Kids these days are pretty impressive.
One teen may be picking the next location for the next NASA Mars rover mission, another is finding new ways for the blind to access the internet, and yet another has just developed a new Alexa skill called CloudStatus that lets you check the status of Amazon Web Services (AWS). What have you accomplished in your few decades of life, eh?
The latest Alexa accomplishment comes from 14-year-old Kira Hammond, the daughter of an “AWS Community Hero and Internet startup technologist” named Eric Hammond, who “wanted a simpler, easier way to access the service availability info himself,” Amazon wrote in a blog about the new skill.
And like a resourceful father, Eric figured the best way to get what he wanted would be to teach his daughter how to get it for him (and of course, have her learn a new skill or two herself). So he capitalized upon her love for programming, and now, the entire Amazon community has benefited from the duo’s tenacity.
The new CloudStatus skill lets AWS users inquire as to the Services’ status — simply set it up by saying, “Alexa, enable the CloudStatus skill,” and from there, you can ask a whole host of questions about AWS and whether or not it’s working.
“Programming is so much fun and so rewarding! I enjoy making tools so I can be lazy,” Kira told Amazon. “Coding can be challenging (even frustrating) and it can be tempting to give up on a debug issue. But, oh, the thrill that comes after solving a difficult coding problem!”
This is by no means the first skill Kira has built. In fact, she’s quite the expert at this point, despite the fact that she hasn’t any formal training in programming. Whenever she would hit a roadblock, she called upon dear old dad, who never did anything for her, but simply set her in the right direction.
“I pointed her at resources and recommended things to explore. I helped her sometimes when she ran into problems, but she solved most of them herself with Google and Stack Overflow,” said Mr. Hammond.
And Kira’s certainly not done programming, or even with CloudStatus. “I don’t think it’s possible to finish a program for good! There’s always something to add or learn about — right now it’s Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML),” she said.
Looks like our technological future is brighter than ever, and it’s all thanks to teenagers like Kira.