Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

AFD News: Amazon Symphony launches, a “marketplace for businesses”

April 1, 2019

AFD News: Amazon Symphony launches, a “marketplace for businesses”

April 1, 2019 (AFD News)

by Augustus R. Egett

Amazon (AMZN) launched a new service today, intended to help businesses find merger opportunities.

Similar to online dating services, a company which is looking to make an acquisition, or one which is hoping to find a financial partner, posts a listing at Amazon’s site.

If a listing looks attractive, the company can send a message, and negotiations can begin.

There are a variety of plans being offered:

 

  • A flat rate plan: this is based on the size of the assets being offered
  • A percentage plan: no money is paid up front, but Amazon is given a percentage of the new company, which can be compensated as stock or as a percentage of gross income
  • One of the more unusual plans opens it up for crowdfunding. Amazon Prime members are able to pledge money in exchange for special benefits, determined by the companies

Additionally, Amazon will offer legal and other services at an additional cost.

“Amazon Symphony enabled us to find the perfect partner when we wanted to expand out pet grooming business to include pet walking and sitting services,” said Mr. Merill of Patti’s Pet Parlor.

“We had no idea how to handle the legal aspects of our merger, and Amazon was able to handle all of that,” according to a postcard we received from Bob’s Buggy Whips about their recent merger with the Carolina Carbon Paper Company.

“It’s like Tinder for corporations,” according to We Work in Our PJs.

“Thanks to Amazon Symphony, we now own pretty much all the entertainment in the world…it was well worth the exclusive third party rights Amazon got,” said Mary Kane of D (formerly known as Disney/Fox/Time/Warner/Sony/Blumhouse/Universal/Paramount/Lionsgate/MGM…)

“This has a much better risk/benefit ratio than what we were doing previously,” enthused Alexander the Great.

In perhaps the most unexpected turn of events, Amazon announced that it had acquired itself for three gazillion dollars, and would officially be known as Amazon Oroboros (although it would continue to do business under the name of Amazon).

Finally, Arbor Day was acquired by…April Fools Day! 


This is, of course, my annual April Fools Day joke! I was thinking about the Disney acquisition of Fox, and wanted to do something with that. I could see Amazon finding some way to facilitate that, in the same way that I say they want to be the “Infrastructure of the Internet”. By the way, while I would change it at this point, this was my tweet from December 15, 2017 when the Disney/Fox acquisition was first sparking real speculation:

“My crossover: Rocket Raccoon steals the Banzai Institute’s time machine, robs Mos Eisley, accidentally creating a history where Dr. Doom is President. Link Hogthrob teams with Riff Raff, using Seth Brundle tech, to set things right.”

I’d make it more diverse now, using some different characters…although I still like the basic idea.

There is actually an Amazon Symphony (I checked a few names), but as it is an actual symphony, I didn’t think this would be confusing.

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* 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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A Trip to The Bookstore

January 21, 2019

A Trip to The Bookstore

Note: this is a re-post of an article which originally appeared in this blog on 2011/02/20. I am scheduled for major surgery on January 17th, and I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to write after that. So, to keep the content going, I am pre-scheduling posts. It’s possible conditions have changed since I wrote it, but I’ll try to lightly edit these when that’s necessary for clarity. 

Grandpa: Okay, kids, here we are…The Bookstore.

Watson (a six-year old boy): Yay!  We’re at the bookstore!  What’s a bookstore, Grandpa?

StefJo (a nine-year old girl): It’s a site where they sell books, BeeSOD.

Grandpa: We don’t call them sites when we are there in person, StefJo…we call them stores.  And don’t call your brother names.

StefJo: Yes, Grandpa.

Salesclerk: Hi, can I help you folks find something?

(Watson starts crying and hides behind Grandpa)

StefJo (whispering): Grandpa, why is that man talking to us?  We don’t know him.

Grandpa (whispering): It’s okay, StefJo…he works for the store.  You just say, “No thank you, we’re just looking.”

StefJo: No thank you, we’re just looking.

Salesclerk: Well, if you folks want anything, just let me know.  (leaves)

StefJo: I don’t understand, Grandpa.  Why would a stranger talk to us like that?

Grandpa: Well, the store would pay them to do that.  That way, he can help us find some books to buy.

StefJo: Why can’t we find them ourselves?

Grandpa: We can…but this is a big place, we might need help.

StefJo: Can’t we just do a search?

Grandpa: There might be a computer around here some place–

Watson: I have a phone!

Grandpa: I know you do, Byte-Byte.  That won’t help us here, though.  Your phone won’t know which books are where.

StefJo: What do you mean?  Don’t they bring us the books?

Grandpa: No, we walk around the store and look.  See those signs?  They tell us what kind of books are where.  We just need to find the Children’s section.

Watson: Carry me!

Grandpa: Hop up here, Sport.  I think I see the children’s books over there.

(Grandpa carries Watson over to the children’s books section.  StefJo walks up to a shelf of Young Adult books.)

StefJo: Look, Grandpa, they have Nancy Drew!  (She touches the picture on the spine of the book.  She rubs her fingers up and down the spine.)  Grandpa, I can’t get it to open.

