TKC 459 Jennifer Gunnels

Co-founder of Tor Labs

Interview starts at 16:53 and ends at 40:00

“This story [Steal the Stars] is 14 episodes, and it is about security chief Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, who are both ex-military, working at a secret military base that happens to have a flying saucer, an alien, and a mysterious thing called the harp. No one really knows quite what it does. They instantly fall in love with one another, but the hitch is that when you sign up for this gig there is an absolute, ironclad no-fraternization policy. ”

News

“Amazon Echo Silver” on Saturday Night Live (YouTube video) – May 13, 2017

“8 People Test Their Accents on Siri, Echo and Google Home | Wired” (YouTube video) – May 16, 2017

Seattle Times editorial on Amazon’s donation of space to Mary’s Place homeless shelter – May 14, 2017

“Why Silicon Valley is All Wrong about Amazon’s Echo Show” by Chris Messina at Medium – May 11, 2017

Tech Tips

“Alexa Calling Has a Major Privacy Flaw” by elise oras at Medium – May 12, 2017

“Amazon says caller blocking for Alexa/Echo is coming, amid customer complaints” by Todd Bishop at GeekWire – May 13, 2017

eReaderIQ

Interview with Jennifer Gunnels

“Tor Books Launching ‘Tor Labs’, a New Serialized Fiction Podcast Imprint” – Tor Books press release on May 1, 2017.

Mac Rogers

Gideon Productions

Arrival and Ocean’s Eleven

Arrival (Stories of Your Life MTI) by Ted Chiang

LifeAfter (iTunes)

Felix & Paul Studios (VR)

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy – available for pre-order with delivery on November 7, 2017

Content

“Amazon Prime Reading Launches in the UK” by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader – May 18, 2017

“Amazon Starts Weekly Bestseller Lists” by Jim Milliot at Publishers Weekly – May 18, 2017

Amazon Charts

Next Week’s Guest

Mark Sullivan, author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel 

Note: Beneath a Scarlet Sky is at Number 4 on Amazon Charts for fiction in both the “Most Read” and “Most Sold” categories.

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

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Amazon rekindles 2 Fire tablets with a price cut and design improvements

Amazon this morning released a thinner and lighter Fire 7 tablet for the same $50 price and trimmed $10 from the price of the Fire HD 8, now selling for $80 with a slight change in dimensions. Both of the new tablets are available for pre-order today shipping June 7, along with Kids Edition packages that include them.

Today’s updated Fire tablets offer incremental improvements as opposed to Stop the Presses innovation, like the Echo Look and Show.

You might not notice the difference in weight, but the new Fire 7 is 18 grams lighter than the previous generation, called simply the Fire. That’s a 5.7 percent decrease in weight, folks, which is nothing to write home about–or sneeze at. The Fire 7 is also one millimeter thinner–9.6 mm compared with 10.6. That’s almost a 10-percent trimming, so we might actually notice it in the hands.

The big news about the next generation of the Fire HD 8 is its price–$80 instead of $90 for the previous model.

We will now be at Generation 7 for the HD 8, if I’ve kept track correctly.

Gen 7 will apparently fix one problem that I’ve complained about on the Generation 6 model but not the problem that bugs me the most. There will be support on the new Fire HD 8 for what’s being called Trace text entry. I’ve thought of it as Swype, but that might be the name of a similar app on the iPhone. The idea is that you can tap on individual letters to enter text on the Fire HD 8, or you can slide your finger or stylus over the keyboard in a continuous motion to enter a word. The Generation 5 HD 8 had that feature, but it weirdly was dropped in the update to Generation 6.

Alas, Gen 7 will “not at this time” support text entry by voice, according to an Amazon spokesman’s answer to my question. You will have to go back to Generation 5 for that feature.

