Archive for November, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 19) to…

November 19, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 19) to…


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.

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Amazon Prime members can now watch the ultimate cautionary tale against smart homes…like Amazon’s Alexa

November 18, 2018

Amazon Prime members can now watch the ultimate cautionary tale against smart homes…like Amazon’s Alexa

Many people are afraid of Amazon’s Alexa (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) and other smart home devices.

In some cases, they fear what human beings can do with the information (which might be obtained through intentional interaction, or observation, visual or audible). They may not be comfortable with Amazon knowing so much about them.

In others, it is concern about the technology itself. It might fail to function, malfunction…or perhaps, in some future, develop its own agenda.

The last one may seem ridiculous, but it’s been part of our pop culture consciousness for a very long time…going back at least as far as Karel Čapek’s 1924

play R.U.R. (at AmazonSmile*)

Whether they call it the “robot rebellion” or “the singularity”, the concept of human-created intelligence developing independence and using it to dominate its creators is firmly established.

This was especially true in 1970s science fiction cinema. Colossus: the Forbin Project (at AmazonSmile*) is one example (and a personal favorite). That one is available for streaming through the Hoopla public library service, as indicated by JustWatch.

Another one, which I had not seen for years, is

Demon Seed (at AmazonSmile*)

I remembered it.

Based on the

Dean Koontz novel (at AmazonSmile*)

it is about a scientist (Fritz Weaver) who creates an artificial intelligence system which takes over the smart home the scientist created…and, well, I don’t want to spoil what happens.

Julie Christie stars (arguably a more important role than Weaver’s), and Gerrit Graham has a nice small role as a computer tech (so different from the rocker Beef that Graham played in Phantom of the Paradise a few years earlier).

The smart home is very much like what we have with Alexa: a voice-interface turning the lights on and off, controlling the thermostat…oh, it’s probably a bit beyond what most of us have, but not ridiculously so. It’s called “Alfred”, presumably after Batman’s butler, but interesting that “Alexa” and “Alfred” are so similar…coincidentally, I’m sure. 😉

Robert (Napoleon Solo on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) is great as the voice of “Proteus”! Interestingly, the actor is uncredited, presumably to make Proteus seem more real.

A few content warnings: there is some minor female nudity in the movie (another common thing in what I call Seventies Social Sci-Fi), violence, and sexual violence themes.

With that caution, I think you’d find it an interesting watch! It does intrigue me that Amazon chose to “go there”…I wonder how many people will watch this by asking Alexa to show it to them! You could do that with the

Fire TV Cube (at AmazonSmile*)

which is on a Black Friday sale starting today for half off ($59.99)…I listed it as one of

My favorite Amazon Black Friday sales this year

Gee, I wonder if someday Amazon will let us choose “Alfred” as the Alexa wake word…of if Proteus will allow it. 😉

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.

Happy bookish birthdays (November 18) to…

November 18, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 18) to…

My favorite Amazon Black Friday sales this year

November 17, 2018

My favorite Amazon Black Friday sales this year

Black Friday is less than a week away!

It used to be that surprise sales on that day were a really big thing…deep discounts that we might not find out about until the day before (or even “flash sales” which might sell out quickly).

That certainly may be the case this year as well. My Significant Other really likes getting the physical newspapers and going through the Black Friday ads (even though many of them are “leaked” online ahead of time…my favorite site for that is Black Friday.com), and no doubt, we’ll be keeping on eye on Amazon’s Black Friday page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). Well, after we have “our favorite date of the year” and go doorbuster shopping for Toys for Tots. That’s going to be a bit more of a challenge this year…I think we’ll need to bring my wheelchair**.

We also, though, have dates and prices for Amazon devices…I think these will be accurate but, of course, double-check before you buy.

Amazon put out a

press release

with prices, but saying “…the deals included below will be available on various dates and times between November 16 and November 23 (Black Friday), while supplies last…”

I have seen specific dates in diverse news stories online, which may or may not be the right ones.

Before I call out three specific deals, I want to mention Amazon’s trend towards package and bulk deals. There seems to be more of those this year, and that makes sense. For example, you’ll be able to get one

Echo Dot Kids’ Edition (at AmazonSmile*)

for $49.99 ($20 off the normal price…which is what it is at time of writing), but you’ll be able to get three of them for $99.97…about $33.32 apiece.

