Archive for the ‘April Fool’s Day’ Category

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.


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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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.

AFD News: Amazon introduces ‘Narcissus’, augmented reality mirror

April 1, 2016

AFD News: Amazon introduces ‘Narcissus’, augmented reality mirror

April 1, 2016 (AFD News)

Amazon (AMZN) announced an addition to its consumer hardware products today, an augmented reality mirror named “Narcissus”.

“The Narcissus allows our Amazon customers to see products in their homes and themselves in products before they buy them,” said Malcolm Franklin Issent, Amazon V.P. of Narcissus Development.

As demonstrated at the launch event, the Narcissus looks like a full-length mirror, surrounded by a number (17) of small cameras.

While it does function as a mirror, it is also a Wi-Fi connected screen.

Using the Narcissus app on a SmartPhone, http://www.amazon.narcissus.com, or an optional voice remote, the customer asks to see a product.

The product appears in the screen, while the screen continues to reflect the room.

For example, a customer can ask to see a lamp, and the lamp will appear in the mirror, and in an appropriate place, such as on a nightstand.

“Narcissus uses an artificial intelligence program named Willis to work within a map of the room. Willis is able to recognize thousands of household surfaces, and understands through a contextual neural network where a given item might belong,” said Issent.

When we were able to get five minutes with the Narcissus, we found that Willis worked remarkably well. When we asked for a jewelry box, it appeared on a dresser next to the closet. Even more impressive, we could rotate it, and the image in the mirror would change, as well as being able to move it to another place in the room.

The Willis feature will be available when the Narcissus ships to Prime members who pre-order it for delivery on May 12th.

Issent went on to describe two future features which will be available in “the coming months”.

With the Narcissus Dressing Room, customers will be able to see how an article of clothing will look on them, even as they move around and try it with items they already own.

The other major feature is Narcissus Spotlight. While no demonstration was available, an animation showed that a video, such as a movie or TV show, would be running on the Narcissus screen and the customer would appear to be in the scene. There didn’t seem to be any interaction, but the size of the customer was appropriate to other characters. While it is an interesting concept, we will have to wait to see the implementation. The CW was announced as a partner.

Similar to Amazon’s successful Alexa Voice Service, initially available on the Amazon Echo, there will be a third party developer platform, called “Narcissus Views”. Among the companies announced as having Narcissus Views in development were Rovio (maker of Angry Birds), the Marvel division of Disney, and National Geographic. Pupvizion had a demo which allowed us to see a puppy of one of six breeds of our choice (and a mixed breed) in the room with us.

For more information, see

Amazon Narcissus

Oh, and…APRIL FOOL!

There is, of course, no Amazon Narcissus…although honestly, I wish there was. 😉

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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