How to set and use Alexa as the default voice assistant on an Android device


This guide will show you how to configure an Android device to use Alexa as the default voice assistant. Read more ›

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How to continue using DirecTV Now on older 1st-Gen Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks

Earlier this week, DirecTV Now dropped support for the 1st generation Amazon Fire TV and the 1st generation Fire TV Stick. Several people have reported that the latest version of the DirecTV app works fine on these older devices if you sideload the app. You can use my Downloader app to sideload the app by entering the URL bit.ly/dtvfireapk or bit.ly/dtvfireapkmirror on the app’s home screen. For those of you who need detailed step-by-step instructions on how to sideload the app, see this guide. Just be sure to substitute the URLs from this post. There’s no way to know how long DirecTV Now will work with this method, but for now it does seem to work.

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How to fix grayed out disabled apps on the Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick

The latest Fire TV software update seems to have a bug that causes apps, specifically sideloaded apps, to be grayed out and disabled on the Fire TV home screen. Trying to access a gray app results in the message “This app is not associated with your Amazon account” appearing. It’s unclear why this is happening, but it likely has to do with changes the changes made to the apps row that allows Amazon Channels to appear. Thankfully, if you run into this issue, the fix is very simple. Read more ›

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How to disable Alexa’s new Brief Mode in order to bring back “Okay” responses

Amazon is starting to roll out a new Brief Mode for Alexa that reduces how much the voice assistant speaks in response to requests. The new mode appeared from some customers and then disappeared shortly after, but now it seems as if it’s here for good. While many customers love the new setting because it replaces Alexa’s verbal “OK” response with a quicker non-verbal confirmation chime, Brief Mode is catching a few people off guard because Alexa is offering to turn the mode on for you, instead of it simply being an option in the Alexa app. If you accepted Alexa’s request to enable Brief Mode but want to revert back to Alexa giving more verbal responses, here’s how to turn off Brief Mode. Read more ›

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How to continue using the original YouTube app on an Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick

Since Google hasn’t actually blocked the use of the old YouTube app on the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition television, this guide shows you how to install the old app so that you don’t need to use the Silk Browser or Firefox to access YouTube. Read more ›

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How to fix an empty or buggy Apps row on the Fire TV home screen

The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick suffer from an issue that occasionally causes the “Your Apps & Games” row on the home screen to either be empty or not be in the order that you configured. The issue seems especially common on the new Fire TV 3 right after you complete the initial setup process, where the row is completely blank. Here’s the way to fix this issue to restore quick access to your installed apps. Read more ›

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How to downgrade apps like Kodi on the Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick

This guide will show you how to downgrade an app on the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick (a.k.a. Firestick), and Fire TV Edition television. There are 3 methods to choose from, where one will not preserve your app’s user data and two will. This guide specifically shows you how to downgrade Kodi, but can easily be adapted to downgrade any app, as long as you can locate an APK file of the older version of the app. Read more ›

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How to modify an Amazon Echo Dot to play audio through both internal and external speakers simultaneously

Ever since the Amazon Echo Dot was released, the most common question I’m asked about it is if there’s a way to connect an external speaker without disabling the internal speaker. This is because many owners want to use their nice sound system when listening to music through the Echo Dot, but don’t want to have to always turn on or unplug their external speakers when asking Alexa a quick question or request. I set out to find a solution to this common gripe and here’s what I came up with. Read more ›

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How to automatically enable USB OTG support on boot on a rooted 1st-gen Fire TV Stick

The 2nd-generation Amazon Fire TV Stick has USB OTG support enabled by default from the factory. This allows you to use a USB OTG cable to connect USB peripherals like keyboards and ethernet adapters. If you have a 1st-generation Fire TV Stick that has been rooted, you can also enable USB OTG support, which I’ve covered here and here. The issue is that OTG support on the older Fire TV Stick gets disabled again every time the device is restarted. This guide shows you how to configure a Fire TV Stick 1 to have OTG automatically enabled by default on boot as it powers on, so you don’t need to do it manually every time. Read more ›

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How to automatically run shell script files at boot on a rooted Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick

Shell scripts are simply text files that contain a series of commands. Those commands can be entered manually into a shell prompt on a Fire TV device, but placing them in a script file gives you an easy and convenient way to run several commands at once. It also allows you to automate the running of those commands. This guide will show you how to configure a rooted Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Edition television to run shell scripts you add at boot up as the device powers on. Read more ›

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