Archive for September, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 30) to…

September 30, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 30) to…


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

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Happy bookish birthdays (September 29) to…

September 29, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 29) to…


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

Get an Echo Dot for $10, an HD antenna for $5: bundle bargains!

September 29, 2017

Get an Echo Dot for $10, an HD antenna for $5: bundle bargains!

We put a lot of thought into holiday gifts…we love to give! In addition to the regular gifts, we also do small gifts (although the traditions vary amongst our larger family).

Beyond that, we have a gift exchange at work (which has a price limit), and we donate gifts to charity.

As I wrote about yesterday:

Wowsers! Amazon just blew the doors off with new devices and features!

Amazon just introduced a lot of new things.

I’m debating which ones I might buy, and I know my situation is different from some people’s. I buy some things mainly to write about them, so that changes the math. I did buy the new gen 4K

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

because I’ve been waiting for a new one to be released…that’s how we watch TV almost all the time, and our current one may be underpowered.

When I bought it, though, I bought a bundle…I paid $5 more for the AmazonBasics Ultra Thin Indoor TV Antenna – 35 Mile Range, which otherwise costs $17.99 right now.

I may end up using it in one of our rooms, but it could otherwise make a great gift.

Amazon has a number of interesting bundles right now (one price for two or more things), and they might not last. Check the prices before you click/tap/eye gaze the Buy button…the bundle might be over before you see this.

One for you, one for them? A lot of possibilities…


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

 

Happy bookish birthdays (September 28) to…

September 28, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 28) to…


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

Wowsers! Amazon just blew the doors off with new devices and features!

September 28, 2017

Wowsers! Amazon just blew the doors off with new devices and features!

“Wowsers”, of course, was an expression used by Inspector Gadget…which may be singularly appropriate here. 🙂 Amazon doesn’t like to call them gadgets any more, they are “devices”.

That makes sense, since some of these are actually practical, or at least can be.

With what was announced today in a surprise hardware announcement (which also had an important feature improvement), had one of the biggest line-up changes I’ve seen. It required Amazon sending out three press releases today. Oh, and they had a fourth one, that BMW and MINI will have Alexa in the car starting in mid-2018 in the USA, UK, and Germany.

I think there will actually be a lot more later this year…it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they tie something big into the 10th anniversary of the release of the Kindle November 20th (I’m working on something as well)…that may be why there wasn’t an update to the Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers) today, but it may also be why we didn’t get Amazon auggies (Augmented/Virtual Reality hardware)…they may think of that as another revolutionary item, like the Kindle.

They announced new (and very different) Echo items, and a new Fire TV (as I’ve been saying they would, based on rumors). However, there were new features, too.

There is a lot to digest, and there may end up being more than one post…but let’s dive in!

Let’s start with what I think is the biggest life changer for people:

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

What is it? A smaller, less expensive version of the Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*).

That means it is an Alexa-enabled speaker with a screen.

Voice-enabled, and you can make videocalls to people with Echo Spot, Echo Show…or the free Alexa App on a SmartPhone.

Having a small, always available screen is going to make it a big part of people’s lives…not just as a baby monitor or to watch the dogs (it does do the “drop in” feature).

However, and this is new, you can now voice call anyone (they do need a phone, but not an Echo) hands free.

You can speak their phone numbers if they aren’t in your contacts.

This will work with most North American phone numbers (although not 911).

What does it cost to call?

It’s free!

Yes, this means free phone calling to just about any phone number.

More details here:

Alexa Calling & Messaging (at AmazonSmile*)

Oh, and you have the choice to anonymize the call…not show your number, but that’s up to you. To be clear, you are not using your phone to make the call.

Obviously, it would be good to be able to call 911 hands-free, especially for people with some challenges.

You can, with an additional device:

Echo Connect (at AmazonSmile*)

That one is $34.99, due to be released December 13th (the Echo Spot is scheduled for release December 19th).

What does it do?

It connects to your phone number, so you can call any number you can call with your phone…911, international numbers, and so on.

There are two more big Echo devices…and then a raft of features I still need to discuss!

The Echo Tower has been redesigned, and the price has been reduced to $99.99!

Echo (2nd gen) (at AmazonSmile*)

There are new colors and new finishes, including an Oak Finish. New speaker tech, new microphone tech, beamforming technology, it’s only about six inches tall, and controls hundreds of devices.

