Archive for September, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (September 21) to…

September 21, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (September 21) to…

First time I’m trying this…let me know if you like it. 🙂 [Update: you did. 😉 This was first published on September 21st, 2017, and I’ve now done it for a full year. That doesn’t mean I won’t add authors to them, but I’m really happy to have listed authors for your birthday…whenever it is. Oh, except I think I’ll need to add February 29th when we get to a leap year).

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 Amaz on 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.

 

Advertisements

Amazon’s Announce-A-Palooza 2018!

September 21, 2018

Amazon’s Announce-A-Palooza 2018!

Amazon does announce things throughout the year, but September is a special time.

Today was no exception. 🙂

While they didn’t announce a home robot (they could still do that this year…it probably deserves its own event), they did announce a whole slew of new products and features.

Okay, there wasn’t a new EBR (E-Book Reader), or Fire Tablet…although they did just refresh the Fire Tablets about ten days ago:

Was it All About Alexa? Pretty much, but not entirely. 😉

You can see new products here:

Alexa for Everyone (at AmazonSmile*)

I’ve ordered one so far…or, at least, ask for an invitation:

Echo Auto (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s funny, but when I was hearing about possible new models, I thought this one wouldn’t interest me that much. Not because I didn’t think I would want to use Alexa in the car, but because I already do…in the Alexa app on my Galaxy phone.

However, we are only allowed to do a one-tap operation in California when we are driving. I can just drive with the app open and then tap the mic to talk to it, but I don’t want to have to look at the phone to do that. This device is really just a way to access the app on my phone…it does need both of those. What it will do is give me an eight-mic array designed to hear me in the car.

It’s going to have access to apps, including Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze…and it will be able to control my home devices. You can also listen to podcasts, like Len Edgerly’s The Kindle Chronicles. Full disclosure: I’ve appeared on The Kindle Chronicles, but I don’t know Len outside of our Kindle coverage (which has extended to XR…virtual/augmented/mixed/merged reality).

It will also take advantage of one of Alexa’s new abilities: location-based routines. You can ask for nearby gas stations…and it can direct you there.

All of this is cool, but one of the things that convinced me? It’s $24.99! That’s 50% off what will be the price. It’s supposed to come out later this year.

Let’s jump from that to something that costs about nine times that much ($229.99):

Fire TV Recast (at AmazonSmile*)

This one also requires a Fire TV (“or compatible mobile device”) and an HDTV antenna. I already have both, but I’m not springing for this now. What does it do? It records TV and plays it back…you know, like a VHS machine. 😉 It actually does a lot more than that, but that’s the heart of it. The less expensive model can record two shows at one, the more expensive one can record four. I think that’s going to be seen as a luxury, but will have some gift value at the holidays.

They’ve upgraded the Dot and the Show, and added a bunch of things to give you better sound.

Things have also gotten a bit more out there.

AmazonBasics Microwave 700W Works with Alexa (at AmazonSmile*) $59.99

Not only can you give it voice commands to set the time, it can also automatically reorder popcorn using Dash button tech. 🙂 You also won’t be telling it just things like, “Level 3 for two minutes”…it will have presets, so you can say things like, “Reheat coffee”.

It’s an Alexa accessory…it doesn’t have Alexa built into it, you use it with an Alexa device. The same thing is true for the new Echo Wall Clock, which will display your timers counting down.

That’s just the beginning! Amazon recently made it easier to add Alexa to gadgets, and the ones that they’ve told us about include a new version of Big Mouth Billy Bass…that will “lip sync” while Alexa talks.

You can sign up for a newsletter to hear about new gadgets:

Alexa Gadgets News and Notifications (at AmazonSmile*)

If you do see something there you want to buy, I’d appreciate it if you get to Amazon by clicking on a link in this blog, of course…

Well, this is about as much as I can do tonight. I did want to mention one more new feature for Alexa…partially because I suggested it about a year ago. 😉

Kids are growing up with talktech being normal

You’ll be able to whisper to Alexa…and Alexa will whisper back! You can whisper now, but Alexa responds full voice. This will be a lot better when I’m up and my Significant Other isn’t.

There’s a lot more (Amazon put out four press releases today), but I’m just out of time. Did something else stand out to you? Do you have questions? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post…and I’ll keep my eye out for that robot!

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 announcement coming today (20 September) at 10:00 AM Pacific

September 20, 2018

Heads up! Amazon announcement coming today (20 September) at 10:00 AM Pacific

It’s reportedly not being live-streamed, and I’ll plan on posting more about it later.

I speculated some here:

Amazon refreshes the Fire tablet line…but the big announcement is yet to come

Rumor has eight new Alexa products (including a microwave and improved sound options…and a smart plug). We could also have that home robot project announced. There is usually some non-hardware announced as well. So many possibilities rumored/announed recently, including hundreds of cashierless brick-and-mortars, and they just did this thing with Alexa Gadgets…more later.

