Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shortcuts to find Prime Music for Echo and Prime Instant Video for FireTV and Stick+tablets ... Today's Kindle Daily Deal: 45 'Summer Reads' instead of one ...How to import music from iTunes or Windows Media to your Amazon library


Saturday's Kindle Daily Deal - today only (May 25, 2015)

Sending this mid-day for people who didn't check the Kindle Daily deal today, which is good for only one day (or remaining night for east coasters, at the time I write this).

This consists of not the usual one book but 45 books, some of which are priced considerably higher usually.  For instance, I never got Amy Tan's latest book, but at $1.99 I will probably click on that today.

While I'm at it, I've been collecting my PRIME-info shortcuts for friends new to FireTv and to Amazon Echo, which I still haven't done a fuller report on -- still hunting things down when here.

  These shortcuts include what's available on Instant Prime and --for the Echo --  what is included in Prime Music (and helpful for getting Echo to play what you intend).
  Details will follow on another post I'm working on today.

  Re Kindle books -- I noticed today the changes to Kindle Owners Lending Library and where that appears on Kindle Fire tablets now, as that was changed recently.  The e-Ink Kindle eReaders are clearer in that this borrowing feature appears in the main store menu, up front oon the older Kindles, the Paperwhite and Voyage readers.  So will show that later today and/or tomorrow with some screen shots.

  In the meantime, included with this post are shortcuts for Prime Instant Video info and the less easy to find Prime Music pages that are very useful for the Echo.

  With the Echo, you've a lot more to work with if you join (for free) iHeart Radio and Pandora, which now both work well with Echo.  Echo users use these sites by identifying them and your free accounts in the Echo app's Settings/Music after joining those two music sites. Both are free for the basic service.

  Until then I say, 'Alexa, play [artist] from Prime Music' if wanting to hear something I don't already have.
  If you're a Prime shipping member, the Prime music songs are free, and there are well over a million involved.
  From your own playlists, you can just say, 'Alexa, play playlist [playlist-name]'

Will have somewhat more interesting things in the follow-up Echo report - these are just what some are asking about on the first day of use.

At any rate, here are some Prime feature shortcuts for finding what you want in connection with accessing them on  Fire TV, tablets, or the Amazon Echo.

Prine Instant-eligible Video: Movies and TV
1. http://amzn.to/primeinstantvideo3 (by category)
2. http://amzn.to/primeinstantvideo
    (Listing of ~18,000 Prime Instant-eligible videos
      You can narrow these down by using the search box at the top of the page. )
3. http://bit.ly/instantvideowebplayersetting
    (Settings to use for instant video web player -- for tablets use, 'flash' instead if 'silverlight'

Prime Music for streaming from your library at no added cost/
1. http://bit.ly/primemusicpage (by category
    (Free Prime music by categories. You can just add these to your library
    On tablets and on Fire TV many songs have scrolling lyrics w/ current line highlighted
2. http://bit.ly/primemusic-amazon (help page)
3. http://bit.ly/primemusic-who
    (Who and what's included in Prime music (artists and albums, as of 6/12/14)


Importing Music from iTunes or Windows Media Player to your Amazon Library
  (source: Amazon help pages)

  To import your music:
Go to your Music Library from a web browser on the computer you want to import music from.
Click Upload your music in the left menu,
  If prompted to install the Amazon Music Importer, follow the on-screen instructions.
Once you've opened or installed the Amazon Music Importer,
  click Start Scan to automatically scan your iTunes and Windows Media Player libraries for songs to import.
  You can also click-Browse manually to choose files on your computer to find music.
    This process may take some time to complete.
After the Amazon Music Importer has located your music,
  click Import all to add the entire selection to your music library.
    OR, click Select Music to choose which songs you'd like to add."

  However, what is free and what isn't when importing music?
  Amazon limits free uploads to 250 songs.
  Anything bought from Amazon does not count against the 250 songs limit.
    The alternative they have is to pay $25/yr to be able to import up to 250,000 songs...




  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
The Kindle Daily Deal
What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard(U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter


  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Library resources online - explore your regional libraries for some amazing resources. Also, my Amazon ECHO arrived yesterday. Initial brief report.


LIBRARY RESOURCES ONLINE FOR MANY REGIONAL AREAS

  I've mentioned this earlier and am updating the info -- there is a treasure that many of us have at our fingertips without realizing it -- none of my friends knew we had the access I'm describing in this updated posting although we are all somewhat heavy readers.

One day, while looking for information on something, I wanted to access Infotrac which has articles going back to 1970s or so, in full text, for participant institutions like my city library.  I live in California, and the requirement for accessing my library's special online resources is California residence.

  To give an example of what may be available in your area -- the Berkeley and San Francisco libraries both give its members access to databases that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for most of us.  And merely as a California resident, I am able to access both.  (I didn't look for others.)  Many of you will have similar access in your areas.

 Infotrac is one of the offerings and a more common one.
  See http://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/services_and_resources/online_resources.php for an example of what is often available through public libraries in the U.S.
.  I saw, on a web search, that many remote county libraries have the same access, so it's not just where a university might be.

  Besides Infotrac, I clicked on one of the gazillion links that came up on my screen, this time:
  http://0-proquest.safaribooksonline.com.www.berkeley-public.org/home
  This link will work only for people with a Berkeley Public Library card, even if California residence is all that's needed.  A similar link should work with your own public library's link, which you can google.  That'll depend on the state you're in.

Safari Books Online
To see, OTHERWISE, what Safari Books Online is like without the special public library access, here's their own site.  The regular situation (without library access) -- They have a free trial, but the monthly cost is, at $39/mo. for full access to all their books (see what's included, below) in the Safari "Bookshelf" option.  In this blog article, I'm describing the (free) "Library" option instead.
   I have no affiliation with Safari Books Online.  And, at $39/mo, or $399/yr for full access to all their books  (no limit on time spent online)  their regular offerings may be worth a look for any who need such books regularlyh for their work or study.

  The rest of us may have, though,  free public library access to what we need from that collection.

  The free library access version, if your library has it, is to almost all the current major computer/technical books that I've browsed at Barnes & Noble while lamenting that I couldn't justify spending that much money, since I wanted to read so many of them. It gives access to most of the current offerings I'd browse at the store.

 Included in the free Safari Books Online are O'Reilly Media, Prentice Hall, Addison-Wesley, PeachPit Press, New Riders, Sams, que, Adobe Press, and many others.

 It's all current -- books on items like Photoshop CS5, some on using Facebook :-) --  and so I tried it at the library (from home) for free to see what the various e-books are like, to read on my desktop or netbook.

 These offerings are FULL TEXT and speedy online reading if you have fast Internet access.  Every now and then a graphic image might not show up where it should but all the text is there as well as most of the graphic images. I did a tutorial on fixing photos from a book that normally costs $40 to buy.

