With my wife gone for two weeks, this s a perfect time for me to test the Mycroft AI and Review. In a previous post, I talked about installing the OS on a Raspberry Pi and why I did not just install it on one of my Macs
Installation using the dedicated OS on a Raspberry Pi was very easy. Basically using my mac to create a disk image on the SD card, Inserting the SD card and booting the Raspberry Pi. Easy stuff.
Once it was done booting Mycroft went to work installing all the updates. This took a little bit of time but was far from a painful experience as it did all the work.
You do need to pair the device with the Mycroft webpage. This is not difficult but I do recommend that you have an account before you do the installation as Mycroft will keep repeating the pairing instructions over and over till you do. This is annoying when you forget your password.
The fact that Mycroft will work on a Raspberry Pi is a good thing. Unlike Siri on a Apple computer a Raspberry Pi is actually smaller than your iPhone and can be set up in a permanent location out of the way. I am considering mounting the device somewhere using my 3D printer.
Seeing what Mycroft is thinking via the command-line interface.
During the installation I had the Raspberry Pi hooked up to one of my monitors. To my surprise Mycroft went directly into the CLI and started to display what it was thinking. This did two things for me. I got to see what words it was actually capturing giving me faith in the aspect that Mycroft is not spying on me.
Also I do find it interesting that I have the ability to remote into the device via SSH. I can also enable or disable SSH via voice command. How cool is that.
I’m currently using the default Voice for Mycroft. Unlike the other Voice assistants, the voice is not as polished as the others. There have been a few times where I did not understand what was being said however for the most part Mycroft is easy to understand.
Unlike Siri and Google Voice I have noted that Mycroft seems to understand me better. I am not sure if this is software related or that all my other devices are set for Australian English (For spelling) Making it so the those voice assistants are listening for an Aussie Accent and gets confused with my Northern Californian way of speaking. In either case Mycroft is about 90% accurate with what I’m saying.
“Hey Mycroft what does prestidigitation mean ? ” Mycroft understood this command clearly.
When Mycroft does not understand a command it does save the command in a list of things for the developers to look at improving. This is a feature you need to install via a skill .
At the time of writing this Mycroft AI Review the list of skills for Mycroft at first looks limited until you start to notice that it connects to other forms of open-source home assistant software like https://www.home-assistant.io/ . So basically this device does everything google and Siri can do and more.
Installation of a new skill is very easy. “Hey, Mycroft install Dice” ( A skill that will roll a dice for you … important in a gaming household). That was it .. no coding.
One of the things I do not like about Siri and Google Voice is that the list of skills they have are not easy to understand and you have to do your own research to find out what is going on with that. The act of installing the skills with Mycroft made it easier to understand what it can do.
Alarms, timers and reminders
I did find timer setting easy to use. That seems to work without an issue. However I did find the alarm to be very annoying. I am sure that an update will fix the issue.
When I asked Mycroft to set an alarm to do something the alarm went off ok. The problem was I could not tell Mycroft to stop the alarm. My attempts to disable the alarm had altered some of the settings on Mycroft making it difficult to use.
The setting that was altered was the “Wake command aknolwlagement” this made it so I was unsure if Mycroft had heard me or not. It still worked but it made me unsure of what was going on. I was able to fix the issue using SSH and a simple edit. However this is something the average user my have a hard time doing.
Overall I’m happy with the results.
To close my Mycroft AI Review. At this point I’m very happy with the results. I’m going to resist tinkering with the skills or integration with the home assistant until after my wife gets home and has a chance to work with it. Though if this is something she is not happy with I will move it to the Workshop (AKA the Wizards Den) and use it there.