While the Fire 7 sports a thinner, lighter body, the HD 8 moves a tiny bit in the other direction. Its width is 9.7 millimeters compared with 9.2 for the previous model. I guarantee we won’t be able to tell the difference by holding them side by side, but it will mean you won’t be able to use a Generation 6 cover for a Generation 7 Fire HD 8.

The new Fire HD 8 is also 28 grams heavier than the Generation 6 model–369 grams compared with 341, an increase of 8 percent. I’m not sure what operating benefits go with the increase in weight and thickness, if any. Perhaps that’s what was necessary in order to drop the price by $10.

There is a new color available for both new Fires–Canary Yellow. It looks sharp, and that’s what I will order for my new HD 8. I will also order a Fire 7, so I can give you my impressions of it. The Fire 7 has “an improved 7-inch IPS display,” according to Amazon’s press release, along with higher contrast and sharper text. It also has an hour more of battery life–8 hours compared with 7 for the previous model.

It’s fun when Amazon disrupts the world with an entirely new product like the Kindle or Echo. But I also love how steadily the Lab126 team toils on small, meaningful improvements for well-established products like the Fire tablet and E Ink Kindles. This falls under the “commitment to operational excellence” principle that Amazon champions, and also maybe “passion for innovation,” even in small things. It all matters.

 

 

 

 

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TKC 458 Peter Costanzo

Digital and Archival Publishing Manager for The Associated Press

Interview starts at 12:51 and ends at 40:01

“I really try to get people to understand that every little basic functionality within e-books that Amazon keeps introducing–whether it’s their X-ray feature or Kindle Lending Library or whatever it might be within the e-book world or within the connection with the social-media platform Goodreads–these are all enhancements to your reading experience.”

News

Introducing Echo Show

“Amazon’s ‘Echo Show’ gives Alexa the Touchscreen it Needed” by David Pierce at Wired – May 9, 2017

Alexa Calling and Message (Amazon help page)

April Hamilton on Alexa’s new calling and messaging

Jeff Bezos at the Internet Association gala (video)

Tech Tips

Apple AirPods

Interview with Peter Costanzo

The Associated Press

Content

Dwight D. Eisenhower: An Associated Press Biography by Relman Morin

Saigon Has Fallen by Peter Arnett

My Time with the Kings: A Reporter’s Recollections of Martin, Coretta and the Civil Rights Movement by Kathryn Johnson

Divided America: An AP Guide to the Fracturing of a Nation edited by Jerry Schwartz

Click here for a full list of books published by The Associated Press

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by Mark Sullivan

Next Week’s Guest

Jennifer Gunnels, a co-creator of Tor Labs, a new, experimental imprint of Tor Books. Tor Labs’s first project will be Steal the Stars, directed by Mac Rogers, whose podcast serial LifeAfter is an amazingly powerful audio drama.

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 457 James McQuivey

Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research

Interview starts at 11:17 and ends at 36:16

“I don’t think they [Amazon] really expect the fashion angle to be a big driver of these [Echo Look] devices. They needed a pretext. They needed a reason to put a camera in your home, to see how comfortable you are with that idea, to test whether or not there’s a big social outcry about putting cameras in people’s homes, whether they can start connecting what they see with what they know… Eventually that kind of visual intelligence will be a very crucial part of how Amazon builds a deeper relationship with you. But they had to start somewhere, and the closet, I think, was a pretty safe place to start.”

News

“Exclusive: This is Amazon’s new Echo with a built-in touchscreen” at AFTVnews – May 5, 2017.

“The first photo of Amazon’s Echo with a touchscreen may have just leaked” by Antonio Villas-Boas at Business Insider – May 5, 2017

“Amazon’s touchscreen Echo leaks again, in two colors” by Ashley Carman at The Verge – May 5, 2017

“Amazon Echo with a built-in screen may be on deck next month” by Ben Fox Rubin at CNET – April 27, 2017

“How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’” by Paula Cocozza at The Guardian – April 27, 2017

Book Riot Podcast episode 207 with Jeff O’Neal and Rebecca Joines Schinsky

“Get Ready for Amazon Phone Take 2” by Daniel B. Kline at The Motley Fool – May 4, 2017

Amazon patent shows how Alexa-powered devices could turn into extension phones by Alan Boyle at GeekWire – May 2, 2017

Small Business Phone Systems – Voice and Data Cabling patent at Free Patents Online

Tech Tip

“Kindle iOS app gets all-text bold: Can help iPad and iPhone owners, even those with good eyes” by David Rothman at TeleRead – May 2, 2017

Amazon Advertising Preferences page

Interview with James McQuivey

Echo Look

Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation by James McQuivey

The Principles of Neural Science, Fifth Edition by Eric Kandel, James Schwartz, Thomas Jessell et al

Nuance Communications

Comments

“This is what fraud looks like in the age of Artificial Intelligence” by Ben Dickson at The Next Web – May 3, 2017

Next Week’s Guest

Peter Costanzo, digital & archival publishing manager at The Associated Press

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

 

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TKC 456 Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer

Author of The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life and Joie de Vivre

Interview starts at 13:00 and ends at 41:17

“This is also my philosophy of life: I talk about a turtle. A turtle stays in one place–it’s safe. Nothing can happen. It carries its house on its back. If that turtle wants to move, it has to take a risk. It has to stick its neck out. And I like that image of the turtle.”

Intro

Echo Dot (2nd Generation)

Ask My Buddy skill for Alexa

News

Amazon’s first-quarter earnings release – April 27, 2017

“Amazon just turned a profit for the eighth straight quarter” by Jason Del Rey at Recode = April 27, 2017

Introducing Echo Look

This Week in Google episode 402 with Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, and Stacey Higginbotham (via Overcast, cued up to begin playing at discussion of Echo Look)

Tech Tips

“Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Says ‘Star Trek’ Inspired Alexa and Echo” by Mike Brown at Inverse – May 18, 2016

Vital Signs: Discovering and Sustaining Your Passion for Life by Gregg Levoy, who was my guest on TKC 335

A Book of American Martyrs: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates

Interview with Dr. Ruth Westheimer

DrRuth.com

“At Home with Dr. Ruth” – 2013 New York Times video

Dr. Ruth’s Twitter feed and YouTube Channel

The Doctor is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer

Leopold by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer (and in paperback)

Sex for Dummies

Dr. Ruth’s Sex After 50: Revving Up the Romance, Passion & Excitement!

“The Biggest Names in Sex” by Daniel Radosh at The Daily Beast – January 12, 2009

Helen Singer Kaplan (Wikipedia) and New York Times obituary August 19, 1995

Content

Subscribe with Amazon

Half-price deal on Texture Premium for Prime members

Magazines included in Texture Premium subscription

Next Week’s Guest

James McQuivey, vice president and principal analyst at of Forrester Research. Click here for McQuivey’s post, “Alexa Will See You Now: Why Echo Has a Camera”

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

Send to Kindle

TKC 455 Naomi S. Baron

Author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World

Interview starts at 10:33 and ends at 41:35

“Education increasingly wants to measure finite, little bites of stuff, and the digital technology that we are using in our education–and we have print versions of it, too–is tailored to these quick wins as opposed to a deeper level of learning.”

Intro

My new VR setup: Samsung Galaxy Edge S8 with new Samsung Gear VR + controller

News

“Amazon continues to grow lead over Google as starting point for online shoppers” by Taylor Soper at GeekWire – January 13, 2017

Scott Galloway bio

“How Amazon is Dismantling Retail” – Scott Galloway video – April 17, 2017

Tech Tip

How I improved performance on my Amazon Fire HD 8 6th Generation tablet

Interview with Naomi S. Baron

Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake: A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Content

Amazon Publishing’s summer-fall 2017 catalog (PDF)

Next Week’s Guest

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, author of The Doctor is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

 

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TKC 454 Kes Woodward

Kes, right, and I ride the MAX train from PDX to Portland OR

Painter, art critic and historian

Interview starts at 15:00 and ends at 41:14

“I remember your talking on one of your programs about Jeff Bezos’s insisting on a one-second [Alexa] response when his staff said, “We can get this down to three seconds,” and he said, “That’s not good enough.” That makes a huge difference. It shouldn’t–we’re so impatient, I’m so impatient. But the fact that it is more more conversational and that I don’t have to wait and think about the fact that this is a machine processing it, makes it much more real to me.”

News

Jeff Bezos’s 2016 Letter to Shareholders – and the 1997 letter (PDF)

“Over 550 Amazon Employees Are Pressuring Leadership to Cut Advertising Ties With Breitbart” by Charlie Warzel at BuzzFeed – April 13, 2017

Tech Tips

How to connect Amazon Tap to a new wifi network (Amazon help page)

Ask My Buddy skill for Alexa

Interview with Kesler Woodward

Painting in the North, Kes’s web site

Western States Arts Federation

Kes Woodward on TKC 50 – July 1, 2009

iPad Mini 4

Brain Pickings

Bufo Calvin in VR on TKC 453 – April 7, 2017

Content

Audible Range “About” page with email signup

Next Week’s Guest

Naomi S. Baron, author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

Send to Kindle

TKC 453 Bufo Calvin in Virtual Reality

Creator of I Love My Kindle and The Measured Circle

Interview starts at 6:14 and ends at 43:10

“It would also be able to know what your preferences are–that’s one of the biggest things about what we’ll see eventually with Virtual Reality. So for myself as a vegetarian, I could walk down that virtual aisle and have things that were for vegetarians maybe have a green outline on them, so that I could tell what was what.”  

News

“Amazon exec steps in as CEO Jeff Bezos’s new ‘shadow’” by Rachel Lerman at The Seattle Times – March 14, 2017

Jeffrey Helbling on LinkedIn

“Amazon will start collecting sales tax nationwide starting April 1st” by Nick Statt at The Verge – March 24, 2017

“Amazon to hire 5,000 remote customer-service reps, part of drive to add 30,000 part-timers” by Angel Gonzales at The Seattle Times – April 6, 2017

Info on Nights & Weekends part-time Customer Service Associate jobs at Amazon

Amazon info page for AmazonCash

“Amazon allows customers to add cash to their accounts at brick-and-mortar retailers” by Angel Gonzalez at The Seattle Times – April 3, 2017

Tech Tip

“Pogue’s Basics: Make Amazon Echo tell you when it’s transmitting” by David Pogue

Interview with Bufo Calvin

Bufo’s I Love My Kindle blog

Bufo’s The Measured Circle blog

“Videos in VR: Hulu vs. Netflix” By Bufo Calvin at The Measured Circle

Samsung Gear VR headset

vTime

Chimera Reader VR app

Oculus Rift VR headset

HTC Vive headset

The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

“Virtually Mike & Nora on Hulu” (YouTube)

Play Cardboard apps on Gear VR (Google Play store)

SideloadVR for GearVR (Google Play)

Content

Readly app at Amazon

Readly AT&T terms

“Readly Launches Exclusive Program with AT&T Thanks” at Crossroads Today – March 28, 2017

Outro

“Will Virtual Reality Replace Skype” – April 6, 2017. This is my Medium essay about the interview with Bufo Calvin in vTime.

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

Send to Kindle

TKC 452 Timothy DeLizza

Author of “Jerry (from accounting)”

Interview starts at 14:56 and ends at 45:09

I love what Amazon is doing in terms of giving access to a platform in a kind of populist way. I think that is incredibly helpful. I think the distribution is amazing. It creates new readers. I love the $2 price point for a novella. I think that’s definitely expanding who can have access to the writing and quality writing. Historically speaking the Big Five were very focused on content and less on how the distribution was happening, and that was what they were pretty good at. Amazon’s strength was in more distribution and being ahead of the curve on the eBooks. I think Amazon now is catching up and really focusing on content across the board.