I hope that most reading this will be able to find similar resources at their regional or state libraries.

Pennsylvania's Free Library of Philadelphia offers a library card for out-of-state-residents for $50/year (the link is to www.freelibrary.org/register/getcard1.cfm ).  No in-person visit required in Philadelphia.
  HOWEVER, while they do carry Infotrac and a myriad of other reference databases, they unfortunately don't carry Safari Online books.  They DO carry Overdrive for ebooks (for those of you who don't get Overdrive for easy Kindle book public library borrowing on Whispernet and need to rely on 3M instead but would prefer the easier to use Overdrive).

My Amazon ECHO arrived today
I ordered the almost vaporware Echo in January, and it actually arrived yesterday, after I had really lost interest.  But I'll report tonight on my initial explorations and I have to admit it's more fun than I had guessed.  After reading in the forums about all the things that didn't work quite right at first, from the paying beta-exploration customers who nevertheless related what they did like so far, I found that most of my instructions were working well (without doing the 'training' in my voice and enunciation), after the requested almost daily feedback to the Echo team who are adding features on a regular basis.  For example, lowering the volume while I'm doing something else, normally you'd say 'softer' or 'lower volume' or 'level 4' -- but I just said, naturally, "Alexa, not so loud" and it went down.  It's 'learned' from customer feedback.

Word on the street now is that Amazon has positioned itself ahead of Apple, who had to stall theirs for a while, and mainstream reviewers are more delighted than they'd expected to be.

I'll blog on this tonight when I get back. It's been interesting to see my own reactions to using such an odd duck but also I was surprised at why I like certain aspects of it. A sort of weird but fun experience I'll explain later tonight.



Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kindle tip: Today's Free Android app of the day: White Noise ... Macmillan's Kindle Daily Deal today: 4 Fiction Classics by Flannery O'Connor ... Jetblue airlines to show Prime movies and music to Prime-shipping members




For those of you who could use the 40+ ambient-sounds to help with relaxation or to more easily fall sleep, this $1.99 app may be worth trying.

The White Noise app has received an average 4.4 stars rating as of today, with most quite happy with it.

But some reviewers disliked some app permissions.  Those permission settings were removed from the paid version of the app, which is free today (May 6).


Clarifications seen in Comments area
The app-permissions used to require:

1. your phone number
    The Help description explains that white noise is able to turn off if a phone call comes in. Otherwise, it doesn't access your phone number.

    Version 5.6.3 added a setting,though, to "prevent interruption" and that now "keeps audio playing with phone calls, unplugging headphones, and undocking"

2. your location
    Three months ago, the app maker said that the location-setting permission was being removed.

3. somehow "sharing" the fact that you were going to sleep
The app previously had a setting that unbelievably 'shared' the fact you were going to sleep.
TMSOFT replied that this was "removed from the application."

    Also, a new "setting to "Disable Social" was also added into the app settings."

4. that the app was always running and that you couldn't turn it off - a misunderstanding
    You can press the pause button on the main screen right above the volume control.

5. in the free version, a request that you rate the app was persistent and annoying
    this paid version (for free this Tuesday, May 6) allows you to disable the rating prompt.
    The TMSOFT rep says that when developers update an app to add new features, they developers lose the previous ratings and reviews, which are important to the success of the app.  (I'd think loss of previous ratings and reviews would only be for very heavy changes so that it seems like a new app, but I guess they don't want to take the chance).

6. volume controls affected?
    At the time the comment was written, in January 2015, Amazon installed Kindle Fire updates that seemed to reduce volume on some models, including mine, and I didn't have the sleep app.


A couple of customers advise not to use the alarm feature as it doesn't work reliably.  There was no response to that comment. And some people haven't had problems with it.

What you can do is download, for free, new sounds when they're available

Also, "new sounds from import, create mix, and recording are now added to top of sound list" is on the new features list.


The Kindle Daily Deal today is from Macmillan books:
"Four Fiction Classics by Flannery O'Connor, $2.99 Each


Jetblue's interesting partnership with Amazon
Yahoo News reports that "Passengers with Amazon Prime memberships will be able to watch tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, including Amazon Original Series at 35,000 feet, at no additional cost to their membership.
'In the latest enhancement to its Fly-Fi and in-flight entertainment products, JetBlue has announced a partnership with Amazon that will let passengers enjoy unlimited, on-demand entertainment through JetBlue’s high-speed Fly-Fi broadband Internet.
. . .
Passengers also get access to more than 1 million songs available from Prime music, and can buy and download songs from the Amazon Music store, eBooks from the Kindle store, and apps and games from the Amazon Appstore.

Some in-flight purchases made on JetBlue’s free Fly-Fi broadband will earn TrueBlue points and the airline will run TrueBlue promotions on the service. '



Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

News scraps and Kindle tips: Kindle Convert software ... New features for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick + availability in the UK and Germany ... Echo's new social network features and its If This Then That 'recipe' capability ... May's free contemporary Kindle books


AMAZON'S RECENT ACTIVITIES + SOME TIPS

The big news this week is what's happening with Amazon's Echo

But first, a couple of things that have happened with Amazon products in the last couple of months that weren't reported here yet + the regular beginning-of-month searchable links for free contemporary (non-classic) Kindle books:

May's free Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    April 2015  May 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

  As ever, there are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entirely-family-safe titles may show up.  Since this is May 3, the listing will not include more already available, full books.


Kindle Convert - new software
Amazon announced back in February -- in a Kindle Community Forum post -- new software that, for PC owners, will help you convert print books and printed personal documents into Kindle files that can be read on your Kindles.  The forum link just above is to a description of what the software, Kindle Convert can do.  The first paragraph:
' ... a new software application that allows you to convert scans of your most treasured personal books, documents and keepsakes into high quality Kindle books so you can digitally safeguard and enjoy them forever. Kindle Convert preserves all the things that make your books and documents unique, such as hand-written notes, autographs, photos and images, so you can maintain the look and feel of your printed books. '
The forum post explains more.
I didn't blog on this because initial reports and reviews cited difficulty of the process involved in doing this, and I felt later updates may improve the process.

  But I'm mentioning it here because there were a number of reports that "pdf files" did not convert well after all the effort.
  However, the software focus is on valued printed books and documents that you want to be able to read and keep on the Kindle.

  We already have an easy way to get PDFs converted to Kindle book format.  Amazon's own "Send to Kindle" programs works for documents from a web browser, an Android tablet, your desktop, and most of all, from your email.

  We all have Kindle email-addresses assigned to our Kindle devices.  It's in the format [you]@kindle.com and can be found at the Manage your Devices and Content page (formerly called "Manage-your-Kindle" page).

