Round up #158: free Fire from AT&T, CNN on the Fire

Round up #158: free Fire from AT&T, CNN on the Fire

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

AT&T giving away a Fire to new high speed U-Verse customers

People have suggested before that companies could give away tablets, particularly the Kindle Fire, in exchange for signing up for plans.

Well, AT&T is now doing that for new high speed U-Verse customers:

AT&T press release

I thought that, if it happened, it would be for the 4G model, but that appears not to be the case (although they aren’t specific). AT&T would make more money on the 4G data charges, but once you are on one wi-fi network, I would guess it is very “sticky”…you aren’t likely to change.

In fact, I’m considering not getting a data plan for my 4G model once the first bargain year is up. I very rarely use it, and a little pre-planning would probably mean that I would never use it…so it doesn’t make sense to me to spend more than $100 a year for the plan.

One reason for that is that XFINITY now has wi-fi hotspots, and that’s the carrier we use

XFINITY wi-fi site

That was a very pleasant surprise for me at work the other day. I don’t usually even look for wi-fi at work, because I know where it is (a nearby Whole Foods, for one). However, I hadn’t turned off the wi-fi before going out (I usually do, to conserve battery charge life…swipe down – Wi-Fi, and then I turn Airplane mode on). So, when I went to use it, I saw this unlocked XFINITY wi-fi network.

I’d seen commercials for it, but that doesn’t mean it is actually in your area. 🙂

I signed in, and no problem! Songza (my favorite music app) at work. 🙂 I was in a place where I could plug the Fire into power, so I was good.

You can see locations at the site I linked above.

There is an app to find locations, but it’s not currently in the Amazon Appstore.

This is CNN…on your Kindle Fire

Speaking of apps, this is one that appears to have escaped a lot of people’s notice:


That’s the problem with a soft launch, or not launching in all stores at the same time. People looked for it a while ago, didn’t find it…and now, of course, they aren’t looking for it again.

They give you the option of using James Earl Jones’ intro. I do remember at one point JEJ was complaining that CNN was using his voice…apparently not remembering that he had recorded it.  That’s how I remember it, and I apologize if that’s not right. They’ve recently relicensed his intro:

The Wrap article

I also remember hearing Jones talk about “that voice” years ago, and saying that like anyone else, his voice didn’t always sound the same…but for him, obviously, that was a different matter than for most people. I believe he called his voice a “fickle mistress”. 🙂

Gizmodo: “Why Do We Keep Making Ebooks Like Paper Books?”


Gizmodo article

by Kane Hsieh has some good points, and has been making the rounds. I first read it in Flipboard, and one of my readers, Glenn Starrett, alerted me to it as well (thanks, Glenn!).

It’s something that a lot of people have said…I wish I could find it again right now (and if I do, I’ll add it to this post), but somebody recently said that e-books emulating p-books (paperbooks) would be similar to what would have happened if Ford had first tried to make a mechanical horse to ease the transition. 😉

My impression of the article is that the author has recently arrived to the e-book scene, and hasn’t really looked at in depth. Some things that on the surface make a lot of sense (like $20 a month for all the books you can read, or a slightly more expensive p-book plus e-book bundle) simply have a lot more barriers than the article suggests. Still, I recommend that you read it, and feel free to give me and my readers your opinion by commenting on this post.

It can be very useful to have the insight of the naive, though. They can sometimes see right through the ontological jungle that obscures others’ vision, although they may also be wrong.

I loved it when a child called into a local radio host here who is an engineer and said (and I’m paraphrasing): “You know the black box that they find after an airplane crashes? Why don’t they just make the whole airplane out of that stuff, and then it won’t break?”

The answer, of course, is that the plane would be too heavy, but it shows you that sharp conceptual view.

Another story, which I’ve been told is true but I don’t know for sure, was about a truck that was too tall for an overpass on the freeway, and got jammed under it. Supposedly, a bunch of people are standing around (police, engineers), trying to figure out what to do…can they cut the overpass and lift it off the vehicle, for example?

A little kid seeing it says, “Why don’t you let the air out of the tires?” 🙂

That would have worked (the goal was to clear the road), and wasn’t what was being seen by others.

That’s one of those stories that if it isn’t true, it should be. 🙂

I’m going to give you two more thinking outside the box stories. 🙂

Again, I don’t know if these are true, but they are fun anyway.

