Archive for August, 2017

Round up #160: Alexa expands, AWF Lockers arrive

August 30, 2017

Round up #160: Alexa expands, AWF Lockers arrive

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

Amazon Lockers arrive at Whole Foods

That didn’t take long!

On the second day of business for Amazon Whole Foods (they don’t call it that…I just like the initialism of AWF), there was an Amazon Locker bank in one near my work. That doesn’t mean they are everywhere yet, but this is a great development.

We use Amazon Lockers quite often. It’s a safe place for us to have packages sent: we have actually had Amazon packages stolen from our doorstep (it’s a problem in the neighborhood), so we normally have them sent to my Significant Other’s work. However, that often adds an extra day to us getting it (it goes to central receiving first), and, well, there are some things you may not want to open at work.

Now that we have two locations (one at Safeway, walking distance from home), one near where we work (I work different places, but this is one of the places I go the most), we can have holiday packages sent to the two different ones. My SO’s packages could go near work, mine could go near home, or vice versa.

Amazon Lockers are also great when you do returns! I definitely see this being valuable for offices in the area.

They are simple to use. Go to your account at Amazon, then to Your Addresses. Add a new address, and you’ll see a link for the lockers. You can search by address, zip code, landmark, or name. I saw the name at the Whole Foods, so it was very easy. Interestingly, when I put in the name of the one I wanted, it also showed me two in Australia…it’s international!

Then, when ordering, we just select that as an address. If it’s too big or can’t be sent there for some other reason, it will let us know.

They send you a code and a scan image when it arrives, then you have three days to get it.

Oh, and as I predicted: it’s not a neon orange. 🙂 While I have some color vision deficiency, it looks to me like a muted green…in the picture in this post, it looks browner than it actually is to me.

Alexa everywhere

While we aren’t seeing that much innovation in Amazon hardware lately (not like we did when Kindles were first released), they are greatly expanding their software and partnerships.

As Toni Reid, Vice President, Amazon Alexa said in this

press release

they’ve added dozens of features recently.

That press release was about being able to send music to specific Alexa devices…even to multiple devices at the same time (by naming a group, like “downstairs”). This really enhances what you can do with it, and should allow for “surround sound” type effects.

Eventually, this could be combined with the ability of the

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

to know when you are there (it sleeps when there isn’t activity in the room, wakes up when you are there) to have the music “follow you”. You could be listening to a podcast like Len Edgerly’s

The Kindle Chronicles

in the upstairs bedroom, have it pause (automatically…no intervention on your part) as you stepped out of the room, and then resume again when you got to the downstairs family room.

I think we’ll get more of that sort of awareness from other Alexa devices eventually…that’s one major area of development in technology right now, better world sensing.

After that press release, there was already another major announcement in this

press release

Amazon and Alexa are partnering with Microsoft and Cortana so you can invoke the other one’s digital assistant on their devices. When this is done, you will have the ability to call up Alexa on Windows 10 devices, and Cortana on your

Echo family (at AmazonSmile*)

devices.

This might get me to use Cortana more. 🙂

I compared the four major digital assistants at the time in this post:

Alexa now does follow on questions!

I like Cortana, but it just hasn’t been as convenient for me to use.

Now, ideally, Cortana and Alexa would share information and their strengths, but I don’t see that happening. If Cortana knows that so-and-so is your Significant Other, I don’t expect it to tell Alexa that. 🙂

The way Alexa is improving its reach, I’m expecting that eventually, when I buy a new pair of shoes, it will say “You haven’t paid for these shoes yet,” in Alexa’s voice, instead of just old-fashioned squeaking. 😉

I don’t think we are done with hardware innovation at Amazon by any means, even though they’ve been doing partnering in that area (like in phones) in addition to Amazon branded devices.

We should get some very interesting announcements this month on hardware…at least, that’s my guess. 🙂 The original

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which I call the tower, has been on a 44% off sale…and is now indefinitely sold out. I do think there is a pretty good chance that means we get a new model announcement soon.

I also think we could see a VAM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged reality) device from Amazon this year, although my “official prediction” has only been for a big move, which could be only software/services. I’m feeling the lack of Prime Video in VR currently. I’ve started watching the latest iteration of The Tick (my favorite previous one was the cartoon version…I didn’t enjoy the 2001 Patrick Warburton version as much…I think Warburton’s dry humor may not have been enthusiastic enough). I would watch it at work when I workout at lunch if it was available…which means I won’t watch as much of it as quickly.

Hmm…running out of time this morning (I wrote more on these topics than I expected, so a few headlines):

What do you think? Have you seen Amazon Lockers at your AWF? Have you seen Amazon devices for sale there (I haven’t yet, but I’ve had people mention it)? What hardware innovations would you like to see in Amazon’s next announcement? What software? Will you switch between two digital assistants on one device? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

My  current Amazon Giveaways:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile*)

That collects the first 101 posts in this blog. I didn’t stop at 100 because I wanted to include all of my Sherlock Holmes story

A Kindle Abandoned

That’s a random giveaway, and will end in eight days. I do ask that you watch a twenty second video of one of our dogs when you enter…you know, we’re hoping it goes viral. 😉 Ideally, it would show up on the  Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)…that would be so cool!

Here is the link:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/de03be17bb4d0ecb

and the details:

Start:Aug 28, 2017 4:42 AM PDT
End:Sep 5, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 8 winners.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Watch a YouTube video
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Advertisements

It’s ILMK’s 8th birthday…and I’m celebrating with two giveaways!

August 28, 2017

It’s ILMK’s 8th birthday…and I’m celebrating with two giveaways!

August 28, 2009: the I Love My Kindle blog begins with this post:

Oh…um, Hi!

