Posts tagged amazon

ampr.org ampr.org
This is a great story about some amateur radio folks who acquired a block of IP addresses in the early internet days and recently sold them to Amazon for millions of dollars. Their plan:
"It is our intention to grant funds across all reaches of the educational, research, and development spectrum, with awards being made to support qualified organizations whose programs could well serve to advance the art of digital communication, with special emphasis on that which would benefit Amateur Radio."
om.co om.co
Om Malik tapped into a current of mistrust around smart device features sponsored by the big services after he wrote about his hesitation: Hello HomePod. So Long Sonos & Bose. Even my first generation Sonos speakers attempt to phone home frequently (for use stats?) and I block that with pi-hole. When I wanted to add a speaker recently I purchased a used first gen on eBay because I don’t want yet another always-on microphone in my home. I mean, have you seen the headlines?
libraryextension.com libraryextension.com
I really like this extension that tells you if a book you’re viewing at Amazon is available at your local library. I wish it could tell me how much money I’ve saved over time. And I wish it could speed up my holds while I’m dreaming.

Controlled Link Burn

The underbrush of my link ecosystem has become so wild and thorny with hrefs that it's time to break out the blogging driptorch and burn them all so the mighty oaks of thought can live free once more.

Last week Andy Baio broke the Twitter time continuum with a well-crafted Twitter search that shows activity from the people you follow from 10 years ago. Reading a 2008 feed made me think about text vs. media embeds and I enjoyed the discussions about tweeting in the modern world. Someone put together a handy page of Twitter time-traveling links if you'd like to try it out.

Jessamyn West is fighting the good fight against Equifax by suing them in small claims court over their data breach. A week or so ago she went to court: Equifax Statement for Small Claims Court. Be sure to read the the follow-up tweets at the end of the article about how it went. Equifax probably won't pay a meaningful price for their recklessness with our data, but I'm glad Jessamyn is trying.

How is the smart speaker craze going? Vox epxlains How an Amazon Echo ended up recording and sharing a private conversation. I think it was @sudama who suggested calling them smart microphones instead so we remember data flows both ways.

I spent way too much time having fun at WASD Keyboards customizing keycap colors. I don't really need another mechanical keyboard. I don't really need another mechanical keyboard. I don't really need another mechanical keyboard.

This is some digital spycraft wizardry: Glyph Perturbation, The Science of Font Steganography. By imperceptably changing how fonts are displayed, you can embed encrypted messages within innocuous carrier text.

This was a good reminder for me to make time for reading with my kids: What's Going On In Your Child's Brain When You Read Them A Story?.

I recently started playing electric guitar again for the first time in *cough*+ years and that opened a whole new world of YouTube tutorial videos I wasn't aware of before. I'm here to recommend Paul Davids and fun videos like his 10 Extremely Tasty Licks.

The link thicket is light on web developer help this time around, but this 2014 article about How to Write a Git Commit Message is still great. My favorite tip is Use imperitive statements as the subject line. I always try to do this and I think it gives commit messages a timeless quality—like you're explaining to someone mid-process how to recreate your steps.

With my weekly URLs now ablaze, the only thing left to do is fire up Portland Cello Project playing Paranoid Android (a good version finally online!) as background music while I watch my reading list disappear.

Amazon Feed Generator Reborn

Today I fired up a new version of the Amazon Feed Generator. It creates an RSS feed from Amazon search results so you can subscribe to them. That way you'll be alerted to new products that show up in those results.

This feed generator is one of the tools that used to live at this site. I put the original together around the time I wrote Amazon Hacks. The feed generator eventually became unnecessary because during the RSS boom of the mid-to-late 2000s, Amazon embraced feeds and offered them for many of their pages. These days they've scaled the feeds they offer way back and I still think it's handy to able to subscribe to them.

The feeds this tool generates are very simple. Each feed entry has the product name, a big image, and the new (non-used) price for the item. For example, there probably aren't too many new Bob Dylan albums coming out on vinyl, but why not subscribe to this feed just to be sure. There are a few more examples on the feed generator page.

Amazon's API has changed quite a bit over the years. My server development environment changed. Let's face it, we've all changed. So to get this running again I built it anew. I used node.js and a couple of existing packages: amazon-product-api and rss. (Those rely on other packages, which use others, and it's packages all the way down.) Thanks for sharing your code everyone! I put the code for this on Github, so you too can run your own feed generator and tweak it if you want.

There are probably bugs and I have a to-do list for things I want to clean up. So let me know if you spot something off. I'm happy another little piece of onfocus infrastructure is up and running again.

Prime Reading

If you're an Amazon Prime person you might want to head over to their new Prime Reading to see what's available. They've made a bunch of Kindle books, magazines, and graphic novels free for Primesters. If you need a place to start you can't go wrong with classic Moebius or early Peanuts.
  • A bot buys stuff at random from Amazon using a random word from a dictionary for a product search and then JavaScript automation completes the transaction.
  • Rafe zeroed in on the real problem in the recent Kindlegate: "If a business is going to use an algorithm-based approach to fraud problems like this, there’s got to be an understanding of the limitations of such a system. When you ignore that fact, you run into public relations disasters like the one Amazon encountered today."
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