Tag Archives | Amazon

Unlike Other Tech Giants, Amazon Doubles Down on Coal

Zhao !  (CC BY 2.0)

Zhao ! (CC BY 2.0)

via Cleantechnica:

“Use the Web? Congrats! You’re an environmentalist.” So said a headline in the Washington Post last week, and with good reason: some of the biggest names behind the internet are powering their data centers with wind and solar power.

That’s important because the internet uses a lot of electricity. If the internet were a country, its electricity demand would rank as the sixth largest in the world.

The Washington Post story focused on search engines, and indeed Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are increasingly powering their data centers with wind power in places like Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas. But it’s not just search: Apple is powering its data centers, replete with all of our iTunes, with 100% renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and microhydro power. Facebook is aiming for the same goal, and is purchasing massive quantities of wind power in Iowa to power our likes and shares in its data center there.

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Former employee protests Amazon tactics, vows to hold vigil at HQ for ‘days, weeks, months, or longer’

kivin

via Geekwire:

Kivin Varghese, a former Amazon employee involved in a protracted legal dispute with the company, says he will protest outside Amazon’s Seattle headquarters for six to ten hours a day until the company addresses his allegations of deceptive and unethical business practices, as laid out in a 29-page letter from Varghese to CEO Jeff Bezos and the Amazon board.

“I don’t care whether it takes days, weeks, months, or longer,” says Varghese, pictured here as he began what he described as a “quiet vigil” this morning at Amazon HQ in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

In his letter and lawsuit, Varghese alleges that his former manager and Amazon executives covered up problems that caused an Amazon advertising customer, Discover, to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on a Kindle advertising campaign.

He alleges that he was fired in retaliation for raising the issues internally — using backdated and falsified performance reviews to justify his termination — and that his manager was subsequently promoted despite evidence that her own resume contained false information.

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My Brief and Curious Life As a Mechanical Turk

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via Gizmodo:

As accomplished as modern-day computers are, there are some very basic things even the smartest machines have yet to master: tough judgment calls, advanced image recognition, making goofy faces, conducting psychological surveys. These are an assortment of tasks we humans can still claim as our own. Or at least, that we can outsource to other, less fortunate humans. Like me.

In Amazon’s words, Mechanical Turk is “a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence.” But in reality it’s even simpler than that description implies: It’s a job board where the pay is low and the jobs are dumb. If you have a functional cerebral cortex, an internet connection, and a few minutes to spare, you can pick up a handful of odd jobs—the oddest of jobs—and make a few bucks, pennies, and nickels at a time. But what’s it like to be that “human intelligence?” As I found out last year, it’s weird, fascinating, perplexing, and a little depressing, all at once.

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Ballmer vs. Bezos — who will get the last laugh?

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via Greekwire:

A fascinating debate emerged in the tech world this week after Amazon’s big earnings miss and Steve Ballmer’s comments about Amazon’s business model.

In an interview with Charlie Rose, the former Microsoft CEO said that Amazon isn’t a “real business” without meaningful profits — defending his own record of profitability at Microsoft and implying that critics should take a second look at his legacy as a business leader.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is famous for saying it’s “Still Day One” — underscoring a long-term focus that tests the patience of investors. The company is a giant in the world of e-commerce and cloud computing but has stumbled with its initial attempt to expand into smartphones.

Bezos says real innovators need to be “willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.”

Read More.

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OpenBazaar: P2P Marketplace to Undermine our Corporate Overlords

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Around the turn of the century, Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces provided revolutionary new venues for small-business entrepreneurship, but they have since grown into heavy-handed corporate behemoths that treat sellers like share croppers while exerting an ever-expanding influence over government and the economy. In the future, online marketplaces will be publicly shared via distributed p2p networks. There will be no fees, no trade restrictions, no corporate overlords running the show. The concept is gaining traction; the technology is already here.

One promising effort in this direction is OpenBazaar. They hope to offer a full release in 2014, and are currently seeking beta testers:

OpenBazaar is an open source project to create a decentralized network for peer to peer commerce online—using Bitcoin—that has no fees and cannot be censored. Put simply, it’s the baby of eBay and BitTorrent.

Right now, online commerce means using centralized services. eBay, Amazon, and other big companies have restrictive policies and charge fees for listing and selling goods.… Read the rest

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“The Man In The High Castle” Philip K. Dick Adaptation Finds Lead Actress

the-man-in-the-high-castle

RAISE THE ALARMS. How did I not know this adaptation was happening in the first place?

via io9:

Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, which takes place in a world where the Axis won World War II, has found a lead for its new Amazon TV series. We’re just super happy this PKD book is finally getting an adaptation.

Deadline is reporting that Alexa Davalos (Clash of the Titans, Mob City) has been cast in the role of Juliana. For those of you unaware mthe Dick book takes place in 1962 in an alternate reality where World War II was won by the Axis powers; Germany and Japan occupy the United States, main character Juliana lives in the San Francisco which, like most of the West Coast, is now controlled by Japan. Meanwhile, the East Coast is controlled by Nazi Germany and the Midwest remains uncontrolled.

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Amazon is Now Fighting with Disney

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Amazon isn’t making any friends these days. And I’m starting to picture all of these giant corporations as little five-year-olds fighting on the playground.

via The Wall Street Journal:

When Amazon.com Inc. wants to fight, it turns to a familiar playbook.

The latest to feel the Seattle retailer’s sting is Walt Disney Co. Amazon isn’t accepting pre-orders of forthcoming Disney DVD and Blu-ray titles including “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Maleficent.”

It is the same tactic Amazon has employed in a bitter four-month spat with Hachette Book Group over e-book pricing. To press its point, Amazon suspended pre-orders for physical copies of many Hachette titles and lengthened shipping times or pared discounts for others.

The tactics underscore Amazon’s unusual sway in e-commerce, where it is by far the dominant player, particularly for books and media.

“It’s rare in physical retail to have contract disputes become so public. Most retailers just aren’t willing to hurt themselves by cutting off sales,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, a Forrester Research analyst.

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Authors Place Ads Against Amazon in New York Times

And the battle against Amazon rages on…

Amazon.com-Logo.svg

via The Guardian:

Readers of the New York Times will have to steel themselves this weekend, as the unseemly brawl between Hachette and Amazon erupts on to the tranquil pages of the Grey Lady. Perhaps the most incendiary item in Sunday’s edition is due to be a full-page ad paid for by a group of bestselling authors – and backed by over 900 other writers – calling on Amazon “in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business”.

The extraordinary move is the latest salvo in a battle over terms which has seen Amazon delay delivery and remove the possibility of pre-orders on a swathe of books by Hachette authors, including JK Rowling and James Patterson. The online leviathan Amazon says it is attempting to “lower ebook prices”; publishing conglomerate Hachette argues that it is seeking “terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them”.

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Authors Place Full-Page Ad in NY Times Against Amazon

And the battle against Amazon rages on…

Amazon.com-Logo.svg

via The Guardian:

Readers of the New York Times will have to steel themselves this weekend, as the unseemly brawl between Hachette and Amazon erupts on to the tranquil pages of the Grey Lady. Perhaps the most incendiary item in Sunday’s edition is due to be a full-page ad paid for by a group of bestselling authors – and backed by over 900 other writers – calling on Amazon “in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business”.

The extraordinary move is the latest salvo in a battle over terms which has seen Amazon delay delivery and remove the possibility of pre-orders on a swathe of books by Hachette authors, including JK Rowling and James Patterson. The online leviathan Amazon says it is attempting to “lower ebook prices”; publishing conglomerate Hachette argues that it is seeking “terms that value appropriately for the years ahead the author’s unique role in creating books, and the publisher’s role in editing, marketing, and distributing them”.

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Teddy Roosevelt Responsible For Piranha’s Bloodthirsty Reputation

"Like you wouldn't have thought the same thing, you lily-livered scalawag."

“Like you wouldn’t have thought the same thing, you lily-livered scalawag.”

I can’t say that I’d lay all the blame on Roosevelt: Roger Corman has to shoulder his fair share, too. Gruesome story, though.

Moo? Moo. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

In 1913, the former president made a much-ballyhooed trip down the Brazilian Amazon. Like anyone hosting a dignitary, the locals wanted to put on a show for Roosevelt. So days before the roughrider arrived, they used nets to block off a section of the Amazon. Then they caught piranhas from other parts of the river and tossed them into their makeshift aquarium, all while keeping the fish unfed. When Roosevelt rolled into town, the locals finally appeased their captives by chucking a live cow into the water. The piranhas wasted no time. As they sank their teeth into the meat, the water foamed up and turned red. In minutes, the cow’s skeleton was all that was left.

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