That’s a bulk deal: discounts for buying more than one of the same thing at the same time. You might be thinking that you only need one…but don’t forget about gifts!

Package deals (also called “bundles”) are when you get a discount for buying two different things at the same time. Here’s an example of that (available at time of writing):

3rd gen Echo Dot and an Amazon smart plug (at AmazonSmile*)

The price is $64.98, which is a $10 discount over buying them separately.

That one makes sense: the Echo Dot can use that SmartPlug to power something on or off, like a lamp (although there are also smart bulbs), but also, say, holiday decorations.

With all of these possibilities, I want to highlight three. These are devices which I really personally like, with deals that I think are significant.

Fire TV Cube (at AmazonSmile*)

It honestly surprised me how much we like this relatively new device! It’s a TV streamer (it’s just about the only way we watch TV…we pay for Netflix and Hulu and are Prime members, so we have that Prime Video option…and there is a lot more), but it can also control your TV (most of them…they give you a way to check before you buy), and it has full Alexa functionality. I like visual Alexa (visuAlexa?)…if we ask for the weather, we see a “chart” of the next several days, like you would see in a weather app.

This one should go on sale on Sunday, 11/18, but

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

should be able to order through an Alexa device on Saturday, 11/17 starting at 9:00 PM Pacific. Ask, “Alexa, what are my deals?” No guarantees, but try it. 🙂

It’s normally $119.99, but it will drop to $59.99…$60/half off. That’s cheaper than an Echo tower without a screen.

Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile*)

This has been my favorite Kindle EBR (E-Book Reader) since its release. This is the new version, which is waterproof. Amazon doesn’t list this in that press release, but it will reportedly go on sale for $79.99 ($40 off the current price of $129.99). If this happens, it’s a great deal! That doesn’t have to be you upgrading: it could be a gift, or you could use it as your “guest Kindle” (I think I first wrote about my concept for that here: A Kindle for the guest room).

The sale will reportedly start on Thanksgiving…but again, Prime members will likely get that three-hour headstart. Also, right now, buyers get six months of

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

included in the purchase…that “all you can read” subser (subscription service) would make this an even better deal.

The

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

is what I have at work, and is part of every workday. It’s about the size of a Magic 8 Ball, and has a screen. I use it for typical Alexa functions (timers, weather), but also play Jeopardy while my work computer boots up. Being able to see the text of the questions is really helpful!

Amazon says it will be $89.99 for one ($40 off)…but $159.98 for two! This is an item where having two can definitely make sense, since you can use it for videocalls. That could be one for you and one for grandparents in another state. You give them a gift they’ll really like (it can work out to more time with the family)…and you get a gift for yourself, too. 😉

You can get the two-pack at time of writing, and the single-price sale is supposed to happen on Thanksgiving.

Amazon has a little making up to do with some of the public right now…they’ve gotten some pushback on the way they handled the HQ2 decision, and the investors could have been happier. That may mean we see even more (slightly more) good news for customers this holiday season.

This isn’t the only time of year to get deals from Amazon…we also have Prime Day (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) in the middle of the year, but it is a good time!

Is there something else you are especially looking to see this year? You can let me and my readers now 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!

* 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! :) 

** I now have a surgery date scheduled for my hip replacement for January 17, 2019. If all goes well, that could mean that I end up not even needing the cane I’ve used for years. It’s a relatively safe operation, but I’m also using it as an impetus to “get my affairs in order”, as they say. Not quite sure yet how it will affect the blog in the immediate aftermath…it actually sounds like I should be able to write within a few days of the procedure

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

Happy bookish birthdays (November 17) to…

November 17, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 17) 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

Happy bookish birthdays (November 16) to…

November 16, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 16) 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

Happy bookish birthdays (November 15) to…

November 15, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 15) 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

Happy bookish birthdays (November 14) to…

November 14, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 14) 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

Happy bookish birthdays (November 13) to…

November 13, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 13) to…


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.

Happy bookish birthdays (November 12) to…

November 12, 2018

Happy bookish birthdays (November 12) 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


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