Rumor? or Real? Amazon about to offer a New eBook Subscription Service

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The internet (the part that is interested in ebooks, anyway :) ) is abuzz today with the most-likely-true rumor that Amazon is about to launch a new service.

This looks like it will be a new Netflix-ish subscription service with digital ebooks and audio books…… an “all you can eat” approach …. for $9.99 a month.

It isn’t available yet. As a matter of fact, it hasn’t even been confirmed, yet. But the stories about it are everywhere.

When (if) this launches, I’ll be sure to post the details. But in the meantime, here are some links to many of the stories flooding the internet, today:

Amazon Tests ‘Kindle Unlimited,’ A Netflix For Ebooks And Audiobooks

Amazon Appears to Be Testing All-You-Can-Read Kindle Ebook Subscriptions

Amazon’s Prepping a “Kindle Unlimited” Subscription Service For Books

Amazon is working on Kindle Unlimited, the ultimate subscription service for readers

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It’s 7 – 11, and that means it’s Free Slurpee Day! More FREE STUFF, all week, with the App

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Stop in today, Friday, 7/11, between the hours of 11 am to 7 pm at your local, participating 7-Eleven to get a free Slurpee. No coupon necessary. This is the 12th year that the chain has given away Slurpees to celebrate its birthday.

And then …..

If you have the 7-Eleven App, you get more freebees all birthday-week long!

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That’s quite a haul of FREE stuff for a FREE app.

7-Eleven App is FREE in the iTunes store

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New Survey: Cellphones ONLY for 2 out of 5 in the US

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 5.33.04 PMThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been watching the evolution of cell phones vs landlines for the last several years in the US.

They recently released a new report which boils down to the news that 2 out of 5 homes in the US have ditched the landline and are cellphone only.

That’s twice what it was 5 years ago, but in spite of that, the trend seems to be slowing down.

You can read more about this report from several links I will put at the end of this post.

But …..

This made me wonder about those of us here in the blogosphere … worldwide, not just in the USA.

So let’s weigh in!

Here at my house, we have both. However, we don’t use the landline anymore. It’s there, and it collects all the telemarketer calls (and a lot of dust), but we don’t use it as our phone. I would dump it, but it comes “bundled” with cable TV service and internet, and basically costs nothing, so…… we keep it and let the answering machine pick up any stray calls that come through there.

My children, however, are all adults with homes of their own, and there are no landlines for them. Cell phones only in those households.

How about you? Are you a cell phone-only house?

Or do you have a cell-phone(s) AND a landline?

4 in 10 US Homes Are Cellphone Only, Skip Landline

Two in five U.S. homes have only cellphones: survey

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World Book Night, USA, is ………………………….. (cue tears) Ending

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Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I have been an enthusiastic supporter of World Book Night. Looking back through my posts, I had at least 7, gushing over the awesomeness of the project and encouraging folks to join me, leap in and pass out books.

Sadly, today when I looked at my email, there was a new one from the World Book Night Organization.

Bottom line: It’s over. Too costly.

After three years in which thousands and thousands of you distributed over a million and half specially-printed World Book Night paperbacks across America, we are sad to announce that we are suspending operations. The expenses of running World Book Night U.S., even given the significant financial and time commitment from publishers, writers, booksellers, librarians, printers, distributors, shippers–and you, our amazing givers!–are too high to sustain.

From World Book Night U.S. Board Chairman Michael Pietsch: “World Book Night’s first three years have been a profound experience for everyone involved. The altruistic spirit of the givers and of industry supporters have reminded us all of the transformative impact books have on people’s lives, and of the power of a book as a gift. The World Book Night Board joins me in extending their deep gratitude to all who have taken part.”

So that’s that.

No more World Book Night.

It was a marvelous experience, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate for all three years.

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Amazon’s New Fire Phone: Will you give up your iPhone?

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 3.43.56 PMToday Amazon announced their new product: A smartphone. Called the Amazon Fire Phone, it will be released on July 25 (pre-order, now).

So …. is this the phone that will make you give up your iPhone?

It seems that the iPhone has lost its WOW factor for many. When it first exploded into our world, it was an incredible leap of technology. But today, there are smartphones everywhere, and many folks no longer look at the iPhone as the one-and-only.

And today marks another new entry into the Smartphone universe. The Amazon Fire Phone.

The promo for it looks quite good. I think it all boils down to what do YOU want from your smartphone?

This new phone has several features that are standouts:

Mayday: For us un-techy types, this is HUGE. The Mayday button was introduced on the latest version of the Amazon Fire, and it has been a raging success. With the Mayday button, if you want to learn something about your phone, if you need some instruction, or if you are having a problem, you just tap the Mayday button and a LIVE person will appear on your screen to help you. Instantly. Just like that. This feature is a keeper, and I have to say, if I was considering my first smartphone, this would be a really big selling point. The helper can draw on your phone (arrows, etc) showing you exactly what to touch and how to do it. This is a major goodie to have on your phone.