While I have predicted a few things correctly over the years (and been wrong on some others), I could never have predicted what the experience of writing this blog would be like!

It’s been wonderful! I’m not saying that was a surprise. 😉 I’ve been writing and/or doing other creative things for a very long time, and I’ve always enjoyed it and found fulfillment in it.

Rather than that, I’d say the biggest surprise has been how collaborative it has been.

Generally, when you write something, it’s a pretty solitary activity. Even when I’ve written with others, it still largely happens in your own head. Then you put it out there, and while you might get some feedback, it’s mostly finished once it leaves you.

With a blog, it’s different. For the first bunch of years, I posted every day (now, it’s more often several times a week). When I write the post I usually invite, and actively encourage, comments. I then can respond to those (and do, to almost all of them…in some cases, no response is necessary), and we may have a real dialogue. I would guess that there are some posts where I’ve written more in the comments than I did in the original post!

I can learn a lot in those exchanges with my readers, and they can get me to see what I’ve said and thought from a different perspective. I really appreciate that!

Based on that, I may (and have) revise a post, making it better (and typically crediting the commenter for helping with that), or write another post further exploring that topic.

I couldn’t do that easily with a book or a play or even when I was doing an “e-zine”, as we used to call them. With a blog, there is a site where people can go back and find it, so if they do, they get a better read. The international nature of blogging (I have readers around the world, which is cool!) also means people read it at different times, so I may improve the post before some people see it.

Polls are another way that people can give me their opinions (and in that case, do so without any identifying information), and I’ve had a lot of fun with those! I’ve also changed the blog based on them (largely dropping book reviews here, for example, and I stopped using the term “Mindle” for the least expensive Kindle).

Thank you to my readers and commenters for doing this together!

What I cover has also changed. When I started this, I pictured mostly writing about tech tips for the Kindle, and some about the Kindle culture (which was still developing). It really grew out of the Kindle forums, which I was visiting multiple times a day, most of the time.

I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, and a techie going back to the punch card days…and a trainer for a long time. Helping people by writing about the Kindle made sense.

However, just as Amazon has greatly expanded what it does, so have I. It’s not really possible to write about the Kindle without writing about Amazon. Amazon started out as a bookstore, but that’s only a small part of what it does now. For me, the Kindle and e-books are still my primary focus, but I didn’t think I’d be writing about grocery stores! 😉

I do plan to check in again with my readers about the topics I cover and the way I write about them…that helps me decide how to try to improve the blog going forward. I think I’ll leave that for another post, although I welcome your feedback.

Here are the most popular posts since ILMK started (over a million views!):

Title Views
Home page / Archives 1,018,258
Which Kindle do you have? 165,869
The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX 105,547
Got a new Kindle? Here’s the most important thing to know 81,696
You can now reset your Kindle password yourself 80,600
What to do if your Kindle is lost or stolen 64,022
Parental controls and your Kindle 50,568
Amazon: “Deregistering the Kindle will remove all content from the device” 40,998
Why I don’t use Amazon’s Silk browser 27,684

It’s telling to me that the second most popular post is something that is effectively a tech tip…and that you wouldn’t guess would be an issue at all. 🙂

In the past, I’ve made some of my books free on ILMK’s birthday, but I wanted to do something different this year. Now that Amazon has its

Amazon Giveaways (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and I’ve had so much fun with those, I’m going to give away eight Kindle versions of

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile*)

That collects the first 101 posts in this blog. I didn’t stop at 100 because I wanted to include all of my Sherlock Holmes story

A Kindle Abandoned

That’s a random giveaway, and will end in eight days. I do ask that you watch a twenty second video of one of our dogs when you enter…you know, we’re hoping it goes viral. 😉 Ideally, it would show up on the  Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)…that would be so cool!

Here is the link:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/de03be17bb4d0ecb

and the details:

Start:Aug 28, 2017 4:42 AM PDT
End:Sep 5, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 8 winners.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Watch a YouTube video
18+ years of age (or legal age)

However, I also know that many of my readers already have that book. 🙂 I’ve given it away many times. So, I’m also doing this: I’m going to give a $8 Amazon “gift card” (it will be electronic). I’ll randomly select one winner from everyone who comments on this post before this coming Sunday (September 3rd, Pacific Time). That way, you can get whatever you want. 🙂

Good luck in both giveaways, and thank you for a great (first?) eight years!


My other current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

The Amazon-Whole Foods era starts tomorrow (Monday August 28): what to expect

August 27, 2017

The Amazon-Whole Foods era starts tomorrow (Monday August 28): what to expect

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods closes tomorrow, Monday August 28th.

Generally, when Amazon has taken over a company, customers haven’t seen a whole lot of changes.

That’s not going to be the case this time…and I think, mostly for the better.

That’s especially true for

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

members.

A lot of focus when the deal was announced was on how Amazon was going to market their website and services at Whole Foods (even with speculation that they would convert some stores into fulfillment centers and/or pick up locations). I didn’t see as much talking about what changes current Whole Foods customers would see.

Well, in this

press release

Amazon gives us some solid information.

Lower prices

That happens right away…on Monday. Not on everything, but on a “selection” of what they call “best-selling staples”. They are listing some kinds of produce. This will be a welcome change for many people. We shop at Whole Foods every week…and at Safeway and Trader Joe’s, and less often, at Sprouts. 🙂 We are vegetarians and low carb (we have pretty healthy diets) and one disadvantage of that is having to shop more often (since you tend to eat more perishable foods). We’ll save some money this way. This feels a bit like when Amazon started the Kindle store, and discounted some bestsellers to $9.99. Some people misunderstood that as $9.99 being the maximum for any e-book, but they never said that. 🙂 I suppose there may be some people who walk in expecting Costco prices now, but I think that will be uncommon. Some people will actually be put off by Amazon lowering the prices. As the former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore (and with other retail experience), I know that there are people who want to pay luxury prices for luxury goods. That’s not the case for most people, though.

It’s possible that people will need to stop jokingly calling it “Whole Paycheck”. 😉 It may also change the clientele a bit, possibly. This is a funny (but not entirely safe for work) video which I thought did capture some of the feel of Whole Foods:

(It’s Getting Real in the) Whole Foods Parking Lot YouTube video

If that does feel does start to change, it wouldn’t surprise me to see current Whole Foods employees quit to start another high-end (maybe even higher end) grocery store. I think they would have a tough time making that work, but it could happen.

That’s not to say that I think Whole Foods will start feeling like an Albertsons…but it may become more affordable.

Whole Foods house brands available through Amazon

This one isn’t a benefit in the store, but it does help Amazon customers and it expands the reach of Whole Foods. We’ve certainly bought these, including Whole Paws (pet food/treats). One interesting piece of this is that these aren’t just becoming available though Amazon.com, but will also be part of AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry, and Prime Now (one hour delivery, in some places).

Here is some information from Whole Foods on those brands:

Whole Foods Market Our Product Lines

This just seems like a plus all around, except that some people were probably drawn into the physical stores to get those products. People can become very loyal to their grocery brands, and my understanding is that it is better not to change your dog’s food very often.

Amazon Lockers in Whole Foods Markets

This is also something which we currently use, and like a lot.

The basic idea is simple: you have your Amazon items sent to a locker location, then pick it up there (instead of at home or at work) with a code. You can see what they look like in this article of mine:

Amazon Lockers come to a Safeway near us

I was being funny when I said they would be made out of sustainably harvested bamboo at Whole Foods…but I do think they could have a less, um, bold color scheme. More in greens and browns would fit in better, and maybe with leaves painted on them.

Not everything can be sent there, and there is a size limitation.

We’ve had packages stolen from our doorstep, so we have our Amazon packages either sent to my Significant Other’s work or to an Amazon Locker (I don’t really have a place for outside packages to be delivered at work).

Now, it’s interesting to note that the Locker we currently use is in a Safeway. I don’t expect them to close the Safeway ones to make people go to Whole Foods. Our Safeway is open 24 hours, which is why this works well for us. However, we would start having some things sent to the WFM locker instead. Hm…maybe they would close the Safeway ones, but they aren’t exactly direct competitors on most things…they are more complementary.

Amazon Prime as the Whole Foods Customer Rewards Program

I’m reporting this one last, because it is perhaps the most significant.

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

members will (eventually…this is an infrastructure change) get discounts and other benefits (exclusive items, bulk discounts perhaps). It will also become a rewards program for Whole Foods Market: you know, buy ten artichoke goat cheese pizzas, get one free. 😉

I don’t know that this will get the average Amazon Prime member (paying $99 a year, usually) to start shopping at WFM…but it might get people who shop at WFM to become Prime members (especially for exclusives). I do picture the most wealthy people getting groceries from Whole Foods, but not necessarily as being Prime members. This may get them to start.

One question, which Lady Galaxy, one of my regular readers and commenters already asked: how will they know you are a Prime member? Prime members already get discounts at Amazon’s physical bookstores (one just opened in San Jose, which is in my area, and another one is opening in Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area before the end of the year), so they have that figured.

They could do it by the Amazon shopping app on your phone. You could have it scanned at checkout, or it could just recognize it when you walk into the store through Bluetooth…sort of like Minority Report. 🙂 They could also have you just enter your e-mail address and Amazon password at check-out. Eventually, not right away, they could try what they have been testing with Amazon Express: checkoutless stores, where you use your phone. You could even pay for your groceries with your Amazon payment methods, hypothetically. They would likely always offer alternative, more traditional ways to pay, though.

There you go! Those are probably the biggest changes! Some things will stay the same, which as I mentioned is what Amazon does. It will continue to have the Whole Foods Market name. John Mackey will remain CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Whole Foods, and it will continue to be headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Gee, since it’s staying as Whole Foods, maybe they can refer to it as Amazon-Whole Foods, and when that synergism creates great things, they can say it is AWFul! Oh, wait a minute…on second thought… 😉

What do you think? Are you a Whole Foods customer now? If not, would this change that for you? Will you order WFM house brands through Amazon. If you walk into a Whole Foods Market and you see a display of Fires and Echo devices, how will you feel? I was thinking they could chain Kindles/Fires to the tables (with software limitations), so you could use them when you sit at the table to eat from the hot bar…good idea? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.


Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

September 2017 Kindle book releases

August 26, 2017

September 2017 Kindle book releases

While I don’t generally pre-order Kindle store books myself, I know many of you do.

I understand the fun of just having the book show up, but I figure I’ll order when I want it…since I could have it within a minute, usually.…

However, it’s worth noting that pre-ordering at a low price will tend to preserve that price. Back when the Agency Model was solidly in place, Amazon couldn’t guarantee that books sold by the publishers using that structure wouldn’t go up in price after you pre-ordered them. It wasn’t likely, it was just that Amazon couldn’t control it. We have largely returned to the Agency Model, but Amazon is allowed to discount in some circumstances

These aren’t necessarily the most popular of the pre-orders…I’m just going to list ones that catch my eye. Since we might not agree on that, here’s a link to the 9,447 titles listed as being released in the USA Kindle Store in September 2017 (that’s 2,500 more than last month!):

September 2017 USA Kindle store releases (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Of those, by the way, 1,405 (354 more than last time) are in

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

As usual, I won’t be deliberately linking to books which block text-to-speech access blocked**.

