Round up #169: “unlimited” Scribd, Bezos’ quest

Round up #169: “unlimited” Scribd, Bezos’ quest

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

Amazon gets into health

This is something I need to report, but I also have to say something first. In my “day job”, I am in the healthcare industry (as a trainer and performance improvement expert). That means that it isn’t appropriate for me to evaluate this move in social media. In other words, I’ll give you the facts (or link to them), but I’m not going to give you my own opinion on it.

Amazon (and its Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Bezos), Berkshire Hathaway (and CEO Warren Buffett), and JP Morgan Chase (and CEO Jeff Dimon) have announced that they are teaming up on a healthcare initiative.

Google news search

Amazon has a great financial report

It feels like Amazon has just decided to make a profit…like it was always an option, but they were just waiting for the right moment. 🙂 Some wonderful performers are like that. This is obscure, but I felt that way about Harlemm Lee when the singer was on a reality competition version of Fame. Anything Harlemm chose to do in terms of performance, it seemed Harlemm could do. Didn’t help build much of a career, though. 😉

Anthony Hopkins is another one of those people. In

Amazon’s Alexa Superbowl ad

which was voted the #1 ad, by the way, Anthony Hopkins is just super dynamic and riveting. I think they must have simply said, “Um…can you just, I don’t know, ‘Anthony Hopkins’ this for us?” 😉

The investors now seem convinced, and people have been bullish on Amazon since the report.

Seems reasonable to me.

It’s also interesting: if Amazon even hints they are getting into any industry, the competitors’ stocks seem to drop now. Happened today with FedEx and UPS with the announcement that Amazon is getting into the delivery business…and eventually, that looks like it will be even for things not sold through Amazon:

USA Today story by Mike Snider

My flu

Wow, that was a bad flu! I’m still not 100% (after more than two weeks), but I started getting my old energy level back a couple of days ago. Just thought you might want to know…

A tale of two apps

You know, it’s weird. Apps are super high tech, and I watch them on our

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

However, they can be very unreliable. One of the apps I watch is CNNGO (I watch a number of new sources, but CNN will give me 24 hour news…that was good when I was sick, as I would drift in and out). Every time I go to watch it, though, I have to start it twice. I start it, it crashes. I start it again, and then it’s fine. Since Amazon started doing “single sign on”, it also hasn’t worked on our Fire TV Stick. It just won’t complete the sign-in process, and that’s frustrating. It is a first gen Fire TV Stick, and maybe that’s the issue.

On the other hand, Amazon recommended that I watch a TV series on the

Tubi TV app (at AmazonSmile*)

This is ad-supported TV (and movies). When I start an episode, there are usually three commercials first.

The choices, though, are interesting!

I’ve watched episodes of Fireball Xl5, a “Supermarionation” show (which I did remember, but not specific plot points). I’ve watched Ultraman Max, a re-boot series of an old Japanese show I used to watch. We binged The Dead Zone TV series, based on Stephen King’s book.

While commercials can come on in the middle of the episode, I would say the app is made by people who respect the shows. These are not public domain shows, which some apps really butcher. There are some pretty obscure videos, and the slant is geek-friendly…but the interface is pretty good. As we moved from one device to another, it did know where we were in the series. It wasn’t hard to find the watch list (which isn’t always the case).

Free app, ad-supported…worth checking out. 🙂

 Scribd goes back to unlimited


was a pioneering subser (subscription service), before Amazon had

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

While it started out as “unlimited”, they throttled it way back for a while, especially with audiobooks. Now, they’ve gone back to unlimited e-books, audiobooks, and magazines…although there is an asterisk on it. I don’t think that’s going to affect most people…I think it’s intended for what they said caused them to cut back before, the true outliers. My guess is that you could listen to ten audiobooks in a month and be okay. It’s $8.99 a month, and there are other options.