  There, under the image of each of your devices, you'll see the email address for your devices.  You can edit your device's email address name there to something that's easier to remember than the automatically assigned email address.

  Only you can send documents or books to that email address (which wind up in your Cloud area) so that no spam can invade your Kindle or Android tablet (my Windows phone doesn't get one of these addresses) and you can designate those whose email addresses can send docs to your Kindle (if, for example, doing a subscription not available from Amazon Kindle store).

  VIA EMAIL to your [you@kindle.com] Kindlebook-reading email address, you can send any personal text file or *.mobi book file (often an eBook in .mobi format acquired from a non-Amazon source) to your Cloud, to read in Kindle format, with annotations posible.

  Amazon converts these emailed documents for your Kindlebook-reading device.
  If you send a PDF to an email address for an e-Ink reader, it will arrive as a readable PDF on the Kindle and if you put the word "convert" in the Subject field of the email, Amazon will automatically convert the PDF to a searchable Kindle book format but the PDF's special layout of tables or charts and columns will be different.

  For a novel for and one-column docs, this usually won't matter and is free although the older Kindle Keyboard devices with only 3G wireless used will see a 15c fee for a novel-sized file.  It's cost-free for WiFi readers otherwise.

PDFs are easily readable on tablets via a number of PDF-reader apps.  Scanning print books to PDFs yourself can be an arduous task but likely worthwhile for very valued print books you want to have in eBook format.


Bew Features for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
In late March, Amazon announced the following new features for Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
' Amazon Fire TV adds expandable USB storage and private, wireless listening with Bluetooth headphones

Watch on the go—Fire TV and Fire TV Stick now support captive portal so you can connect to Wi-Fi at a hotel or dorm room that requires web authentication

Fire TV Stick now available in the UK and Germany — Amazon Fire TV already the #1 streaming media box on Amazon in the UK and Germany '

For now, I'll just link you to the Businesswire announcement for the details on all this.


NEW ECHO FEATURES announced this week
The Verge's Josh Lowensohn reported that the Amazon Echo, usually called 'Alexa' by its owners, will now work with Twitter, Gmail, and Evernote plus a few others, thanks to the newly installed feature of "If This, Then That" ("ITTT")

  Lowensohn mentions the recent updates already reported here, "things like Pandora, traffic reports, sports scores, and support for Belkin's WeMo and Phillips's Hue products" and describes the new features' capabilities:
' ... the IFTTT 'recipes' for Alexa let you send your shopping and to-do lists out to third-party services like Google Drive, Evernote, and Todoist

... There are 54 combinations in total.  Enabling them requires signing up for IFTTT, then linking it up with your Amazon account. You also need to go through the motions of activating the various third-party app channels, and approving your accounts there so IFTTT can link everything up behind the scenes. Some of the really good examples so far are:

. Adding your Echo shopping list items to Evernote
. Sending someone a short email with your voice
. Sending someone an SMS with your voice
. Adding Echo shopping list items to the iOS Reminders app
. Adding Alexa to-dos to Microsoft's OneNote '

See the Verge's full article for illustrations and more details.




  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
The Kindle Daily Deal
What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard(U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter


  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, April 20, 2015

LATE notice for Pacific Coast mostly, on the large sale on the Kindle family HD 7" Fire Tablet today (Monday), $79 rather than $139



LATE notice on a fairly large sale today-only that Amazon is running on the HD 7" tablet, normally $139 to start but $79 to start, the balance of Monday, April 20.

This will leave less than 1 hour for east coast readers, most of whom will be asleep.  But I'll post it anyway for Pacific Coast readers who might be interested in the heavy discount.

  One recommendation:
The $79 price is for the 8 GB model, and it's $99 for the 16 GB model.

To be perfectly frank, Jeff Bezos himself argued against this amount of storage space in Yr 2012 when he launched the HD 7, and HD 8.9" tablets.  This was a year before they released the HDX tablets.  Click the photo to see that.

I guess the reason they've offered an 8 GB model SINCE then is the heavy emphasis on being able to store apps on the Cloud in the last 2 years and easily get them onto or off of the tablets as needed, but I really don't recommend an 8 GB tablet at all these days - and the 16 GB version is $20 more or actually $99. 8 GB is just too small.

  That 8 GB has to hold system files too and should be considered by those not planning to use many games and graphic apps and interested mostly in reading.
  I suppose it might be worth it for $79 for a youngster not into a lot of games, since the non-breakable version is $149 for only the 6" HD to start.

I've long recommended at least 16 GB even if it's somewhat more costly at $20 more, because (repeat) the more attractive or fun apps are heavily graphics-oriented or complex and take up a large amount of storage space and even will need temporary file space during the running of them.  

I'll repeat something I wrote a few months ago, for those interested in this sale but who don't know whether they'd want a Kindle tablet vs other types of tablets available these days.




Amazon tops Apple in Tablet satisfaction survey for first time

JD Power's Yr 2014 Vol 2 Study of U.S. Tablet Satisfaction had Amazon coming from way behind (in past years) to beat Apple out for the first time in the now popular tablet market.

The simple headline in their press release was "Amazon Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Tablet Devices"

  "The study, now in its third year, measures customer satisfaction with tablets across five factors (in order of importance): performance (28%); ease of operation (22%); features (22%); styling and design (17%); and cost (11%). Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale."

  From what I remember, Amazon, newer to the game, placed 5th or so in the past.  Apple led the field the first two years of this ongoing study.  The study may be of interest to some who are wondering whether or not to jump on the Holiday pricing Amazon has had in varying degrees the last couple of weeks.

  The mantra has always been "Isn't Apple the best?" As ever, if you have an Apple iPhone and love your iOS apps, it makes more sense to stick with Apple.

  Otherwise, you may want to try Amazon's now famous 30-day Full Refund "No Risk" policy on Kindles.  The return policy:
' You can return any Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet or Amazon Fire TV devices or accessories you purchased directly from Amazon.com for a full refund within 30 days of the day you received it as long as it's in new condition and the return is in accordance with our return policy. '
  (Within 60 days, it's an 80% refund, which I didn't know.)

Will get this off now,  Was not here earlier to note this sale, which is quite a bit more of a discount than usual.



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Amazon and HarperCollins reached an agreement already ... Season 1 of OrphanBlack free for NON-Prime members - on Friday Only (April 18) ... Amazon Echo's new controls for the home ... TurboTax software credits/refunds for some ... New IRS free filing feature (useful for those using extensions).


Amazon's own productions, one of which won two Golden Globes for best series in its category and for best actor, has another popular series getting good reviews (with an average 4.7 stars out of 5 so far).
  It normally costs $15 to watch an entire season (though these are free for Prime shipping members).

  They're making all of Season 1 of Orphan Black available for free binge-watching today by NON-Prime members too, but this is for this one day only.  So if interested, give it a look today.

