More than 7,000 skills have been developed now for Amazon's Alexa-powered smart devices, the Echo and Tap. Not all of these skills are equally -- how should we say? -- useful.
It's one thing to tell Alexa to summon up the crackling sounds of thunderstorms. It's another thing to ask Alexa to give you a few words about bacon.
We've tried out 30 of the least-useful Alexa skills out there.
Like, for example: You can't just make up taco facts. You have to know your stuff. That's where Taco Facts comes in 'cause, you know, tacos.
This guy? Again? No, thanks, Alexa. We can live without hearing the minute details about how young Tom "grew up a 49ers fan and idolized Joe Montana."
This Alexa skill recites 13 "random" facts about meat. Mostly beef and bacon, in case you were curious.
Oh, god, I want a pet so bad. But which pet? Should I get a dog? A cat? A capuchin monkey? If only I were decisive, or within reach of Alexa so I could ask her, "Oh, Alexa, which pet is right for me?"
To be fair, this skill is billed as being "intended for students at Truman State University." So, maybe having no idea of what to wear is a thing there.
So, you've got two options: You can go to the squirrel page on the National Geographic website, or you can enable this skill and hear Alexa read you squirrel facts inspired by the squirrel page on the National Geographic website.
To recap: Sometimes there are no good options.
Want to hear something funny? Some people remain unaware of this thing called the interwebs that allows its users to tap a few keys and instantly receive the latest NBA injury reports.
Better to have Alexa slowly recite the list for you.
Dagnabbit! These darn websites and all their passwords demands! If only we had an Alexa skill that provides four random words, such as "radio," "tune," "log," "angle," and then, well, we don't know what.
Why would we remember those words if they don't mean anything to us? Plus, there are only four of them.
No numbers, no special characters? Dagnabbit!
You know what's fun about beer? Drinking it!
You know what's not fun about beer? Answering trivia questions about it!
This skill is in on the joke, providing you with stream-of-conscious tech talk about the cloud, AI and more. The big joke will be when a couple of Silicon Valley types bag venture-capital investors with Alexa's meaningless mumbo jumbo.
Sure, Alexa may fill you with taco knowledge, but how to proceed with actual taco filling?
Alexa comes to the rescue again with a skill that "helps you figure out what kind of taco filling you might want for dinner." (It does offer recipes, too, so there's that.)
This skill is for when you're in the mood for having some uke knowledge dropped on you. Also, it's a good excuse for us to post a picture of a dog with a ukelele.
"When called upon," this skill promises to "read a random celebrity death fact from 2016," which is really useful because celebrity deaths didn't get enough attention in 2016.
Well, here's something, uh, cool, we guess... Note: The information Alexa gives you about Nicolas Cage is not endorsed or affiliated with Nicolas Cage. Hmm...
Why is Ellen doing a spit take from 1933? Because she damn well knows the masters of the tech universe didn't wire our world in order to produce and promote G-rated humor.
This skill gives you "random trivia" about children "from a parent's perspective." So, what does that mean exactly? Wait for it: "Kids will be kids."
Enable this skill, ask it, "What are people feeling," and then... we have no idea. Alexa just starts going on and on about a bunch of feelings.
This skill "allows you to share your deepest secrets anonymously with other Alexa Owners," thereby rendering your secrets, um, not-so-secret anymore.
When high tech meets potato trivia, you get this skill, and that's moderately interesting, isn't it? No?
Turn to Alexa to get tried-and-true caveman advice on how to deal with the little woman, i.e. "Your wife is always right."
Oh, man, I went to all the trouble of putting on a hoodie and sweats. I feel like I should do something physical-like. But what? If only there was an Alexa skill that would suggest I lift weights.
Wait, there is?! Score!
So, yes, you just sneezed. But there's no one to comfort, to soothe, to say bless you. That's where this skill comes in.
Perhaps we're being too hasty. Perhaps in Grand Rapids, Michigan, there are more than two sides to every street. Perhaps you indeed need this skill to tell you which side to park on during the winter months because the answer, "This side -- or the other side," would be insufficient.