You can save $50 on three of them by using the code ECHO3PACK…details here: Amazon help page (at AmazonSmile*)

However, in the past, controlling SmartHome devices also meant you had a separate hub.

Now, for the last big Echo device, you can get an Echo…with a built-in hub!

Echo Plus (at AmazonSmile*)

For $149.99, you’ll be able to control your SmartHome devices easily…oh, and they throw in (gently, I’m sure) Silver+Philips Hue Bulb (which is only available for a limited time…$14.99 value).

I think this may make some people into SmartHome people who have been afraid to try it.

Speaking of controlling your SmartHome…

There are two new features which will also work with the earlier generation (although they don’t mention the Tap) and the Dot, Show, and Plus. Not right away, though…they say next month.

Alexa Routines

This lets you group activities into one name…and you can invoke it by voice or by time of day and dat of the week.

So, when you usually get up, Alexa can already have the coffeemaker going, start your music, turn on the lights in the bathroom and kitchen, and so on.

That’s a big one!

Hmm…they don’t mention it playing a particular song, but you can see how that could be great…you could say, “That’s what I’m talking about!” and have a triumphant, stadium ready anthem play, lights flash on and off. There are a lot of possibilities.

Improved SmartHome Groups

This is another giant improvement!

You can now assign lights (for example) to a given Echo device. That means that you walk into the kitchen (where you have an Echo), say, “Alexa, turn on the lights,” and just the lights in the kitchen come on.

Innovation!

One more Alexa thing, and this really may add a new dimension.

Alexa Gadgets (at AmazonSmile*)

At this point, you are just signing up to be in the loop.

What they show us as representative is basically a set of trivia game buzzers.

You’ll be able to get two of those for $19.99.

My guess is, though, that we’ll start seeing things like wands you can wave to “cast spells”.

I’m signing up, and I’ll keep you informed.

Echo gen 2 and Echo Plus press release

Echo Spot press release

Whew! That’s enough Echo for this post!

The

Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

is better, faster, stronger than it used to be. 😉

Now it has 4K Ultra HD video (and it’s a bargain for that, at $69.99). It’s got more memory, HDR (High Dynamic Range, better voice control, a slim design (which can hang and hide between the TV)…it goes on.

One I’ll really like: single sign on for a number of services, including CNNGO. What that means is that it won’t keep asking you to verify who you are. I’ve been meaning to write to CNN about that: it’s really disruptive to step out of the shower, soaking wet, trying to get ready to go to work…and have to go down to another room where I have a laptop with the page saved to enter a code. I was going to suggest that they ask for the validation code at the end of a session, rather than the beginning, so I could enter the code when it was convenient for me. Now, though, that might not matter. 🙂

I think the Echo Spot will be perhaps the most popular item out of this list, but the Echo TV will continue to be popular.

I’m going to wrap up here, but it looks to me like they might have also refreshed more of the

Fire tablet family (at AmazonSmile*)

but I’ll have to double-check.

Later this year, I think we could see EBR announcements (again, perhaps tied into November 20th for the ten-year Kindle anniversary), and those Amazon auggies…

What do you think of these announcements? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

Heads up! Amazon hardware announcement at 1030 Pacific today

September 27, 2017

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/27/16373888/amazon-hardware-event-echo-rumors

More to follow. 

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

Happy bookish birthdays (September 27) to…

September 27, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 27) to…

My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

Round up #163: books on Fire TV (but no YouTube on Echo Show), Fall’s biggest books

September 27, 2017

Round up #163: books on Fire TV (but no YouTube on Echo Show), Fall’s biggest books

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

“Currently, Google is not supporting YouTube on Echo Show”

This is a big deal, and is hopefully temporary!

Thanks to Richard Lawler and Engadget for

this story

which I then confirmed myself.

The headline on this one is a quotation from our

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

I had said, “Alexa, play a YouTube video”.

The Show usually includes YouTube videos in its “display roulette” (the statements which appear every few seconds on the screen when you have asked it to do something). Do I watch those? Sure, I have: a dog with a fidget spinner on its nose? Yes, please. 😉

However, a bigger deal is probably recipes. I’ve read that one of the main places that people use Echo Shows is in the kitchen, and I assume that’s for something like, “Alexa, show me a how to souffle video”.

Google and Amazon do get along sometimes. 😉 The thing that’s a bit scary in this case is that the issue may be over ads. Google’s business is largely based on advertising, and we aren’t seeing those sorts of ads on the Echo Show. If it’s a choice of ads versus no YouTube videos, I’ll go with no YouTube videos on the Show. Not that I generally object to ads (I have them on all my Amazon devices when available…I’m willing to have advertisers subsidize my purchase price, and I sometimes like the ads)…but on the Show in particular, time matters to me. Every video I’ve watched on there has been short…probably shorter than most YouTube ads.

Could Amazon ever replace YouTube with their own source? It would be hard, because so many people are invested in YouTube as creators. They might have to build a tool which imports the videos, then set up a structure which pays them more money…and convince them that Amazon was going to invest in market share building. Possible, but I think unlikely…even though Amazon does some things with video now.

Stephen “King Midas”

This year, it’s good to be the King…Stephen King (at AmazonSmile*), that is, and that’s likely to continue for the next couple of years at a minimum. 😉

With movies, TV shows, and books, it can be amazing to think back to the beginning, when it was all happening in one person’s mind, with no guarantee that it would be commercially successful (just like most authors).

Here are some of the 2017 and beyond Stephen King happenings (there are a bunch of shorts listed at IMDb for 2017, but I’m not sure what the distribution is on this):

  • The Dark Tower movie (while the budget was a relatively modest $60m, it has only had a domestic gross of about $50m which is about half of the total…it can be considered to have underperformed expectations)
  • The Mist (TV series)
  • It movie (blowing away expectations…with a low budget of $35m, it has a domestic gross of about $268m at time of writing…and is close to half a billion worldwide. Halloween box office should be great for it, with a possible wider re-release at that time)
  • Netflix has an adaptation of 1922 which is getting good buzz
  • Netflix also has Gerald’s Game
  • Audience has a Mr. Mercedes TV series
  • Book: The Eyes of the Dragon (December 19, 2017)
  • Book: Revival (November 28, 2017)
  • Book (with Richard Chizmar): Gwendy’s Button Box (May 16, 2017)
  • Book (with Owen King): Sleeping Beauties (September 26, 2017)

Beyond 2017:

  • Castle Rock TV series (2018)
  • It: Chapter 2 (2019)
  • CUJO (Canine Unit Joint Operations)
  • The Gingerbread Girl
  • The Talisman
  • Another version of The Stand
  • Apt Pupil
  • The Man Who Loved Flowers

Again, that’s just part of what Stephen King has happening.

It all began with words.

Audible books on Fire TV

Alexa on the

Amazon Fire TV 2nd generation (at AmazonSmile*)

(a device which is likely to get a major refresh soon) can both read your Audible audiobooks and do text-to-speech on your Kindle books.

For audiobooks, try

  • Read [title]
  • Play the book [title]
  • Play the audiobook [title]
  • Resume my book
  • Go forward/back
  • Pause

For Kindle books (where the publisher has not chosen to block text-to-speech access), try

  • Read [title]
  • Read my Kindle book
  • Pause
  • Resume my book
  • Go forward/back

I’m not sure what happens if a book has both an audiobook you own and TTS…I assume it will ask you which you want.

I think some people might have wondered why the recent update I covered in

Big software update on my Fire TV stick this morning

included a screen reader function: this is part of why.

If you don’t have a speech-enabled remote, you can use the free Fire TV app on your phone to talk to Alexa.

Oh, you can also now use Alexa while streaming Amazon Music. Once they get us those rumored Amazon auggies (augmented/virtual reality hardware…that’s my term for them, but I’m hoping it catches on), we will have Alexa everywhere. 🙂

Barnes & Noble lists “This Fall’s Biggest Books”

This Fall’s Biggest Books

from Barnes & Noble is likely to be pretty close to the bestsellers. As a former retail manager (bookstore, gamestore), I can tell you that a large part of your survival depends on your ability to predict what will sell well. You aren’t always right (I overbought a Suzanne Somers book, because the actor was local)…but you’d better be right most of the time.

For the most part, these will be the mainstream, “People Magazine books”…

Have any thoughts on these stories you’d care to share with me and my readers? You can do so by commenting on this post.

My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

Happy bookish birthdays (September 26) to…

September 26, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 26) to…


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

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!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

Happy bookish birthdays (September 25) to…

September 25, 2017

Happy bookish birthdays (September 25) to…

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. 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 whenever 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.

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