Here's Amazon's trailer (video) for the series. (This video link doesn't work on e-Ink eReaders, since those don't have video capabilities.)


Amazon and HarperCollins reached an agreement, already, on a multi-year contract
for both print and eBook editions.
Venturebeat reports:
' The particulars of the deal weren’t disclosed, but the arrangement echoes a deal Amazon struck with Simon & Schuster in October, with Hachette in November, and with Macmillan in December. These companies represent four of “The Big Five” English-language publishing companies — Penguin Random House being the fifth.

...publishers have struggled with the retail giant’s steep discount pricing and ever-expanding market share. '

They cite a Wall Street Journal report that this is similar to the new contracts for three of the other Big5 publishers.  "the deal calls for HarperCollins to decide the retail prices of its digital books, with incentives to provide lower prices to consumers."

I imagine Amazon will find incentives that work for them (and therefore for us).


Kindle Tip: A common question asked is "How do I print a recipe from a Kindle book for use in the kitchen?"
  Many don't know that all Kindle book customers have a personal, password-protected website that holds all their annotations (highlights and notes) if you allow Amazon to back those up along with the book.  That's a default setting, but you can turn it off in settings if you prefer they not be on your server area in "the Amazon cloud" that holds your books.

  To see the annotations on your website area (you can view them by book, and they show up on a scrolling page and are easy to copy and paste to your personal editor if wanted), you go to kindle.amazon.com or you can click on this link to get to yours (click "Highlights" at the top there).
  See the original blog article on this really useful feature for an explanation of how it works.

  These are easy to browse.  On your computer or laptop, you can highlight text and then print it.
  There are other ways to do this, but I wanted to make sure newcomers knew about their personal annotations web page at Amazon.


Amazon updated the Echo device to allow control of lights and appliances with this personal assistant/speaker
Business Insider, in an early report on the Echo, opined that its greatest potential would be as a centralized personal assistant for controlling smart lights, televisions, and appliances.   Techsmash reported on the new capabilities:
' Echo is now compatible with the following WeMo and Phillips Hue devices:

  . WeMo: Switch, Insight Switch, and Light Switch
  . Hue: A19, Lux, BR30, Bloom, and LightStrip lights

If you have any of those products, you can simply say “Discover my appliances” and any within range will show up in the Amazon Echo app. You can then assign your connected switches or bulbs to different groups which you ask Echo to interact with individually.
...
...   The following list details voice commands you can use to light your way or interact with your newly-connected devices:

  • “Alexa, turn on the hallway light”
  • “Alexa, turn on the coffee maker”
  • “Alexa, dim the living room lights to 20%”
  • “Alexa, turn on the electric blanket”
  • “Alexa, turn on the outdoor decorations”
Read more at Techsmash.
  And to see what else the Echo device can do, see this very thorough video demo.


Turbo Tax 20214 TAX Filing - software credits and refunds
I went to the tax product page for what I've been using and saw, in response to consumer unhappiness over its feature changes in the last year:
' Information on TurboTax 2014
Intuit made changes to the TurboTax 2014 product line which may have affected you. '

    [And when clicking on "Learn More" saw the following offer]
' Returning TurboTax Deluxe Desktop customers who need to file Schedule C, D, E or F and purchase Deluxe 2014 will be upgraded to Premier or Home & Business for free. This upgrade will happen automatically in your TurboTax Deluxe 2014 product (starting Feb 7th).

  For returning Deluxe 2013 Desktop customers who already purchased TurboTax Premier or Home & Business 2014, Intuit is offering $25 cash back after you’ve filed through April 20th. Learn more here. '
The apology by Intuit's Turbo Tax General Manager gives more detail on how those who needed to buy the more expensive package to get a feature previously part of a less expensive package can get a refund or credit.


Those filing extensions to allow filing of taxes by October 15 instead
Just wanted to point out a Consumer Reports' web article on E-filing your taxes for free.

"Some options let you file both federal and state forms at no cost" is the subheading, and they highlight the new IRS Free File feature.
' If you want guidance when preparing your federal tax form and your household’s 2014 adjusted gross income was $60,000 or less, you can prepare and file your federal return for free on your computer through IRS Free File.  To participate, you must file through a company listed as an "e-file partner" in the Free File section of the IRS website. '

See the rest of this at Consumer Reports page for full instructions.



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Quick Kindle book tip for history fiends: Free Kindle downloads of all 8 volumes of the official biography of Winston Churchill, $80 value -- through Sunday, April 12, 11:59pm PDT now. Update5



Free 8 volume set of Winston Churchill biography


While the offer was ended prematurely Saturday despite the date range of April 9-11, I've received a response from Soren at The Churchill Project at Hillsdale College that this was an error at either Amazon or at RosettaBooks, and they've made the 8-volume set free again through tonight, Sunday April 12.

So, those disappointed yesterday can take advantage of it today.

  Update5: (April 12) - Soren has confirmed that this will be good until 11:59pm tonight PDT.

  To be doubly sure, get the books earlier.  No Kindle device is needed to read these.  There are free reading apps for PC, Mac, and most mobile devices (including Blackberry phones).

Reader Randall Leverette sent the alert Saturday and this blog article was originally posted early Saturday night (PDT).

  This offer, by Hillsdale College, publisher of the set, was originally set to be good for April 9-11 and (repeating), has now been extended through Sunday, April 12, ending just before midnight, PDT.
' .. the Official Biography of Winston Churchill ...

To mark the anniversary of Churchill's honorary US citizenship, Hillsdale College and RosettaBooks are offering free Kindle downloads of all 8 volumes of the official biography on April 9-11 – An $80 value, absolutely free! '

You can download your free copies at these Amazon links: 
  1. Youth, 1874–1900 (Volume I)
  2. Young Statesman, 1901–1914 (Volume II)
  3. The Challenge of War, 1914–1916 (Volume III)
  4. World in Torment, 1916–1922 (Volume IV)
  5. The Prophet of Truth, 1922–1939 (Volume V)
  6. Finest Hour, 1939–1941 (Volume VI)
  7. Road to Victory, 1941–1945 (Volume VII)
  8. Never Despair, 1945–1965 (Volume VIII)

Tip: - These will be downloaded to your chosen device (even if a PC or Mac when not a mobile device).
  To save device space, though -- keeping these on the Cloud only (your books area at Amazon):
  -- When 'buying' these for $0, choose either your "Kindle for Cloud" (server)
      or choose to "Transfer by computer" later so it doesn't deliver it to any physical device.


More details of the background and celebration here.



