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CES 2013

The International Consumer Electronics Show has been hosted in some form or fashion since 1967. But with the absence of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, journalists are asking if the show is still relevant.
posted by zabuni on Jan 8, 2013 - 74 comments

There are things it doesn't say on the tin.

The customer reviews on Amazon.co.uk's Veet For Men Hair Removal Gel Creme are not for the fainthearted. "Being a loose cannon who does not play by the rules the first thing I did..."
posted by Diablevert on Jan 5, 2013 - 69 comments

I don't always deploy Django, but when I do I use Heroku

An explanation of how hard it is to boycott Amazon, even when you are an organisation calling for the boycott of corporations like Amazon While the organisation UK Uncut is calling for the boycotting of organisations that don't pay their fair share of tax, even they are using Amazon (though Amazon is not a company currently listed on their website, it is one of the most talked about in the UK for not paying corporation tax) The first linked article goes beyond the technical aspects of Amazon and cloud hosting and talks about a re-analysis of capitalism.
posted by Megami on Jan 3, 2013 - 28 comments

The Best of Times, The Worst of TImes

Released today: the top Google searches of 2012. Also, the top Google searches in the UK. Hungry for more "Best of 2012" collections? Curious about "best of" versus "most popular"? There's much [more inside]
posted by misha on Dec 11, 2012 - 21 comments

Randomized Consumerism

"Every time I run [Amazon Random Shopper], I give it a set budget, say $50. It grabs a random word ... then runs an Amazon search based on that word. It then looks for every paperback book, CD, and DVD in the results list, and buys the first thing that’s under budget."
posted by griphus on Nov 23, 2012 - 52 comments

I don't want to set the world on fire/I just want to start a flame in your heart

Five years ago today Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com released the Amazon Kindle, a move that would revolutionize the publishing industry. While often controversial, most recently for its international tax avoidance schemes, Amazon has been very successful and has made millions for its founder. What has Bezos done with some of his tax-free millions? Well for one, he launched and landed a rocket vertically, and posted the video to YouTube, just yesterday. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Nov 19, 2012 - 99 comments

Random Harper Penguin

The book publishing world is merging into behemoths in order to better negotiate with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has made an offer to buy Penguin for $1.6 billion. This just hours after Penguin said it was in talks to merge with Random House to create a 'Random Penguin' with nearly 25% of all English-language book sales. Either way the reputation of Penguin could soon be in tatters. As one agent said, "Authors have told me they are frightened by a Random House takeover, but terrified by a HarperCollins one."
posted by stbalbach on Oct 29, 2012 - 77 comments

Outlawed by Amazon DRM

Outlawed by Amazon DRM: A couple of days ago, my friend Linn sent me an e-mail, very frustrated: Amazon just closed her account and wiped her Kindle. Without notice. Without explanation. Leaving her without recourse. [via] [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Oct 22, 2012 - 98 comments

Baby's on Fire

Following much speculation Amazon has refreshed the hardware for it's Kindle range, including the Kindle Paperwhite (featuring a "flattened out fibreoptic display") and an updated version of the sold out Kindle Fire and a new 8.9 Inch Kindle Fire HD. Earlier Kobo announced their new range, including a Kindle Fire like tablet. Between this, speculation that the Surface RT will have an astonishingly low price and rumors of a 7" iPad coming soon (probably to be announced sometime after Apple's September 12th iPhone 5 event) is the window of opportunity for stock Android tablets closing?
posted by Artw on Sep 6, 2012 - 249 comments

Cloud Consitency

Netflix has open sourced tools it uses for load balancing and failure management with Amazon Web Services . They plan to release more tools in the future. They are on Github.
posted by juiceCake on Sep 5, 2012 - 12 comments

"modern masterpiece"

RJ Ellory's secret Amazon reviews anger rivals. [guardian.co.uk] "Crime bestseller caught using sock puppets to trash colleagues and hymn his own 'magnificent' work." Under the pseudonym "Nicodemus Jones":
"All I will say is that there are paragraphs and chapters that just stopped me dead in my tracks," he wrote. "Some of it was chilling, some of it raced along, some of it was poetic and langorous and had to be read twice and three times to really appreciate the depth of the prose … it really is a magnificent book."

posted by Fizz on Sep 3, 2012 - 40 comments

"Can we just be kind and respectful to one another??"

A blogger records a blow-by-blow account of how an author tries to use social media to 'correct' bad reviews of her book. [more inside]
posted by Megami on Aug 28, 2012 - 126 comments

I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day's tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack.

But now, Bic has saved me! With these easy-to-manage lady pens, I too can record my grocery lists and the agenda for my weekly sewing circle! Yes, that's right; due to these pens' soft grips and lightweight build, even my useless, made-from-porcelain hands can manage to wield them. And what's more, their sweet and rosy color palette is soft on my frail lady eyes! It really is a dream come true!
posted by the young rope-rider on Aug 26, 2012 - 93 comments

Brilliant A+++++ would read again

The best book reviews money can buy. (SLNYT)
posted by Zarkonnen on Aug 26, 2012 - 61 comments

Amazon Election Heat Map 2012

Amazon Election Heat Map 2012. Republican landslide in Amazon book vote.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 22, 2012 - 77 comments

Chop, slice, and dice Amazon reviews

Have you ever wanted to sort a particular Amazon's reviewer's reviews by their number of stars? Amazon has never added this feature to its user profile pages, but here's a workaround. Or perhaps you need a tool that lets you see ratings, dates of reviews, helpful and unhelpful votes, and number of comments, all in a helpful sortable list. Maybe you need to download and install the Amazon Reviewer Analysis Tool.
posted by shivohum on Aug 6, 2012 - 9 comments

What if I get hit by a bus before I get a chance to order the shoes?

Amazon Yesterday Shipping
posted by jacquilynne on Jul 18, 2012 - 28 comments

The death of non-specialist retail or Kozmo 2.0?

How Amazon’s ambitious new push for same-day delivery will destroy local retail.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jul 13, 2012 - 184 comments

The Holy Grail of Publishing - Metrics!

Your e-book is reading you. How publishers are using e-books to gain valuable information about consumers.
posted by antonymous on Jul 2, 2012 - 69 comments

Imagine one percent, 129000 times

"Amazon’s markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000%" - author Andrew Hyde reviews the take for the most popular digital publishing platforms
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 15, 2012 - 48 comments

An Amazon Nation

The current issue of The Nation turns its focus to Amazon: The Amazon Effect by Steve Wasserman, How Germany Keeps Amazon at Bay and Literary Culture Alive by Michael Naumann, Search Gets Lost by Anthony Grafton, and finally Ten Reasons to Avoid Doing Business With Amazon.com.
posted by Toekneesan on Jun 1, 2012 - 57 comments

Amazon Versus the E-Book Universe

The E-Book Wars: Amazon Versus the Rest. Publishers, distributors, booksellers, and authors weigh in on Amazon's ever-increasing presence and influence in the electronic publishing world. The author also takes a stab at forecasting the future for the major players in the e-book industry.
posted by Rykey on May 26, 2012 - 32 comments

Quickly eats polyurethane. Takes the next 400 years of decomposition time off.

Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi [scientific paper]. Pestalotiopsis microspora lives in dark, damp and anaerobic conditions in the Amazon, is a candidate for introduction to landfills, can survive on only polyurethane, and may solve the plastic 100-400 year decomposition issue [non-technical summary].
posted by jaduncan on May 15, 2012 - 40 comments

Nook finds it's niche

Barnes and Noble is spinning off Nook into a subsidiary business after a $300M deal with Microsoft which gives the Redmond company a 17% stake, bringing an end to a patent dispute between the two companies and sending shares skyrocketing. Commentary from John Scalzi and Tobias Buckell. Meanwhile the Kindle Fire, Amazon's competitor to the Nook tablet, has grabbed over 50% of the Android tablet market.
posted by Artw on May 1, 2012 - 91 comments

Monopsonies and Monopolies

Why book publishers will give up on Digital Rights Management. Short answer: because they are more afraid of Amazon becoming a monopsony than they are of consumer piracy. I don't know if he's right, but it's an interesting discussion of the immediate future in book publishing, and the way the Kindle has changed everything.
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Apr 21, 2012 - 105 comments

Apple and the Big Five

The U.S. has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest publishers, alleging a conspiracy to rig the pricing of e-books. Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins have agreed to settle, though Macmillan, Penguin and Apple continue to contest the charges. Some background from WIRED: Bigger Than Agency, Bigger Than E-Books: The Case Against Apple and Publishers
posted by Artw on Apr 11, 2012 - 192 comments

Amazon from A to Z

The Seattle Times has just published a largely unfavorable four-part series about Seattle-based Amazon.com. In Part 1, the newspaper questions how much Amazon is doing for the local community. Part 2 suggests that Amazon is damaging the publishing industry. Part 3 asks if Amazon's tax-free status gives it an unfair advantage. And Part 4 wonders whether Amazon is bad for its own workers.
posted by twoleftfeet on Apr 3, 2012 - 145 comments

To the ocean, Alice!

"NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds. It sure inspired me, and with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youth to invent and explore." An undersea expendition funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has discovered the spent rocket engines used to power Apollo 11.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 29, 2012 - 59 comments

No, not the warehouse in Seattle, but the real one.

Google now has street view of the Amazon basin.
posted by special-k on Mar 21, 2012 - 32 comments

Revenge Of The Fan Fic

One of the most popular stories on the Amazon Kindle marketplace is ...Wesley Crusher Slash Fic?. (i09)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 10, 2012 - 23 comments

Exercising the Power of Market Share

Last week, small press distributor Independent Publishers Group (IPG) announced that Amazon has decided to stop selling Kindle editions for the publishers IPG represents. The decision impacts over 500 small publishers and almost 5,000 Kindle titles. Neither party has offered much in the way of specifics, but other publishers have been reporting that Amazon has been pressuring them to offer higher discounts and/or pay a “co-op” fee of an additional 3%-4% on all sales to cover the cost of offering “automation and personalization” services (i.e. Customers who bought x also bought y). Authors and publishers have been reacting to the development.
posted by Toekneesan on Feb 28, 2012 - 51 comments

The last 200 members of their tribe

Funny that I'm linking to Huffington Post (uffington horse?) and not the other way around... But this blog post about the last members of the Maijuna tribe in the Amazon is amazing.
posted by punkbitch on Feb 23, 2012 - 10 comments

"Maybe I should finally mention WOOL..."

Hugh Howey was a self-published novelist of no real success. Until WOOL, that is - a 15,000 word "little throwaway story" he uploaded to Amazon's Kindle Marketplace one day and promptly forget about. The story he didn't blog, didn't tweet, and didn't even sell on his site hit #2 on the Kindle SciFi Bestseller list and "changed the course of e-books." [more inside]
posted by DarlingBri on Jan 15, 2012 - 140 comments

"You need have no fear of any failure" -- the life and explorations of Percy Fawcett

The London Geographical Journal, the preeminent publication in its field, observed in 1953 that “Fawcett marked the end of an age. One might almost call him the last of the individualist explorers. The day of the aeroplane, the radio, the organized and heavily financed modern expedition had not arrived. With him, it was the heroic story of a man against the forest.” Fawcett was none other than Percival "Percy" Harrison Fawcett, British soldier, trained as a surveyor of unknown lands, doubling as a British spy. But his true love was exploration, and not simply to mark boundaries on a map. His final goal was the same that had been the demise of many explorers: a mighty lost civilization in South America. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 29, 2011 - 6 comments

Now where did I put that Ark?

Santa's warehouse? Not quite.
posted by gwint on Dec 24, 2011 - 28 comments

Don’t Support Your Local Bookseller

Farhad Manjoo of Slate argues that buying books from Amazon is better than buying from local bookstores.
posted by reenum on Dec 15, 2011 - 183 comments

Amazon's Edsel

Tech pundits and consultants agree; Amazon's Kindle Fire is a huge disaster (New York Times), good for almost nothing (Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper) and a disappointingly poor user experience (Dr. Jakob Nielsen, usability expert). It's the Apple Newton, the Edsel, New Coke and McDonald’s Arch Deluxe in tablet form. By all accounts it should be doomed. So why is it selling so well? And why are user reviews so high? [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Dec 12, 2011 - 167 comments

Battle at Troll Bridge

Apple has adopted new tactics in its patent war against the handheld industry. Last summer, Apple has transferred patents to the patent troll Digitude Innovations, using a shell company operated by Digitude's primary investor, Altitude Capital Partners. In December, Digitude filed suit with the International Trade Commission alleging patent infringement by almost every mobile manufacturers except Apple. (pdf filing) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 11, 2011 - 79 comments

Can you give us a hand with a little research?

Amazon has recently declared that tomorrow is Price Check day. If you go into a brick and mortar retail store with Amazon’s new Price Check App on your smart phone, and scan a barcode with the location settings active, and then report back to Amazon on the price of that product, Amazon will deduct $5 from your online purchase of that product. Amazon claims it’s trying to keep prices low for consumers, but others attribute the move to a less innocuous agenda. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Dec 9, 2011 - 143 comments

What's black and white and red all over(drive)?

Why Might A Publisher Pull Its eBooks From Libraries? PaidContent takes a look at Penguin's recent move to pull all of its titles from Overdrive's public library ebook program, a program that even some librarians are upset about.
posted by Toekneesan on Nov 22, 2011 - 33 comments

The Great Tech War of 2012

The Great Tech War of 2012: Apple v. Google v. Amazon v. Facebook
posted by OmieWise on Oct 18, 2011 - 98 comments

One-stop publishing.

Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. “Everyone’s afraid of Amazon. ... If you’re a bookstore, Amazon has been in competition with you for some time. If you’re a publisher, one day you wake up and Amazon is competing with you too. And if you’re an agent, Amazon may be stealing your lunch because it is offering authors the opportunity to publish directly and cut you out." (Some adventures in self-publishing.) [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Oct 17, 2011 - 68 comments

"Google+ is a Prime Example of Our Complete Failure to Understand Platforms"

"Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product." "Last night, high-profile Google engineer Steve Yegge mistakenly posted a long rant about working at Amazon and Google’s own issues with creating platforms on Google+...The most interesting part to me, though, is Yegge’s blunt assessment of what he perceives to be Google’s inability to understand platforms and how this could endanger the company in the long run." It's quite long, but there's some interesting insight - all the more because it wasn't initially intended to be made public. (via SiliconFilter/via G+) [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 12, 2011 - 174 comments

Barnes and Noble Pulling DC Graphic Novels From Shelves

We've all gotten used to the idea that certains movies will be available only on certain cable channels, that certain albums will be available only via certain webstores, etc. However, it does seem a little bit stranger of an idea when applied to hard copy books. And yet...
posted by Ipsifendus on Oct 7, 2011 - 51 comments

New Amazon Tablet

Amazon unveils a new full color 7" multi-touch tablet it is calling Kindle Fire. Also announced are a new Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G. [more inside]
posted by Ad hominem on Sep 28, 2011 - 239 comments

$2 a Word? Chump Change!

Byliner and The Atavist might be heralding a change in how and how much longform article authors are paid.
posted by reenum on Sep 20, 2011 - 14 comments

Every child had a pretty good shot To get at least as far as their old man got.

"I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one," Goris said. "They can do that because there aren't any jobs in the area."
The Allentown newspaper The Morning Call investigates life inside of one of Amazon's newest warehouses. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Sep 20, 2011 - 271 comments

7-11 Amazon delivery lockers

Unholy alliance of convenience: 7-11 Amazon delivery lockers (US / UK).
posted by stbalbach on Sep 12, 2011 - 169 comments

My wife and I thought this was a really awesome post!

Is that review a fake? A new paper from Cornell researchers proposes an algorithm for sussing out fake reviews from websites. Here's a summary of tell-tale signs.
posted by empath on Aug 24, 2011 - 71 comments

Borders liquidating remaning stores

Borders is liquidating as soon as this Friday, closing all 399 stores, ending 40 years of business, and 11,000 jobs. Brought down by e-books and Amazon. Scenes From A Borders Liquidation Sale. Map of (soon to be vacant) Borders stores.
posted by stbalbach on Jul 18, 2011 - 311 comments

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