Amazon Settlement is ….. settled. Did you get $?

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 7.46.54 AM“In December 2013, a federal court approved legal settlements by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits filed by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs about the price of eBooks. Those settlements resulted in credits for qualifying Kindle books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.”

All this legal maneuvering has been simmering for a while, and I was wondering how it was going to come out in the wash.

This morning I received an e-mail from Amazon informing me that I would be receiving a credit on my account for the e-books that I purchased in the latter half of 2010, 2011 and part of 2012.

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If you bought Kindle books during that time frame, and you received this email today … have no fear. It is legit. You didn’t have to do anything to be part of this settlement. It just happened for you. Enjoy!! :)

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I am one of the 4%

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 7.50.56 PMEarlier this year Pew research released the results of several studies regarding the habits of the reading public.

As someone who reads “e-books only” I was curious to see how common (or not) this has become. According to the research, this puts me in a small group of just 4%. Most people who read e-books also read print books.

But me? I stand firmly in that 4%. My eyes prefer the adjustable fonts, the adjustable light, the ease of getting, saving and carrying books. I’ve always been a big reader, but the e-reader (Kindle) simply makes reading even better.

However, when it comes to e-reading in general, once you take away the “exclusive”, the numbers climb. 28% of adults have read an e-book in the past year, and this number continues to rise.

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Half of all the adults in America own either a tablet or an e-reader, and coupled with the stats below, this makes me wonder:
…. if 32% of people own an e-reader, but only 28% have read an e-book, can we assume that about 4% own e-readers that are just collecting dust? (not to be confused with the 4% of us who are e-readers-only!)

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The full article: E-Reading Rises as Device Ownership Jumps
Three in ten adults read an e-book last year; half own a tablet or e-reader

Where do you fit? E-reader only? E-reader + print books? or do you (gasp) have an e-reader just languishing at the bottom of a drawer?

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Jimmy Fallon, Billy Joel and an iPad App = Wonderful-ness

Take Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon and an iPad App, and what do you get? Happiness!

I guarantee that watching this will make you smile, bounce around in your seat and generally make you feel good all over. :)

(In case you are interested, the app they used to form their very own Doo-Wop group is LoopyHD)

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Amazon Prime will now cost you a bit more

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Last week, all Amazon Prime members were notified that the price of their membership is going up. The cost had been $79 a year, but when their membership renews they will be charged $99. This is a $20/year increase. (But in all fairness, this is the first raise in price in 9 years.)

$99 a year translates to $8.25 a month. Your $8.25 a month gets you: 1) free shipping for prime-eligible merchandise 2) a large library of videos to stream to your devices, and 3) a library of ebooks to borrow for free and read on your Kindle.

I’ve been a member of Amazon’s Prime for several years, now. And with the raise in price? I’m staying.

My experience has been generally good. When I first started using Prime, the free shipping was the major draw for me. It was delightful not to have to “save up” my purchases to top the $25 total to qualify for free shipping. Suddenly I could order anything, have it appear at my door in days, and I never had to consider postage costs. However, I have noticed that over time many smaller items have been moved to a new category of “add ons”. This has been a disappointment and I hope this is not a trend that continues. But all in all, the free shipping is still very important to me. When buying a product I always sort through the choices to view only the prime-elible options.

The video streaming is delightful. The library is large, and there is a wide variety of content. While (in my opinion) Netflix is still better, Amazon Prime is getting better all the time.

The Kindle library is the third perk of Amazon Prime. This (to me) is the weakest prong of the three benefits of prime membership. While I have borrowed several books from the Kindle library (and it was VERY easy to do), I haven’t found many of the books that are on my to-read list. That said, the library boasts 500,000 titles, so it certainly isn’t the size that’s my complaint. Just not a lot of current best-seller types. I don’t mean to sound too negative, however. The last book that I read was from this library and it was excellent. I guess I’m saying that it can’t be your ONLY source of books.