One was a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of a company. The CEO had an ear chewed off by a dog as a child, so this boss only had one ear. The CEO says to HR that candidates will have a final interview with the big boss…they are looking for someone who thinks outside the box.

So, this one-eared CEO would sit down across from an otherwise successful candidate and say, “Do you see anything unusual about me?”

The first candidate said, “No, no, I don’t!”

The CEO advised against that person…you can’t have a dishonest person in the company.

The second candidate said, “Yeah, you only got one ear.”

Well, that was obvious…not an outside-the-box thinker.

The third candidate looked carefully and said, “You’re wearing contacts.”

The CEO gave a whole-hearted approval and the candidate was hired.

Weeks later, the CEO bumped into the candidate (now employee) and said, “You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you…how did you know I was wearing contacts?”

The employee replied, “You can’t wear glasses…you only have one ear.” 🙂

In another case, a university was rebuilt, with new buildings and a new campus.

The engineers wanted to know where to put the sidewalks.

The university President told them to wait, and the President would give them an answer.

Well, the engineers were really antsy about it…they wanted to get started. A year goes by with no sidewalks, and the President calls them into the office.

Engineer: “Are you going to tell us where to put the sidewalks, now?”

President: “Yes. See those paths that have been worn into the grass? Put them there…”


This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

2 Responses to “Round up #158: free Fire from AT&T, CNN on the Fire”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Your thoughts about possibly not renewing your data plan resonates with me in a couple of ways. First I got a Nokia 920 Windows phone on Black Friday from ATT, and I signed up for a 3 GB/month data plan. We’re now a little more than 4 months in to the contract, and looking over my bills, I see that my data usage for the four months is less than 100 MB total! It seems like everywhere I go, there’s WiFi. Even if it’s password protected, once the password is entered on my phone, it’s remembered forevermore.:grin

    Cellular companies are increasingly crafting their business plans around data usage fees (offering unlimited voice & messaging at break-even fixed monthly rates)..But the increasing prevalence of WiFi everywhere puts their business models at risk IMO.

    Makes me consider what other business models might be at risk (I’ll pass on the big6 publishing business model issues — as we’ve beaten that one to death 🙂 ).

    Instead I’ll mention the broadcast TV network business model. For years broadcast (free) TV was paid for by advertising. For quite a number of years now, advertising has been insufficient to finance the big broadcast networks. These days re-transmission fees paid by the cable companies has carried the broadcast networks’ water, Recently, a small company, Aereo, has won an appeals court ruling that allows them to rebroadcast Over The Air (OTA) network signals (captured from Aereo’s antennas) over the internet. This drives a stake through the retransmission fee revenue model. Today in an interview, the COO of Fox suggested that the Fox broadcast network might consider turning themselves into a cable network, and leave the OTA environment completely (this sorta reminds me of the move by Big Radio off the AM band onto FM — leaving AM to become the wasteland it is today — albeit a highly profitable one :grin). Might the same thing be about to happen to OTA?

    Lastly, the EU has stated their dissatisfaction with Google’s privacy policies. Some of the EU’s concerns with Google’s unifying the privacy policies of all their myriad products seems misguided. OTOH the notion that internet businesses should disclose to their customers what data about them they are keeping, what they are doing with it, who gets to see it, and provide for an opt-out provision seems to be where we are heading. This of course throws almost all of the existent schemes for monetizing the web out the window. Many products and services now free may suddenly have to be paid for. I’m starting to see paywalls raising their malodorous heads more and more — ah well…

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      A great comment, as always!

      While I think we might end up paying for some things that are now free, I believe the currency of the realm may be our personal information and our willingness to look at things based on that information.

      I think it’s going to be very tough to get New Millenials (and younger) to pay for content on a regular basis. I don’t see them forking out $5 a month to watch ABC, for example.

      However, I do see this model:

      We allow our personal information to be available to somebody, such as Google. That would include things like what you watch (or read), for how long, and so on. Google charges sellers to show us targeted ads based on that information.

      Those might not be content providers…after all, you’d be getting the content for free. However, your viewing habits might make a likely buyer of other products…do people who watch Duck Dynasty buy the same things as people who watch Project Runway? Probably not…

      Hm, this is probably worth a post by itself. I’m going to be away from the computer for a few days towards the end of April, and maybe I’ll write it ahead for then.


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