  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
The Kindle Daily Deal
What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard(U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter


  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Amazon Echo price-discount ending April 7 ... Echo updates ... iOS updates ... HarperCollins negotiations begin ... Amazon Dash Button ... Amazon Home Services ... White Kindle eReader to Asia ... Amazon paid-apps for a flat fee? ... Drone approval was useless


A LOT OF NEWS LATELY

Per a Geekwire report, "Amazon quietly announces last call for Amazon Prime users’ Echo discounts."

Geekwire reports that the Echo product page (the version that displays for those who've not requested an invitation to buy the early version of its Echo personal voice assistant and speaker) now includes a deadline of April 7, 2015 for the Prime member discount of $100 (available during checkout).  I don't see this information because I did order one, although it's supposed to arrive by April 8 but still hasn't been shipped.

For those who don't know what the Amazon Echo does, a very good video demo is available on Youtube.  The feedback on the Kindle Forum is overwhelmingly positive about the units already received and being used the last few months, with regular updates that add features or fixes recommended by the early buyers.

  Geekwire's wording:
' Until April 7, Prime customers who sign up for an Echo invite can lock in a $99 price when the device becomes available to them.  After that, they’re stuck paying $199 with the plebeians. '

  About the update Echo owners received the other day:
  Phandroid.com reports that the Echo adds Pandora and MLB/MLS game scores.
' The update gives Alexa ... [the name of Echo's voice] the ability to play your Pandora radio stations and give you scores from MLB and MLS games.
  To use these new commands simply say “Alexa, play a classic rock station,” or “Alexa, what’s the score of the Detroit Tigers game?” '

  GeekWire points out that "Amazon’s support for Pandora is interesting, since the company already has its own music store and streaming service, which was recently updated on iOS to provide users with ad-free radio stations centered around artists and genres."


April's free Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    March 2015  April 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

To see the MONTHLY Kindle book discount deals available for April, go to the special monthly book deals page now showing Kindle books for April 2015 for $3.99 or less, US.
  (See UK listing here.)

For those who want to quickly look first at only the ones that are star-rated at 4 or above, here is Amazon US's page for that.  The UK has a similar listing.  These details are for people new to the monthly feature or to this blog.


OTHER RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
I won't be going into detail on these -- just giving links to more information, for the most part, unless someone does want more information.

That FAA's drone-experiments approval
Remember that news in mid-March that the FAA had given approval to Amazon's experiments with drones (for faster delivery in some areas)?  Apparently, the FAA's approval was for an older model that Amazon is no longer testing.  Now Amazon has decided to move its drone testing to Canada, near the border, as the delays for approval in the U.S. make it too difficult for the development of this product.

HarperCollins is the next Kindle book publisher to negotiate a new eBooks agreement with Amazon.
Harper Collins has been offered an arrangement similar to that negotiated with Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan recently.  While Amazon always wants to sell eBooks at lower prices, the publishing houses prefer to keep the price up to avoid "devaluing" their print books (as they've said).

  The seekingalpha.com site adds that "...HarperCollins has its own online sales operations, after a move last summer to sell most of its inventory on its site, as well as deals with Amazon e-publishing competitors."

Amazon introduces the Amazon Dash button
This is a somewhat curious limited-time offer that is:
  . limited to only Amazon Prime members in the U.S. who "receive an email from Amazon
    with an invitation to receive a free Dash Button"
  . the invitation expires seven days after receipt of the email
  . limited to three Dash Buttons per customer and account while supplies last.

Several mainstream tech sites wrote that at first they thought that the announcement of the new Amazon Dash button on March 31 might be an April Fools Day item.  These will be standalone buttons placed in the home (and using WiFi) for certain products or brands (like Tide, Huggies) that, once you press them, will initiate an order to restock a product when you find supplies are low.  To prevent accidental orders, you'd use the associated app to confirm that you want that order.  This would prevent your having to look up what it was that you ordered before.  It's for convenience and of course Amazon's revenue flow.  Here are pages for Terms and Conditions and a complete list of Dash Button Products.

 There's also a video with more information on this at the product invitation page.


Amazon Home Services
A couple of weeks ago, I was buying an item at Amazon when I was suddenly offered help, at my home, with installation of the product or, for a smaller fee, help at a store.   I didn't click on the offer as I didn't need the help, but I thought that was certainly a surprise! What isn't Amazon up to these days?

    They've since announced the new feature - Amazon Home Services - and are offering for a limited time a $20 Amazon Gift Card if you spend $99 or more on one of these services before April 13, 2015.

  A video on the product page explains it well.
  The three points on that page are:
  . Handpicked Pros
  . Upfront Prices
  . Happiness Guarantee

  I wonder if Amazon will start a review and rating system for these too -- it would be additional info vs some current reliance on Yelp!, which has had some marketing and policy problems reported in the news recently.  While I also use Angie's List, I far prefer what I can find about the service companies when using Yelp.

  Okay, I just explored a bit more and if you choose a type of service, and input your zip code, you'll see a recommended service and an estimated price.  Included is a calling card for the service and a RATING from "TaskRabbit."

  They say that the services approved are required to be
1. Background-checked, 2. Licensed (if applicable), and 3. Top-rated performers.

  Also, on the "Learn More" page they add:
Handpicked
  We only invite pros who have a strong track record of service quality.  We screen through a combination of media searches, online interviews, and reference checks.
Background-checked
Background-checked
  We conduct comprehensive business background checks and require each pro traveling to your home to pass a 6-point criminal background check.
Licensed and insured
  We require pros to maintain any required trade licenses and insurance information on file with us.
Top-rated performers
  Pros must meet ongoing performance targets including responsiveness, quality, and ratings.

Amazon Prime Music adds "Prime Stations" to its iOS app
Techcrunch explains that these are "ad-free streaming music stations that offer unlimited song skips." There are additional personalized recommendations based on your prior playing history, and Prime Stations will be able to use the thumbs-up/down feature to learn to make playlists that reflect your interests.

While PC's, the Macs, and Kindle Fire tablets already have the Prime Stations feature, it's not been made available for Android yet.  And now iOS users are getting it in their app.

  ALSO, there was an update to the iOS Kindle app (for accessing Kindle books via iOS devices) today, allowing users of the iPhone or iPhone Touch to access Amazon's "Flashcards for Print Replica Textbooks" when running the Kindle app.  These were available to only the iPad version of the Kindle app.  There's more info on this update at appadvice.com site.


Amazon adds white version to the basic Kindle eReader device (black in the US and other countries) for China (April 8) and Japan (April 20)
Engadget reports the new white Kindle model to be made available to China and Japan.  They've asked Amazon when this might "reach other parts of the world."


Amazon's plans to offer paid apps at no additional cost each download for a flat fee ("Unlocked")
According to Techcrunch, Amazon it "wants to launch" a new feature, an app store section called "Unlocked."  This would be something like the "Prime program for apps," per Techcrunch, who writes that they 'learned of the new feature by way of an internal presentation, leaked to us, explaining how the new feature will look."  They add that "the basics are outlined simply enough in the presentation, which uses the code names “Gretzky” and “Snuffy” to respectively describe the new feature and user flow around it.'



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kindle tips: 18 Fiction Favorites on one-day deal today (Mar.28) ... Amazon announces new photo storage plan + an 'Everything Plan' ... A really good Amazon Echo video-demo plus a tip to shorten delivery time on a current Echo order.


Today's Kindle Daily deal (March 28 only) includes 18 Fiction Favorites for up to 80% Off
For those who don't check the daily Kindle book deal, there are 18 to choose from today in the Fiction category and they're described as "Favorites."

Amazon Echo - Excellent demo of this creature, on a Youtube video
plus a tip on how to speed up delivery

  (Reminder: Kindle Blog Editions don't do video, but you can view the video on a computer instead.)

There's now a Youtube video that gives a good, somewhat frantic demonstration of what the Amazon Echo can do, as of January 30.
  Since the video is fast-paced vs an earlier one which was narrated in almost slow-motion, quite a bit is covered.
The Deal Guy throws questions at Alexa and interrupts her answers with other questions, and you can hear the general response time.

  If you already ordered it and it won't be delivered for 2 months:
I took a tip from a forum note and changed my delivery speed to one day instead of free 2-day Prime to see if I might get this gizmo earlier than May 27 to mid July as had been noted on my order since mid-January.  I opted for the one-day delivery option to see how much the date would change and, while the charge would be $6, the shipping date range changed to March 24 - April 8.  I went for it, my curiosity driven by the several thousand notes on the Echos already received and discussed.  It's now March 28, and it's not shipped yet.  Amazon normally tends to ship earlier than planned, so these appear to still be relatively backlogged, although my new earlier date range is still to April 8, rather than to mid-July.

  Caution - Someone tried just 'confirming' the order, and this resulted in a later shipping date.
  In any case, there should be no rush for most, but this tip is for those who do want to get it earlier.

Amazon offers unlimited photos storage plan + an unlimited-every-type-of-file plan
Those who are Amazon Prime members already get Unlimited free storage of photos (+ video files smaller than 2 gigs).  I described what's involved in the Prime feature, in detail, in the earlier article on the Prime version.  The free storage is there for Prime members as long as the Prime memberships are kept.
  Many don't know that this is available to them, since November 2014.

  Yesterday Amazon announced another way to get Unlimited cloud-storage of photos ($11/yr) or Unlimited Everything for $59/yr (equivalent of $~5/month).  They're offering a 3 month trial to try either plan.  Here's the key part of their announcement:
  • Unlimited Photos Plan (free 3-month trial, then $11.99 per year-- equivalent of less than $1 per month): Store an infinite number of photos in Cloud Drive without worrying about taking up space on phones, cameras, or other devices. Customers can upload existing collections and store all future photos taken. This plan also includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files.

  • Unlimited Everything Plan (free 3-month trial, then $59.99 per year-- equivalent of less than $5 per month): Store an infinite number of new and existing photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music in Cloud Drive.

Again, Prime members already have the equivalent of the first plan (and even better since videoclips are included).
  Amazon also emphasized that these two new plans allow customers "to securely store their existing content collections and automatically [if wanted] upload endless amounts of new content, including photos, videos, movies, music, and files. ."  So, there'd be "no worry about storage space" ... with an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of ... files in one convenient place."

  To learn more about Amazon Cloud Drive and the Unlimited Cloud Storage plans, visit amazon.com/clouddrive.

  I don't know what the retrieval speed would be like, but I take advantage of the free feature that imports my Facebook photo albums to the Amazon space, and when I access them to view them from the Cloud on a tablet or phone, it's very fast.  At any rate, both plans have the 3 month free trial, so we can try them out before deciding.



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Amazon has been up to ... Drone experiments approved ... Prime Now 1-2 hr deliveries ... Sunday deliveries ... Amazon's first physical store and its New York midtown plans . Windows 8 video tutorial ... surface pro 2 price worth a look


RECENT AMAZON NEWS

Amazon granted permission to experiment with drones for quick delivery
  Last Thursday, against most expectations, the FAA issued Amazon "a certificate to experiment with unmanned aircraft for research, development and crew training."

Amazon is required to follow the guidelines listed below:

 "The flights must be conducted at 400 feet or below during daylight hours.
  The drone must also remain within the line of sight of the pilot and observer.
   The person flying the aircraft, meanwhile, must have a private pilot’s certificate and current medical certification.
  Amazon.com Inc. must also provide monthly data to the FAA on the number of flights conducted, pilot duty time per flight, unusual hardware or software malfunctions and other information."

  The The Register, UK weighs in with, "The only problem is it's completely useless to the online retailer as it contains a line-of-sight requirement that would make its main aim of delivering packages impossible."
  Amazon hasn't responded to The Register's questions on this.  Regulations and laws can be modified.  I'm personally not keen on delivery drones overhead when I'm out and about though!

Speaking of speedy deliveries:
Amazon's expands one-hour Amazon Prime Now delivery service for daily essentials from two to four city areas.
Amazon.com expands its one-hour delivery Prime Now service for "tens of thousands of Daily Essentials" to Baltimore and Miami.

  Currently available in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the One-Hour delivery program is also being made available in some ZIP codes in Baltimore and Miami.

  This will work only through the Prime Now mobile app for products such as paper towels, shampoo, books, toys and batteries in certain areas of the four cities mentioned.
  Amazon plans to expand in each city soon.
' The service is available to customers enrolled in Amazon Prime [US], a service that costs $99 a year and includes free two-day shipping on a range of products and instant content-streaming options [plus thousands of free instant-streaming movie and TV-show videos and over a million free music mp3's].
  . . .
  All Prime members can download the Prime Now app, available on iOS and Android devices, and be notified when the service is available in their local area.

  In Miami and Baltimore, Prime Now is available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

  Two-hour delivery is free and one-hour delivery is available in select ZIP codes for $7.99

  Current caveats seen in reading customer feedback
1. Manhattan and Brooklyn users seem happiest with it, but even then many are not comfortable with the mobile-app only method of using the feature and want to be able to use it on desktops and laptops.

2. The app (which is for Android 4.2 and above as well as iOS) considers itself 'incompatible' with a large number of Android devices and is not compatible with the Kindle Fire tablet currently.  I have a Samsung Android tablet with OS v4.34 but it's considered incompatible too.  It could be that Amazon sees my Samsung as pre-OS v4.3 -- before I updated the OS.  Supposedly the app can be read on devices in cities where the program is not yet available, so that you can get information on the mobile device about when the program DOES become available in your area.

3. Growing pains - Some newly using this in Baltimore and Miami are having some struggles with the functioning today.

4. The recommended (but optional) $5 tipping on free 2-hour deliveries cannot be done with cash, but that means that people would pre-pay a tip on the credit card before the delivery services is completed.

Those for whom the app works tend to love the 1-2 hour delivery capability though.  With time, it should get better, and Amazon is making the announcement before 99% of the U.S. customers can even use it.

Amazon IS stepping up deliveries where it has warehouses nearby in your state, I guess.  I ordered some color-ink supplies for my Brother printer on a Friday, with Prime 2-day delivery, and expected it on Monday. I was startled to get US mail package delivery on Sunday but the arrival was very welcome. Staples, 4 blocks away, had 20% off on ink supplies during that time but Amazon's prices were still better.

  I think I should support a brick and mortar store more, but I did buy my (favorite e-device) Surface Pro 2* at Staples, since no one was discounting that tabtop, it wasn't available to places like Amazon yet, and for that kind of thing I do prefer humans nearby that I can go to with the product if there's a problem, and Staples has been pretty good, which is why I drop in and look around still.  I just think printer ink is over-priced, generally, so I go for the less expensive option while no longer experimenting with 'compatibles.'

  * I just looked to see if Amazon is selling it now that the Surface Pro 3 is the current model, and what I bought for $1,300 + $120 magnetically attachable keyboard cover in Nov 2013 is now $715 w/ prime shipping, with a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM.  Incredibly fast, stable touch-'laptop' while the backlight "Type cover" [real keyboard and not bluetooth] is another $85, at Amazon.

  What I most like is that you can move your head around and the image stays the same - No shift in brightness and contrast based on angle.  At less than 2 lbs., it can be dropped into my purse if it's needed outside.  I love the pen stylus too (if you lose it and need a replacement, Amazon Marketplace vendors are currently marking it up 4 times -- get Microsoft's refurbished one for the Surface Pro or Pro2 for $24 instead.)
  I imagine you'd need to let the unit auto-update Windows v8.1 considerably during opening-setup; the latest update is a huge improvement over the original horror of Win 8..

  (And re that horror, the older completely non-intuitive horrible interface of Windows 8 was made understandable for those who knew about the free video tutorial, "The Missing Windows 8 Instructional Video - 25 minutes."  I can't recommend it enough for the basics, although Microsoft finally paid attention and has added back the standard clues on-screen for what an icon means AND added icons at all (you used to have to try to find them).

  Staples is in the process of acquiring the only other large national office supplies store, Office Depot, and that means acquiring its debt too, while regulatory approval will take time if it comes at all, since Staples was denied an acquisition of another office supplies stores in the past due to concerns about a monopoly -- but that was before the onslaught of the online retailers, which has hurt both stores.

  One thing struck me.  It mentions that online retailers like Amazon "do not face the same encumbrances from real estate costs."

  But now I see Amazon has opened its first physical store at Purdue University and "has similar arrangements with the University of California, Davis and the University of Massachusetts Amherst."

  Not only that, they're said to be "planning to open a store on Midtown Manhattan’s famed 34th Street after agreeing to a 17-year lease to rent a 470,000 sq-foot space in the heart of New York’s major shopping district."


There's more but since this is long already, and the others are software offerings, I'll do a separate post on those.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Kindle tips: The Big Deal - Over 400 Kindle books at up to 85% off is back, through March 29. Amazon's ongoing SD card discounts. UPDATE. LINK fixed.


The Big Deal: Kindle Books Up to 85% Off

Starting March 13, 2015 through March 29, 2015, save up to 85% on more than 400 Kindle books.
Amazon's The Big Deal is back for the most of the rest of March (starting today, March 13) and promises, this time,
  "Up to 85% off on more than 400 Kindle Books" in that small print.

This special pricing is good through March 29, and carries the usual disclaimer re varying selection and pricing of books offered outside the U.S.
  [UPDATE: Somewhere I saw March 31 as the end date but it's through March 29 instead.
    I've also fixed the first link, which was to the wrong page.  Gads.  Apologies.]

   Last year in March, this feature's page was organized using a more limited set of 5 categories or genres.  This year, there are nine categories:

  Mystery and Thrillers,  Romance,  Science Fiction & Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction
  Biography & Memoirs, Teen Books, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction,
  Religion & Spirituality

On the right of the page is a list of the Top 10 Best Sellers and an option to "See all Best Sellers in The Big Deal"
  Those latter list shows the top 100 out of the 400 offered.
' These lists, updated hourly, contain bestselling items. Here you can discover the best The Big Deal in Amazon Best Sellers ... For non-U.S. customers, Kindle content availability and pricing will vary. '
The bottom of the page is a scrolling list of 431 books, one by one, with a default sort of "New and Popular" and alternate sorts:
  16 per page, if you choose (inside the gray strip bar above the list) the Orange grid for "Detail"
      OR
  60 per page, if you choose the 4-cell icon for "Image" which will show mainly book covers and basic info.

  Shortcut if you type it: bit.ly/thebigdeal-current


Side Note:
For photo buffs and snapshooters:
 Last year, the following link was to special pricing, but the page now seems to be Amazon's ongoing, mostly 50% off pricing on SD and SDHC memory cards.
  These are primarily name brand memory cards.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Amazon's $25,000 Shopping-Spree Sweepstakes details ... Great AppleWatch selection aid ... Firefly coming to smaller Kindle Fire HD's 6 and 7"

Amazon's $25,000 Shopping-Spree Sweepstakes
Just saw this today -- the feature was announced yesterday, to feature the Amazon appstore offerings.

  US residents 18 years of age or older are invited to enter the Giveaway ("Sweepstakes") to win $25,000 in Amazon.com Gift Cards.

  The sweepstakes period is from March 9 through April 15 at 11:59pm PDT.  I asked for and received clarification that although the announcement is "specifically targeted" to users of the Android for Phone app because it's the ONE way you can be automatically entered into the sweepstakes - when you download, from Apps and Games category, any app -- paid or free.  

  There are two ways to get a chance at the big prize.
  While the Giveaway announcement page mentions that "Apps & Games are now available for download from within your Amazon App for Android Phones," they've been available all along but they're alerting us to the automatic sweepstakes-entry when using the app to download one app from the appstore during the sweepstakes period.  Here's a link to the Official Rules page.

  To enter, use one of the following two methods:
  1.  If you have an Android phone, fill out the short entry form at the bottom of the Sweepstakes page, which will take you to a page that will launch or begin downloading the latest version of the Amazon Android for Phones App (available only from the Amazon appstore store and NOT from GooglePlay store).  Then:

     "From within the Amazon App for Android Phones, navigate to Apps & Games and download any app or game – paid or free.

