and accurate on a lot of things I care about.  I started to use Siri several iterations ago but it appears Amazon has demonstrated to us what a worthy AI should be able to do.


About Cheng-Ning Jong

The focus of Mr. Jong’s patent practice before the USPTO is in patent preparation and prosecution, starting from boiling down each client’s invention into its essence to securing the broadest possible claims for my clients based on their commercial goals. Mr. Jong is a strong believer in educating his clients in the patenting process so that he can spur the creation of new concepts and embodiments never considered before. Mr. Jong’s approach often results in patent clients leaving his office with a wealth of knowledge about patenting in general and more specifically in the materials expected of them from his office.

Mr. Jong is a Registered U.S. Patent Agent (Registration No.: 56551) and also a licensed Professional Engineer (Registration No.: 083586) in the state of New York. Mr. Jong is also the founder/owner of, an automated service that helps casual patent readers and patent practitioners alike, in more quickly grasping and analyzing the concepts of existing inventions and also your own patent drafts.