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Amazon Introduces Grocery Ordering Wand

Amazon Fresh has a fresh new idea – magic microphones for ordering groceries. It comes with a barcode scanner as well, and if you talk sweetly enough, it’s likely to bring you whatever your heart desire by the very next day.

The new device is named Amazon Dash. It’s free and available by invitation only. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, or LA, you can sign up to be a lucky Dasher on Amazon’s website. Once you get your free Dash wand, you can scan items to make your daily grocery lists, or, you can use voice commands on items without barcodes. Once you have a list of items, you can use Amazon Fresh’s website or app to place your order. It seems a bit superfluous unless you really enjoy scanning things.
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Mediabistro Course

Freelancing 101 Online Boot Camp

Freelancing 101Starting April 28, this online event will show you the best way to start your freelancing career, from the first steps of self-advertising and marketing, to building your schedule and managing clients. By the end of this online boot camp you will have a plan for making a profitable career as a freelancer, and the skill set to devote yourself to it. Register now! 

Amazon’s Fire TV: $99 Worth of Electronics for Fast, Digital Streaming

Amazon joined the world of digital streamers today with the release of its Fire TV device, an Android supported streaming black box that can be used to watch movies or play games. The device comes with a large assortment of apps, even on its first day, and according to Amazon, we should expect to see more.
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Today is the Last Day You Can Get a New Amazon Prime Account for $79

amazon primeAmazon Prime made headlines with its price hike earlier last week. The new price, effective April 17, 2014,  will cost $99 per year for expedited shipping on all orders – a $20 increase from the current price. For those without a Prime account, you can still get the lower price if you sign up today, which will also include an automatic free month.

Current subscribers cannot pay in advance for their membership renewals if that date is after April 17, but they can still get the old rate by purchasing a gift subscription. It’s the best kind of gift, really. Check out the hack on Lifehacker.

Amazon’s First Generation Kindle Paperwhite Now Has Goodreads Integration

1394242559-1394242559_goodreads_miscAmazon purchased Goodreads in March of 2013, adding Goodreads integration to new Kindle Paperwhite in November. Now, that feature is also available to users who have the First Generation Kindle Paperwhite.

This feature is currently available to US, Canada, and Australia, with no public plans for expansion to other countries. Goodreads fans can still access the personal library service through Goodread’s mobile apps, separate from Amazon’s Kindle app. If you haven’t seen the update that’s slowly rolling out, you can follow the manual update option here.   Read more

Not Sure if You Want to Buy? Amazon’s Anticipatory Shipping Will Send it Anyways

amazon primeAmazon’s latest patent filing is for anticipatory shipping – that’s the kind of shipping that occurs on products you haven’t bought or paid for – yet. According to the documents filed to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the company will be using data based on location, prior purchases, and even other shoppers in a given area to pre-ship items to a local distribution center where the last destination can change en route.

Think of it as a way for them to box items and get it towards you – if you have a full cart that’s waiting for payment. While it may make it convenient for items to be closer to shoppers – like in real brick and mortar stores, the local hubs will enable the Amazon to get you items much quicker if they ever use delivery drones. Perhaps the future of Amazon’s commerce model will involve getting items to test or try out before paying?

User No Longer Able to Download Amazon’s DRM-Free .Mobi Files (Updated)

Kindle Fire HDXAmazon customer Eric Rosenfield just discovered that he can no longer download his .mobi files purchased from Amazon, even the DRM-free ones, meaning that all of his previously purchased books on Amazon can only be accessible through Kindle and Kindle Apps, essentially making them DRM “free.”

Ronsenfield’s subsequent call on Amazon customer service representative “Katherine” was of no help:

Me:I’m not sure I understand.
It’s a DRM-free Kindle book
I want to download it, change it into an ePub using Calibre and load it onto my Nook
But I can’t find a way to get the source .Mobi file
I used to go to “Manage My Kindle” click “Actions…” and click “Download”
But that option no longer seems to exist Read more

FAA Testing Commercial Drones at Six Different Locations Nationwide

amazon prime air

Autonomous flying drones made major headlines last year when Amazon announced that it was developing the technology to deliver products to residents. However, many people were quick to point out that it was illegal – so much so the actual video of Amazon’s drone deliveries was not actually filmed in the US. Before such deliveries are to be made, all commercial drone use must be approved and regulated by the FAA, who have already started testing the unmanned flying vehicles.

In an announcement on December 30,2013 the Federal Aviation Administration said it had selected locations for testing drones – all selected based on “geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk.” Read more

Still Waiting for Christmas Deliveries? Blame Online Shopping Surge

amazon prime airIf you’re still waiting for holiday gifts to arrive, you’re not alone. The surge in online shopping this year has left many companies unable to deliver, literally.

According to the latest report from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Groupon, and possibly many others, have failed to deliver gifts on time for the holidays. Naturally, UPS blamed Amazon for not having packages prepared on time, while Amazon faulted UPS for being late on deliveries. To keep customers happy, Amazon is offering $20 gift certificates and refunding shipping orders. Kohl’s has gone further by paying for the entire cost of late orders. Wal-Mart is offering just $25 to those who did not get packages on time. Read more

Amazon Gives Away $5 Credit for Android App Download

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 9.31.38 AMAmazon is spreading a little holiday cheer with an app credit this week. The e-commerce giant is offering a $5 Appstore credit to anyone who downloads an app through its Appstore from Dec. 24 through Dec. 28. Read more

Amazon Could Have Kindle Smartphones as Early as Q1 2014

amazon304Smarphones will eventually come from Amazon Kindles, but if rumors are true, they can be available as early as the first half of 2014. The leaked information comes from a Taiwanese supply chain report stating that Primax Electronics is fulfilling orders for next year’s smartphones.

Previous sources claim that Amazon is working on two smartphones  – one high end model and one regular model. The latest news backs up previous sources about these models: as many as three front facing cameras for motion sensor technology, meaning you won’t have to touch the screen to interact with the device.

It’s inevitable that Amazon will provide a smartphone option in the near future, it’s just a matter of time, and a matter of how it will market itself as a better option than Apple’ popular iPhone.