  2.  "Alternatively, you may enter by mailing a (postage pre-paid) 3x5 card with your name, address, e-mail address and phone number to Appstore Sweepstakes, 2202 US Highway 41 N, Unit E, PMB 172, Henderson, KY 42420.  Mail-in entries must be postmarked by April 15, 2015 and received by April 22, 2015. All other entries must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. (PT)   on April 15, 2015.

 Limit one (1) entry per person using only one (1) Amazon.com account or e-mail address, regardless of entry method.  You may not use multiple customer accounts to enter the Sweepstakes, and entries submitted through multiple accounts will be disqualified.

  Worth the time to make an entry.  With the automatic app-download entry, Amazon will count only the first app-download.


Apple Watch launched yesterday.

Is it for you?  Here's a bit of help.  
   Just before posting this blog entry, I saw this in my news feed, and it's such a hilarious selection-aid that I think others might enjoy it also.


New: Firefly feature coming to Kindle Fire HD 6-7" and HDX 7" tablets
   The larger Year-2013 and 2014 Kindle Fire HD 8.9" tablets received this feature earlier.
   What is 'Firefly' though?

It's a visual search on a mobile device that, when you take a photo of an object or use the microphone on a sound you're hearing, analyzes what is seen and/or heard and tries to identify it, whether it's a video, a song, a CD album, artwork, or a general everyday product.

  I have an 8.9" Kindle HDX and have the Firefly app "listen" to music and analyze  a movie showing on my TV and it was able to identify both.

  Amazon first put their Firefly feature on the Amazon 3D Fire Phone.  Despite the unusual features of that phone, the complex phone interface was reported to be confusing for many consumers and -- with the dilemma of phone and data plans that would need to be put in place or replaced with a purchase of a different phone -- it did not see much interest from consumers at the price initially chosen  (AT&T nixed the additional option of a scaled down budget version, I read, but is now 99c with a data plan).

  However, the Firefly feature impressed reviewers and owners of the phone.  Slashgear gives a good description of the phone's Firefly capabilities and also the more limited version coming to the smaller tablets.
' Snap up a photo of a thing and Amazon will analyze it and point you to the corresponding product on its virtual shelves ... consider all the other things that Firefly can do.  Scan a business card and it will be able to analyze the text there.  Show it a video on TV and it can identify what TV show or film it is.  And, as of last December, it can even recognize about 2,000 artworks.

That functionality ... is the one that is coming to Kindle Fire HD tablets in the US, the UK, and Germany.  Those include the super wallet friendly, and also least powerful, Fire HD 6 and Fire HD 7.  It seems, however, that not all of Firefly's scanning abilities will make it, with only song, movie, and product search mentioned to make the cut. '

  At about the same time Slashgear did a review of the small, inexpensive (and of course somewhat limited) Fire HD 6.

  PC Authority also reviewedthe Fire HD 6 as well that week.  Both reviews are balanced ones.


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Kindle Tips: Amazon has upgraded Kindle book samples ... Overdrive fixed its Kindle public library books problem ... 3M's library access - how it's done on Kindle Fires ... Today's specials on computer items and accessories, up to 50% off March 2 only ... March's free Kindle books (contemporary). Updated.



I'm just back from an unexpected vacation from the blog after 6 years but have monitored blog comments for any questions that people might have.

Will be catching up with some Amazon and Kindle news I did log, mainly for those who are too busy to keep up with that.

Four items before I get to others my list:

Amazon has made the Kindle book samples more useful
Amazon's email explained:

"- Samples that you download from the Kindle book store will now be saved in the cloud so that you can access and read them on any supported Amazon device or Kindle reading app.

 - You can delete your samples from the cloud on any supported devices or Kindle reading apps, or from Manage Your Content and Devices. (http://www.amazon.com/mycd).

Amazon devices and free Kindle reading apps that support these sample improvements are:
Fire HDX, Fire HD, Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD (2nd Generation), Kindle Voyage, Kindle Paperwhite (2nd Generation), Kindle (7th Generation), Fire phone, Kindle for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch version 4.5 or greater, and Kindle for Android version 4.7 or greater."

More info at Amazon's Kindle Samples Help page.


Update on Overdrive for Public Libraries and Kindle Books
For January and February 2015, a number of eBooks added to their catalog were not available in the Kindle format, and Kindle customers brought this to their attention without getting explanations from Overdrive.  The situation was corrected on Friday (Feb. 27).
' This has now been resolved, and the Kindle format of the affected titles is now available in OverDrive’s Marketplace.  All U.S. libraries’ digital collections will be automatically refreshed with the Kindle format for any titles they have purchased that may not have had the format at the time of purchase.

As always, we will continue to add daily to our world leading catalog of over 2.6 million titles with all available formats. We look forward to continuing as the only provider of Kindle format eBooks for our U.S. library and school partners. '

Now, I don't know what they mean by 'continuing as the only provider of Kindle format eBooks' for their U.S. Library and school partners except for the following:

  3M is a rival provider, but it is definitely harder to use to access Kindle books, as it is NOT available for Kindle e-Ink eReaders (but can be transferred from computer downloads to Nook and Kobo eInk readers) and the recommended way is to use Kindle Fire tablets to download Kindle-formatted books.  Obviously, Amazon and 3M haven't come to an agreement similar to Overdrive's, which works with Amazon's easy download system.  However, some public libraries apparently don't offer Overdrive.

  Here are step-by-step instructions from the 3M public library Kindle Fire page (updated February 10, 2015).  Note that they say this is for the Kindle Fire HDX and doesn't mention the HD models.  However, in the initial steps of clicking a settings box to allow installation of a non-Amazon store app, it mentions that you'll find it under Settings/Device -- but in the HD and earlier models, this box is found under Settings/Applications.  Maybe that's the difference.

  If you don't have an HDX (or an HD that the 3M instructions might work on, here are alternate instructions that may work for the older Kindle Fire HD and and even earlier Kindle Fire from Washington County libraries system, as their steps incorporate 3M's own instructions for the Kindle Fire (linking you to the 3M page after a certain point) but they add advice on the various steps.


March's free Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    February 2015  March 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

  There are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entirely-family-safe titles may show up.

To see the monthly Kindle book discount deals available for March (these change monthly
and some of them are less-known), the February 2 blog entry was updated today, March 2,
to include revised information to reflect March's book selections.


Amazon's Deal of the Day in electronics
Today they're focusing on items for the PC -- up to 50% off for today, March 2 Only.
"Select Computer Components & Accessories." You'll see these at PC deals March 2
' Today only, enjoy special savings on select PC components and accessories from top brands. This one-day offer is valid on March 2, 2015, or while supplies last. Discount is already included in the current Amazon.com price. Applies only to purchases made from Amazon.com and does not apply to products purchased from third-party merchants on the Amazon.com website. Return to the Gold Box page. '


That's it for this morning.

image credit: www.ue.net.cn


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

[Valid RSS]