So, in spite of the rate rise, I’m staying.

FYI: Amazon Student will raise from $39 to $49 a year.

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March Madness Begins! Here are some Apps to help you follow the action

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 6.35.25 AMMarch Madness is about to consume the US for the next few weeks.

For those people all caught up in the, uh, Madness, there are quite a few FREE apps to help you follow the excitement from your iPhone or iPad.

Since I have not tried any of these myself, I thought it would be best if I linked to a post that thoroughly covers the best of these apps.

Let the Madness begin!

Best March Madness apps for iPhone: NCAA Sports, CBS Sports, ESPN Tournament Challenge, and more!

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Weekend Distraction: Smash Hit (break glass with no mess!)

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 8.23.00 AMI downloaded this app when it was highlighted in the App Store as one of their favorite picks.

I didn’t really know what I’d see, but I also noticed that it was at the top of the list in the rankings for free apps.

Couldn’t hurt, so I gave it a try.

Although it is not the kind of thing I would do for any length of time, I learned that it is surprisingly enjoyable to smash glass. ;)

The learning curve is tiny. The screen will roll and your job is to tap on pyramids made of glass, or glass obstacles that stand in your way. This will launch a ball that smashes the glass.

I apologize for my screen shot of their screen shot, but I was not ambidextrous enough to grab my own pic of the action.

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This takes some concentration, so you just might enjoy it when you could use a bit of a distraction (or when you feel the need to break something :) ) Be sure to turn up your sound!

Smash Hit for iPhone and/or iPad is FREE in the iTunes store

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Typing in Caps (part of the) Very Beginner Series

Occasional posts will contain how-tos and/or hints for VERY new users of iPads, iPhones or Kindles. All new users welcome! Non-tech speak, not terribly detailed, just basic device-enhancing goodness. All part of this Very Beginner Series. Please share with any beginners (Mom? Dad? Grandma?) in your life.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 5.55.01 PMOver the last several years, “throwback Thursday” has become quite popular.

Although it is really supposed to be about nostalgia (like old photos), I thought I’d stretch the point, and occasionally post an old “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog.

How to type in Caps:

When you first get your new iPhone or iPad, one of the first things you’ll do is spend some time typing on the keyboard. You’ll quickly learn to tap the up-arrow when you want a capital letter.

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But what if you want to type in ALL caps? You do not need to tap the arrow every single time ….

Just DOUBLE-TAP the up-arrow, and it will darken. Now every letter you type will BE A CAPITAL LETTER.

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When you are done cap-typing, just touch the up-arrow again, and you’ll turn off your caps.

(remember to use your caps responsibly. It isn’t polite to shout. :) )

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A Brief Look at Kindle Highlights (part two: How to Highlight as you Read your Book)

The point of this blog is to take our consumer technology and break it down into tiny little pieces. Gradually over these few weeks I’ll be addressing a few “how to’s” for Kindle Highlights. The first post in this series was: A Brief Look at Kindle Highlights: (part one: Popular Highlights)

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.18.01 AMIf you are reading on a Kindle Paperwhite, and you come across a passage that you would like to highlight, it is so easy-peazy to do.

How to highlight a passage in the Kindle Paperwhite:

Just touch the first word of the passage you want to highlight. Now drag your finger to the END of the same passage. The text will darken.

Lift your finger.

You will now be presented with several choices of things that you can do with this highlighted text.

Select “highlight”.

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Poof! That’s all there is to it.

Now …. what if you want to see all the highlights you have selected in this book?

While you are IN the book, just go up to the top and tap on “menu”.

Then select “View Notes and Marks”

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Stay tuned ….. More info about Highlights to come! :)

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Can you Laugh and be Angry at the same time?

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 9.32.38 AMI posed a question at the beginning of this post:

Can you LAUGH and yet be ANGRY at the SAME time???

The answer for me, I’ve learned, is absolutely YES.

The evidence came as I watched the video at the end of this post.

