Tag Archives | Amazon

…Bicycles can be built for 2,000?

What does the collective voice of 2,088 people singing Bicycle Built for Two into Amazon’s Mechanical Turk system sound like?

Probably a little something like this:

…It’s Things Thursday: Amazon Kindle 2?

Amazon Kindle 2

Amazon’s Kindle brought the eBook to the masses, and with the Kindle 2, they’re hoping an evolution of the design will help even more people discover the convenience of digital reading.

At just over 1/3 of an inch thick, and weighing in at just 10.2 ounces, it’s much smaller and lighter than you would expect, and with free 3G wireless connectivity, you can enjoy a book whenever and wherever you happen to be.

The Kindle 2 also features a new display that can show up to 16 shades of gray, 25% longer battery life, enough storage for 1,500 books, 20% faster page turns, and even a new text-to-speech feature that reads your content to you if you’re feeling particularly lazy.

Since just about every blog in existence has already profiled and reviewed the Kindle 2, I thought I’d just gather together a few of their thoughts so that you can see what everyone thinks of this device:

Engadget: “It really does feel great in hand. The brushed metal back is great, the device is incredibly light and comfortable to hold, and the keyboard is fairly usable. We’re not convinced the five-way joystick is the best they possible could’ve worked into this space- a d-pad seems much more logical – but it’s responsive and comfortable enough to twiddle with for what it is.”

Gizmodo: “The overall handfeel is a lot nicer. While part of me loves the snowspeeder original, this just feels better in your hand, and it obviously looks a lot slicker. Though at the same time, that iPod-like slickness is a bit less daring than the original.”

CrunchGear: “The difference in size is absolutely the most striking aspect of the new Kindle. Text-to-Speech is cool, but this is day and night when it comes to size.”

Ars Technica: “Overall, I have to say that the Kindle 2 is a far superior device to the first iteration, and really shows an attention to detail that, based on the earlier device, it wasn’t clear that Amazon had in it. More significantly, perhaps, is the fact that the company has clearly made sensible fixes to many of the problems, which demonstrates a clear commitment to listening to its customers. The changes give me hope that, when the hardware’s ready, the remaining issues (primarily the keyboard and the small screen) will be fixed. It makes me anxious to see what’s in store for Kindle 3.”

[Amazon – Kindle 2]

…Mechanical Turk has many faces?

Mechanical Turk Faces

Andy Baio from Waxy.org was intrigued by his initial experience with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and wanted to know more about the people that participate in the service, including what they look like, and how much it would cost for them to reveal their faces.

To make the process easy, he fired up the Mechanical Turk and added a simple task to the queue: Upload a photo of yourself holding a handwritten sign that says “I Turk for…”, filling out why you turk.

At $.05 per photo, there wasn’t much response, but at $.25, the responses started to come in, and by $.50, he had a decent sized sample.

The results? 30 people total – 20 men and 10 women, almost all of which were white and in their 20s and 30s. 21 turk for money, and the other 9 turk for fun or boredom.

[Waxy – The Faces of Mechanical Turk]

…Amazon wants to cure Wrap Rage?

Wrap Rage

Amazon is fighting back against “wrap rage”, or “the frustration we humans feel when trying to free a product from a nearly impenetrable package”, by releasing a line of products that arrive in “Frustration-Free Packaging”.

By working with manufacturers to deliver products in smaller, easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard boxes with less packaging material (and no frustrating plastic clamshells or wire ties) Amazon hopes to eliminate this “wrap rage” over the course of the multi-year initiative.

As an occasional victim of wrap rage due to busted knuckles and excessive garbage, I definitely hope they reach their goal, and since they’ve stated that they want to offer their entire catalog of products in Frustration-Free Packaging in a few years, it definitely seems like they’re heading in the right direction.

[Amazon – Frustration-Free Packaging]

…It’s Website Wednesday: Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Judge A Book By Its Cover

Can you judge a book by its cover?

I’ll be the first to admit that when looking for a new book to read, the cover ranks second only to recommended by a friend in terms of what I’ll look at first, but does this prejudice actually work? Does a good cover actually predict a good book, and vice versa?

Judgeby.com aims to find out, and presents you with an endless stream of book covers that you must rate. It then matches your rating to the Amazon user’s rating to see how close the two are. I was able to guess 7 out of 10 correctly, which means I either had a good bout of beginners luck, or there’s actually a bit of falsity behind the old saying, so give it a try and see how you do.

[Judge A Book By Its Cover]