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 (20 September) to…

September 20, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (20 September) to…

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 (19 September) to…

September 19, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (19 September) to…

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 (18 September) to…

September 18, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (18 September) to…

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 (17 September) to…

September 17, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (17 September) to…

 

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.

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2018

September 17, 2018

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2018

This is one in a series of posts which I write about once a year. I do this primarily to give my readers some ideas they might use to get more out of their devices. I also think it’s interesting to go back and look at the previous ones, to see how much things have changed…the biggest device changes this year had to do with introducing the Echo Spot (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping) at work and the Fire TV Cube (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) at home. Okay, let’s start a typical weekday in the Life of a Kindleer.

I wake up between about 2:00 and 3:00 AM…sometimes closer to 1:00 AM, sometimes a little later (but I haven’t slept past 4:00 AM in years). As I explained last year, it’s not from an alarm or anything, it’s just my habit. I’ve had it checked out medically, and it seems to be fine. Asleep at about 9:00 PM, up at about 2:00 AM…that’s between five and six hours usually. I also may fall asleep out on the couch maybe around 7. I don’t fall asleep during the day, by the way!

When I wake up, I pick up my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (that’s been my daily use device for something like five years now), which is back to serving as my nightstand clock. I really don’t like how they changed the nightstand clock a while back…the minutes are very small, and the time moves around on the screen. I see really well in the dark (connected, I think, to my color vision deficiency), but I have always awakened a bit slowly…it takes me a while to get processing information. So, making it hard for me to read the clock doesn’t help. 🙂

I also pick up my Galaxy S8, which is next to the bed, too…face down. It’s there as a back up. There is an alarm set on it for 5:00 AM, but I never use it…I let it go off, mostly as a reminder that it’s getting to that point in the morning. It used to be because my Significant Other was going to leave then, but my SO has retired since the last time I wrote one of these.

I go in the bathroom and do some wake-up things. On my Fire, I start my morning

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

read. That’s a big part of my morning, not just for myself, but for flipping articles into my free Flipboard magazines, including the  ILMK magazine at Flipboard.

I also use my Galaxy S8 before I come out: I check WordPress for comments on these blogs, Twitter (I’ve gotten to be a lot more active on Twitter in the last year, including with my #1TweetExpert) I use the amazing Dark Sky weather app (not available through the Amazon Appstore)…remarkably precise and accurate, and worth $2.99 a year, and start checking my local news on the

ABC 7 News San Francisco (at AmazonSmile*)

app. I can also flip from there…many places I go allow me to flip. The ILMK Flipboard magazine has tens of thousands of viewers and is at more than 60,000 stories. The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard magazine is well over 200,000 stories…it has a broader scope. Our dogs’ Butterscotch Chaos and Friends magazine has over 100 followers. 😉

A change since last year: I don’t turn on the lights with my phone, I do it manually. At one point, my Wink hub just stopped working (I think it was updated into obsolescence), and I haven’t connected my lights back to my Alexa. My SO never liked using Alexa for the lights. Also, I talk a lot as a trainer during the day, and I know how to take care of my voice. I hum and do vocal warm-ups before I do much talking.

Next, I head out to the family room…and one of the dogs gets off the bed to come with me (I love hearing the dog do the shimmy, then land on the floor). The other dog is often already in the family room. They aren’t as habit-based as they used to be as to where they sleep, though.

Our

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

is also in a sort of sleep mode, but still displays the time. I think it senses I’m moving around out there and wakes up. 🙂 When I’m not reading during the first part of my exercise routine (I exercise for about 45 minutes before I go to work), I glance at it. I really like what shows up on the display: the first event on my calendar, the weather, but also headlines.

After I’ve fed the dogs, I’m doing that exercise and reading Flipboard on my Kindle Fire.

I get to a point in the exercise where I can’t read (I can’t stand that close to the entertainment unit, where I stand up the Fire in its Amazon Origami cover). That’s when the

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

first comes into play. It replaced our Fire TV…and it’s really a big step forward! It doesn’t make too much of a difference early in the morning, but the ability to just ask it to show a particular program and have it do it is great when we are both awake. Just in the past week or so, a couple of apps have stopped working on it…I think there may be a problem with how the FTVC passes my credentials to my cable company. I use my Bluetooth headphones. Currently, I might use the apps for BBC News, NBC News, Great Big Story, maybe Hulu…

[Side note: since I started writing this, one of those apps, a 24-hour news one, just started working again. I think that would be quite bizarre for someone from 100 years ago (1918). They had exposure to a lot of tech back then (after all, WWI was actually fought with powered aircraft), and I think the idea that something would “heal itself” would be strange. “Aren’t you going to fix that?” “Nah, if I wait a few days, it might fix itself”. ;)]

When I’m done with my exercise, I have the headset on, and I’m back to the Kindle Fire. If I finish Flipboard, it’s WordPress, Maxthon browser for the

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

and the IMDb app (IMDb is owned by Amazon).

