A recent patent awarded to pudding home delivery juggernaut Amazon, reveals that the company is investigating the possibility of equipping their warehouse staff with hardware capable of tracking their hand movements.
According to the patent filing, first reported on by Geekwire, the tech would come in the form of bracelets that can track users movements as they go about their work. The bracelet could use the location of an employee inside of a given area, and the orientation of the worker's hands, to assist them in locating items on warehouse shelves. To do this, the bracelet would vibrate to indicate where to move their hands in order to find the item that they're looking for. All of this is in the name of speedier order fulfillment for Amazon's gazillions of customers, being forced to don a wearable like this while you're at work presents some potential privacy and health concerns.
Amazon's already got a reputation for pushing their workers to their limits when it comes to order fulfillment. As part of their report on this story, The Guardian points out that back in 2016, a BBC investigation uncovered the fact that the Amazon's employees are pushed to their emotional and physical limits in an effort to meet the company's efficiency standards. Being forced to wear a device that tracks your every move for efficiency like this bracelet's technology could, would likely add to the feels of anxiety that many of Amazon's employees likely experience on a daily basis. As for privacy, you've got to wonder if a wearable like this could track your movements in the washroom. Read the rest
Amazon was the last major tech company to issue a "transparency report" detailing what kinds of law-enforcement requests they'd serviced, and where; when they finally did start issuing them, they buried them on obscure webpages deep in their corporate info site and released them late on Friday afternoons.
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Last September, I wrote about Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, Jessica Bruder's important, fascinating book-length investigation into the Americans who live on the road out of economic necessity, including the Camperforce, a precariat army of retirees who saved carefully all their working lives, only to be bankrupted in the 2008 financial crisis who travel from Amazon warehouse to Amazon warehouse, filling in as seasonal and temp workers on gruelling, 12-hour shifts that leave them in pain and with just enough money to make it to the next stop.
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Viral marketing agency head
used Amazon's same-day delivery service to sent gifts of shoes, long johns, and other much-needed items to some people living on the cold streets of New York City.
He writes: "I'm sure this technique could be used with Postmates or whoever else too. I simply wanted to demonstrate how easy and convenient it can be to bring a person in need, what they need, and to encourage that behavior."
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I can't remember quite how I came to be in possession of a pair of these Prismatic Lazy Glasses (Amazon), but the most shocking thing about them is they actually work. You put them on, lie down completely prone, and can see at a 90° angle: perfect for watching TV (or reading) in bed without sitting up or craning one's neck.
The effect is not perfect. They create tunnel vision, and the imperfect build quality of the glasses and presumably the mirrors results in more eye strain that you'd normally experience. (Though certainly less than I experience with VR)
Whether eye strain wipes out the advantage of bodily relaxation is for you to decide; my only problem is falling asleep during practically everything.
Note that the link here is to a well-reviewed model from Amazon I assume is identical to the pair I have. I can't imagine there are vast quality differences between different brands of $10 lazy specs, but you never know.
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"wangled an invitation" to visit Jeff Bezos at his humble Seattle office. Amazon was just five years old at the time but already had a stock market value of $30B. They sent correspondent Bob Simon to Amazon's headquarters which was located near a pawn shop and a "porno parlor." Simon likened the space to a "college dorm" and gave billionaire Bezos a hard time about his desk (a door with 4x4 legs) and his car (a modest Honda sedan).
Is it me or does Simon seem to be mocking Bezos?
(reddit) Read the rest
In hopes of inducing Amazon to build its proposed second headquarters in Chicago, the city has offered to pay it the taxes paid by Amazon's own employees. In effect, Amazon's workers would be paying taxes to their own bosses.
Chicago and the state authorities of Illinois have jointly offered to hand Amazon more than $2bn in tax breaks, including $1.32bn of its workers’ income taxes. The scheme, known as a personal income-tax diversion, would mean Amazon workers pay full income taxes, but instead of the state getting the money to use for schools, roads and other public services, Amazon would keep it.
New Jersey's offer is less morally obscene, but even more desperate: they'll pay Amazon $10,000 for every job it creates in the state. Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now apparently the world's richest person, with a fortune surpassing $100bn.
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Here's this year's complete Boing Boing Gift Guide: dozens of great ideas for stocking stuffers, brain-hammers, mind-expanders, terrible toys, badass books and more. Where available, we use Amazon Affiliate links to help keep the world's greatest neurozine online.
8bitdo's Zero is a wee, well-made and thoroughly wonderful bluetooth game controller. I bought it by accident, thinking I'd found a surprisingly cheap wireless pad, only to learn (to my shrieking amusement) that its low price is caused by its low volume.
It really is tiny, at about 2.75" long and 1.5" high. It comes with a keychain ring and is by no means unreasonably large for this purpose:
There's a D-pad, four buttons under the right thumb, two trigger buttons and, in the middle, a start and select button. A short USB cable is provided for recharging, but it doesn't function as a USB controller. Just wireless.
It comes in white with a blue or red back; the red one has a vaguely Nintendo-esque stripe across the front, too.
That is not only works but is well-made and durable makes it an absolutely fabulous stocking stuffer for people who play games -- especially given that it's compatible with virtually everything that hosts bluetooth, including Android, iOS, Windows and MacOS, and Linux/RetroPi. There's even a remote shutter mode for cameras, though I didn't test it.
It's not plain sailing all the way, though. Pairing it with my MacBook was easy, but it took a couple of attempts on my Windows 10 Zotac ZBox. Moreover, it lost its connection twice in a month, requiring unpairing and re-pairing to get working again.
Part of the problem is the inadequate instructions for shifting it between compatibility modes that apply to each system. Read the rest
Security researchers from Rhino Security Labs have shown that it is trivial to disable the Amazon Cloud Cam that is a crucial component of the Amazon Key product -- a connected home door-lock that allows delivery personnel to open your locked front door and leave your purchases inside -- and have demonstrated attacks that would allow thieves to exploit this weakness to rob your home.
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The Joyfay Giant Teddy ($109, Amazon) is described as "6½feet" and appears in pictures as an adorably chubby furry friend for young and old alike: "offers more huggability than your average bear!" declares the product description.
But upon receipt, buyers report, the toy is not quite what they expected. It is, as promised, "6½ feet". As spotted by Twitter user cooltonedcutie, it's mostly limbs.
"I was expecting a the bear to be huge because it's 6.5 ft right?" writes "Amazon Customer". "No, all of its height is from its legs and the legs are longer than its upper body."
But others say the freakish furry is just adorable — a position its creators at Joyfay are quick to concur with.
"We first began selling giant teddy bears because we noticed a large spike in demand around Valentine’s Day for these items on Google Trends," writes Nikola Matic, who cofounded the company while completing a PhD program at Case Western Reserve University. "At this time, this was a present almost exclusively given to girlfriends and wives. It was often given from boyfriends or husbands that traveled frequently or were deployed overseas as a sort of surrogate boyfriend. As such, the proportions of the teddy bear were closer to an adult humans than to tiny teddy bears."
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In the years since, a demand has grown for these giant teddy bears as a gift for children, for birthdays, and even at Christmas. With that change in demand, there was a desire for the bears to have the proportions of a smaller teddy bear.
My home is lightly blanketed with Amazon Echo Dot listening stations. I tried to use Alexa, the digital assistant to re-order my favorite black tea. Now I am ready for the zombie apocalypse. Read the rest
Let the right one in. The Verge: "Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door."
The service is called Amazon Key, and it relies on a Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock. The camera is the hub, connected to the internet via your home Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over Zigbee, a wireless protocol utilized by many smart home devices.
When a courier arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the barcode, sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud grants permission by sending a message back to the camera, which starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on their app, swipes the screen, and voilà, your door unlocks.
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A couple in Orlando, Florida ordered plastic storage bins on Amazon. When they received the bins, they were surprised to find 65 pounds of marijuana inside. Now THAT'S Amazon Prime! Police are investigating. From WFTV:
The couple said that after going back and forth with Amazon mostly by email for more than a month, they never spoke to a supervisor....
They eventually received an email giving them a $150 gift card with the message, "I am unable to do anything else at this time..."
Amazon sent a statement saying its customer service team worked directly with the customer to address concerns and will work with law enforcement to investigate the case.
(via Dave Pell's NextDraft)
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If you search Amazon for Linda Belcher from the animated TV show Bob's Burgers
, you will find the "Supportive Burger Wife"
costume. [via Nicole Zhu
] Not to be left out, though, are members of the younger generation, who can dream of being a Burger Heiress
. (Sadly, there does not appear to be a Burger Prince or gender-nonspecific Burger Scion) Read the rest
Last time I bought an Amazon tablet adding the Google store was a real pain! It takes about 3 minutes and one reboot on the new Amazon Fire HD 10.
In order to get the most out of my new 7th generation Amazon Tablet, I needed the Google Play store. GMail, Chrome and a few other apps were not available via Amazon's walled garden. Used to be Amazon made this hard. Now it is very easy!
To add the Google Play store follow these steps:
STEP THE FIRST
Enable apps from UNKNOWN SOURCES!
Settings > Security > Enable Apps from Unknown Sources
This will trigger a warning. Read it, then ignore it.
THE SECOND STEP
Download and install four Google apps in this specific order:
Google Account Manager
Google Services Framework
Google Play Services
Google Play Store
Reboot the device.
Open the Google Play app. Login and start installing apps.
It was that easy. I'm just getting into playing with the new tablet, but thus far it is great.
I'm pretty sure this'll work for all 7th generation tablets regardless of screen size.
All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1" 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB via Amazon Read the rest
UK public broadcaster Channel 4 sparked a presswide panic with a story: "Potentially deadly bomb ingredients are ‘frequently bought together’ on Amazon."
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