Grandpa: You have to take it off the shelf first.  Just get one finger on the top, like this, and you can tilt it towards you and pull it off.  Okay, there’s a comfortable chair…why don’t you sit there and read?  I’m going to help your brother find a book.

StefJo: Sure, Grandpa.

(Grandpa takes Watson to an area with picture books.  He pulls out a copy of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and starts Watson looking at the book)

StefJo: Grandpa!

Grandpa: What is it, Princess?

StefJo: I got the book open, but it isn’t in English.  How do I change it?

Grandpa: It’s not?  Oh, I see, you have the book upside down.

StefJo: Oh.

Grandpa: Were you reading this book before we came here?

StefJo: No, why?

Grandpa: Well, you’re in the middle of the book.

StefJo: I didn’t know how to make it go to the beginning.

Grandpa: You just start over here on this side.  Then, as you finish reading a page, you turn to the next one…like this.

StefJo: Thanks, Grandpa.  Are these numbers the percentages?  This is short!

Grandpa: No, those are page numbers.  See?  Every time you turn the page, the number gets higher.

StefJo: But I tried and the number was like ten higher!

Grandpa: You must have turned too many pages.  You have to be careful just to get one of them.

StefJo: That’s hard!

Grandpa: You’ll get used to it.

StefJo: Oops!  The page has a big line on it!

Grandpa: Let me see that…oh, it looks like you tore the page!

StefJo: I’m sorry, Grandpa.

Grandpa: Oh, that’s okay, that happens.  We’ll just have to buy this one.  We can tape it up when we get home.

StefJo: What’s tape?

Grandpa: I think they sell it here.  You use it to stick two pieces of paper together.

StefJo: What’s paper?

Grandpa: That’s what the pages are made of.  If we tape it together, it won’t tear any more.

StefJo: Why don’t they just make the whole book out of tape, then?

Grandpa: That’s a good question, Stef.  Let’s go see how your brother is doing.  Hey, Byte-Byte…where is the book?

Watson: I deleted it.

Grandpa: You deleted…what do you mean?

Watson: I got done, so I threw it away.

Grandpa: Why did you do that?  Why didn’t you put it back on the shelf?

Watson: I didn’t like it.  It didn’t sing to me like at home.

Grandpa: Where did you throw it away?

Watson (starting to cry again): Over there!

(Grandpa fishes the book out of a garbage can)

Grandpa: Well, we’re lucky they have old-fashioned garbage cans here, too, and not recyclatrons.  We’ll just have to buy this one, too.

Watson: I don’t want it!  I don’t want it! (crying and screaming)

Grandpa: Watson!  Calm down!

StefJo: Couldn’t we just put it back on the shelf?  It looks okay.

Grandpa: Yes, you’re right.  It’s okay, Sport, it’s okay!  You don’t have to have the book.

StefJo: Grandpa, look out!  It’s that man again!  We’re just looking, we’re just looking!

Salesclerk: Everything okay here, folks?

Grandpa: Yes, yes.  I’m afraid there was a little misunderstanding, and my grandson here threw this book in the garbage.  I’d be happy to pay for it…

Salesclerk: Don’t worry about it…happens all the time.  I’ve seen kids do a lot worse things to books.  We’ll just put it back right here, and someone else can buy it.

StefJo (whispering): Are all the books dirty like that?

Grandpa (whispering): It’s not dirty, but you never know what someone else has done with a book you buy.

StefJo: Ew!

Grandpa: Unfortunately, we did damage this one…I insist on buying it.

Salesclerk: That’s fine, then.  Come right over here to the check-out.  That one is one hundred dollars.

Grandpa: That’s more than what we paid for our admission tickets to this place.

StefJo: I’m sorry, Grandpa.

Grandpa: Oh, that’s okay, Princess.  It’s fun for Grandpa to buy a book like in the old days.

StefJo: Will you carry it for me?  It’s heavy.

Grandpa: Sure, Princess.

StefJO: Where are we going next?

Grandpa: To The Pet Store.  I understand they have some real live dogs and cats.

StefJo: You mean alive alive?

Grandpa: I think so.

StefJo: That’s scary!  I don’t think Watson would like that.

Grandpa: Yes, you’re a smart girl.  I can see how that might scare him.  You are much braver, aren’t you?

(StefJo gives a shy smile)

Grandpa: Where would you like to go, Sport?

Watson: I wanna eat.

Grandpa: We can go to The Food Court.  They have some amazing things there!

StefJo: Do they have broccoli?  I like broccoli.

Grandpa: Wouldn’t you like to try something from when your parents were kids?  I’ll bet they’ll have a Happy Meal!  Doesn’t that sound good?

StefJo: I guess so.  People aren’t going to talk to us there, right?

Grandpa: Well, there is usually somebody behind the counter who takes our orders.  But they won’t come to the table.

Watson (looking confused): What’s a table?

Grandpa: I’ll show you when we get there.  It’s a place where we all sit down together and talk to each other.

StefJo: The olden days sure were hard, Grandpa.

Grandpa: I guess they were in some ways, Princess.  But you know what was always the same?

StefJo: What’s that?

Grandpa: There were always grandpas who loved their grandkids very much.

Watson: I love you, Grandpa!

Grandpa: I love you too, Sport!  Let’s go get some fries…and later on, I’ll show you a car!