Firefly technology: This is a ‘bell and whistle’ kind of thing, but also cool. Firefly will instantly recognize music, products, ads …. oodles of things in the world. With a touch of a button you get useful information and the ability to act on it as well.

One-handed reading: Just tilt the phone to scroll. (Why didn’t Apple do this? It’s brilliant!)

And how about this: With the purchase of the new Amazon Fire Phone you get one whole year of Prime, FREE. Prime gives you lots of perks in addition to the postage and quick mailing for items bought via Amazon. You also get access to a huge video streaming library, a library full of Kindle books to borrow and free music to stream and/or download. AND … if you are already a Prime member, if you purchase the Amazon Fire Phone, you get your Prime membership extended an additional year. That’s excellent!! That’s one year of Prime for EACH phone you buy. Three phones on one account? That’s three YEARS of Prime. Details, here.

The 32 GB phone will be $199 with a 2 year contract through AT&T. Other options also available.

You can learn more about the phone, and an in-depth look at all the features (MUCH more than I described) by clicking here.

So will you consider a change? Will this Amazon Fire Phone convince you to leave your iPhone behind?

There are a few things about this phone that tempt me. Me. A bona-fide Apple fan-boy-girl-lady. The Mayday button. The year of Prime. Yelp shows up directly on the maps. A larger screen. The one-hand tilt scrolling screen.

At this moment, I’m not sure. But to my own surprise, I’m considering it. Anyone who knows me (in real life) or through my blog knows that I like to take my time when approaching technology-changes. I always wait for a while, for example, before downloading the latest software update.

So I’ll not be jumping in right yet. I’ll wait and see. I’ll let others test the waters.

I’ll be trolling the internet for comparisons in every area for the iPhone vs Amazon Fire Phone. When I find a great comparison, item by item, camera vs camera, etc, I’ll be sure to link to it on this blog.

If this new phone lives up to it’s hype, a change for me is not out of the question. There are a lot of features here that I would appreciate.

This just might be my iPhone Waterloo.

How about you?

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Google Doodle Winner 2014 (US)

Did you notice today’s Google Doodle? It’s the winning entry for Google Doodle 2014 (US).

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100,000 submissions. 1 winner.

Audrey Zhang, 11, from New York.

Love how the technology combines with art to create oodles of doodles. And the themes of these doodles are marvelous ‘inventions.’ And considering that any invention will begin with a sketch … who knows?

Her original drawing was not animated, of course, but the Google People worked with her to bring to life her own ideas of movement.

Congratulations, Audrey!

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Your Opportunity to Get an Invite to Amazon’s June Launch Event

Amazon will be making an announcement … a launching announcement …. soon. June 18, to be exact.

Speculation is that it will be a NEW device. An Amazon SmartPhone? That seems to be the most popular guess.

Here is their video “hint” about the device-to-be-launched:

If you’d like to go to the launch event, you have a chance. Amazon will be including customers at their party (not just media types and developers).

Just follow this link and fill in your email and reasons why you would like an invitation. (Keep in mind that it will be held in Seattle.)

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Kids React to an Old Computer

This video is rather long …. but kind of fun.

Kids sit down in front of an old computer and are asked to do different tasks, starting with “turn it on”. :)

Although I think that a few of these kids are a bit over-the-top in their reactions, (hamming for the camera?), in general their responses are quite engaging.

One child looks for the mouse (not invented yet), they lament over no internet, they are perplexed by the whole ‘command’ thing, and they mistake a floppy disk for a CD.

My favorite point ….. that it would take 850 of these old computers to equal the power of a single iPhone.

We’ve come a long way.

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Thanks to the Met: Free Art to Download and Use for Non-Commercial purposes (including blogs)

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 11.44.44 AMMajor kudos to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

They have just released nearly 400,000 digital images of art that are now in the public domain.

This means you are free to download and enjoy all of this art on your computer. You are welcome to enjoy the images for your personal use (wallpaper, for example, on any of your devices). You can also use them for other non-commercial use on blogs and websites.

This became so popular since it was announced last week that the website for the Met crashed. Clearly this is a people pleaser, evident by the massive downloads.

Not everything is downloadable. The available art is indicated by a tag, OASC (Open Access for Scholarly Content).

If you are viewing an image that is downloadable, you will see the OASC tag on the page. I took a screenshot of this VanGogh, and you can clearly see the OASC label.

From Skitch-10

If you see the OASC tag, and you would like to download the image, just click on the down arrow that you see a bit to the right of “OASC”. A single tap on that arrow and the digital image is downloaded directly to your device. I’ve now downloaded several images, and it’s quick and easy.

What fun to browse through the art, and download favorites to “keep”!
I know I’ll be spending hours on their website.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Cool or Creepy?

Reading some internet chatter on this, I’d say it is coming down on the side of creepy.

But I think it is kind of cool.

If you haven’t seen this, take 2 minutes and take a look.

You’ll see Michael Jackson, singing and dancing, at an award show this week.

Yes, I know that he is dead.

This is a hologram. Watch him dance (if you’re in a hurry you can fast forward to the 1:00 mark).

I think the technology is amazing. (and a little bit creepy)

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