Friday, July 24, 2015

Amazon replaces Walmart as world's biggest retailer ... HBO Now available on some Amazon tablets ... Fire TV and Stick updated to access hotel WiFi with log-in screens, a how-to guide ... Other new features installed in Fire TV and TVFire Stick ... HBO Collections in Amazon Prime ... Unusual discounted Kindle books alert for 7/23-24 ... amusing, less-known facts about Amazon's history

Amazon and Kindle news updates
The photo at the left -- or in the center for Kindle Blog Edition subscribers who get the most-recent 20~ blog posts in each Kindle version (14-day free trial) -- is from a wonderful look by at the original Amazon page 20 years ago when Amazon made its first appearance.

The story includes 14 other things most of us did not know about ye olde Amazon, including why it was named 'Amazon' in the first place (the original name chosen is hilarious and I think the company probably wouldn't have been quite as successful with it) and what that underlying arrow in the logo means.

The article mentions Amazon's oft stated 4 principles:
"• Customer obsession rather than competitor focus
 • passion for invention
 • commitment to operational excellence and
 • long-term thinking."

It's somewhat fitting then that on its 20th birthday Amazon has suddenly become (last night) the world's largest retailer by market value, replacing Walmart as #1 after Amazon stock surged almost 17% when their latest quarterly report exceeded expectations, even including a profit for once.  Amazon has preferred to invest money back into expanded operations and new services of every conceivable type.  Its market cap is now approximately $264 billion to Walmart's $235 billion.

 The BT article on Amazon's history includes a picture of the company's first office building after the business graduated from Jeff Bezos' garage.  It's always amazing to me what one person with a vision and laser-focused energy can accomplish in this world

A little break here for a more mundane note, a small tip on the Kindle Daily Deal today (for those not watching daily)
  For fans of NY Times bestseller Michael Koryta
  Three of Koryta's thrillers are available at $1.99 each today only.

  And, probably even better, some unusual SHORT-term Kindle book discount alerts for the last two days
  NOTE: These last usually 1-3 days, but too often just one day.

N E W:
HBO Now (ad-free) is now available for Android devices and Amazon's Fire tablets. The PR release mentions "latest" Fire tablets, 6", 7", and HDX but does not mention the older tablets and I asked for clarification.  Found, at the app page that my Yr 2013 HDX 8.9" is eligible, And Amazon responded with this list of eligible Kindle Fire and Fire tablet devices.
 •       Kindle Fire HD 7
 •       Kindle Fire HDX 7 WiFi
 •       Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 WiFi
 •       Fire HD 6
 •       Fire HD 7
 •       Fire HDX 8.9 WiFi

  HBO Now will also be available in a few weeks for FireTV and Fire Stick - for those hoping to free themselves from Cable.  This will be at $15/mo. but if that can get some viewers off Cable TV's ever escalating monthly fees, it may be worth it for HBO watchers.
   I subscribe to Hulu (formerly known as Hulu Plus), and Showtime is going to be there with no need for a cable TV subscription, for $9/mo.

  This differs from the HBO Collection of older series already available on Amazon Prime.

How to attach Fire TV to a public WiFi network (hotel etc)
Amazon announced the software update that enables using Fire TV and FireTV Stick with hotel networks requiring a login screen.
   Mainstream tech sites had reported it was coming, although slowly over several weeks and 'over the air' to Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.
  That was back in late March:

  Now it should be generally installed, so here are the Instructions for or guide to doing this.

  As Verge explained from the Amazon press release:
' Amazon says both devices are the first media streamers to support the "captive portal," or Wi-Fi networks that require web-based authentication. You'd typically find these at hotels, where it's often hard or impossible to connect your own Apple TV or Chromecast to the Wi-Fi network. But now Fire TV owners can replace the hotel's own lacking entertainment options with the content they'd normally watch at home. '
'the OTA release will add a few significant new features, led by support for expandable USB storage for the set-top box. You'll be able to plug in an external USB drive to boost the amount of space for your Fire TV apps and games — if you've somehow already managed to exceed the built-in storage, that is.'
  [Note that the support for an external USB drive isn't of course available for the little FireTV Stick though.]

'Curated playlists from Prime Music, hidden PIN entry (to keep the kids from seeing your code), and quicker shortcuts for putting the Fire TV to sleep or activating screen mirroring round out the latest update.'
More tidbits from that BT article on Amazon
Also from that BT article on things we didn't know about Amazon, there were some interesting actual numbers on some items sold on the infamous PrimeDay.  I had seen that, early that day, they'd sold 4,000 Echo's in 15 minutes, at $50 off, but here are some other items noted:
' To celebrate its 20th birthday, Amazon launched Prime Day with exclusive discounts for Prime members. 56,000 Lord of the Rings trilogy box sets, 47,000 televisions and 14,000 iRobot Roomba 595 Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robots were sold; in the case of the latter, this compared to just one the previous Wednesday. '
Intrigued by what the iRobot Roomba was like that involved 14,000 buys that day vs one purchase the week before, I went to see the product listing and saw that it's $380 now and wondered what the discount was when it sold so many.  I've always been curious about it but not at that current listed price.

