A would-be burglar creeps up on a house that looks like a tempting target, only to find — darn, it’s not empty. He listens closer and overhears two average guys brainstorm what’s unique about themselves so they can start a podcast about it.
“Okay, you know how much I love ketchup, right?”
He thinks he’s not alone, so the burglar won’t be stealing into the house this day. Foiled, thanks to a new Alexa skill called “Away Mode,” a completely silly melange of conversations like, yes, the one mentioned above about average guys brainstorming a podcast. You enable it, and it plays any of seven bougie audio tracks written by vets of shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Saturday Night Live. To fool intruders into thinking you’re home, of course, and having lively conversations about annoying things.
From the actual product description on the skill’s Amazon page: “Away Mode is the first ever home protection skill that harnesses the power of human awkwardness to ward off unwanted visitors. It’s like that scene from Home Alone, except instead of cardboard cutouts, it’s insufferable conversations.”
In recognition of how silly and brilliant but mostly how silly this is, even the commenters on that page bring the same level of light-heartedness to their comments. Like the one commenter who listed pros (“This is quickly becoming one of my favorite skills”) and then, under cons, added this gem: “I wouldn’t ONLY rely on this for protecting your home. Like, don’t stop locking your doors.”
Here’s another conversation title among the available ones you can cycle through: Emergency PTA Meeting To Discuss Memes, Fidget Spinners, and Other Teen Fads. In another, people argue over a board game.
Techcrunch runs through some of the other examples here, which you can cycle through with a simple prompt of saying “Next.” You’ll hear other things, Techcrunch notes, like a mom explaining how to put furniture from IKEA together: “You put the cylinders into the holes. No, wait. Yeah. You put the cylinders into the holes. You see ’em? Good. Well, wait, hold on a sec. I think I missed a step. Now it’s saying you put that piece on what looks like a fully built dresser. When did that happen?”
If you’re trying to pull a Kevin McAllister and protect your home from the intrusions of the Wet Bandits, there are other Alexa skills you can also enable to make it seem like your house is not empty. They play everything from alarms to the sound of dogs.
But really, wouldn’t you rather listen to two guys try and figure out if there’s anything remotely interesting enough about their lives to make for podcast material?