We’ve gone back and forth recently on whether the top four were the

Kindle First (at AmazonSmile)

picks for this month. Amazon doesn’t do these by popularity any more, they do them by featured…and this month, they are back on top, the same as last month.

Some of those Kindle Unlimited titles are way up on the list. I’m concerned (and I’ve alerted Amazon about it) that people are confused: they think they are pre-ordering a KU borrow, when they are actually pre-ordering a purchase. In other words, they may be thinking they’ll get the book at no additional cost, and actually be charged for it. Amazon has confirmed for me: you can not pre-order a borrow from KU.

Okay, books!

  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  • A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré
  • The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson’s (Millennium Series Book 5) by David Lagercrantz
  • Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown
  • The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin
  • Antifa: The Antifascist Handbook by Mark Bray
  • Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History by Kurt Andersen
  • The Paradigm: The Ancient Blueprint That Holds the Mystery of Our Times by Jonathan Cahn
  • No Ordinary Love by Mary Balogh
  • Secrets in Death: An Eve Dallas Novel (In Death, Book 45) by J.D. Robb
  • Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass) by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Girl Who Dared to Think 2: The Girl Who Dared to Stand by Bella Forrest (KU)
  • A Column of Fire (Kingsbridge) by Ken Follett
  • The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance by Tom Brady
  • Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau
  • Dark Legacy (Carpathian Novel, A) by Christine Feehan
  • Enemy of the State (A Mitch Rapp Novel Book 14) by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills
  • Proof of Life: A J. P. Beaumont Novel (J. P. Beaumont Mysteries (Hardcover)) by J. A. Jance
  • The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr
  • The Ghost and the Bride (Haunting Danielle Book 14) by Bobbi Holmes and Anna J McIntyre
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Enigma (An FBI Thriller Book 21) by Catherine Coulter
  • Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley (KU)
  • Close to Home (The Tracy Crosswhite Series Book 5) by Robert Dugoni (KU)
  • Layer Your Novel: The Innovative Method for Plotting Your Scenes (The Writer’s Toolbox Series) by C. S. Lakin
  • Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
  • The Romanov Ransom (A Sam and Remi Fargo Adventure) by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell
  • Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado
  • Savage (Dragonrider Legacy 1)Sep 26, 2017 | Kindle eBook by Nicole Conway
  • Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet (A Jesse Stone Novel) by Reed Farrel Coleman
  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
  • The Wind in His Heart by Charles de Lint
  • Led Astray by Sandra Brown
  • 16 SOULS by John J. Nance (KU)

That’s only a small fraction, and just ones that caught my eye. If you have other books being released to the USA Kindle store in September 2017 to suggest for me and my readers, you can do so by commenting on this post. If you are directly connected to the book (the author, the publisher) that’s okay…just identify yourself as such and make your comment in your own words (not as an ad).

Enjoy!

Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

ogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Round up #159: Brian Aldiss, Amazon device sale

August 23, 2017

Round up #159: Brian Aldiss, Amazon device sale

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

I was lucky to get this shot yesterday: it was overcast where I was in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the sun was only visible for about five seconds when I took it (just in the right place at the right time):

Scre

I zoomed in on it on my phone, and then did a screenshot, which is why it’s a bit fuzzy. I tweeted this, approximately: “That’s no moon, that’s a space sta– never mind, it is the moon.” 😉

Brian Aldiss has reportedly died

Brian Aldiss (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

was literally a Science Fiction Grand Master (that’s an actual title bestowed by the SFWA…Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and an inductee into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

Aldiss was not really an author who mainstream readers were going to embrace…quite simply, the work was often imaginative, even weird. That didn’t stop it from being adapted into movies a number of times, but a moviegoer who only sees a few movies a year wasn’t likely to see Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound or Brothers of the Head (conjoined twin rockstars…but much more than that), although many saw Steven Spielberg’s A.I., based on an Aldiss short story.

I’d say that the Helliconia series is probably the best known now.

Oh, and Aldiss was also a successful anthologist.

Definitely one that we geeks claimed as our own.

I just checked, and fortunately

Frankenstein Unbound (at AmazonSmile*)

is available as part of

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

at no additional cost to members.

If you are a KU member and want to try Aldiss, I’d start there. It’s actually the first thing that comes to mind for Aldiss for me, and it’s probably not what you expect.

Happy birthday, Ray Bradbury!

Today (August 22nd locally as I write this) is

Ray Bradbury‘s

birthday.

There was a time when Bradbury was one of the ABC’s of science fiction: Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke.

They were quite different, though.

Isaac Asimov was the polymath, the one who knew everything about everything. It was widely thought that Asimov had written a book (often one of the best on the topic) in every major section of the Dewey Decimal system, but I believe it turned out there was one missing. I think of Asimov (who I saw in person once, but didn’t know personally) as big-hearted and jovial.

Arthur C. Clarke was the scientist. Clarke was rational, even when writing later on in life about “oddball” topics. Clarke was quiet and wry, not like the larger than life Asimov.

Bradbury, though…Bradbury was the poet. Not that Bradbury only wrote poetry or that the other two didn’t write any, but even when writing prose, it was usually poetic. The Martian Chronicles, for example, is hardly hard science fiction like Andy Weir’s The Martian. Bradbury was the one of the three who got the most mainstream respect (including a special Pulitzer citation), and I sometimes doubted that the “science fiction author” label actually belonged there. A great writer and a geeky writer, certainly, but even Fahrenheit 451 is much more about people and society than a projection of technological and scientific trends. I’m not diminishing Bradbury, of course (or saying that science fiction writers can’t be great)…it was just interesting to me that the author seen as one of the best science fiction writers by the mainstream wasn’t typical of the traditional and narrow definition of the genre.

Amazon devices sale

Amazon’s

Back to School Sale (at AmazonSmile*)

includes significant discounts on Amazon Kindles, Fire Tablets, and especially on Echoes.

One of the biggest discounts is on the

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which is an absolutely giant 44% off, making “The Tower” only $99.99! That’s in either black or white.

I’ve seen it reported that this goes until September 4th, but I’m not seeing that on the product page. I do think it’s about time for an Echo “refresh”, a new model, so this could be designed to sell down existing stock.

Two other Echo devices are also on sale:

Each of the

Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) (at AmazonSmile*)

except for the top of the line Oasis is $20 off.

As far as the

Fire Tablets (at AmazonSmile*)

go, the Fire 7 is $39.99 ($10 off), the Fire HD 8 is $59.99 ($20 off), the Fire 7 Kids Edition is $20 off ($79.99), and the Fire 8 HD Kids Edition is $99.99 ($30 off).

Not on sale? The Fire TV family…because, you know, students never watch TV. 😉

The blossoming of quality TV often has its roots in books

Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, Thirteen Reasons Why, American Gods, Big Little Lies…the buzziest TV series nowadays are often (but not always) based on books.

Streaming television, which allows binge-watching, may be enabling this. Books are long and complicated, and it’s tough to adapt them to a movie (which is only a few hours long at most generally). Even a series of movies may find it a challenge. Even a short streaming series season is usually at least eight episodes of an hour each.

Another factor is that streaming television isn’t as restricted as broadcast television in terms of content…it is regulated differently. Netflix and HBO can have more nudity, violence, and “obscene language” than ABC or CBS, which gives it the flexibility to more closely capture some novels.

I think it also helps that the deep pockets and Emmy recognition of Amazon and others has drawn more movie stars to the small (in some cases, very small, as in SmartPhones) screen. Movie stars and creators, because of the freedom and resources.

That, in turn, helps attract more money.

Movies based on books are still part of the cinema landscape, of course, but The Dark Tower wasn’t exactly a blockbuster…and we’ll see how It does. I watched an “experience” of a preview for It in virtual reality yesterday. It had some scares and was creepy, but Tim Curry (full disclosure: I’m a big fan of Tim’s) was creepier. 🙂

We’ll see how it goes…


Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

 

 

Today’s KDD: “Top-rated Kindle best sellers, $1.99 & up”

August 20, 2017

Today’s KDD: “Top-rated Kindle best sellers, $1.99 & up”

Today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is one of my favorite themes Amazon does. It’s books which are both Kindle best-sellers and top-rated. That doesn’t mean you will have heard of all of them, but I would think most of my readers will have heard of at least one. 🙂

Remember that you can buy these books at the discount and then delay the delivery until the appropriate gift giving occasion, or print them out to give whenever you want…you could even wrap it, then. 🙂

Check the price before you click/tap/eye gaze (the last in virtual reality) that Buy button…the sale may not be happening in your country, and you may go to look after the sale has finished.

Titles include:

  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin | 4.8 stars out of 5 | 3,065 customer reviews | $2.99 at time of writing
  • Gravity by Tess Gerritsen
  • Too Late to Say Goodbye by Ann Rule
  • Rainwater by Sandra Brown
  • The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
  • Kisses from Kate by Katie J. Davis
  • Cruel Intent (Ali Reynolds #4) by J.A. Jance
  • The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande
  • Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwynne
  • Tangled by Emma Chase
  • A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux (when I was the manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I suggested that my employees read a book from every section…and to ask regulars for recommendations. I did that myself, and Jude Deveraux was recommended for romance: I did enjoy it)
  • Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
  • True Evil by Greg Iles
  • This Calder Sky by Janet Dailey
  • The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko
  • Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle
  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
  • Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
  • Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
  • I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
  • Luckiest Man by Jonathan Elg
  • Traveling with Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler
  • Once Upon Now by Ali Novak

Enjoy!


Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Read the book before you see the…eclipse

August 20, 2017

Read the book before you see the…eclipse

Monday’s (August 21st) solar eclipse is big news in the USA. It’s all over the news, and there are a lot of interesting ideas around it, including the emergence of South Carolina’s Lizard Man (I recently read a book about the Lizard Man, although I was already familiar with the story).

No doubt that a lot of people associate the idea of a solar eclipse with a visitor with superior scientific knowledge intimidating a group of people without that knowledge by “predicting” the extraordinary event, and convincing that group of their magical prowess.

SPOILER ALERT

While that’s been used many times since, it really comes from

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

first published in 1889.

While the ability to predict an eclipse isn’t necessarily technological, science fiction author

Arthur C. Clarke (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

put it this way in 1973 (84 years later):

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I’m not suggesting you skip (safely…use proper equipment or techniques) viewing the eclipse live to read Twain’s book…Vox has a great solar eclipse by ZIP code webpage where you can put in your ZIP code  (ZIP should be in all capitals, by the way…it’s an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan) and see what the eclipse will look like at what times for you (for $1.99, you can also get what sounds like a really cool app that tells you exactly what is happening when www.solareclipsetimer.com: . However, reading that scene beforehand may make you seem particularly erudite when you talk to other’s about the event. 😉

The book is in the public domain (not under copyright protection in the USA), so I’m going to include that scene in this post. If you want to read the whole book (legally free in the USA), I provided a link at the beginning of this post: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain.


CHAPTER VI

THE ECLIPSE

In the stillness and the darkness, realization soon began to supplement knowledge.  The mere knowledge of a fact is pale; but when you come to realize your fact, it takes on color. It is all the difference between hearing of a man being stabbed to the heart, and seeing it done.  In the stillness and the darkness, the knowledge that I was in deadly danger took to itself deeper and deeper meaning all the time; a something which was realization crept inch by inch through my veins and turned me cold.

But it is a blessed provision of nature that at times like these, as soon as a man’s mercury has got down to a certain point there comes a revulsion, and he rallies.  Hope springs up, and cheerfulness along with it, and then he is in good shape to do something for himself, if anything can be done.  When my rally came, it came with a bound.  I said to myself that my eclipse would be sure to save me, and make me the greatest man in the kingdom besides; and straightway my mercury went up to the top of the tube, and my solicitudes all vanished.  I was as happy a man as there was in the world. I was even impatient for to-morrow to come, I so wanted to gather in that great triumph and be the center of all the nation’s wonder and reverence.  Besides, in a business way it would be the making of me; I knew that.

Meantime there was one thing which had got pushed into the background of my mind.  That was the half-conviction that when the nature of my proposed calamity should be reported to those superstitious people, it would have such an effect that they would want to compromise.  So, by and by when I heard footsteps coming, that thought was recalled to me, and I said to myself, “As sure as anything, it’s the compromise.  Well, if it is good, all right, I will accept; but if it isn’t, I mean to stand my ground and play my hand for all it is worth.”

The door opened, and some men-at-arms appeared.  The leader said:

“The stake is ready. Come!”

The stake!  The strength went out of me, and I almost fell down. It is hard to get one’s breath at such a time, such lumps come into one’s throat, and such gaspings; but as soon as I could speak, I said:

“But this is a mistake—the execution is to-morrow.”

“Order changed; been set forward a day.  Haste thee!”

I was lost.  There was no help for me.  I was dazed, stupefied; I had no command over myself, I only wandered purposely about, like one out of his mind; so the soldiers took hold of me, and pulled me along with them, out of the cell and along the maze of underground corridors, and finally into the fierce glare of daylight and the upper world.  As we stepped into the vast enclosed court of the castle I got a shock; for the first thing I saw was the stake, standing in the center, and near it the piled fagots and a monk. On all four sides of the court the seated multitudes rose rank above rank, forming sloping terraces that were rich with color. The king and the queen sat in their thrones, the most conspicuous figures there, of course.

To note all this, occupied but a second.  The next second Clarence had slipped from some place of concealment and was pouring news into my ear, his eyes beaming with triumph and gladness.  He said:

“Tis through me the change was wrought!  And main hard have I worked to do it, too.  But when I revealed to them the calamity in store, and saw how mighty was the terror it did engender, then saw I also that this was the time to strike!  Wherefore I diligently pretended, unto this and that and the other one, that your power against the sun could not reach its full until the morrow; and so if any would save the sun and the world, you must be slain to-day, while your enchantments are but in the weaving and lack potency.  Odsbodikins, it was but a dull lie, a most indifferent invention, but you should have seen them seize it and swallow it, in the frenzy of their fright, as it were salvation sent from heaven; and all the while was I laughing in my sleeve the one moment, to see them so cheaply deceived, and glorifying God the next, that He was content to let the meanest of His creatures be His instrument to the saving of thy life.  Ah how happy has the matter sped!  You will not need to do the sun a real hurt—ah, forget not that, on your soul forget it not!  Only make a little darkness—only the littlest little darkness, mind, and cease with that.  It will be sufficient.  They will see that I spoke falsely,—being ignorant, as they will fancy—and with the falling of the first shadow of that darkness you shall see them go mad with fear; and they will set you free and make you great!  Go to thy triumph, now!  But remember—ah, good friend, I implore thee remember my supplication, and do the blessed sun no hurt.  For my sake, thy true friend.”

I choked out some words through my grief and misery; as much as to say I would spare the sun; for which the lad’s eyes paid me back with such deep and loving gratitude that I had not the heart to tell him his good-hearted foolishness had ruined me and sent me to my death.

As the soldiers assisted me across the court the stillness was so profound that if I had been blindfold I should have supposed I was in a solitude instead of walled in by four thousand people. There was not a movement perceptible in those masses of humanity; they were as rigid as stone images, and as pale; and dread sat upon every countenance.  This hush continued while I was being chained to the stake; it still continued while the fagots were carefully and tediously piled about my ankles, my knees, my thighs, my body.  Then there was a pause, and a deeper hush, if possible, and a man knelt down at my feet with a blazing torch; the multitude strained forward, gazing, and parting slightly from their seats without knowing it; the monk raised his hands above my head, and his eyes toward the blue sky, and began some words in Latin; in this attitude he droned on and on, a little while, and then stopped. I waited two or three moments; then looked up; he was standing there petrified.  With a common impulse the multitude rose slowly up and stared into the sky.  I followed their eyes, as sure as guns, there was my eclipse beginning!  The life went boiling through my veins; I was a new man!  The rim of black spread slowly into the sun’s disk, my heart beat higher and higher, and still the assemblage and the priest stared into the sky, motionless.  I knew that this gaze would be turned upon me, next.  When it was, I was ready.  I was in one of the most grand attitudes I ever struck, with my arm stretched up pointing to the sun.  It was a noble effect.  You could see the shudder sweep the mass like a wave. Two shouts rang out, one close upon the heels of the other:

“Apply the torch!”

“I forbid it!”

The one was from Merlin, the other from the king.  Merlin started from his place—to apply the torch himself, I judged.  I said:

“Stay where you are.  If any man moves—even the king—before I give him leave, I will blast him with thunder, I will consume him with lightnings!”