(The three of them start to leave The Bookstore together, Grandpa holding StefJo’s hand, StefJo holding Watson’s hand.  In Grandpa’s other hand is a bag, and in it is a book.)

Grandpa: You kids wait here for a minute…play with your phones.

(Grandpa walks over to the salesclerk who is dusting off some books)

Grandpa: Sir?  Would you mind very much if I gave you this back?

Salesclerk: I’m afraid I can’t give you a refund…you said it was damaged.

Grandpa: I don’t want a refund.  You can just put it back on the shelf.  I was thinking about it…I don’t think their parents are going to want me to bring it home: they wouldn’t have any place to put it.  I think it belongs here, where other kids can see it.

Salesclerk: But what about your granddaughter?  Didn’t you buy it for her?

Grandpa: Don’t worry about it…she won’t even miss it.

Salesclerk: As you wish, sir.  Thank you for shopping with The Bookstore.  We’ll look forward to seeing you again.

Grandpa: Maybe when the kids are older…I think they’ll appreciate the history of it more.  Think you’ll still be around in five years?

Salesclerk: Why certainly, sir.  We’ve been doing business the same way for over one hundred years.  Now that we are entirely government supported, there’s no reason we can’t keep doing it for the next hundred.

Grandpa: See you in five years, then.

(Grandpa walks back towards the kids, but stops a meter away.  Neither child looks up.  They haven’t noticed him yet.  Watson is shaking his phone wildly with his eyes closed, playing some kind of game with tactile feedback or a machine-brain interface.  StefJo sits quietly, reading as the pages turn automatically for her.  Grandpa remembers back to lying under a blanket reading with a flashlight, or sitting under a tree with a book.  He recognizes that look on her face…she’s wherever the book has taken her…Mars, Oz, Fairlyland…or a time long ago when people did things in strange ways.  He knows that look, and he smiles.  Some things never change.)


[2019 note: this has been the only one of my works to date where I authorized a translated version (to Portuguese…that was thrilling! There may be others out there that are infringing, of course, and in the future, simple translations may be handled effectively by artificial intelligence…but I do think it will be some time before that will be anywhere near what a really skilled human translator can do.]

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

If e-books were first…

January 20, 2019

If e-books were first…

Note: this is a re-post of an article which originally appeared in this blog on 2009/09/25. I am scheduled for major surgery on January 17th, and I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to write after that. So, to keep the content going, I am pre-scheduling posts. It’s possible conditions have changed since I wrote it, but I’ll try to lightly edit these when that’s necessary for clarity. 

Eric: “Hey, Paul, what’s that?”
Paul: “It’s the latest thing. It’s a paper book.”
Eric: (showing his Kindle to Paul and imitating Crocodile Dundee) “That’s not a book. This is a book.”
Paul: “Ess-atch-atch-atch. Very funny.”
Eric: “So, what do you have on there?”
Paul: “I’m reading The Stand.”
Eric: “What else?”
Paul: “That’s it.  It’s just the one book.”
Eric: “Is it frozen? Did you call Customer Service?”
Paul: “No, it’s supposed to be like that.”
Eric: “What happens when you want to read something else?”
Paul: “You buy another one.”
Eric: “What a rip-off!  What did it cost?”
Paul: “Twenty-four dollars.”
Eric: “Twenty-four dollars?! I’ve never paid that much for a book! Why does it cost so much?’
Paul: “Well, it’s made out of paper.”
Eric: “What’s paper?”
Paul: “I don’t know exactly.  It comes from trees.”
Eric: “Trees? Like, it’s a leaf or something?”
Paul: “I don’t think so.  I think they mash the trees up or something.”
Eric: “Gross.  Is it sticky?”
Paul: “No, not really.”
Eric: “Where do they get the trees?”
Paul: “I don’t know.”
Eric: “Let me see it.  Whoa, this thing is frickin’ heavy!  How do you hold it?”
Paul: “You get used to it. They sell stands and stuff for them.”
Eric: “Where are you going to keep it?”
Paul: “Well, I don’t really know. They sell shelves for them.”
Eric: “You’re not putting those things in the apartment!  It’s bad enough I’ve got to live with my brother, but you’re taking up enough room with those…what do you call them, BVDs?”
Paul: “Those are antiques.”
Eric: “Yeah, whatever.  So, I’ve always wanted to read this.  Make it bigger.”
Paul: “You can’t.”
Eric: “What do you mean, you can’t? Just push the button.”
Paul: “No buttons.  That’s what size the letters are.”
Eric: “That’s discriminatory! How am I supposed to read those little things?”
Paul: “They sell ones with bigger text. I saw this one for thirty-five bucks.”
Eric: “Well, that’s sold me…”
Paul: “They’re expensive. They don’t need that many people to buy them.”
Eric: “Definitely a niche product.  It still doesn’t seem fair.  I’ll tell you what: shoot me a copy and I’ll read it on my Kindle.”
Paul: “I can’t do that.  I’m not allowed to send it to anybody.”
Eric: “But we’re on the same account!”
Paul: “That doesn’t matter.  I only get one license.  I can sell this one to somebody else, though.”
Eric: “Good luck with that.”
Paul: “Ha, ha.  Hey, you got mustard on the page!”
Eric: “So what? Hit Alt+G.”
Paul: “I can’t, man. You messed it up permanently.”
Eric: “Call Customer Service.  Maybe they’ll send you another one or reset it or something.”
Paul: “Can’t. Once I buy it, they don’t service it.”
Eric: “This is never going to catch on.”
Paul: “I know.  I just love gadgets…”