I’m certainly also getting some writing done! I like to have TV on when I’m writing, and on reflection, I find it astonishing that I have these options. Lately, I’ve been watching The 1970s The Incredible Hulk series (I’m just about done with it) on Hulu, with Star Trek: The Original Series in rotation. I also watch Kung Fu, but just in the other room. That idea of “geo-specific” has pretty much always been with me. I read multiple books, and in the “old days of paper books” 😉 I would just leave books in different rooms and read whichever one was there while I was there. Kung Fu (which is on Prime) holds pretty well. Interesting to see how Caine has evolved between season one and season two…more confident, which makes sense. Prime has some good nostalgic background series…as I write this, Celebrity Bowling is on with Max Baer Jr., Sue Ane Langdon, David Canary, and Gloria Loring…I’m doubting that many of you could name “best known for”s for all four of them! I don’t watch all old TV: I tried Altered Carbon and thought it was okay. My SO and I do watch a lot of contemporary competition shows…

Whenever I’m going to head back for my shower, the more intellectual of the two dogs has a very cute “trick”, and this is my SO’s favorite thing of the day. I say, “Wake up call!” I open the door, and the dog (all 14 pounds) leaps on the bed and vigorously licks my SO in the face!

Eventually, I go back to the bedroom…I do some exercise there, too, and that’s where I get dressed and such. In that room, we have a

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

and our

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s where I’ve been watching Kung Fu. 🙂 I also listen to my Flash Briefing, but only part of it…not enough time.

I do some more reading while I brush my teeth (which I for about twenty minutes…I’m pretty obsessive on that), but that’s likely to be on a

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

I’ve recently read

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (at AmazonSmile*)

for the first time. It’s interesting: I try really hard to avoid spoilers, but of course, I knew something about the story. I thought it started out slowly…there was a lot of world-building. However, I can see how that would have unfolded effectively for someone who went into it with no knowledge. Once we got past that and we got more to the individual story, it was much better.

When I finished that, I starting reading

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (at AmazonSmile*)

I have to say, by stopping where they did when they adapted it for Field of Dreams, it’s a brilliant adaptation! The rest of it was good, but I think they made it a much better movie by sticking to “Act One” (or maybe the first inning, in this case).

If my SO has gone to the gym, I’ve been having some fun recently having the FTVC play music. That way, when my SO comes home, there’s some theme of music playing. However, that does mean that I don’t use Prime Music at work any more. We don’t pay for Amazon Music Unlimited, so only one stream of music can play at a time (although it could be on more than one device at once). At work, I’ll use Google’s free music…it has some interesting songs, but I can’t get it to just play the artist I want, like I can with Prime Music.

In the car, I’m listening to books on my Kindle Fire, most often using text-to-speech through the car’s sound system. Unusually for me, lately I’ve been listening to an audiobook:

Dracula by Bram Stoker, read by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, and others) (at AmazonSmile*)

I don’t like to listen to an audiobook unless I’ve already read the book (which I have here, more than once). The book is astonishingly good…very complex, with multiple scenes, many characters, and clever foreshadowing. Even though I’m a big fan of Tim Curry, the acting doesn’t help the story at all for me…I would have preferred text-to-speech.

At work, I use our

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

That’s a great work companion! I play Jeopardy while my work computer boots up and I get set up. It’s so much better to be able to read the question (on the Spot’s screen) rather than just hearing…it’s more like the show. I don’t always get them all right, but I’m usually top 1%. I also sometimes listen to my briefing (I’m a bit of a news junkie), set timers, and so on.

On the way home, I may listen to the book more. It depends on the distance (I work different places). I don’t usually start up the book for a short trip. It the trip is going to be at least half an hour, I’ve recently been listening to Old Time Radio. I haven’t found a good Alexa Skill for that, so I use an app on my phone called Old Time Radio Player. I’m listening to Inner Sanctum, which I really enjoy! Raymond is a punny host, making lots of jokes about murder and the undead, not unlike many TV Horror Hosts. The writing is good, and many famous actors appear. Be aware that it can be really creepy! I may also listen to the Flash Briefing…and that can last more than half an hour.

At lunch, I’m usually in virtual reality doing floor work…that helps with my chronic condition. Oh, and I might as well tell you now: I’m going to have major surgery, probably in January. I think I’ve said it before: I have an arthritic hip, and I’m at the most severe level. I’m really excited to be getting a new hip! My impression is that it shouldn’t make me miss much writing during the recovery period, and in fact, I may get more writing done.

When I’m home, we usually watch Hulu for those competition shows. Counting the weekend, we may also watch Hulu, Tubi, news apps, and HBO on DirecTV Now. I’ll also write for sure!

Once I’m actually going to sleep, I read on our

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

I’m still re-reading the original fourteen Oz books.

That’s basically the weekday routine.

At some point on the weekend, I may listen to the excellent

The Kindle Chronicles podcast by Len Edgerly

Hope that helps! If you have questions or comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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! 🙂 

Happy bookish birthdays (16 September) to…

September 16, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (16 September) to…

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 (15 September) to…

September 15, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (15 September) to…

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.


%d bloggers like this: