Amazon announces the Echo Show

Amazon has unveiled its upcoming Echo model with video capacity. The device, called the Echo Show, featuries a 7-inch touchscreen with new video oriented features. It also has a microphone and camera that can be turned off.

According to the announcement, the device can:

  • Watch video flash briefings and YouTube
  • See music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more.
  • Works with smart devices
  • The device can make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
  • See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music.
  • Play a music and stream over Wi-Fi. You can also stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.

Rumors about the device have been floating around since the late 2016 and a leaked image of the device has been seen on various tech sites over the last week or so. Personally, I was surprised the the leaked picture actually turned out to be the actual device – I thought the design was a little dated and it reminded me a lot of the Sony Dash HIDC10 (a 7-inch touchscreen media device) but with a speaker on the bottom.

Here’s a picture of the Sony Dash HIDC10 from the Amazon’s product page:

I have used the Sony Dash as an alarm clock/media device for almost seven years. Year ago, Amazon had an app for the Dash that allowed you to watch Amazon Video on the device. The Dash video app was discontinued when Amazon came out with its own Fire Tablets. 😦 While the Dash has been discontinued, I still use mine and consider it one of my indispensable devices.

There is a lot that we still don’t know about the device. The questions are already starting to pop up on Amazon about what video services it will support, etc. I am curious as to why you can only make voice calls to someone who has an Echo or an Echo Dot. Given that the number of skills that have expanded the original Echo’s feature set, it will interesting to see what evolves with the video version.

The Echo Show will be released on June 28, 2017, will retail for $229.99 and is available in both black and white. You can find more information on the product page here. Amazon is also having an introductory Buy 2, Save $100 special if you want more than one or one for a friend or family member.

I just ordered one of these to check it out. What about you? Does this new Echo device sound interesting to you?

Daily Links and Deals: How Electronic Ink Was Invented

daily_links_1Today, an interesting article on how Electronic Ink was invented. Also, Another Adobe Flash exploit, a stunning video of famous film scenes being remixed with classical art,  news on Google Translate and more. In deals, we have savings on TaoTronics desk lamps and a volume in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

Daily Links for Wednesday, May 11, 2016:

Google Translate adds Tap to Translate chathead on Android, iOS gains offline mode (9 to 5 Google) Instant translate sounds like a fantastic idea!

Cable lobby group: Broadband competition is bad for customers (Ars Technica)

Computer remixes famous film scenes with classical art (Engadget) I want to be able to do this! Computer vision researchers in Germany can transform video clips into the style of famous paintings.

Hackers are exploiting an unpatched Flash Player vulnerability, Adobe warns (PC World) Why aren’t we done with Adobe Flash yet? Are we not tired of exploits?

How Electronic Ink Was Invented (Science Friday) Your e-reader couldn’t exist without it! This month, the inventors of e-ink were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

83 years after public burning of Jewish books, WJC releases Spanish ebooks (JTA) These free ebooks are from the Jewish People’s Library’s series of paperbacks published by the South American Executive of the World Jewish Congress. (These seem to be online scans only.)

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction by Sandra Swenson for $2.99.

In Today’s Deals, you can save up to 65% on TaoTronics desk lamps.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find features over 60% off on the three books in the Chicago World’s Fair Mystery Series by bestselling author Shelley Gray. The Romance Daily Find is A Passion Most Pure (Daughters of Boston Series #1) by Julie Lessman for $2.99.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital by Alexandra Robbins for $1.99. The extra Daily Deals is Romancing the Sass (A Romantic Comedy Bundle) by Nana Malone for $4.99.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (Book 2 in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series) for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Daily Links and Deals: 10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Getting rid of Old Unread Books

daily_links_1In today’s stories, there’s an new Netflix competitor in town. Plus, stories on wi-fi, Amazon Prime, and more. In deals today, there are savings on Dremel tools and accessories (great for crafting) and  pre-owned Fire Tablets.