There is more news to catch up on, but I've been able to drop one larger project that was keeping me away from this blog and will be able to be here more often again, so will report the rest in a couple of days.

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.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amazon's rather huge PrimeDay sales and contests reminder - one day only. Update for TV sales schedule. Update2 with specific link to Primeday-Electronics

Is there anyone left in this world that doesn't know it's Amazon's Prime Day?

Touted as bigger than Black Friday.  For those of you who haven't read your emails and Amazon's screens this week, below is the preview they posted last night of the sales that are available today, prefaced by updates to this blog entry.

This started at midnight last night. No surprise that the page is slow-loading.
  New sales occur every 10 minutes, and there are time limits on purchasing them, which has been frustrating for some, who missed out before hearing the notification alarms.

A press release headline yesterday stated
"Amazing deals include 32-inch TV for $75 and 40-inch TV for $115"

UPDATE to add a schedule for sales of TVs today, per Rachel
at the Kindle Forums
Home Entertainment
*Samsung UN50HU8550 50" 4K 3D 120Hz LED Smart HDTV Starts 7:20am
*LG 55UB8200 55" 4K LED Smart HDTV Starts 10:50ambel
*LG 49UB8200 49" 4K LED Smart HDTV Starts 2:50pm
*LG 32LF595B 32" 720p LED Smart HDTV Starts 9:10am
*Vizio M49-C1 49" 4K 120Hz LED Smart HDTV Starts 8:50am
*Vizio 38" Soundbar w/ Sub + Rear Speakers (Refurb) Starts 12:50pm
*Vizio S2121w-D0 2.1 Sound Stand w/ Built-In Sub Starts 9:50am
*Optoma HD37 Full 3D 1080p DLP Projector Starts 12:50pm
*LG PV150G LED Minibeam Projector Starts 6:50am
Per Amazon, "Thousands of exclusive lightning deals with new deals added as often as every ten minutes throughout the day. With more deals than Black Friday, members will enjoy thousands of deals from sought-after devices and tools to popular toys and pet supplies."  Anyone can start a free 30-day trial and participate in Prime Day, by visiting Amazon's PRIMEDAY page

Update2 - I'm adding a link to Primeday's Electronics page, because most of those asking questions in the forums have been interested in the various gadgets on discount.  These include the special prices on Kindle devices and the Fire TV Stick. Amazon's PRIMEDAY-Electronics page.

Deals Preview: The following are examples of some of the deals that will be available at various times throughout Prime Day.
  • Fire TV Stick, fastest selling Amazon device of all time, $15 off
  • Kindle, $30 off
  • Fire HD 7, $60 off
  • Fire HD 7 Kids Edition, $60 off
  • 32-inch LED TV, $75
  • 40-inch 1080p LED TV, $115
  • Brand-name 32-inch Smart HDTV, under $200
  • 50-inch 4K TV bundle, under $1000
  • Bose headphones at the lowest price ever on Amazon
  • Chromebook laptop, only $199
  • Over 50% off two Nikon COOLPIX cameras
  • Highly rated binoculars, under $120
  • Two security camera-kits, $279.99
  • K'NEX 2-in-1 Ferris Wheel Building Set (Amazon Exclusive), $35.99
  • K'NEX Crossfire Chaos Roller Coaster Building Set (Amazon Exclusive), $23.99
  • Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Optimus Prime Figure (AmazonExclusive), $9.99
  • iRobot Roomba Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robot, under $300
  • Husqvarna mower, under $300
  • 40 lightning deals on DVDs up to 75% off
  • Up to 50% off any of the Harry Potter books
  • Save more than 70% on the Divergent Series Complete Box Set of books
  • Save up to 70% on select kitchen products from top brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Foodsaver and Thermos
  • Save up to 50% on select tools for the DIY auto enthusiast
  • Connected Car and Scan Tool products starting at 60% off
  • Road-trip-ready automotive products starting at 50% off
  • Save more than 50% on Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain
  • 30% off select clothing, shoes, jewelry, watches & more
  • 60% off Amazon Elements Baby Wipes with code ELEMENTS60
  • Free luxury beauty sample box with $50 purchase of luxury beauty products, with promo code LUXSAMPLES
  • Buy an Gift Card multipack, get $10 in promotional credit
  • Get 25% bonus Amazon Coins when you buy 5,000 or 10,000 Amazon Coins
  • Prime Now will also offer deals in the six cities where the service is offered
That list plus all the special contests they've put together for very large gift card rewards will keep the page slow to load, so stay on the page once you're there.

