Alexa can help track Santa too
DENVER (AP) — Alexa, where’s Santa?
Amazon’s diligent, computerized know-it-all is the latest technology to enlist in NORAD Tracks Santa, the military-run program that fields phone calls and emails from children around the world eager to ask when Santa will arrive.
NORAD Tracks Santa went live Sunday, with about 1,500 volunteers answering calls and emails at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Updates were posted on social media and at www.noradsanta.org
Those who have Amazon’s voice-activated Echo device were able to ask Alexa, once they enabled the function.
Technology has always been at the heart of NORAD Tracks Santa, which got its start in 1955 with an old-school glitch.
An advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper that year invited kids to call Santa, but it mistakenly listed the number for the hotline at the U.S. Continental Air Defense Command. CONAD, as it was called, had the job of monitoring a vast radar network from a combat operations center in Colorado Springs, searching the skies for any hint of a nuclear attack by the onetime Soviet Union.
Col. Harry Shoup, who was in charge of the operations center, took the first child’s call. Once he figured out what was happening, he played along, he said in a 1999 interview with The Associated Press.
“Here I am saying, ‘Ho, ho, ho, I am Santa,'” said Shoup, who died in 2009. “The crew was looking at me like I had lost it.”