The LAUGH: It’s cleverly done. Acted well. Although the language is German, it is not necessary to know what they are saying.

The actions speak for themselves, and it’s … well…. funny!
(Thanks to Margo for sending it to me. :) )

BUT

The ANGER: Gosh darn it. I really get angry, seriously bothered, when older people are portrayed (often in commercials) as complete and utter idiots when it comes to technology.

And that is simply not true. What is true is that we didn’t grow up with any of this. There were no smart phones (your phone was attached to the wall, and tethered with a cord), there was no streaming, there were no tablets. And, hard as it is to believe…. no internet.

In my house we jumped into tech with the invention of the calculator, Pong, and then the Atari 2600. Next we enjoyed the AMAZING Commodore 64. I remember my son explaining to me how he could call another computer and if it was “on” he could leave a message on a “bulletin board” and someone else, from another computer could actually read this message. Unknown to me at the time (I actually thought it was pretty useless) that was the very beginning of the internet.

When he went off to college he explained to me that he would be emailing his papers to professors. I was skeptical…. but the world was changing … and fast.

And so those of us of a certain age, who were there from the beginning, had a choice. Jump in, or go on with life as usual. Technology, at first, was a choice. And if you aged without jumping in, it is most likely overwhelming, now.

But many many many people DID jump in. I loved it all. And still do. I know of many others both personally and online who are also “up there” in years and completely comfortable with smart phones, tablets and all the other technological goodies that are available to us today.

And I firmly believe, no matter what the age, with proper instruction, anyone can master an iPhone or iPad or a Kindle. My mother, age 84, uses them all quite well.

And, not only do I believe that older people CAN use these things, I believe that they SHOULD. The technology of today can enhance a life that is slowing down. A Kindle, for example, allows aging eyes to read comfortably with larger fonts.

The original purpose of this blog truly highlights this point … breaking down the sometimes-confusing-tech-speak into very do-able bits.

I fully believe that when the young people of today are old, they will find that they will be completely comfortable with the technology that they keep up with. But when new things come along at lightning speed (and they will), they just might find themselves left behind a bit, too. (And made fun of by the youth who are being born, now.)

So, after that rant of anger ….. here comes the laugh.

Proving to me that you CAN be angry and laugh at the same time. :)

Dad’s New iPad

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How Do I …… ?? Ask Wikihow

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Wikihow will teach you how to do just about anything.

You can visit Wikihow on the internet (wikihow).

Their tagline is “learn how to do anything” and you can get an idea of the variety of “how tos” by looking at this screenshot of their webpage:

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I have used the website many times, but recently I downloaded their free app. It has been hailed as “always helpful” (USA Today) and “indispensable” (MacWorld).

I’ve listed here a few of the random guides that I saw when I opened the app:

How to slice a kiwi.

How to tie a scarf.

How to stay warm in cold weather.

How to make Beignets.

How to make a simple musical instrument.

How to dry apples.

How to freeze basil.

How to read lips.

How to tell scary stories.

How to build a cat climber.

How to set up indoor photography lights.

How to wash a rabbit. < ????????
(yes. really. If you need to wash a rabbit, this app will help you do it.) :lol:

You can search for how to do a specific task. I asked about changing a stuck light bulb, and you can see I was given many, many choices (and this is just the tip of the iceberg!)

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In addition to giving you access to over 150,000 how-to guides, the app also gives you a Survival guide, which is a collection of emergency-situation how-tos. While you need internet access to see most of the guides in this app, the Survival Guide is available off-line. I tested this by putting my iPad into airplane mode, and yes, the emergency section was still fully accessible.

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The app is simple to use, and quite nice to look at. Directions to do things are presented step by step, and sometimes include video.

This is useful when you NEED to know something, but it is also fun to look through at random. You never know what you might find. (now I have to go and find a rabbit in need of a bath so that I can wash it. :) )

Wikihow for the iPhone and iPad is FREE in the iTunes store.

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