I think it will make sense for some people. We are quite happy with Kindle Unlimited, and if you are a Prime member, you also automatically get

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

If you already have those, I don’t think there’s an urgency to go to Scribd. I do have to admit, though, that we do pay for Netflix, Hulu, and Prime. 😉

Any other rose by name a

These were carefully written headlines by many people, but they ended up being…well, somewhat misleading. This is one example (not incorrect):
New York Times article by Michael Blanding: “Plagiarism Software Unveils a New Source for 11 of Shakespeare’s Plays

That’s all true, but the software doesn’t indicate that those plays were plagiarized. The software, WCopyFind, can be used by professors to identify papers which copy other sources. In this case, what it did was find that many of Shakespeare’s plays used words used in A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels by George North. It’s not that there are whole sentences which are the same, but that Shakespeare probably read the book, and was influenced by that book to use similar language. That’s certainly significant, if true, but it’s not nefarious.

“Jeff Bezos’ Quest To Find America’s Stupidest Mayor”

While some people really, really want Amazon to select their city for their second HQ, and lots of cities are offering a lot, not everybody is down with the idea.

Here’s one example:

Huffington Post article by Dean Baker

No question, there is some risk in a giant company coming to town…although I’d personally love to live near an Amazon HQ!

If it’s not required, is that okay?

This one is…complicated for me.

Twin Cities Pioneer Press article by Lisa Kaczke

The Duluth school district has removed To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the required reading, because of their uses of an ethnic slur.

The story makes the point that the books will still be available in the school libraries, and can be used for optional reading.

My tendency is always that books should be available to students, and these will be. I get the concern about language in required reading. It does feel like the books aren’t being as respected, and both of these books comment on racism…they don’t indicate approval of it.

I wrote about this issue…wow, about eight years ago:

The Chronological Cultural Context Conundrum

Do you have opinions on any of these stories? Feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!

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.


10 Responses to “Round up #169: “unlimited” Scribd, Bezos’ quest”

  1. Phink Says:

    I hated that Super Bowl ad. It could be because I had no idea who any of those people were except Anthony Hopkins. I have been horrible at pop culture for a couple decades now. I remember once I asked someone “What’s a Snookie?” I found out she was on Jersey Shore. I had no idea. I always thought a Cardasian was a race on Star Trek but apparently it’s also a family. A very famous family popular because…..well I’m not sure why but I’m sure they did something important.

    I love music but don’t listen to much modern stuff so it’s rare I’m introduced to one of the new artist. New as in last 10 years LOL. I know the name Pink for instance but I keep thinking Pink Floyd and I don’t think it’s them. I have no idea what she looks like or sounds like for that matter.

    • Phink Says:

      Hated is a strong word. I use it too often When I say hate I don’t literally mean hate. I need to watch for that word and not use it as much. I did not care for the commercial myself.

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      I didn’t see the commercial because I am not a football fan and have no desire to watch the Superbowl. I followed Bufo’s link to watch it. Chef Gordon Ramsay of “Hell’s Kitchen” fame was the one shaming the guy about a grilled cheese sandwich. The gal in the bathtub looks familiar. I saw her in part of a movie that I started to watch and realized it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I can’t remember her name.

      It was interesting that they tried to give Alexa male voices. I’ve always wondered why Amazon and Apple chose the female personas of Alexa and Siri for their devices. I hope it’s not because of the stereotype of who buys techie gadgets. Now if they could get Patrick Stewart to do the male voice, I might change my mind about letting my house be invaded by whatever the Echo is evolving into.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        The actor in the bathtub was Rebel Wilson…been in quite a few movies, including the Pitch Perfect series.

        As to the gender of the voice…

        AI companies are very concerned about people being afraid of the “robot rebellion”. They do a lot to make the AIs seem…non-threatening. That was part of why IBM picked the name “Watson” for their AI. They have the advantage of being able to claim its named after Thomas J. Watson, after their first CEO (Chief Executive Officer). However, there was, as I understand it, a deliberate allusion to Sherlock Holmes’ Dr. John Watson. Dr. Watson supports Holmes, helps, but would never supplant.

        There certainly may be a…perception that an even-tempered female voice is less threatening than an even-tempered male voice…

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      I stay pretty current in pop culture…but also go way back and try to extend that knowledge as well. I knew who they all were.