Daily Links for Thursday, March 31, 2016:

Fullscreen Unveils $5 Subscription Video Service, Taking on Netflix and YouTube Red (Variety) Hm. Very targeted, which is interesting. Wonder if there is enough interest in that market share to pull this off?

New wireless tech from MIT could bring password-free Wi-Fi (Computer World) This could be a good thing…. Especially if you put it together with the ability to shut out router invaders based on distance.

10 Spring Cleaning Tips for Getting rid of Old Unread Books (Bustle) Some of these look like fun projects!

You can now buy Amazon Prime for a month at a time — if you’re a Sprint customer (ReCode)And if you want to pay a third more for the service. Easier just to buy Amazon Prime.

The complete list of ‘OK, Google’ commands (CNET) This is a pretty comprehensive list. I had no idea that it could do this much and intend to take a second look at the idea of using this.

Deals of the Day:

Amazon’s selection of Kindle Daily Deals includes The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results by Bob Knight and Bob Hammel for $1.99.

In Today’s Deals, Amazon is offering savings of up to 63% on your choice of select Dremel rotary tools and accessories. You will also find some flash drives and memory cards at reduced pricing. Plus, you can still find deals on pre-owned Fire tablets.

The Barnes and Noble Nook Daily Find is How to Instantly Connect with Anyone: 96 All-New Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes for $1.99.The Romance Daily Find is The Bad Boy CEO by Sugar Jamison for $1.99.

STILL AVAILABLE: B & N is running a special where you can get a NOOK Bundle Offer: 10″ NOOK Device, Free Screen Film and Free Cover of Your Choice- a $330+ Value for Just $199.99. And finally, you can take 75% off all Nook Accessories.  And if you have jumped on the coloring books bandwagon, B & N  now has Harry Potter Magical Places & Characters Coloring Books available.

Kobo’s Daily Deal is Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries) by James Runcie for $1.99.

STILL AVAILABLE:  Kobo  has the Great Reads For $1.99 or Less promotion.

iTunes’ Weekly Bestsellers Under $4 includes The More You Ignore Me by Jo Brand for $1.99.

(A note on Daily Deals: All prices current at the time of posting and subject to change. Most items marked Daily Deals are good for only the day posted.

Many large promotions have discount pricing that is set by the publisher. This usually means that titles can be found at a discount price across most platforms (with iTunes sometimes being the exception). If you have a favorite retailer you like to patronize, check the title on that website. There is a good chance that they will be matching the sale price.)


Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news. I also post other, different links of interest on Twitter, Facebook, and on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Throwback Thursday: The Kindle, Generation One

Next week will be the 8th anniversary of the first generation Kindle. There has been a lot of discussion lately about how both the e-book market and the market for e-readers has changed. I thought it would be fun to take a quick video look back at the first Kindle. Pay special attention to that scroll wheel. It was a big deal at the time! I used to go back and forth between my Kindle 1 and my Kindle 3 (Keyboard). Going back to the scroll button tripped me up every time. 🙂

I still love the look of this device! What do you think? Kindles sure have changed….

How to check your Amazon No Rush shipping credits

nrshipping1Many people know that Amazon frequently offers a credit for Prime members who choose no rush shipping for deliveries.  The offers tend to vary: The promotional credit might be for Amazon video, MP3 music or Kindle books. Video, as well as software and games credits are occasionally offered. Sometimes, the credit is for $1 or $2; other times, a $5.99 Prime Pantry shipping benefit is offered instead. When an eligible order is placed, Amazon sends an email noting the credit and the expiration date for getting the promotional discount.

But did you know that there is a way to check the amount of unused credits you have remaining on your account? Buried in the digital music section, Amazon has a page where you can go to check the unused credits on your account. When you click to check your balance, a pop-up opens with a  breakdown of the balances for eligible products: Amazon gift cards, MP3s, Kindle books, Amazon Video, software and games:

nrbalances

(Click photos to enlarge)

What the page does not list are the expiration dates of the credits themselves. The site advises that you check the original promotion emails for the expiration dates. This page shows all of your available credits except for Appstore credits.

Interestingly, when I had previously looked in the past, I had not been able to find this information. But according to the page itself, it says I should be able to check the account credit balance on any Digital Music detail page by clicking the “Redeem a gift card or promotional code and View Balance” button. To check, I went to the detail page for Mozart For Your Mind – Boost Your Brain Power.  As you can see in the picture below, on my current version of Amazon, I don’t have a link or a button with that label. Instead, on the right side of the item detail page, there is a box under the buy button that says more options. Without being told, I would have no idea to look there to check my balance.

nrmozart0

Clicking on the more options button reveals further choices, including  “Add a gift or promotion code” instead of the  “Redeem a gift card or promotional code” link I was looking for.  The check balance part of the label is missing entirely. Once again, I would have no idea to look there if I wanted to check my balance without being told.

NRmozart1

If you click on the “Add a gift or promotion code” link, the following pop-up screen appears:

nrmozart2

I was then offered a choice of using my gift card balance or my MP3 credit. No other balances are shown to me.

Checking for video credits was a completely different process. I tested it on the detail page for an episode of The Walking Dead. Underneath the buy buttons, this page did have a link that was worded “Redeem a gift card or promotional code.” Clicking on the link revealed a different pop-up which included the addition of Apps for Android credits, as seen in the picture below:

nrwd1

Strangely, the video page is the only one that shows all your various available credits in one place.

Checking the ebook and software item pages revealed no way of checking credit balances. (I don’t know if it made a difference that I had no existing credits in those categories.) The ebooks detail page had a “Enter a promotion or gift code” link buried under the “Add to Wishlist ” button and the choices available were only either to enter a promotion Code or an Amazon Gift Card.  None of the software detail pages had a button or link to add or redeem a code of any kind nor a way to check a credit balance.

The App store detail page was again different from the previous pages. (I don’t think that it is technically a part of the No Rush shipping credit program – or at least I have never seen it. All my past app credits have been tied to other Appstore purchases.) Clicking the “Redeem a gift card or promotional code” link on this page only yielded two choices, a gift card balance or an Appstore credit.

nrapp

So, it seems that while there are several ways of reviewing your credits, the easiest, most straightforward way of checking the credits is the page designated for checking the account.

As a Prime member, I am a huge fan of the No Rush shipping credits. I can get extras for things that I am already buying. But, personally, I have had unused credits expire on more than one occasion because I forgot I had them. I was delighted to figure out to check my credits. 🙂

Watch Season 1 of Orphan Black for free this Friday Only

orphan_BlackAmazon is making Orphan Black Season 1 free to watch without a Amaxon Prime Membership on Friday, April 17, 2015. The season is ten episodes long. Season three of the series premieres on Saturday on BBC America. The promotion starts at 12:01 a.m. PT and concludes at 11:59 p.m. PT. The show  can be watched using the Amazon Instant Video app for TVs, connected devices and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/OrphanBlack. 

Seasons one and two of Orphan Black are streaming exclusively on Amazon Instant Video.

Seriously, if you have never seen this this show, it is definitely worth a look. The show is totally addictive!  #cloneclub

Problems with installing the Amazon Instant Video App?

instant videoLast week, Amazon finally released its long-promised Instant Video app for Android. (There was a previous app a few years ago available for the Sony Dash, but that one was removed a while back.)

The new app is designed for phones, although it is working on some tablets. It is a somewhat complicated install procedure because you first must install the Amazon Shopping app, then download the one for Instant Video.

I was able to install the app on my Samsung Note 2 with no problem. I could not, however, get it to work on my Samsung Note 8.

Both Teleread and The Digital Read have posted workarounds for the flash video problem in the past. Today, the MobileRead forum led me to another install method detailed on the Droid Life site. This install involves directly downloading the Instant Video .apk file from Amazon.

I tried the Droid Life method and it installed correctly on my Samsung Note 8 with no problem. 🙂

Hopefully, one of the methods will enable you to get the app working correctly on your device.