The multitude sank meekly into their seats, and I was just expecting they would.  Merlin hesitated a moment or two, and I was on pins and needles during that little while.  Then he sat down, and I took a good breath; for I knew I was master of the situation now. The king said:

“Be merciful, fair sir, and essay no further in this perilous matter, lest disaster follow.  It was reported to us that your powers could not attain unto their full strength until the morrow; but—”

“Your Majesty thinks the report may have been a lie?  It was a lie.”

That made an immense effect; up went appealing hands everywhere, and the king was assailed with a storm of supplications that I might be bought off at any price, and the calamity stayed. The king was eager to comply. He said:

“Name any terms, reverend sir, even to the halving of my kingdom; but banish this calamity, spare the sun!”

My fortune was made.  I would have taken him up in a minute, but I couldn’t stop an eclipse; the thing was out of the question.  So I asked time to consider.  The king said:

“How long—ah, how long, good sir?  Be merciful; look, it groweth darker, moment by moment.  Prithee how long?”

“Not long.  Half an hour—maybe an hour.”

There were a thousand pathetic protests, but I couldn’t shorten up any, for I couldn’t remember how long a total eclipse lasts.  I was in a puzzled condition, anyway, and wanted to think.  Something was wrong about that eclipse, and the fact was very unsettling. If this wasn’t the one I was after, how was I to tell whether this was the sixth century, or nothing but a dream?  Dear me, if I could only prove it was the latter!  Here was a glad new hope.  If the boy was right about the date, and this was surely the 20th, it wasn’t the sixth century.  I reached for the monk’s sleeve, in considerable excitement, and asked him what day of the month it was.

Hang him, he said it was the twenty-first !  It made me turn cold to hear him.  I begged him not to make any mistake about it; but he was sure; he knew it was the 21st.  So, that feather-headed boy had botched things again!  The time of the day was right for the eclipse; I had seen that for myself, in the beginning, by the dial that was near by.  Yes, I was in King Arthur’s court, and I might as well make the most out of it I could.

The darkness was steadily growing, the people becoming more and more distressed.  I now said:

“I have reflected, Sir King.  For a lesson, I will let this darkness proceed, and spread night in the world; but whether I blot out the sun for good, or restore it, shall rest with you.  These are the terms, to wit:  You shall remain king over all your dominions, and receive all the glories and honors that belong to the kingship; but you shall appoint me your perpetual minister and executive, and give me for my services one per cent of such actual increase of revenue over and above its present amount as I may succeed in creating for the state.  If I can’t live on that, I sha’n’t ask anybody to give me a lift.  Is it satisfactory?”

There was a prodigious roar of applause, and out of the midst of it the king’s voice rose, saying:

“Away with his bonds, and set him free! and do him homage, high and low, rich and poor, for he is become the king’s right hand, is clothed with power and authority, and his seat is upon the highest step of the throne!  Now sweep away this creeping night, and bring the light and cheer again, that all the world may bless thee.”

But I said:

“That a common man should be shamed before the world, is nothing; but it were dishonor to the king if any that saw his minister naked should not also see him delivered from his shame.  If I might ask that my clothes be brought again—”

“They are not meet,” the king broke in.  “Fetch raiment of another sort; clothe him like a prince!”

My idea worked.  I wanted to keep things as they were till the eclipse was total, otherwise they would be trying again to get me to dismiss the darkness, and of course I couldn’t do it.  Sending for the clothes gained some delay, but not enough.  So I had to make another excuse.  I said it would be but natural if the king should change his mind and repent to some extent of what he had done under excitement; therefore I would let the darkness grow a while, and if at the end of a reasonable time the king had kept his mind the same, the darkness should be dismissed.  Neither the king nor anybody else was satisfied with that arrangement, but I had to stick to my point.

It grew darker and darker and blacker and blacker, while I struggled with those awkward sixth-century clothes.  It got to be pitch dark, at last, and the multitude groaned with horror to feel the cold uncanny night breezes fan through the place and see the stars come out and twinkle in the sky.  At last the eclipse was total, and I was very glad of it, but everybody else was in misery; which was quite natural. I said:

“The king, by his silence, still stands to the terms.”  Then I lifted up my hands—stood just so a moment—then I said, with the most awful solemnity:  “Let the enchantment dissolve and pass harmless away!”

There was no response, for a moment, in that deep darkness and that graveyard hush.  But when the silver rim of the sun pushed itself out, a moment or two later, the assemblage broke loose with a vast shout and came pouring down like a deluge to smother me with blessings and gratitude; and Clarence was not the last of the wash, to be sure.


END SPOILER

Should be fascinating tomorrow!


Bonus: want to see one of our dogs do something cute and smart? “Treadmill, Elf!” at YouTube

My current Amazon Giveaway:

We Can Do It! giveaway

That’s for a chance to win my sibling’s book:

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

New Amazon Giveaway! We Can Do It!

August 19, 2017

New Amazon Giveaway! We Can Do It!

I’m doing a giveaway for my sibling Scott’s book,

We Can Do It!: A Problem Solving Graphic Novel Guide for General Physics (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m giving two winners one Kindle version each. At time of writing,  it’s $7 in this edition, 4.8 stars with eight customer reviews.

You can enter the giveaway here:

We Can Do It! giveaway

If you just want to read it (curiosity about physics, which is really about how everything works 😉  , would be a good reason) , it is also available at no additional cost through

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Since some of my readers are authors, or have other things they want to promote, I like to give you an idea about hw things like this can affect a book. This is what the stats were before I started the giveaway:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,494 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#2849 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Science > Physics
#15527 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Comics & Graphic Novels > Graphic Novels
#19877 in Books > Science & Math > Physics
@terrance_can followers: 6

Here are the details on the giveaway itself:

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 2 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Tweet a message (“I’ve got a chance to win a copy of We Can Do It!, which teaches college physics using cartoon dinosaurs!”)
  • Start:Aug 18, 2017 5:41 AM PDT
  • End:Sep 2, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

At time of writing, there are almost 100 entrants already! Good luck!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Managing your applications

August 16, 2017

Managing your applications

There’s an old joke about Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Lee Iacocca (Chrysler) sitting next to each other at a charity event.

