Round up #181: Amazon “Wish Book”, Echo’s evidence

Round up #181: Amazon “Wish Book”, Echo’s evidence

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

“YOU get free shipping…and you get free shipping…and YOU get free shipping…everybody gets free shipping!”

Yep…Amazon’s making like Oprah with the cars, and giving everyone, not just

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

members, free shipping through the holiday season (well, at least as late as you can have holiday gifts shipped for December 25th).

press release

This is on literally hundreds of millions of items.

Don’t worry, Prime members: you’ll get free 1-day shipping on something like three million items.

Is this strictly a competitive move? Well, it is that…it will get some people to buy online who usually buy in brick-and-mortars.

It may also get some people used to the convenience, and then they may decide to become Prime members.

Before we became Prime members, I went through and calculated how much we had spent on Amazon shipping in the previous year. That wasn’t a good indicator of our future satisfaction, though. It turned out that we bought different things when there was free two-day shipping. With two days, we suddenly tended to buy more things from Amazon which we otherwise were buying in brick-and-mortar stores.

There are also all those other Prime benefits, from video to music to photo storage to access to books and more.

Amazon’s “The Best Books of 2018”

I find this interesting every year!

Amazon sent me a press release (not something they do often, I’m afraid) to announce their

The Best Books of 2018 (at AmazonSmile*)

They break it down:

Featured in Best Books of 2018

Best of the Year by Category

By the way, this was amusing: “1-16 of 182 results for Top 100 on Kindle”…that’s like when people say they are committed to something “110%”. 😉 It actually turned out that there were only about 100 results (99, to be exact). 

One interesting thing for me: looking through the top 100 Kindle books, I’ve read…zero of them. A change in lifestyle has meant being more careful with money, so I’ve been reading more older books and books covered by our

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


I usually do get e-books at gifts, and I did last year…but although I haven’t analyzed it, I’m guessing that the books on the list usually aren’t released in the beginning of the year.

Their number one book?

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

I do want to commend them on their selections! I looked through the science fiction section (it was only logical to do, after all), and it really wasn’t the “usual suspects”. I think the editors make a real effort to create opportunities for discovery…they’ve succeeded. 🙂

Amazon’s 3rd Quarter financials

We were back to what seems like normal to me…Amazon announces absolutely amazing growth for a company this age and this size, and the investors feel disappointed and the stock goes down. 🙂

Operating cash flow was up 57%. Net sales were up 29%. Net income per diluted share was more than ten times what it had been in the same quarter in 2017.

What more do you want, right? 😉 chart

It hasn’t recovered yet…but I’m confident it will before the end of January.

Browse the listings of accomplishments in the press release, and I think most people wouldn’t have been surprised 25 years ago if that represented ten companies!

Amazon HQ2 announcement seems close

There are lots of rumors swirling about Amazon’s second headquarters selection…including that they may split it between two cities. It wouldn’t surprise me if we got the announcement this week. People are analyzing everything, including where Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos eats. My intuition is the Northeast, but it will be interesting to get the official word.

Remember the Sears Wish Book?

I remember it being a big deal when we got the Sears Wish Book (basically, a holiday toy catalog). We would go through it, folding pages down, and putting our initials next to things we wanted. That didn’t mean we would get any of them…it was fun, like a game!

This year, Amazon is sending out a physical catalog (in addition to a gazillion TV commercials).

If you don’t want to wait for it (and I doubt everyone will get one), you can get it for free for your Kindle:

A Holiday of Play

A Jury of Your Gadgets?

There were a lot of ways to go with that headline, for sure! 12 Angry Echoes? Alexa for the Defence? Even “I, Echo”?

A judge in Vermont has ordered Amazon to turn over possible Echo recordings from a home involved in a double homicide, according to this

ABC News story by Mark Osborne

and many other sources.

It’s interesting…for one thing, they don’t even know that there are relevant recordings. There shouldn’t be recordings until the wake word is heard, but I suppose that could happen. The article also mentions phone pairing data…that could be helpful in establishing who was there, but it doesn’t just happen if you are passing through. If the perpetrators were known to the people in the home, maybe even if the event happened after a social gathering which involved them, then there could be interesting information.

Have any thoughts on these stories? 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!

* 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


2 Responses to “Round up #181: Amazon “Wish Book”, Echo’s evidence”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I think (based on readings in the financial press and their earnings call) that the fall in Amazon’s stock price wasn’t so much disappointment with 3Q results per se, but more with their 4Q guidance which spanned a wide range, and wasn’t gangbusters. Personally, as I’m now a shareholder, I think they’re managing expectations: if they do have a blockbuster quarter, that will blow the socks off the stock price (well I hope so ).

    On the judge ordering Amazon to give up the Echo recordings — it seems like a fishing episode to me — they ought to at least have probable cause, and go through the usual warrant process. I’m a real privacy fanatic. I think all the info on your devices should be treated as an extension of the contents of your brain — and shouldn’t be compellable under any circumstances. Let law enforcement behave as they had to before all these personal devices came on the scene. I’m not a big fan of Apple, but on this issue, I think Tim Cook (Apple CEO) is right to be a hardass on non-disclosure of iPhone contents.

    As I’ve said here before, I don’t put any weight on “best of” lists from anyone. Most of the time I’ve never even heard of the chosen. I took a look (like you) at the SciFi&Fantasy list. I’ve read two of them — they both got 4(out of 5) stars from me — nothing that I’d be jumping up & down about.

    Also, like you (but for different reasons) I’m reading older stuff — much of which that I read as a pBook. Rather than struggle through all my bookshelves (the bulk of which are in storage in NH), I’m just buying the eBook version. What I’m finding very interesting in the non-SciFi titles are all the changes that have happened over the last 20-30 years (like detectives having to find a pay phone, burning issues of the day that aren’t anymore, etc). Change, in general, is so gradual that you don’t even notice it. It’s hard to remember the way things were. These rereads bring it all back…

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      That’s a good insight on the stock price! Certainly not my area of expertise, it still seems a little capricious to get out of stock because it’s likely to do well, but not as well as you thought. 😉 Well, that’s the company, not the stock. I suspect people worry about an implosion in Amazon’s stock price…anti-trust action is certainly a sword of Damocles at this point.

      I agree with you on the fishing! We haven’t seen the warrant or legal decree (at least I haven’t), but I don’t think it should be just, “Turn over everything you may or may not have.” If they said that they wanted recordings (if any) of a specific suspect during a specific timeframe, that would make sense. On the other hand, legal agencies can always ask…it’s kind of like a vampire: if you invite them into your house, that’s your choice….

      I love running across references to old tech! Demon Seed was set in the near future…but it was funny to see them use a floppy disc the size of a salad plate. 😉

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