      However, it was interesting recently when I ran into a professional adult who didn’t know anything about the Marx Brothers. I looked for touchstones (I was quoting Groucho initially, that’s what started it). I said, “Do you know who Bugs Bunny is?” The person knew, but didn’t give an “Of course!” I explained that Bugs started out as a Groucho parody, but that didn’t resonate much, understandably. I mentioned “Beagle Puss” glasses, the ones with the black frame, nose, and mustache…that one, the person knew. 🙂

      I could tell you about each of the people you mention, but it’s fine. Sherlock Holmes didn’t know about the solar system, because it had no relevance to the consulting detective…and Holmes didn’t want to clog up that mind. 😉 Someone fluent in pop culture not being fluent in, say, 19th Century authors…is that the same as someone who knows “classic” authors, but doesn’t know the most streamed artists? It does seem similar to me…

  2. Phink Says:

    I study Wall St. I often say I am the poorest person you’ll ever find that keeps a close eye on Wall St. Sometimes I spend a couple hours a day pouring over financial reports. Of course Amazon has always made sure I don’t get to cocky. I look at how well Amazon has done and realize I know so little. Amazon is why you should never listen to me when it comes to the market.

    I’ve been saying for years Amazon is overpriced. Their P/E rating is 217. I thought it was more than that. I’m thinking at one time it over 400 but can’t say for sure. I like companies under 40 and really like for them to be under 30. P/E for those that don’t know is Price/Earnings. Let’s say a company has $1 in earnings and the share price is $1. That means it’s P/E is 1. For every dollar in earnings Amazon has we are being asked to pay $217 for it. I’ve been saying Amazon is over priced for a couple years or more so don’t listen to me. Let’s look at one of my personal holdings, Ford. Ford has a P/E under 6 but I mainly have it for it’s 5.4% Dividend. 5.4% for me, it’s 5.8% I think for those buying now. However, P/E is not the only thing to look at but I’d never buy a company with a 200 P/E which perhaps means I have no idea what I’m doing.

    I am only certain about one thing when it comes to Wall St. This is not my quote but forgot where I heard it.

    “When it comes to timing the market there are two types of people. Those that don’t know what’s gonna happen and those that don’t know that they don’t know.”

    • Phink Says:

      Growth probably has a lot to do with their continuing to increase in price. Surely they will split soon. Unless you know how to work around it, which I do quite often, an investor cannot buy fractional shares. That means a lot of people have to invest over $1,300 in order to buy into Amazon. I’d probably split 20/1 if I were them.

      They had an increase is earnings this year of 147.9%. Amazing.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Phink!

        I think the question there is whether Amazon wants to have “small” investors buying stock. It changes the relationship: I’m not sure it’s to their advantage to have a large number of people who feel emotionally tied to Amazon’s stock price.

        Disney used to be different. I got one share of Disney when I was a kid. Disney always wanted (back then) for that to be case: that a grandparent could buy a share for a grandkid. It split so often that we were able to use money from that as a noticeable part of the down payment when we bought our first domicile (a condo).

        For those who don’t know, here’s the basic idea of splitting:

        Let’s say that a stock gets up to $100 per share. The company thinks that price is too high: it will discourage the relatively small level investors they want involved with their company.

        So,they split the stock. If you had one share worth $100, you now have two shares worth $50.

        If the stock rises from $50 to $51, your personal value in the stock went up TWO dollars (because you have two shares). If you’d had the one share at $100, and it went to $101, your personal value would only have gone up $1.

        Those are very different strategies: do you want your stock to be seen as a “practical item for serious investors” (which means it should cost more) or almost as a novelty for casual investors (in which case it should be very cheap)? Obviously, those are two extremes, but they give a sense of the choice.

        I think Amazon would rather have serious investors putting money into it than potential regular customers of their consumer products.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      I’m not a financial expert…in part because, unlike many, many things, I just don’t care about money that much. 🙂 I have no more interest in learning about money than I do about learning about metallurgy or cross-stitch. I do find it interesting to learn those facts, but I don’t have a hunger.

      In part, I suppose that’s because I haven’t had to worry about money for some time. However, I also have always thought I was influenced by having been a banker. When you handle large amounts of cash, it just becomes paper…it loses the aura.

      With my Significant Other having retired, we are talking to a financial planner. However, my approach on it is that we talk to somebody, we trust them, we explain what we don’t want to do (own certain kinds of companies, for example), then just turn it over to them and totally ignore it. I know that’s not smart, and I know there is more to it than just not being interested…but that’s where I am emotionally.

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