Gates: “You know, if the car industry was like the computer industry, cars would cost $1000 and get 100 miles to the gallon.”

Iacocca: “Yeah, but who wants a car that crashes three times a day?” ;

Well, our hardware has gotten a lot more reliable…I haven’t seen the infamous BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) in some time, and most of our devices work pretty reliably. I’d say one exception is our Wink hub, which needs to be unplugged maybe once a week so it can reset, and our

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

which resets itself multiple times a week (interestingly, our Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*) almost never does that).

However, I take action on our applications quite often: I would guess every day.

I recently got a question from a reader about Amazon’s native web browser on Fire tablets, Silk. This person never used Silk, but it was spontaneously showing undesired content. I explained a way to do something which was likely to help, and it looks like it did.

That got me thinking that a post like this probably made sense.

While this definitely applies to my readers who use Fire tablets and Fire TVs, it also applies to people who use the Kindle reading app on other devices.

Exactly how you get into the settings to do this varies a bit by device, but you typically get to your settings (it may be a Settings Gear, which some people think looks like a sun) and then go to Applications.

There are basically four things you can do:

  • Force stop (or more colloquially, “kill” the app)
  • Clear the cache
  • Clear the data
  • Uninstall

Force stop (no, it has nothing to do with Star Wars 😉 ) means to turn it off. This can be effective. When my CNNGO app gets stuck, force stopping it will fix it. It’s like restarting your hardware, or flipping a light switch off and then back on (the latter when you re-open the application).

The risk is quite low on this one. Conceivably, you could be in the middle of something and lose that progress, but that’s about it. On an iPhone, when it is unlocked, double push (push-push) your home button. You’ll see all of your open apps. Find the Kindle app, for example, and swipe it up towards the top of the screen.

Clear the cache means to remove what is being stored in temporary memory. Think of your app as your kitchen table: the cache is what you put on the table…food, or in our case, usually mail and packages. 🙂 This can be an issue for you. If you were halfway through a video on YouTube and clear the cache, it won’t remember you were watching it. Video apps, like Hulu and Netflix, store how far you were into a video in the cloud, so it will usually still remember. However, everything will need to reload, so it may take longer to start watching a show.

Clearing the data is a strong action, and you should use it with caution. If you have set up your account in an app, and you clear the data, you’ll have to set up that account again. The data are the kitchen table itself: clear the data, and you’ll need the build the kitchen table again. My reader didn’t use the Silk app, so clearing the data was fine. For someone who used daily, clearing the data can mean a lot of work. If you clear the data, think of it as if you just downloaded the app for the first time.

Uninstalling the app removes the app from the device. For apps you got from the Amazon Appstore, they will still be in the cloud where you can download them again. It may also say that you are going to remove it from the device. If you don’t want to own it at all any more, you would do that in your cloud typically, not on your device.

That’s about it. 🙂 I have to force stop more than one app a day, I’d say.

Update: I meant to mention that if you have “active content” on a Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader…not a tablet), you don’t have the same kind of controls. You can remove them from the device, which can help, but you don’t have the force stop, clear cache, clear data options. Also, with some things, like browsers, you may have additional granularity: removing “form data” (which autofills things like your address), cookies (little programs installed on your device to let the internet identify you…it’s why sites like Amazon can know who you are without you logging into the site each time), history (a listing of where you’ve been…the cache stores the actual data temporarily, the history just says where the data was found)…those will all be wiped out if you clear the data.

Hope that helps…

Bonus story: Amazon Instant Pickup means you can get your order…in two minutes! In this

press release

Amazon explains the new program, which you can see here:

Amazon Instant Pickup (at AmazonSmile*)

In five cities now (“… fully staffed pickup locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Berkeley, Calif., Columbus, Ohio, and College Park, Md.”) with more to come, people can order drinks, snacks, and electronics, including especially some Amazon devices in the Amazon shopping app and pick up the item(s).

You also have to be an

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

member…and especially Prime for students, which is really where the marketing focus is on this.

Barnes & Noble’s college stores may take a further hit from this…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Limited time offer: $20 more on Kindle trade-ins

August 15, 2017

Limited time offer: $20 more on Kindle trade-ins

Many of us have older Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers…not tablets) which we don’t use much, if at all. You might also be interested in one of the newer models, up to and including the Kindle Oasis (the current top of the line).

Amazon has had a trade-in program for some time (not really natively Amazon, but you can get to it through Amazon).

Some people have been disappointed in the amounts, but used electronics just typically don’t have much value. I used to teach QuickBooks, and when I was explaining depreciation, I would jokingly say that a computer depreciated 100% by the time you got it to the parking lot from the store. 😉

Right now, through the end of the year, Amazon has a special deal which gives you an additional $20 on your trade-in!

Kindle Trade-in @ Amazon.com (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Looks like you can only do it once, but you can do it for up to five devices per account/person.

These are the ones you can get:

Interestingly, they use this to also promote the

Amazon Pop-Up Stores (at AmazonSmile*)

They list that page as “Amazon retail locations” and even though they are “pop-ups”, which suggests existence for a limited time, they certainly make it seem like they have a solid presence. They list five specific stores where you can trade in your Kindle (in five states) and go on to list more than thirty.

I think the trade-in is a nice deal, and that some people will take advantage of it, either in the pop-up stores or online…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 


%d bloggers like this: