Review of the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV Reviewed

We had a TV problem at the house. The kids wanted to watch TV in the living room, because that’s where the TiVo lives. The den only had a Wii that connected to Netflix. We had an Amazon Prime subscription that had thousands of free movies and TV shows, but we could only watch them on a computer or the Kindle Fire.

When the Amazon Fire TV was announced it sounded like just what we needed. The Fire TV is a streaming set top box similar to the Apple TV or Roku. The differences are mostly in which streaming services they support. Amazon has a chart comparing the Google Chromecast and the others on the Fire TV page.

(The Chromecast is a different thing from the rest. The others are standalone boxes. The Chromecast requires a computer, tablet, or smartphone to “cast” content to it. There is no remote and the content is limited, but it’s cheap at $35.)

Fire TV can stream Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Showtime Anywhere, and dozens of other services. The only disappointment is that HBO Go is missing.

Amazon Fire TV Setup

Read more of this post

Cordcutting – Watch Downtown Abbey Free

Amazon Prime members can watch Season 1 and Season 2 in HD for free. Season 3 is available at

Via Instapundit.

Target Dropping Kindles

New York TimesTarget, Unhappy With Being an Amazon Showroom, Will Stop Selling Kindles (old news, actually, since the story is from May)

Target’s online presence is through Amazon, which makes it a little ticklish. The Kindles are just part of the story. Like a lot of retailers, Target is suffering from competition with online retailers, though not as much as Best Buy and other electronics stores.

Amazon’s Free Audubon Guide to North American Birds for Android

Get it here. I’ve used the print version for decades. I’m curious to try the electronic version, if for nothing else to have the bird calls. Serious birders do most of their identification by call rather than sight, since you often never see the bird. I’m okay at IDing birds by sight, but I don’t know the calls for diddly. This could help.

Hat tip to SayUncle.

Yesterday’s Villains, Today’s Heroes

Rex Hammock notes an irony in the e-book/bookstore opera:

Second, let’s address the assumption that Amazon is the reason independent bookstores are hurting. Am I the only person around here who watched the movie, You’ve Got Mail?

The movie came out in 1998. 1998! Remember the plot? If you don’t, why are you even reading this post? Back then it was Barnes & Noble and the big book publishers who were the villains of this story.

In fact, during the era of You’ve Got Mail, the independent booksellers trade association, American Booksellers,  spent $18 million suing those publishers over what the independent booksellers claimed were pricing advantages the publishers provided the big box book retailers. Back then, the predatory pricing was at Barnes & Noble. Back then, Tom Hanks was the bad guy. The suit lasted three years and ended in a settlement wherein both parties declared victory and went home — or to the movie theater to watch You’ve Got Mail.

(Just think what they could have done had the ABA not spent $18 million suing the publishers in the late 1990s and had used that money to figure out how to sell books online against the little startup, Amazon? Or better, what if they’d invested that $18 million in Amazon stock? Today, they’d have over $65 million. And if they’d waited to invest that $18 million in Amazon until its stock crashed during the bust, say, September of 2001, the American Booksellers would today have over $5 billion.)

And nowadays people are worried about the demise of the bigfish bookstores by biggerfish ebook platforms.

Amazon Reviews You Can Use

8 Impressively Sarcastic Amazon Product Reviews (Part 3) |

 This review is from: Officially Licensed Star Wars Luke Skywalker Ceremonial Jacket with Medal Of Yavin (M) (Toy)

I used to be an unemployed movie theater usher, but that all changed when I bought this jacket. Now I’m an unemployed movie theater usher with one of these jackets.

Accoutrements Horse Head Mask

And I’ve kind of had it up to here with Sarah Jessica Parker jokes. We get it. It’s funny that a horse is cast in human roles in a variety of television shows and movies, and it’s funny that they write it so that all the other characters talk to it like it’s a human. I just don’t get what’s so funny about repeating the same joke the show is making. It’s like expecting laughs when you point out that Mr. Ed is a horse. Duh. That’s the point of the show.

Amazon Loses $11/Year per Amazon Prime Membership

but more than makes it up in increased sales.

Amazon Kindle Fire is on its way

Someone asked if I was going to order the Amazon Kindle Fire I blogged about and that’s a roger. I ordered it the next day.

November 15th is the release date. Amazon is saying mine will arrive the 17th.

Kindle Fire Link Dump

Any reason I shouldn’t buy the Amazon Kindle Fire for my kids?

I’ve been batting around the idea of getting the kids a tablet computer for a while now. Something that’s easy for them to use, lets them play their stuff (Facebook-based Flash games and Poptropica, mostly), and that won’t get infested with malware they download along with their Windows games.

The iPad is right out. Too pricey for five and seven year old kids to play with. iPads won’t play their Flash games so it’s a non-starter.

Android tablets like a good fit. The Amazon Kindle Fire is Android-based and the price is right at $199. I like Amazon and already have a Prime membership and a Kindle. They already have loads of content and they’ll have an app store with apps built for the Fire’s 7 inch screen. The Fire supports Flash, and Amazon has some sort of whizbang technology on their servers called Silk that’s supposed to speed up the Flash experience.

Any reason not to pre-order one for Christmas?

Amazon Reviews You Can Use: Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife

Wenger Giant Swiss Amry Knife

Amazon Reviews for Wenger 16999 Giant Swiss Army Knife:

By MechYeti
Found this stuck into a stone while on vacation. I’m impressed with it, generally. Unfortunately, it turns out that removing it made me the new king of Switzerland, which is a lot of responsibility.

By Macgyver
I still haven’t figured out how to use the fork and knife at the same time. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

By rosmp
I am not sure what they were thinking, but I may as well schlepp my Klingon dictionary with me, because the built in translator produces nothing but gibberish (nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa”e’ actually came out as ‘your mother is bald and has gonads’ (should be `where is the bathroom’)).

By SteveB
This is an excellent tool, but you need to be aware that the time jump utility (tool #713, first control panel on the right when leaving the French restaurant on level 3 through the rear exit) is somewhat limited. I spoke with the telephone support, and they told me that recent models are unable to travel back in time past their manufacturing date.

By Fraggle
I only got this 5 days ago and I’m already pregnant and due for birth next Thursday! Wenger guarantees a child’s IQ of 150+.

PreviouslyAmazon Reviews You Can Use: Fresh Whole Rabbit

Word of the Day – The Vardi Paradox (of Web Site Value)

“The value of any Web site is in inverse relation to what it costs to attract new users.”
— Yoss Vardi

Found here, by way of Ricochet’s reminder that 1999 Thomas Friedman predicted the Imminent Death of Amazon.

Name-dropping Other Brands in Amazon Reviews?

Ironic SansProduct Placement in Amazon Reviews for Related Products:

I have a home theater system that needs speaker mounts. So, naturally, I turned to Amazon and looked at several options. As far as I could tell, no particular speaker mount is that much better than any other. But I did notice something strange, as I read the reviews: an astonishing number of people who review speaker mounts happened to mention that they bought the mounts for their Onkyo HT-6100 speakers.

This is a versatile sturdy product. It works well and I recommend it for a lower cost mount. I mounted the Onkyo HT-6100 speakers on this and it worked great. The extentions that come with the mount really came in handy for my speakers. –David B

I used these with an Onkyo HT6100 HTIB system, and everything worked out fine. I was a little worried at first because the mounts are plastic, but they were plenty strong enough to handle the Onkyo speakers which are about 12 inches tall. Good mounts at a good price! –Nick

Excellent product. I brought this product from Amazon after reading several positive review comments. Product arrived on time. I have brought Onkyo HT-S7300 home theater from Amazon and excellent product to mount the satellite speakers on the celling. My wife loved it. I hired a contractor to install the satellite speakers even he was surprised the excellent flexible positioning of the speakers with this product. This product comes with all types of screws you need to mount the satellite speakers. –Uday

I can tell you this: Onkyo was never on my radar before. Now I have the impression that a lot of people seem happy with their Onkyo HT-6100. So either this new form of subversive advertising is incredibly effective, or this non-form of non-subversive non-advertising (I think they call it “word of mouth”) happens to actually work.

And I didn’t even know Onkyo made speakers. I always think of them in connection with receivers. Ironic Sans may be onto something here. There are lots of dirty tricks in online marketing. You don’t see them if you’re not looking for them.

Amazon vs. North Carolina: Amazon wins on privacy, loses on taxes

UPDATE: Uh, I got that headline backwards. Amazon won on taxes, lost on privacy. D’oh!

Storefront Backtalk has the details.

ShopRunner: Like Amazon Prime without Amazon

Wall Street Journal – Retailers Team Up Against Amazon

Several dozen U.S. retailers are banding together to take on Inc. by striking at one of online shoppers’ biggest concerns: shipping costs.

Under a cooperative program called ShopRunner, launched on Tuesday, the retailers are mimicking Amazon by dangling a $79 loyalty program that offers unlimited two-day shipping. But in this case it’s across all of the participants’ online stores, whether it’s Babies ‘R’ Us, Pet Smart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, GNC or a host of others. One-upping Amazon, ShopRunner will offer free returns.

I love Amazon Prime. Would I love ShopRunner? Probably. I’m not sure I do enough online shopping outside of Amazon to justify $79/year, but I’m sure other people will if enough retailers sign up. ShopRunner also serves as a marketplace for the retailers products. Everything in the marketplace qualifies for free 2 day shipping.

Bigger message: people hate shipping charges. They especially hate uncertain shipping charges and doing the mental math of slow, cheap shipping vs. fast, expensive shipping.

Hat tip to Megan McArdle.

Amazon Reviews You Can Use: Bizarro Comics


By Bob S. (New York, United States)
This am bad book. It am full of stories about Bizarro World, home of Bizarro, the handsome duplicate of Superman. Every story start with Bizarro Code: “Us do opposite of all earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!” Me cry every time me read this book. Me hate it so much, me give it to all my friends. Since book is so bad, you should buy lots of copies.

By Heath Hanlin (North Syracuse, NY USA)
This book am so awful. Sometime me read and feel very mad at universe. Me read to me 4 year old son. Most comics am not violent enough for he. This am ’cause made long time ago when comics having more blood. Now we talk bizarro all over house. Make us sad sad sad.

PreviouslyAmazon Reviews You Can Use: Fresh Whole Rabbit