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A version of this post originally appeared in the Amazon Kindle forum on April 17, 2009 here.  It subsequently appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

AFD News: Alexa everywhere: cars, kitchens, clocks…and socks

September 22, 2018

AFD News: Alexa everywhere: cars, kitchens, clocks…and socks

September 22, 2018 (AFD News)

Pat Burlington

When Amazon recently announced a wide variety of new Alexa hardware, many people were surprised by items like the AmazonBasics Microwave 700W Works with Alexa (at AmazonSmile*). This was a very different approach from creating Smart Speakers. Here was a household device, already present in nearly 98% of USA homes. Amazon has introduced their device, hypothetically competing with companies which have been in this market for decades. What makes Amazon’s otherwise typical appliance stand out?

You can talk to it.

Not directly: this is an Alexa accessory. It doesn’t contain Alexa, it responds to Alexa. You won’t be able to ask your microwave to turn on your garage light or show you The Man in the High Castle. You ask it to cook, and it cooks.

This represents an important new category: people will buy something they might have bought anyway, and then use an Alexa-device to control it. It’s using the mundane to move people into the future (and for Jeff Bezos, that future is the Amazon universe).

While they didn’t feature it during the presentation, this writer thinks that the best example is the new Alexa socks, “Aleksocks”.

Just like the microwave, this doesn’t mean you’ll be speaking to your shoe a la Maxwell Smart. The socks have a heating and cooling element in them. You’ll be able to say to your Echo, “Alexa, my feet are cold”, and your socks will warm you up. Eventually, with the newly announced Alexa Hunches functionality, Alexa will be able to suggest that you might like your socks turned on, and perhaps do it automatically based on a reading from your Alexa-powered thermostat and your past preferences.

Amazon did not make Aleksocks available for pre-order, or provide a specific release date beyond “…in the coming months”.

While this may not be the wearable people thought Amazon would develop at some time, it is a move in that direction.

Note: this post is (an admittedly pretty subtle) joke. 🙂 Amazon did not announce Alexa-enabled socks at the recent event, which I wrote about here: Amazon’s Announce-A-Palooza 2018! I was just intrigued and amused by Amazon really diversifying the offerings, and tried to think of something a bit silly. If they do announce them at some point, though, I’ll undoubtedly remind you that I wrote 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 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.

AFD News: Rigmarole Town selected as site of Amazon’s HQ2

April 1, 2018

AFD News: Rigmarole Town selected as site of Amazon’s HQ2

April 1 ,2018 (AFD News)

Ever since Amazon announced its search for a location for a second corporate headquarters, cities have been competing for what is believed could result in 50,000 local jobs.

While recent reporting has suggested that Atlanta, Boston, or a Virginia site were frontrunners, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced today that Rigmarole Town, a small planned community, has been selected.

“We are excited to announce that Rigmarole Town will be the location of our second corporate headquarters,” said Bezos. “We look forward to the unique opportunities this community will present to help us continue our mission of being the world’s most customer oriented company.”

The announcement came as a surprise to many reporters. Rigmarole Town does not have a nearby airport or other mass transit, although it is located on a major road. There is no notable industry in the area.

It’s believed that Amazon plans to take advantage of other resources in the surrounding Quadling country, and in the rest of the Land of Oz.

Bezos was believed to have met with various well-known figures in the months prior to the decision:

  • Professor H.M. Woggle-Bug, T.E., founder of the Royal College of Art and Athletic Perfection. As with other cities competing for HQ2, the presence of a college community has been seen as a plus. The RCAAP is known for its innovative learning techniques, and getting into advanced education has long been a goal of the Seattle-based e-tailer
  • Johnny Dooit, who provides on-demand construction and repair, which lines up with Amazon’s Home Services goals
  • General Jinjur (ret.), a former mayor of the central Emerald City (not to be confused with Seattle, also referred to as the Emerald City), and known for her organizational skills. Initial speculation suggests that Jinjur may be the local manager of HQ2

Princess Ozma was not present at today’s announcement. Ozma founded Rigmarole Town as one of a number of social engineering projects. Two representatives of Ozma’s “cabinet” did release statements. Dorothy Gale, who is a dual citizen of the USA and Oz, said that she was looking forward to the fresh perspectives which the move would bring to Rigmarole Town. Oscar Diggs, a former executive of the Emerald City, responded to questions about the cloaking technology he had created for the Land of Oz, and how that might impact transportation logistics. “The privacy system can be adjusted to allow the necessary commerce, and only that.”

Two other factors which are believed to have tipped the balance in favor of the previously low profile location are the diversity and the tech-friendly nature of the Land of Oz. Oz boasts a uniquely high number of female executives, in addition to full representation for non-meat people and non-human animals. Ozma’s key advisers include the formerly meat Nick Chopper (the “Tin Woodman”), the Scarecrow, and The Cowardly Lion and Hungry Tiger. Tik-Tok, a robot, is also commonly present at the highest level meetings. Tik-Tok was created by Smith & Tinker, located in the nearby country of Ev, and possesses significant artificial intelligence (when properly wound up). His speaking voice is stilted, and Boy Genius Report has released what appears to be an internal memo about upgrading him with Amazon’s Alexa. As previously noted, Diggs was a pioneer in what we now call cellphones. Oz is also particularly strong in information technology, including the Magic Picture and the Great Book of Records.

No timeline has been stated for opening HQ2. If Glinda the Good, rumored to be the power behind Ozma, becomes involved, progress could be rapid. The only statement from Glinda’s castle was…

APRIL FOOL!


This year, I decided to go with one which wasn’t as subtle. I doubt I will have fooled very many people for long, which is fine with me. I think of April Fools’ Day as being more about having fun then deception.

As to Rigmarole Town, it appears in The Emerald City of Oz, the sixth book in the

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

People who haven’t read the original series, which I really enjoy, sometimes have the mistaken impression that the books are saccharine, and that everything is sweetness and light.

Rigmarole Town is an example of when Baum is being..snarky. Ozma does make sweeping social changes after becoming ruler. It is clearly part of what makes Ozma beloved by most residents of Oz (and visitors to it), but some of the practices would certainly be challenged were they to be instituted outside of Oz.

Here is the visit to Rigmarole Town from the book (which is in the public domain):

As the Sawhorse drew the wagon into the main street the travelers noticed that the place was filled with people, standing in groups and seeming to be engaged in earnest conversation. So occupied with themselves were the inhabitants that they scarcely noticed the strangers at all. So the Wizard stopped a boy and asked:

“Is this Rigmarole Town?”

“Sir,” replied the boy, “if you have traveled very much you will have noticed that every town differs from every other town in one way or another and so by observing the methods of the people and the way they live as well as the style of their dwelling places it ought not to be a difficult thing to make up your mind without the trouble of asking questions whether the town bears the appearance of the one you intended to visit or whether perhaps having taken a different road from the one you should have taken you have made an error in your way and arrived at some point where–”

“Land sakes!” cried Aunt Em, impatiently; “what’s all this rigmarole about?”

“That’s it!” said the Wizard, laughing merrily. “It’s a rigmarole because the boy is a Rigmarole and we’ve come to Rigmarole Town.”

“Do they all talk like that?” asked Dorothy, wonderingly.

“He might have said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and settled the question,” observed Uncle Henry.

“Not here,” said Omby Amby. “I don’t believe the Rigmaroles know what ‘yes’ or ‘no’ means.”

While the boy had been talking several other people had approached the wagon and listened intently to his speech. Then they began talking to one another in long, deliberate speeches, where many words were used but little was said. But when the strangers criticized them so frankly one of the women, who had no one else to talk to, began an address to them, saying:

“It is the easiest thing in the world for a person to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when a question that is asked for the purpose of gaining information or satisfying the curiosity of the one who has given expression to the inquiry has attracted the attention of an individual who may be competent either from personal experience or the experience of others to answer it with more or less correctness or at least an attempt to satisfy the desire for information on the part of the one who has made the inquiry by–”

“Dear me!” exclaimed Dorothy, interrupting the speech. “I’ve lost all track of what you are saying.”

“Don’t let her begin over again, for goodness sake!” cried Aunt Em.

But the woman did not begin again. She did not even stop talking, but went right on as she had begun, the words flowing from her mouth in a stream.

“I’m quite sure that if we waited long enough and listened carefully, some of these people might be able to tell us something, in time,” said the Wizard.

“Let’s don’t wait,” returned Dorothy. “I’ve heard of the Rigmaroles, and wondered what they were like; but now I know, and I’m ready to move on.”

“So am I,” declared Uncle Henry; “we’re wasting time here.”

“Why, we’re all ready to go,” said the Shaggy Man, putting his fingers to his ears to shut out the monotonous babble of those around the wagon.

So the Wizard spoke to the Sawhorse, who trotted nimbly through the village and soon gained the open country on the other side of it. Dorothy looked back, as they rode away, and noticed that the woman had not yet finished her speech but was talking as glibly as ever, although no one was near to hear her.

“If those people wrote books,” Omby Amby remarked with a smile, “it would take a whole library to say the cow jumped over the moon.”

“Perhaps some of ’em do write books,” asserted the little Wizard. “I’ve read a few rigmaroles that might have come from this very town.”

“Some of the college lecturers and ministers are certainly related to these people,” observed the Shaggy Man; “and it seems to me the Land of Oz is a little ahead of the United States in some of its laws. For here, if one can’t talk clearly, and straight to the point, they send him to Rigmarole Town; while Uncle Sam lets him roam around wild and free, to torture innocent people.”

Dorothy was thoughtful. The Rigmaroles had made a strong impression upon her. She decided that whenever she spoke, after this, she would use only enough words to express what she wanted to say.


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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.


 

 

Harry Potter (sung to the tune of Alouette) in honor of #HarryPotter20

June 27, 2017

Harry Potter (sung to the tune of Alouette) in honor of #HarryPotter20

Harry Potta
I read Harry Potta
‘Cause you gotta
When you are a kid
And even if you’re not a nerd
They’ll make you love the written word
Written word! Not a nerd!
Accio-oh!

Harry Potta
Musta sold a lotta
Copies of those great big giant books!
And if you thought you knew the score
There’s plenty more at Pottermore!
Knew the score! Pottermore!
Written word! Not a nerd!
Accio-oh!

That was groovy
Then I saw the movie
And the sequel
And then I saw six more!
Another one has been released
And that one’s a fantastic beast!
Been released! Fantastic beast!
Knew the score! Pottermore
Written word! Not a nerd!
Accio-oh!

There’s fan fiction
Without an interdiction
If you don’t publish, and you keep it clean!
We’ll turn that field into a pitch
So we can play some real quidditch!
Make a pitch! Real quidditch!
Been released! Fantastic beast!
Knew the score! Pottermore
Written word! Not a nerd!
Accio-oh!

Don’t be down-hearted
We’ve still just barely started
Cursed Child has conquered the West End
I can’t afford to take that trip
So I’ll just sit and read the script!
Read the script! Make that trip!
Make a pitch! Real Quidditch!
Been released! Fantastic beast!
Knew the score! Pottermore
Written word! Not a nerd!
Accio-oh!

Harry Potter
We love Harry Potter
So we gotta
Tip our hats to Jo!


Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for the marvelous gift and fantastic world you’ve given to us and to generations to come! You’ve let us see things that have never been seen before, and for some of us, that includes aspects of ourselves.

Congratulations on twenty years of Harry Potter!

The Harry Potter books are available to read at no additional cost through

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

 

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! :) 

AFD News: Amazon to open brick-and-mortar department store

April 1, 2017

AFD News: Amazon to open brick-and-mortar department store

April 1, 2017 (AFD News)

Amazon (AMZN) is continuing its move into the physical retail space, after “Amazon Books” (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) and (the yet to open to the public) “Amazon Go” (at AmazonSmile*). The newest venture is called simply, “Amazon Store”, and parallels a traditional department store.

Traditional, though, this is not.

Ironically, this “store” doesn’t store anything…there is no stockroom. Everything is on display.

Customers can pick up items (the one thing missing in Amazon’s online experience), try clothes on, and test out games and electronics. In fact, they’ll find that it is much more interactive than most shopping experiences: the game boxes are open, they can actually play a videogame while sitting on a couch, or try a frying pan in a working kitchen.

What happens if the customer does want to buy something?

Most commonly, they will have the item sent directly to their homes (or perhaps to an Amazon Locker location). In many cases, it will be waiting for them when they get there. If the customer wants the product right now, it can be delivered by drone (either aerial or ground transport, dispatched from a nearby Amazon fulfillment center) to a convenient pick up location in the parking lot, or for Prime members, directly to the trunk where a human being will help them load it (Amazon pioneered “trunkside” delivery with its recently announced AmazonFresh Pickup service).

Interestingly, that may have been the only human being they will see during their entire “Amazon Store” experience.

The store itself is “staffed” by a combination of robots and Alexa-voice enabled devices (in the latter case, some are visible and some are not). One Amazon staffer told me that it is referred to as the “KivAlexa” team, being a combination of Amazon’s Kiva robots and the Alexa Voice Service.

A shopper need only say, “Alexa, where are the children’s shoes?” to hear an answer…and a robot can lead them there. If a customer has a mobility issue, or just prefers to stay in the sumptuous lobby area (complete with child’s play zone), the Kiva robot can bring a product to them.

Screens scattered throughout the store, and near each product area, will show customer ratings, reviews, and questions and answers. In the coming months, the same information will appear in the Amazon shopping app…automatically, if you point your phone at a product (thanks to Firefly visual recognition technology first shown in Amazon’s now discontinued Fire phone).

There may be times when you really want to speak with a person. There are employees referred to as “Counselors”. A customer need only ask, and one will appear. From what we saw in the demonstration, the only indicator that they were Amazon employees was a discrete identity badge, and the individual representative’s picture had appeared on our phones, allowing complete security.

Speaking of security, Amazon assures us that standard womb-issued guards are onsite if needed, in addition to artificial intelligence monitoring.

The first store is due to open this summer near the small town of North Redwood, Minnesota. With a population of about 5,000, it might seem an odd choice. North Redwood is the Redwood County seat, and is on Highway 71 (with access from Highways 19 and 67). Additionally, Amazon must be aware of the fact (although it’s not mentioned in the materials) it was where Richard Warren Sears was working when he took the first steps towards establishing the Sears department store chain.

Is it possible that we are looking at as revolutionary a change in retailing? Probably not…since there isn’t an “Amazon Store”! April Fool! 😉

This is a work of (somewhat subtle, I admit) humor, ILMK’s annual April Fool’s Day post (it may not have been April 1st where you are when it was published, but it was for some of my readers).

 That said, I do think this is a potential near future scenario…I haven’t suggested anything here that is outside of the realm of existing trends.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new 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.

Atlanta vs. Boston: the super books

February 5, 2017

Atlanta vs. Boston: the super books

For the second year, we are taking the cities of the two teams involved in the Superbowl, and looking at them from a literary point of view.

As happened with Carolina last year, we need to acknowledge that one of the teams isn’t tied to a single city…although they did used to be the “Boston Patriots” before they were “New England”. With apologies to the other cities (including Foxborough, where the team plays its home games), we are going to look at Boston as the Patriots’ city. That makes our two cities Boston, Massachusetts and Atlanta, Georgia.

There’s no question that Boston is a literary titan. We’ll be seeing several superstars take the field, and its also a popular setting for fiction. The latter may be true in part because it is so recognizable: all it takes is a character saying that something is “wicked good”, and we know that’s Boston talk.

However, Atlanta does have an MVP (Most Valuable Paperback) which became a movie which may still have the most attendances of all time (well, to date, anyway).

Let’s start out with Boston:

Entering the field first is a pioneer of short stories, mysteries, and more but best-known for tales of the macabre. Poetry, prose, and adaptations from Roger Corman and Vincent Price to John Cusack, it’s Edgar Allan Poe (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*).

Joining Poe is another poet/prose double-threat with a posthumous Pulitzer Prize: The Bell Jar author Sylvia Plath.

Moving up to the modern day, author Dennis Lehane has been adapted into well-known movies directed by some of Hollywood’s best: Mystic River (Clint Eastwood), Gone, Baby, Gone (Ben Affleck), and Shutter Island (Martin Scorcese).

Not particularly known as a team player, the always self-reliant Ralph Waldo Emerson has taken the field for Boston.

The Fearsome Four will no doubt strike fear into the Atlanta team.

And here comes the first Atlanta author now!

No trace of that fear as the Prince of Pages confidently strides into position…what discipline! It’s the Great

Pat Conroy (at AmazonSmile*)

John Ciardi and Gelett Burgess have joined their Boston teammates…but something is happening at the Southern end of the field. There’s a buzz rising through the crowd. Smoke has come out of the tunnel, but in these weather conditions, it should clear quickly. The crowd is on their feet now! Clearly, this is a beloved author! People are holding up signs…”50x”, “100x”, representing the number of times they’ve read this author’s most famous work. The sun glints off a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. The Boston team straightens their shoulders and some shade their eyes…they are clearing preparing for a challenge.

It’s…

Margaret Mitchell!

Four little words of one syllable each are all that need to be said: “Gone with the Wind”.

This promises to be quite a contest! While there is no denying the Sherman tank which is GwtW, Poe/Emerson/Lehane/Plath inspire an incredible amount of passion for the North. Looking at Mitchell, though, that smirk has one obvious message for the Bostonians…the South doesn’t give a…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new 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.

If the alphabet was an operating system…

December 9, 2016

If the alphabet was an operating system…

December 9, 2016 (AFD News)

LitTech blog OPtimaLetter News has published a screenshot of what it claims to be details about the next release of Alphabeta (formerly known as “The Alphabet”) which appeared briefly on an investors’ website before it was deleted.

If accurate, the sixth iteration since the incorporation in 2007 will streamline the alphabet while introducing some new features reflecting globalization.

Here are some key points:

  • The letter “c” will be eliminated. This has been anticipated, since it is redundant with the letters “s” and “k”. Books still being published and using the operating system will be updated with the new spellings. The change will be introduced in an online video of singer Tito Jackson performing “ABD”
  • The letter “z” will return to its original position, sixth from the beginning. That was the seventh position, but it will move up one slot with the elimination of the letter “c”. The screenshot cites the success of other retro consumer products, including the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition (an AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) as an influencing factor. OPtimaLetter speculates that this would create yet another battle with Amazon, since it would affect the e-tailer’s current “A to Z” smile logo
  • To further globalize Alphabeta (which is actually only one of several alphabets in use worldwide), the company will include the letters ñ (from Spanish, and pronounced like “ny” as in “canyon” and “щ ” (from the Cyrillic alphabet, pronounced “shch” as in “fresh cheese”) as part of the core set
  • A pricing sheet, partially visible, suggests that emojis will still be sold separately as part of expansion packs

Alphabeta has not responded to requests for comments on the story. New versions have typically been announced in February, to allow lead time prior to the summer reading season and the autumn school year start.

Note: this post is humor. AFD News is short for “April Fool’s Day News” which I normally use on April 1st, although I have used it before outside of that day. “Z” really was in the seventh position, as I understand it. Tito Jackson is part of the Jackson Five, who had a hit with “ABC”. I first heard that pronunciation of щ as “fresh cheese” when I took Russian in high school

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new 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.

R&D presentation at Be-Leaf-Er

April 19, 2016

R&D presentation at Be-Leaf-Er

Scene: a parallel universe. Johannes Gutenberg’s family was killed in the uprising in 1411, and movable type and the inventor’s other innovations did not see realization in that period. Movies were introduced 100 years ahead of our time, and visual media became the main way of communicating ideas. Reading and writing existed, of course, but it wasn’t the way anybody did business. Nikola Tesla, working in an unlikely in our world ongoing partnership with Thomas Edison, made motion picture cameras with sound household items by the start of the 20th Century. At the dawn of the 21st Century, a new technology arrived which was able to mass produce many pages of the written word bound together, and the paper book as part of pop culture was born. Each book was expensive…an individual copy of a novel could cost $100. Since the Industrial Revolution had still happened, and there was no special demand for paper, there aren’t forests designated for publishing the way there are in our reality. One company, Be-Leaf-Er, has dominated the nascent paperbook market. They did this in part by trying something about which there had been a great deal of skepticism: original works, rather than adaptations of movies. “No one will want to spend hours reading a story unless they are already familiar with it,” was a common objection. Books went from being twenty-page movie summaries to something more closely resembling the novels we know on our Earth. As we join our story, the R&D (Research & Development) Department is about to unveil their latest generation of the paperbook…

In a small conference room at Be-Leaf-Er headquarters, “Flicks”, the Vice President of Engineering, is smiling broadly and nearly bouncing up and down, even though seated at the table. Nikoleen Eddson, CEO, is watching a video on a small screen which has automatically popped up from the tabletop. Also present is Marketing Chief, Greene Bawkes.

Nikoleen:  “Okay, Flicks. I’ve watched your report…I’m anxious to see the actual item.”

Flicks: “Do I just show it to you, or should there be some sort of protocol…?”

Greene: “This isn’t a sales pitch, Flicks. I want to see what your team’s been whispering about for the past six months.”

Nikoleen: “Actually, Greene, I wouldn’t say this isn’t a sales pitch…”

Flicks swallows nervously

Greene: “Oh, come on, Niki…we’re already committed. If you didn’t think we were going to do it, you shouldn’t have teased it in that vidnail.”

Nikoleen: “I still want to be sold. I’m going to get a lot of questions about this…I have to be enthusiastic.”

Greene: “Just get on with it, Flicks.”

Flicks: “Well, here it is…the Sliver.”

Greene: “We’re not calling it that…it’s not a very pleasant thought, is it? It’s the Whisper.”

Flicks: “Um…okay, here’s the Whisper.”

Flicks hands the Whisper over to Nikoleen

Nikoleen: “I don’t…whoa, what just happened?”

Flicks: “You rotated the spine. I’m really proud of my team on that one. See, if you go from sitting up to laying down, you can turn the spine so you can keep the text perpendicular to the wall in any position.”

Nikoleen: “I’ve never seen anything like that. That is cool.”

Greene: “Why is that better than tilting your head? Who lays down and keeps their head in the same position it was in when they were sitting up?”

Flicks: “Well, they never could before…maybe now they will.”

Greene: “Keep going…what else does it do?”

Flicks: “I’m sure you can tell, CEO Eddson.”

Nikoleen: “I don’t see it. Bawkes, you try it.”

Bawkes takes the Whisper and feels the pages carefully

Bawkes: “Are the pages waterproof? People have really been wanting that.”

Flicks: “Nope.”

Nikoleen: “Stain proof? Washable?”

Flicks:  “No, they are still paper. It is the pages, though. Give up?”

Nikoleen: “Just tell us, Flicks.”

Flicks: “You’ll love this, Bawkes! The pages are 20% thinner then they were before!”

Bawkes: “Thinner? I’ve looked at something like 47,000 customer vids…no one ever said the pages were too thick.”

Flicks:  “But…this was really hard to do! We managed to maintain the tensile strength…I think we’ve even improved it with a multidirectional grain which resists tearing. No more paper cuts and the book is two percent lighter!”

Nikoleen: “I thought you said twenty percent.”

Flicks: “The pages are 20% thinner, but most of the weight of the book is in the spine. The rotating spine added some weight, but we not only compensated for that we improved on the overall strain on our customers.”

Nikoleen: “Bawkes, have people complained about the weight?”

Bawkes: “A few…statistically insignificant. Not as many as complain that they can’t find the volume buttons.”

Flicks looks crestfallen

Bawkes: “I can tell you some things I do hear about. People don’t like that you took away the index and the table of contents…are those back?”

Flicks: “They would add to the weight.”

Bawkes: “Niki, have you given any more thought to letting people read it out loud?”

Nikoleen: “It’s not worth fighting with the modios about it…they are worried that if we let people read it out loud, they’ll start acting it out and turn it into something you share with other people, like your kids. They don’t want the competition.”

Bawkes: “That doesn’t give us much to work with.”

Nikoleen: “Relax, Flicks…you’re not in trouble. It’s as much my fault as yours. Next time, Bawkes, I want you working with the design team from the beginning. I want you sharing with them what you hear from our customers. I take responsibility for this…I’m the leader, it was up to me to guide this process. The question is, what do we do now? Flicks, how does the production cost compare to the Twigless?”

Flicks: “It’s a lot less! We can produce them for about 63% the cost.”

Nikoleen: “Maybe if we introduce it as a budget model…”

Bawkes: “No way! We’re going to raise the price! Tack a hundred bucks onto it…making people think it’s really special! I mean, it is…unique. Yeah, we can do something with that. It’s like those weird Blur Shoes or the Ergo-Fork. They’re expensive because…they take more work to make, not because they work better.”

Nikoleen: “Bawkes, I like it. Start working on a press vid. Put some sculptors in it…they get paid a lot of money for what’s basically a hunk of rock. They’ll get it. Yeah, it’s a work of art…”

Flicks: “CEO Eddson?”

Nikoleen: “Yes, Flicks?”

Flicks: “Do you want to look at our folding pen now?”

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new 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 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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