Here are the special contests, as seen in Amazon's general Press Release
  I added some emphases beyond Amazon's titles to highlight benefits:
  • Transparent Red Carpet Experience: Amazon customers in the US, UK andGermany will have a chance to win a trip to the Transparent Season 2 premiere this fall. One winner and a guest from each country will receive round-trip airfare, hotel stay and transportation as well as a chance to meet the cast and creators from the Golden Globe-winning Amazon Original Series. For a chance to win in the US visit:Amazon's RedCarpet page.

  • Listen to Win: Prime members in the US who listen to any song on Prime Music will automatically be entered to win up-to $25,000 in Amazon Gift Cards. Prime members can stream a song, an album or listen to any Prime Station or Playlist for a chance to win Gift Card prizes, ranging from $1,000 to the Grand Prize of $25,000 in Gift Cards. For a chance to win visit: Amazon's listentowin-rules page.

A couple of more listed in the press release:

#PrimeLiving Photo Contest: Through July 15 (today), members are invited to snap a photo of #PrimeLiving moments and upload them at Amazon's Primeliving photo page for the chance to win$10,000 in Amazon Gift Cards. To learn more about the #PrimeLiving photo contest and get inspiration from artists around the world, watch here.
Prime Personalities: Amazon invites customers to take a quiz to discover what kind of Prime member they are, and enter for the chance to win a $2,000 Gift Card. No purchase necessary. See contest rules at

That's the meat from the press release.  Of course any of this can be done, they add, from a smartphone or tablet,

 Those not already Prime members but interested and eligible can participate in Amazon's PRIMEDAY festivities by signing up for a 30-day free trial of Prime at Amazon's PrimeDay page.

So, for those who had not received word on this (too busy, etc), I'll get this additional reminder off.

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.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Comparison of Kindle Paperwhite 3 display (2015) with my older Paperwhite 1 (2012) -- Is the increased resolution (doubled) noticeable?


The thumbnail photos above are clickable to the larger versions, of course.  These were taken after about 8:30pm at night in low light without flash, with the light just coming from the two Kindles on the table -- the older Paperwhite 1 on the left and the new Paperwhite 3 on the right.

Here's one larger example so that you can have some idea of the difference I saw without needing to click to the larger photos if you're in a hurry.

These photos were taken on the night I received the Paperwhite 3, with very little sunlight left.  Both Kindles were placed on a table top, and I tried to take photos from the middle area between them so as not to favor one over the other.

I'll repeat here what I explain on the photos page at PBase where the full set is shown in larger sizes for 'closer' examination.

These are for a comparison of my new Yr 2015 Paperwhite-3 screen display (resolution differences and display contrast) with my Yr 2012 Paperwhite-1.

Is the higher resolution (double the old model's) worth the $119 to get the newer one?

  That'll depend on the individual.  IF perceived contrast of text against background is more important than sharper text for some Kindle users, it could be better for those owners to keep using the older ones that may be less sharp but which have a dark fuzz around the font making it seem bolder, and there's less light coming from the older Paperwhite.  I've eyes that are somewhat oversensitive to light.

The Paperwhite-2 (2014) (which I didn't upgrade to) received a faster processor, but the Paperwhite-1 which I kept using is noticeably slower than the new Paperwhite 3, so I'm happy to have the higher resolution and faster speed.

  Paperwhite 2 owners are already seeing a speed improvement over Paperwhite 1.  So if you have a Paperwhite 2, the difference will be mainly in the resolution of the text, which is more noticeable if you enlarge the font or try to read a page in smaller fonts.  People reported that the Paperwhite 2 screen released last year was made brighter than the Paperwhite 1.

I do tend to increase the font size these days to '4' or '5' or even '6' when my eyes are tired -- and the new resolution with the Paperwhite-3 (UK model here) makes this even more readable than before and it's also better with smaller text because of less relative blur (not noticeable usually) in the basic font size.

  I used the Helvetica font because it is the boldest one, as I prefer more contrast.

  In the photos, you can see that the built-in light (again, both were set at Level '14' out of a possible '24') is brighter on the new Paperwhite than it is on my Paperwhite 1 (which has always had some minor blotching besides on the display when in lower light (as you'll see in the close-ups) -- and text against the brightness of the newer model can SOMEtimes appear LESS contrasty than on the older model.  The older model is on the left, the newer on the right.

  In my case, the new display is definitely easier on my own eyes.  And it more resembles the white page of a physical book than my old Paperwhite did, as you can see.  Actually, it's quite beautiful.

  I chose a low level of illumination because that's more comfortable for my eyes, but I've seen that others like the built-in light set all the way up to '24' -- however, this way, people won't be disappointed when they see the screen is brighter than shown here, which wasn't true of older models vs the ads.

Which to choose -- the Paperwhite 3 or the more expensive Kindle Voyage?
I covered that in detail in the previous blog article, "How does the new Paperwhite differ from the Voyage model?" -- and Amazon's press release, included in that article, listed everyday Kindle features that many Kindle owners aren't aware of.  Give it a look if you haven't already.

  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
   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!

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