Archive for the ‘New models’ Category

Amazon Announcement Day 2019: maybe the best ever (Part 1: the wearables)

September 29, 2019

Amazon Announcement Day 2019: maybe the best ever (Part 1: the wearables)

I’m not saying that the products and features announced Wednesday were necessarily the best ever (it’s hard to overstate the importance of Apple’s iPhone introduction), but in terms of entertainment value, I’d be hard-pressed to come up with a event like this that could beat it.

Part of that was just the sheer range: from “Say what now?” experiments (what Amazon calls “Day 1”) to a new price low on an iconic product line.

The first thing I’ll say is that this seems to be being well-received amongst tech writers and mainstream coverage. No one is doubting that there is that rare combination of wisdom and bravery here. Brave because it’s breaking new ground. Wise because they are addressing customer (and potential customer) concerns, and making it all seem genuinely obtainable for many consumers.

In terms of general themes, the main one was our Alexapresent future. I just coined that term, wanting to play on Alexa (Amazon’s digital assistant) being omnipresent (available everywhere). We are truly reaching what has been called “ambient computing”: computing available just as part of the background of your life. It means that, eventually, you don’t even think of it as accessing a computer…you just ask what the weather is, or for navigation somewhere, and it happens. If we go back to perhaps the biggest society changing technology to date, the written word, we have that. We read almost constantly: street signs, the time on a digital clock, the words at the bottom of a TV screen, product labels, and so on. We don’t think about doing it most of the time. It’s actually a very complex process: watch someone, child or adult, when they are first learning to read. It takes immense concentration and effort. Reading is ambient: computing is moving towards that state.

Another theme was consumer control. We hear a lot about people having privacy concerns…I’ve seen the term “spy” used more than once. However, it’s not spying if you know about it, and if you can end it whenever you want. There were significant control elements introduced, both in when Alexa collects information, and how you can get rid of what it has collected. I wonder if some consumers won’t even look at some of these products because of privacy concerns which may have already been addressed. That parallels something that happened years ago, where Amazon removed infringing copies of 1984 from customers’ Kindles without asking them. That has been clearly addressed, even stated publicly that they wouldn’t do that in that way again. Still, there are probably people who still worry about that happening, about Amazon removing books which have already been downloaded, today.

In the past, I’ve felt that Amazon as an organization didn’t always have a great empathetic ability to tell how people were going to react to things that it did. I do believe that is changing, that they are getting better at how typical, non-techie customers will respond to things they do.

Let’s get to what they announced!

I’ve decided to make this post just about the three wearables Amazon introduced. There may be a series of posts, just because of the cornucopia of items.

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

What are they?

Wireless in-ear devices with speakers and a microphone (actually, 3 microphones per ear), which makes Alexa available anywhere.

When will they be available?

They can be pre-ordered in the USA now with an October 30th release date.

What do they cost?

$129.99

That’s the overview…here are some more details.

  • Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology: can be used to block out sounds
    • Importantly, they also have “passthrough” so you can hear sounds around you
  • You can access Alexa just be speaking
    • Hear an audiobook (as an introductory offer, you get 3 months of Audible free (not available to current members)
    • Play music
    • Make phone calls
    • Get directions
    • You can do all the other usual Alexa functions…for me, I would use text-to-speech, control our SmartHome, check the weather, maybe listen to TuneIn…they use the regular Alexa skills (apps), so that gives you lots of options
  • You can also access other Smart Assistants on your phone…Siri on iPhones, Google Assistant on Android phones: they don’t just respond to your voice, the way that Alexa does…you hold in a button to invoke them, then you can speak to them
  • It can play music for five hours on a charge, and you can get a two hour charge in about fifteen minutes. There’s a charging case that gives you 20 hours of playback
  • They give you 3 sizes of ear tips, which should help give you a comfortable fit and a good seal (the latter important to keep outside noise out)
  • It’s water-resistant: should be fine when you sweat, and in rain
  • Amazon is doing a lot to improve your privacy. You can turn off the mics, for example, although you use the phone and the Alexa app to do that

Is there competition? Yes, and some can do Alexa, but honestly, pricewise and featurewise, these do very well.

My assessment? I think these could be a popular holiday item (and would sell before that, of course). Since they can be used with Apple and Android phones, they’d be a pretty safe bet. They should have that cool factor.

Echo Frames (at AmazonSmile*)

What are they?

Eyeglass frames (you can have prescription lenses or use them with ‘hipster’ clear lenses) which have Alexa built into them.

When will they be available?

They are currently only available by invitation…you can ask to be put on the list, but that doesn’t mean you will get them.

What do they cost?

$179.99 currently, $249.99 after the “introductory period”.

  • They come in one size, Medium/Large. There is a sizing guide on the product page
  • All the Alexa functions are available: make phone calls, etc.
  • Their weight is comparable to regular frames
  • You can filter what notifications you get
  • You should be able to hear easily, but other people around you should not be able to hear what is being said. This is all without having to stick something in your ear. Note that that means people will generally be unaware that you have Alexa frames
    • However, it’s worth noting that there is no camera and no display, making it considerably different from Google Glass, which may have sunk under privacy concerns. At this point, I don’t think there will be much possibility for them to invade other people’s privacy…I doubt it will pick up a voice two arms lengths away, although I don’t know that for sure
  • It can connect to Google Assistant
    • Note: currently it does not connect to iPhones
  • One change to people’s routines would be plugging in your glasses to charge at night. I don’t see that as a major hurdle: people are used to plugging things in to charge. If you have strong glasses, it does mean that if you wake up and need your glasses, you might fumble a bit to unplug them, but again, I don’t think that’s going to stop very many people
    • Charges in about 75 minutes
    • One charge seems to handle a typical day pretty well, the way they describe it…they give you an example on the product page

My assessment? At this point, this is pretty niche. If you already wear glasses and use Alexa, this make sense. They’re more expensive than the Echo Buds, but some people won’t want to have things in their ears all day long. Oh, I saw a stat that frames are usually in this price range, which helps.

Echo Loop (at AmazonSmile)

What is it?

A ring with a microphone and speaker built into it so you can use Alexa

When will they be available?

They are currently only available by invitation…you can ask to be put on the list, but that doesn’t mean you will get them.

What do they cost?

$129.99 currently: after the “introductory period”, they’ll be $179.99.

  • It’s not always listening: you tap it to access Alexa
  • When you make a call, you’ll be switching from holding it in front of your mouth to speak, then holding it to your ear to listen
  • You can get haptic feedback: you’ll feel it when something comes in for you
  • You can put one contact on “speed dial”, to call them easily…everybody else you’ll speak
  • Charges in 90 minutes, should last all day

My assessment? This is definitely a gadget, I don’t see it as being very practical. I would think most people would go for the earbuds instead. I think it will be pretty obvious when people are using them: it will look like Dick Tracy in the old comic strips, raising his wrist to use his wrist telephone.

One thing: I’m pretty sure I suggest an Amazon ring at some point, but haven’t found it. At that time, I was thinking of wearables for text-to-speech, but now it makes sense that it’s Alexa….which does include text-to-speech.

Well, that’s the first three items! A lot more to come…not sure when I’ll get to them. If you have questions or thoughts about these items, let me know by commenting on this post.

Special announcement: while I’m not seeing something specific from Amazon, this post

Michael Kozlowski’s excellent Good E Reader blog article

alerted me to the need to update older Kindles before October 2nd to continue to work smoothly. They can be updated after that, apparently, but this has happened before. See the article for more details.

I’m going to connect my older Kindles to Whispernet…I have at least one I very rarely connect.

Thanks, Good E Reader!

Here’s the update page:

Kindle Software Updates Page (at AmazonSmile*)


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All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

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

 

Round up #191: Public library petition, Amazon hardware announcement…

September 24, 2019

Round up #191: Public library petition, Amazon hardware announcement…

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

Amazon’s hardware announcement tomorrow (Wednesday 25 September)

I’ll probably write about what happens tomorrow, but I thought I’d share rumors/speculation.

The buzzy thing will probably be in-ear Alexa. These would hypothetically be wireless earbuds. I have a thing about objects touching my ears (although I can wear reading glasses just fine). However, that’s the outer ear…ear canal would be different.

What would these do?

  • You could call up Alexa (it would be connected to your phone wirelessly)
    • That would include playing music, having questions answered, possibly SmartHome control, although that seem less certain to me, maybe phone calls processed by the phone)
  • Rumor has it that it could have fitness tracking capabilities. Certainly, I would think heartbeat could be measured in the ear. Steps? Maybe, but probably not necessary, since they will already be connected to a phone which almost certainly does that

For me to love these personally, they’d have to have pass-through sound (I’d want to be able to hear what was around me, at least to some extent…maybe to the extent it was legal to wear them driving, but Alexa Auto takes care of that). If they did, I could see wearing them quite often. Nice to control the TV that way, for one thing.

Speaking of Alexa Auto, they could certainly make that available for general purchase (currently, it’s by invitation only…we have one, have requested another, and it’s great!).

Kindle/Fire tablet announcements may come later.

More SmartHome control and devices, more Fire TV…an update to Echo, I should think.

Also, based on last year, something odd…like the microwave they introduced. We have one of those…it was a bit disappointing. The plastic on the buttons really peeled quickly…that seems to always be a problem with inexpensive microwaves. We’ve also just stopped using the voice commands…the buttons are easier. A washing machine? Instant pot? Toothbrush…nah, maybe not. 😉

That Alexa robot story is also still viable…

Librarians versus Macmillan (and others) on e-books

I definitely want to write more on this!

I wrote in July about new e-book policies:

American Library Association expresses concerns about new Big 5 tradpub policies

ALA launches national campaign against e-book embargo
The librarians have been escalating this…here’s some recent articles:

If you want to take action, you can sign an online petition here:

Tell Macmillan Publishers that you demand #eBooksForAll

There are over 35,000 signatures at time of writing.

Banking on…er, with, Amazon 😉

There are some stories out there about Amazon having a full-fledged bank within 5 years. Would I use it? I’d consider it, but leaving a bank is hard…just sort of complicated. I suspect it would be most successful first outside the USA, and then with people getting either an “extra” account or their first accounts (although I’m not sure that younger people who might tend to do that trust Amazon all that much).

What do you think? What do you think Amazon will introduce? An Amazon bicycle? Ooh, an Amazon exercise bike! That could really work, with Prime Video, music, and so on…sorry, I was asking you! 😉 How do you feel about the e-book policies and the libraries? Would you bank with Amazon? 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!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

* 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

Amazon introduces the new Echo Show 5 (mini): the perfect match with Echo Guard for $89.95!

May 30, 2019

Amazon introduces the new Echo Show 5 (mini): the perfect match with Echo Guard for $89.95!

I’m really impressed with this new Amazon device!

Echo Show 5 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s a 5.5 inch screen Echo Show (I assume that’s why it’s called the Echo Show 5)…for $89.95!

Even better, you can buy two of them and save $30…making it $59.95 each.

Watching videos, videocalls, the usual Alexa functions? Sure.

They’ve added to the privacy on it…one simple innovation is having a physical lens cover you can slide over the camera so it can’t see you. Far more elegant than what our now adult kid did growing up: putting duct tape on the camera. That’s all to prevent hackers: it’s not a myth that people have remotely gained unauthorized access to cameras in computers.

They also point out that “… your voice is streamed to the cloud only after your device detects the wake word (“Alexa”). You can also turn the microphone and camera off with a press of a button.”

There are so many uses for this (both at home and at an office), but I think it ties in particularly well with Alexa Guard, which I wrote about here:

Free Alexa Guard may save your home…and lives

We just keep Alexa Guard on all the time, home or not. We’ve gotten a few alerts from it. I once was at work and got an alert that there was a breaking glass sound. I listened to it, and it was odd. I texted my Significant Other, who could be at home…but didn’t get a response. I dropped in, using the Echo Show, and had a quick conversation. Everything was fine (the sound apparently came from outside the house), but that was very reassuring.

You could put one in the nursery, or where you had a bedbound relative to feel more comfortable.

The standard Echo Show has a lot better specs (the camera is 5MP; the new one is only 1MP), but it’s also $229.99.

I think this will be a perfect workhorse for a lot of people, and at under a pound (410 grams), it will be easy to take with you when you travel, which I have done with Echo Show devices.

The Echo Spot is still available, although they are calling it a “Smart Alarm Clock” now. I love my Spot, but with that at $129.99, and with the Echo Show 5 probably having a more practical morphology, I suspect the Spot may go away after the holidays.

One more thing: you can get it with the Ring Video Doorbell 2 for $289.99.

What do you think? Are you going to pre-order 1…or more? Do you see a practical use for you personally which I haven’t suggested? Will the Spot stick around? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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!

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

Hands on…no, hands off…um, let’s see: “Voice on” with the Alexa Microwave

December 2, 2018

Hands on…no, hands off…um, let’s see: “Voice on” with the Alexa Microwave

We just got the new

AmazonBasics Microwave 700W Works with Alexa (at AmazonSmile*) | $59.99 at time of writing | 4.2 stars out of 5 | 193 customer reviews

and I’ve had time to check it out.

For years, I’ve said that one of the most embarrassing things is when I go somewhere to teach people technology, and then they see me in their breakroom, just staring blankly at the microwave. 😉

I think many of us have been there: you can’t figure out how to work the microwave, so you just hit something like a four-minute popcorn button, and then stop it manually when it gets to the minute thirty you really wanted.

Well, Amazon really has fixed all that!

You get this microwave…it’s a decent microwave: 700 watts, .7 cubic feet (about 20 liters), with a turntable.

You connect the microwave (wirelessly) to an Echo device using the Alexa app (probably on your phone…I’m using a Galaxy S8).

From then on, you can just tell Alexa how much time you want, and it happens!

Is this life changing? No. Is it nice? You bet your baked potato!

One of the things it solves is having to clean the buttons on the microwave…that’s one of the reasons why we wanted to replace our old microwave, the buttons were wearing out (the numbers become illegible).

Oh, and that’s definitely worth noting! It does have buttons. My Significant Other is not a big fan of tech, although my SO has been using Alexa more lately**. Having buttons as an option is definitely a good thing.

In fact, this is my one suggestion for Amazon so far: I’d like to have a way to pop the door open (and ideally, also close it, but I know the latter would be harder for the device and easier for me) by voice. Then, I wouldn’t have to touch the front surface at all if I didn’t want to do that.

There is one sort of odd button you might want to use, though…and I misunderstood it at first.

I started out testing the microwave by saying to our

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

“Echo, microwave for a minute and twenty-five seconds.”

I should point out that we use “Echo” as the “wake word” for that device, because we use “Alexa” for our

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

and they are right near each other.

The microwave just started right up with that time, cheerfully telling me that it was using Level 10. I could have requested a different level if I wanted. There are also a lot of presets, where you can tell it to cook a certain type of food…those are listed here:

Alexa Microwave Cook Presets (PDF)

I’m sure they’ll be adding more…and I guess that gives me my second suggestion for Amazon. 😉 We should be able to tell it an amount to cook something and have it remember it. “Echo, remember that I cook MorningStar Farms Breakfast Patties for one minute and 25 seconds”, and then later, I could say, “Echo, cook breakfast patties”, and it would do it.

Anyway, that button…there is an “Ask Alexa” button near the keypad. I thought (without having thought about it much) that it would mean that I could talk to the microwave instead of the Echo Show, but the microwave doesn’t have microphones as far as I know.

What it does is replace saying the wake word…instead of saying, “Echo microwave for 90 seconds”, you can just push the button and say, “90 seconds”.

That might seem silly, but here’s the thing: my Echo Show could do a lot of things for ninety seconds, like setting a timer, so I have to specify. When I push the Ask Alexa button on the microwave, it knows I’m talking about the microwave. I don’t have to tell it to cook…it already knows that’s what I want.

I also think that’s why the microwave doesn’t do the regular Alexa things, like telling me the weather or what time*** it is…it has to be paired with an Echo device, so you already have that functionality. It simplifies things to have a microwave that just knows it’s a microwave. This will be a bit obscure, but it’s a little like the toaster on Red Dwarf…too much intelligence might not be the best thing. I actually wrote a paper in high school called “Optimum IQ”, which addressed this same issue.

I think we’ll see more of this: dedicated Alexa-controlled devices, which don’t do most of the Alexa functions.

I should point out that it would only pair with something that had the word “Echo” in it…Echo Show, Echo (tower), Echo Dot…it wouldn’t pair with our Fire TV Cube, even though the Cube can do weather, time, and so on.

As to the set up…what I had to do was easy, but it didn’t work at first. It didn’t show up in my Alexa app until I restarted my phone. That might confuse some people, but hopefully, it was just a fluke.

Overall? Well worth the sixty dollars! I think the microwave would have been worth that without Alexa, but Alexa really makes it fun, and yes, easier. If you are still looking for a gift for somebody who already has Alexa as part of their household, this is a good choice. I probably wouldn’t get this even paired with a Dot (they sell them that way, as a bundle) as someone’s first Alexa device…I think they would focus on it too much as a microwave, and not realize everything else Alexa can do.

There is something else I should mention, although we won’t use it…it can automatically reorder microwave popcorn for you, if you want. That might be more useful in the future for us if we could tell it what inventory we wanted it to manage. It would count how many times we cooked a particular item, and reorder it before we ran out.

That’s definitely part of the path for Alexa: anticipating what we need on repetitive tasks. That’s for another time, though. 🙂

Update: I used the buttons this morning (my Significant Other was still asleep, so that’s easier) and was very impressed with the button programming! Maybe that’s just because our other microwave was older, and maybe they all do this now, but I loved that I didn’t have to push a button first to tell it I was going to cook. I was putting in twenty seconds (heating a low carb tortilla). I pushed the 2 (without pushing another button first) and it showed me two minutes. When I pushed the 0, it went right to 20 seconds. Three button pushes (not counting opening the door) to microwave for 20 seconds (2, 0, Start)…nice!

Bonus deal: today only (in the USA), you can get an omnibus of

Three James Herriot Classics: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful (at AmazonSmile*)

for $1.99. That’s a great deal!

Do you have questions or comments? Feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

**While my SO had been using Alexa for timers, the new addition is using it for music. That’s through our Cube. Things like, “Alexa, play rainy day jazz”

***The microwave does tell you what time it is: it has a clock. 😉 That’s actually a nice thing…it sets itself, and will adjust for Daylight Savings Time (taking the time from the Alexa device, which takes it from the cloud.

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

Amazon introduces new thinner, waterproof version of my favorite Kindle, the Paperwhite

October 16, 2018

Amazon introduces new thinner, waterproof (IPX8) version of my favorite Kindle, the Paperwhite

Just breaking, but Amazon is introducing a new version of my favorite Kindle

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

You can pre-order today with a release date of November 7th…and as low as $129.99.

I’ll write more later, but here is the

press release

It has Bluetooth for Audible books, comes with twice the storage, and (I’ll have to check the terms) six months of Kindle Unlimited for free.

I figure quite a few may be given as gifts this holiday season…

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.

Amazon’s Announce-A-Palooza 2018!

September 21, 2018

Amazon’s Announce-A-Palooza 2018!

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

Today was no exception. 🙂

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

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

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

You can see new products here:

Alexa for Everyone (at AmazonSmile*)

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

Echo Auto (at AmazonSmile*)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire TV Recast (at AmazonSmile*)

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

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

Things have also gotten a bit more out there.

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

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

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

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

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

Alexa Gadgets News and Notifications (at AmazonSmile*)

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

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

Kids are growing up with talktech being normal

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

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

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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

September 10, 2018

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

Ah, September! Back to school, the new TV season, and the return of NFL football games!

Well, those may be pretty fuzzy times now…new TV shows debut almost all year long, back to school sales certainly start before September, and…well, I don’t pay that much attention to the NFL**. 😉 Hm…I think I’m safe to say that September is when Halloween decorations appear in the stores (I’ve seen ’em), but that may start in August or earlier.

As far as this blog is concerned, though, September is also when we typically get new hardware announcements from Amazon. Last year, for example, I wrote this on September 28:

Wowsers! Amazon just blew the doors off with new devices and features!

We have had an announcement already, the new

Fire HD 8 Tablet (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can also get it with the charging dock:

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8” HD Display, 16 GB, Black – with Special Offers + All-New Show Mode Charging Dock (at AmazonSmile*)

Pre-order right now for October 4th release, and at time of writing, you can get the tablet and the dock for $94.99 at time of writing. Without the dock, it’s $79.99…the same price as the entry-level Kindle!

I’m really tempted, although for me, it would be a bit redundant.

Redundant with what?

Our

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

You can buy the Show right now for $129.99…$100 off.

Honestly, it seems to me like the Fire HD8 is going to be better for most people. While the camera on the Show is considerably better, and the microphones to hear you are probably better, the ability to make an unplugged video call on a tablet sized device could be really big.

It’s also worth noting that the new HD8 has expandable memory: up to 400GB with a micro SD slot.

While the tablets have had Alexa before, this joins the Fire HD10 with hands-free Alexa.

I do think it’s a significant update…but I think the big announcement is yet to come.

First, the Show may simply disappear…it’s certainly being de-emphasized on the website currently. I would expect the

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

to stick around. I love having one on my desk at work…it’s an unobtrusive videoscreen (about the size of a Magic 8 Ball). Maybe new features and a lower price, but still there.

Audio only Echo devices should also be around, although I’m not sure we’ll see a new version of the tower. The Dot is another powerful and small device…but could it get even smaller? Could, for example, we get an Alexa capable device able to be literally stuck to a wall or mirror? The

Amazon Dash Wand

is sort of like that, at least if you stick it magnetically to a refrigerator, but because it has a scanner also, it’s bigger than what I’m thinking. I’m picturing something a centimeter/half an inch thick at most, and not always listening. You tap it to interact with Alexa…if you want hands-free, you could yell to one of your other devices. Use in the bathroom could be part of the marketing…I don’t have an Echo device there (although I do have a waterproof Bluetooth speaker I like a lot, pairing it with an Echo Dot in the bedroom…my model is no longer available).

I mentioned something quite small last year…a key fob sort of thing, but some sort of wearable (headphones or otherwise) also seems like a possibility.

Alexa in the car will also become more available (mostly through integration with the car manufacturers), but I can still see an add-on device (like GPS used to be) for all cars.

I’m having a hard time seeing something revolutionary in the EBR (E-Book Reader) line…the Kindle. More waterproof models? Sure. Color? Seems unlikely…I’m not sure why. Could a Kindle go under $50? Yes, but there is some advantage in having it seen as a luxury item, even at the lowest price. They have an inexpensive way for you to read e-books…the Fire tablets, which are now cheaper than Kindles.

We really may hear about a revolutionary home robot product from Amazon. It might not be released until 2019, but pre-orders could get it into this holiday shopping season, and it might be limited to Prime members at first.

Otherwise, what we are seeing is Amazon spreading its presence (particularly through Alexa) deeper into other people’s hardware. Amazon doesn’t need to make phones or TVs if they can be on them and let somebody else take the risk on the hardware.

Am I backing off an XR (Augmented/Virtual/Mixed/Merged Reality) device? Something at some point seems necessary (even though I can now see Amazon Prime Video in XR), but it may be a question of an Alexa experience in XR, and again, piggybacking on other people’s devices.

Those are a few ideas. What do you think? What new hardware/announcements would you expect to see from Amazon this year? What things would you like to see? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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! :) 

** That’s not to say that I pay no attention to football. I used to follow it quite closely. I’ve had debates with other geeks in which my postulate is that American football is the most intellectual of the big sports in the USA. It’s the only one where they stop every few seconds to decide what they are going to do next. While some people think of it as just big people crashing into each other, Monday morning quarterbacks don’t say, “We lost because they were bigger than us,” they say, “They shouldn’t have gone for it on third down.” The criticism is about the intellectual part of the game, not as much the physical (if we leave officiating out of it). However, I have heard good arguments for baseball also being a stream of decisions

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.

 

Fire TV Cube: 1st impressions and menu map

June 25, 2018

Fire TV Cube: 1st impressions and menu map

I’ve been using the

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

for about a day now.

It’s Amazon’s new streaming device/home assistant…for most people, the shorthand is that it combines an Echo and a Fire TV.

However, I have multiple Echo devices and two Fire TVs in this room (I was only currently using one), and it does things that none of them do (but also doesn’t do some things that the Echo does do).

Let’s hit the high level first.

It is a quantum leap forward in TV control. It doesn’t completely eliminate our remotes (we have a fancy Logitech Harmony Home Control – 8 Devices (White) (at AmazonSmile*)), for one thing), but for most simple operations, it is a new, simpler way to do things.

However, it’s certainly imperfect, and I expect to see big improvements in the future. Nowadays, that doesn’t necessarily mean waiting for a second generation of hardware…a lot of it could be done with software updates.

If you get one, you are an early adopter…but it’s a more mature technology than, say, the first Kindle.

My first actual impression on opening the box was that it was a lot smaller than I expected. Maybe the size of two Echo Dots stacked on top of each other, or your two fists side-by-side.

Second, set up was easy. One of the biggest things it does is use infrared to control your devices, and your remote probably does. I didn’t have to tell it what brand and model my TV was (as I do with my Harmony)…it just detected it. I did need to know my wi-fi password, but even though it’s long and random, I have that memorized (I’m cool like that). 😉

You plug it into the HDMI port on your TV, plug it into power, and then just run through the prompts.

Oh, that brings up the biggest headscratcher!

They give you two cables you may not need: one for a cabled connection (as opposed to wi-fi) to the internet, and one to improve the infrared connection if you keep a device inside a cabinet. That’s nice of them, although I didn’t need either.

Weirdly, though, they didn’t include a cable you absolutely need: an HDMI cable to connect it to your TV. I used the one from the Fire TV it is replacing, but I can see a lot of people making the plunge into streaming/SmartHome with this, especially as a gift, and not having one.

Amazon sells their own branded, six-foot cable for $6.99: even if they ended up charging a few dollars more for the device, it seems like it only makes sense to have it usable out of the box for just about everyone. I would guess there are people who would return it when they realized that wasn’t included, again receiving it as a gift. Here’s that Amazon cable, but there are a lot of options: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable, 6 Feet, 1-Pack | 4.6 stars out of 5 | 15,490 customer reviews at time of writing.

One interesting thing: during the guided set-up, it did suggest Hulu for my homescreen…but not Netflix (we use both, in addition to Prime video and Tubi). You could still download Netflix, it just wasn’t one of the first options.

It appeared that apps that were compatible with our 2nd gen Fire TV were compatible with this, so I just had to download them again…and sign into them, in some cases.

The one big issue we’ve had with apps is that Hulu has failed to launch…repeatedly. It eventually does, but that’s not a problem we had before. I’m guessing an update will come that will resolve that.

As to the voice control: I was generally impressed! When I asked to watch a program, it took me to where I was watching it before…and started with the right episode. We have more than one Netflix profile, as one example, and it appeared to know to go to the one where we had last watched that show (rather than picking a different profile and starting at the first episode).

One thing I thought it was going to do was turn on the TV if needed to watch something…it hasn’t been doing that, so I do ask it to both turn on the TV and then to find the show.

The search is a bit…kludgy. Not bad, but for example, when I asked for “science fiction movies”, it showed me a lot of science fiction TV shows, too. Minor thing, but it should know the difference.

I do end up using the remote some (and I set up the Harmony to work with it…it’s important for my Significant Other that the option be there for everything to work just the way it did before. I’m eager to learn new ways with tech, and my SO is less so). The remote that came with it, the Harmony, and voice control are all working with the new device, and I don’t have to tell it which one to use each time. Also worth noting: my Bluetooth headset (I use a currently unavailable inexpensive SoundBot pair) also paired with no problem. That means that I can do all the Alexa stuff it does hearing it in the headset. Since you can whisper to an Alexa, that means I can keep things pretty quiet if I’m awake and my SO isn’t.

Similar to our Echo Show, it will display some things on the TV screen, which is really nice! When I use the Jeopardy skill, I like to be able to read the questions, not just hear them…and they looked great on our TV! Similarly, asking for the weather gave us some visual information in addition to an audio response.

I would really love for it to be able to do videocalls on our TV, but it doesn’t do calling at all (and doesn’t have a camera…that might be solved by having it link to another camera. That’s a big limitation compared to other Echo devices…it can do home automation, the weather, Prime music (sounds good on our TV), and so on.

Important to note: it actually sounds pretty good when you aren’t using the TV. Much better than an Echo Dot.

It hears pretty well, but I think I’ll follow their recommendation and move it further away from the TV. It’s about a foot from it now, and sometimes we have to call its name twice for it to hear us. It may learn our voices better later and get better at discriminating them from the TV…

Let’s do a quick menu map (just looking at the Settings):

  • Notifications (these are notifications from Amazon…you may have nothing there, but it told us that a package was coming that day…not when it actually arrived)
  • Network: that’s how you join a wi-fi network…you do have options for WPS PIN or Button
  • Display & Sounds
    • Screensaver (you have it show your photos)
    • Display
    • Audio (in addition to sound style, you can turn off the navigation sounds here, which I always do)
    • Second Screen Notifications
    • HDMI CEC Device Control
  • Applications
    • Collect App Usage DAta
    • Appstore
      • Automatic Updates
      • External Market Links (since you can use browsers now)
      • In-App Purchases (important as a form of “parental controls”)
      • Manage My Subscriptions (for now, this suggests you go to Amazon)
      • Notifications
      • Hide Cloud Apps
    • Prime Photos
      • Allow Guest Connections (hm…this says guests can connect to your TV to cast photos and videos to your screen.  I have to learn more about this! Is this the return of mirroring, or something more limited?)
      • Access Prime Photos (on or off)
    • GameCircle
    • Manage Installed Applications (very useful…I sometimes end up force-stopping an app if it’s “misbehaving”)
  • Equipment Control (this is a new menu compared to the old Fire TV)
    • Equipment Control
    • Manage Equipment
      • Add Equipment
      • TV
        • Volume Increments (we definitely wanted to change this one! By default, it jumped up 5 when we said we wanted it louder, which was too loud. We changed the increments to 1)
        • Infrared Options
        • Power Controls
        • Change TV
        • Restore TV Defaults (after I’d changed the increments)
      • Fire TV Cube
      • Advanced Settings
        • Power Timing
    • Set Up Equipment Again (I may do this at some point…I don’t have it controlling our cable box…which we almost never use. It wanted me to use the remote at one point, and it didn’t seem to recognize our Harmony for this…I don’t know where the original remote is right now)
  • Controllers and Bluetooth Devices
    • Amazon Fire TV Remotes (a voice remote comes with it…the hardest thing in the whole set up is getting the battery case open) 😉
    • Game Controllers
    • Other Bluetooth Devices (this was for both the headset and the Harmony…when I set up my Harmony, by the way, it didn’t recognize “Fire TV Cube”, but it worked with “Fire TV”)
  • Alexa
    • Alexa App (yes, you’ll want to have that…I think you can do what you need to do on a computer, if you don’t have a SmartPhone)
    • Things to Try
    • Favor This Device (that seems new…and it was defaulted to On. I noticed that our Echo Show did light up when the TV talked about Alexa during the demo videos…but did not execute the commands)
  • Preferences
    • Parental Controls
    • Data Monitoring (turning it on gives you the below choices)
      • Set Video Quality (who would guess that was here?)
      • Set Data Alert
      • Monthly Top Data Usage
    • Notification Settings
    • Featured Content (this has a marvelous setting that lets you turn off Video/Audio Autoplay when you are searching! I’ve recently been having a discussion at AT&T because the DirecTV Now app now plays something in the background all the time, which means there could be spoilers if they happen to be at a crucial part of the “live” video. I’ve told them I basically can’t use the service unless that changes)
    • Location (you can enter your ZIP code for weather here)
    • Time Zone
    • Metric Units (Yay! That’s what I use, but I’ll leave it on English for my SO)
    • Advertising ID
  • Device
    • About
    • Developer options
      • ABD debugging
      • Apps from Unknown Sources
    • Legal & Compliance
    • Sleep (I thought this would let me choose screensaver timing, but it just put the Cube to sleep
    • Restart
    • Reset to Factory Defaults
  • Accessiblity
    • Closed Caption
    • VoiceView
    • Screen Magnifier (I have used this…it lets you use button combinations on your remote to magnify part of the screen)
    • High Contrast Text (Experimental)
  • Help
    • Help Videos
    • Quick Tips
    • Contact Us
    • Feedback
  • My Account
    • Amazon Account (to deregister and reregister)
    • Sync Amazon Content

Overall? I already walked into another room and wanted to use it on a TV there. 🙂 I have a lot more to learn and to try, and it’s going to improve, but it was already worth it. There’s been a leaked Prime Day of July 16th for this year…I don’t know that they’ll just flat put this on sale, but they might bundle it. We Prime members already got a discount in the beginning…I think they could repeat that discount.

It is the voice control we wanted for the Fire TV from the beginning. It can replace a typical Echo for the most part, but not quite. It can replace your remote for the most part, but sometimes it is going to be easier to use.

One last thing: a few recommendations for free apps (you can get them through your computer and download them from your Fire TV, or get them directly from your Fire TV)

  • Firefox Browser for Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*) (you can also get Amazon’s Silk browser…this multiplies your device’s capabilities. For example, there is a show we want to watch, and we can see full recent episodes at the website. It’s also a way to watch YouTube through your Fire TV)
  • Bookmarker 1 (at AmazonSmile*) (love this one! If you are using the browser, you can use this to launch a saved URL, so you don’t have to go through the awkward “typing” ((using the remote)) every time. This one only saves  one ((and you can specify browser)), but you can also get Bookmarker 2, Bookmarker 3, and so on)
  • Tubi TV (at AmazonSmile*) (this is not the equivalent of Prime/Hulu/Netflix, but we do use it. It’s ad-supported…TV with commercials, whodathunk? 😉 They do have great selections, and they seem to respect them with the way they are cut…the original British Avengers, Fireball XL5, also non-geeky options, including at time of writing Mississippi Burning and A Most Wanted Man. It also remembers where we are nicely from device to device)

If you do want geeky video on a schedule (not on demand), you can go to

Comet TV

in your browser app, and then use a Bookmarker. They have great content for free! It isn’t obvious, but the watch live link is in your top left…and note that the sound may be muted by default. You can then say, “Alexa, launch Bookmarker 1,” or whatever number it is.

Whew! That’s a lot of information for a “first impression”! If you have more questions or opinions, 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. 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.

Prime members: $30 off a new Amazon device (Fire TV Cube) through Friday (8 June 11:59 PM Pacific)

June 8, 2018

Prime members: $30 off a new Amazon device (Fire TV Cube) through Friday (8 June 11:59 PM Pacific)

Amazon announced a new device today, and it looks to me like it may be a significant evolution of the Fire TV, giving (most of) us what we’ve wanted all along.

It’s called the

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

The shorthand you are going to hear is that it is a combination of the Amazon Echo and the Fire TV.

That, though, leaves out what may be the biggest thing: control over your TV and other compatible devices.

So, without going through IFTTT (If This Then That) or using a device like we currently do, a Harmony remote, you should be able to have it turn on your TV, raise and lower the volume, change channels…all of that.

Apparently, it will also just figure out when to turn on the TV…if you ask to watch a movie, the TV turns on. If you ask Alexa (it has pretty full Alexa control…although not calling and messaging) what the weather is, it doesn’t need to turn it on (although I like the visuals that go along with questions like that on our Echo Show).

While we are watching our money more, I am going to get one. My Significant Other currently literally has a paper notebook on how to turn on the TV and watch shows, so I’m hoping this solves that. 🙂

The control includes Infrared, which is going to cover a lot of devices (but not all of them).

The list price is $119.99….but Prime members can get it for $89.99 if they order by 11:59 PM Pacific tomorrow (Friday 8 June). You also get a $10 Prime Video credit.

Since it controls SmartHome devices, they have those on package deals…you can buy the Ring Video Doorbell for a bit more than $50 off ($99.00).

I’m going to have to read more about it, but I wanted to get this out for you right away. This release is in the USA, and these are pre-orders for June 21st.


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.

My Echo Spot is here: it’s cute!

December 24, 2017

My Echo Spot is here: it’s cute!

Well, it looked like it wouldn’t be here by the 25th but my

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

arrived at the Amazon Locker today!

Regular readers may notice I said “my” rather than “our”; my Significant Other is not really a fan of Alexa, and this one will end up going to my office. 🙂

First impressions:

It is far more elegant looking than the original

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

While the Echo Show is my favorite Echo device currently, it is kind of clunky…reminiscent in that way of the first generation Kindle, even having somewhat of a wedge shape.

I traveled with the Show to a family wedding so one of my relatives with a mobility issue could “attend”, but it wasn’t that easy.

How the Echo Show kept our family together at a wedding

The new one is about the size of a Magic 8 Ball, I think, and my black one (they also come in white) sort of looks like one…although I believe it is lighter than that liquid-filled toy/oracle. 😉

Yes, the screen is much smaller than the Show, and the sound is not as good to my ear (but it does do Bluetooth and line out).

Picture showing relative sizes of the Echo Spot and the Echo Show

The biggest thing I had to change on it was to make it brighter. The screen is a touchscreen, and you can swipe down from the top to get to settings. There are quite a few settings:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • Home & Clock (I changed it to a digital style clock from the analog default style…you know, one with hands)
  • Display
  • Sounds
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Device Options (this is where I changed it to my preferred Celsius for temperature)
  • Restrict Access (you can block Prime Photos and/or Movie Trailers)
  • Things to Try
  • Help
  • Accessibility
  • Legal & Compliance

There are also more settings in the Alexa App (on your phone).

You can do everything you can do with Alexa devices generally.

Watching a video on it is…like watching a video on a phone. It’s doable, just depends on your taste for that.

Where I expect it to perhaps shine at work is bringing it to meetings so a remote person can attend on it. It will fit in my laptop case (although it’s fair to say that I do use a relatively large one).

Set up was easy, but updating took more than ten minutes.

One thing is that it didn’t know my wi-fi password: that seems pretty random to me as to when a new device knows the one I’ve stored with Amazon and when it doesn’t.

There are three physical buttons on the top: volume down, deafen (turn off the microphone), and volume up.

At $129, there may not be massive adoption. However, if it got down to $50, I think we’d see homes with several of these as a video intercom system, and more commercial uses as well. There might be one in each hospital room, for example…allowing guests to visit remotely.

I’ll let you know more after I’ve had it for awhile…family stuff the next few days, so it may be after I have it at work next week (although feel free to ask questions in-between). I’d learn more at more before that, but our now adult kid is visiting…and doesn’t like Alexa listening, so we deafen them all. Makes things a lot harder for me…but I won’t say that my SO isn’t happier that way. 😉

Bottom line: my feeling is that it will become a daily part of my life at work, but that at this price, it won’t be a big hit right away. It’s certainly possible that it will take some market share away from the Show.

One other interesting thing that happened recently: I went to send something to the Amazon Locker we usually use…and got a message that the locker was full! That’s never happened before.


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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