News

“Amazon’s Ambitions Unboxed: Stores for Furniture, Appliances and More” by Nick Wingfield at The New York Times – March 25, 2017

“Amazon, the world’s most remarkable firm, is just getting started” at The Economist – March 25, 2017

“Amazon could become our leading physical retailer before very long” by Mike Shatzkin – March 21, 2017

“Busy Week for Amazon Ends with Stock Surge to Record Close” by Angel Gonzalez at The Seattle Times – March 31, 2017

Tech Tip

Is your Amazon Fire HD 8 sluggish? Try shutting off some apps.

Interview with Timothy DeLizza

Day One Magazine (send submissions to dayone-submissions@amazon.com)

Jerry (from accounting) by Timothy DeLizza

Goodreads page for Jerry (from accounting)

My Medium post which mentions Jerry (from accounting) – March 8, 2016

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens

“Spiritual and Menial Housework” by Dorothy Roberts at Yale Journal of Law & Feminism – 1997

Growing Up Absurd: Problems of Youth in the Organized Society by Paul Goodman

Latham & Watkins

Amazon Publishing’s Little a imprint for literary fiction and nonfiction

Books Timothy DeLizza is currently reading: There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce by Morgan Parker, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, Human Acts: A Novel by Han Kang

Outro

“Dr. Ruth Readies for Blast Off!” (video released by Amazon Publishing for April 1, 2017)

Next Week’s Guest

Bufo Calvin of the I Love My Kindle blog and I will rendezvous in Virtual Reality via an app named vTime to discuss how Amazon may get involved in VR this year.

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

You can follow my essays on travel, authors, technology, politics, and daily life at Medium.

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

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TKC 451 Patrick Coggins

Co-founder of Ask My Buddy

Interview starts at 18:45 and ends at 41:25

In terms of users or penetration, I would say that Google Home probably represents about less than 10 percent on our network. [Alexa has the rest.] That’s just time out there, the commercials. They’re just more widely known. Also, I would say the reduction in price, coming out with the Dot for 49 bucks–that was an end all. There were millions that went out. I would say that the price point developed a stronger user base for Amazon.

Audio and links from South By Southwest

PARCO shopping mall in Japan

“Facebook debuts its first dedicated virtual reality app, Facebook 360” by Lucas Matney at Techcrunch – March 8, 2016

Ana Benitez, President, Storyrocket

Khushi Baby health monitor in India

Felix & Paul Studios (interview with Robin Lippman, content coordinator)

“Is this the future of movies?’ by Len Edgerly at Medium – March 14, 2016

“At 40 minutes, Miyubi is the first VR movie to feel like a real film” by Adi Robertson at The Verge – January 24, 2017

Deen Wright, founder of BASE, Buy and Sell Everything

Tech Tip

My Medium post which explains how to set up and use Ask My Buddy on Alexa

Interview with Patrick Coggins

Ask My Buddy website

Alexa apps for iPhone (iOS) and Android

Alexa devices from Amazon: Echo, Tap, and Dot (2nd Generation)

Google Home

Mycroft open-source platform

4AFart Alexa skill

Google’s api.ai tool

Alexa web portal

“Amazon plans to release new Alexa devices that can make phone calls and work as intercoms” by Jason Del Rey at Recode – March 3, 2017

Next Week’s Guest

Timothy DeLizza, author of “Jerry (from accounting)”

Music for my podcast is from an original Thelonius Monk composition named “Well, You Needn’t.” This version is “Ra-Monk” by Eval Manigat on the “Variations in Time: A Jazz Perspective” CD by Public Transit Recording” CD.

Please Join the Kindle Chronicles group at Goodreads!

Right-click here and then click “Save Link As…” to download the audio to your computer, phone, or MP3 player.

Send to Kindle