We have an Eero system in our house; it does really good and reliable wifi distribution, including to my office in the garage. And it was nice to have a piece of home electronics that was neither from one of the great data-sucking companies like Google, nor from the control-freak companies like Apple -- and also not from a no-name white-label re-badger or a giant shitty telco switch company whose consumer products arm is an afterthought. Read the rest
The Tattered Cover is one of the nation's great independent bookstores, ranking with New York's Strand, Portland's Powell's, and Salt Lake City's Weller Books; now in an open letter, the store has "broken up" with Amazon division Audible, the largest player in the audiobook market, citing the company's mandatory DRM, proprietary formats, algorithmic opacity, and diversion of local book sales into the pockets of distant investors in a massive, uncaring corporation. Read the rest
Last October, Bloomberg published what seemed to be the tech story of the year: a claim that Supermicro, the leading supplier of servers to clients from the Pentagon and Congress to Amazon, Apple and NASA, had been targeted by Chinese spies who'd inserted devastating, virtually undetectable hardware backdoors into their motherboards by subverting a small subcontractor in China. Read the rest
Yes, it's a soulless, grotesque question. But it's all about money, and investors are wondering if Jeff Bezos getting divorced means they're gonna lose money. Read the rest
Sources "familiar with Ring's practices" have told The Intercept that the company -- a division of Amazon that makes streaming cameras designed to be mounted inside and outside your home -- stores the video feeds from its customers' homes in unencrypted format and allows staff around the world to have essentially unfettered access to these videos. Read the rest
The first season of American Gods was great. Ian McShane! Ricky Whittle! Gillian Anderson! Orlando Jones as Mr. Nancy? Perfection.
And then, after the season wrapped up, shit went down. Show runners left. So did Gillian Anderson. Chaos ensued. The production finally managed to get their act together and BOOM, the trailer for Season 2 was released, promising us more dark whimsy than we deserve.
— American Gods Amazon (@GodsOnAmazon) December 30, 2018
This new scene released by Amazon, however... isn't great. Maybe it's the fact that we're seeing it out of context. It's a wee bit of story in the middle of a much greater epic. But it feels a little bit off: there's no tension here. The level of creepy that Crispin Glover usually delivers isn't there. It's a quick clip, but damn, does it drag. If Amazon and Starz were looking to whip up excitement in the show's fan base, this seems like a really strange clip to release into the wild.
I'm hoping I'm wrong. I hope that, knowing all the behind-the-scenes drama, I'm reading into trouble that isn't there. But man, I'm kinda worried about the quality of Season 2 now. Read the rest
Josh Dzieza's deeply reported story on the dirty tricks used by Amazon's third-party sellers to beat their rivals is an outstanding read, and an important contribution to the debate about how automated systems that police user conduct fail at scale. Read the rest
People who steal other people's packages off porches are the frigging worst. They've no idea of what's in the box they're swiping: they don't care what they get, so long as they get something. It's burgling a house blindfolded. It's the laziest form of break and enter. It's one of the lowest forms of causal criminality going. Also, it's wicked hard to stop. With the holidays coming on like a freight train, more packages than usual are showing up on front porches, ripe for the picking. This year, in at least one city, the cops are ready to put a stop to the package poaching nonsense.
From The Associated Press:
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Police in Jersey City, across the Hudson River from New York, are teaming up with Amazon to install doorbell cameras and plant dummy boxes with GPS tracking devices at homes around the city.
They didn’t have to wait long Tuesday for someone to take the bait.
“We had a box out on the street for three minutes before it was taken,” said police Capt. James Crecco, who is overseeing the mission. “We thought it was a mistake at first.”
The suspect was caught, Crecco added.
Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly told The Associated Press that locations for cameras and boxes were selected using the city’s own crime statistics and mapping of theft locations provided by Amazon.
“Most of the package thefts we’ve made arrests on revolve around (closed-circuit TV) or private surveillance cameras that give us a still image,” Kelly said.
An Amazon warehouse in New Jersey sent 24 employees to the hospital after they were exposed to bear repellent fumes. Read the rest
Amazon admits that it leaked some users' email addresses and names. But it's not saying how the information was exposed, how many were affected, or otherwise talking to those affected or to the press. From the sound of things, it'll be a Christmas miracle if anyone finds out.
TechCrunch that the issue exposed names as well as email addresses. “We have fixed the issue and informed customers who may have been impacted.” The company emailed all impacted users to be cautious.
In response to a request for specifics, a spokesperson said the company had “nothing to add beyond our statement.” The company denies there was a data breach of its website of any of its systems, and says it’s fixed the issue, but dismissed our request for more info including the cause, scale and circumstances of the error.
I guess the good news is that those who Amazon is certain of having been affected by their leaky ship have been contacted via email and told the following:
“We’re contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your email address due to a technical error... The issue has been fixed. This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action.”
What a relief. After all, Who wants to know how or why a snafu that could have a deep impact on their personal finances occurred. Give me a vague explanation of a serious issue, any day. Read the rest
Like the billions in public money destined for Amazon's benefit and that of the world's richest man, it's all perfectly legal.
The two employees decided to the buy units just before the first press reports surfaced that Amazon was likely to choose Long Island City for its new headquarters, Mr. Aguayo said. The buyers now live in New Jersey and Queens, he added.
While employees aren’t permitted to buy and sell stocks based on nonpublic information, several real estate lawyers said they were aware of no such prohibition for real-estate transactions.
The WSJ reports no "reliable figures" on sales in the area since Amazon's announcement (and immediately before it, evidently) but it's explosive. One brokerage says it sold 150 condos in the last four days, 15 times its normal volume. Read the rest