Amazon Locker Review

Going into last year, I’ve seen an option on my Amazon checkouts called “Amazon Locker”.  I wondered what that was, and did some research.  It’s basically a place where you can have your Amazon packages delivered to in place of your home or work, and you can go pick it up when you want.   I would imagine for most people there’s little point in using it, as they just have Amazon stuff delivered to their house.   Still, if you live in an apartment (or a housing development) that has one of those “cluster mailbox” things, or if you have a theft problem at your place then this would be a useful idea for sure.   Yeah, you have to drive to pick it up, but then you have to drive to go get stuff from a USPS PO Box, too.  So in that regard, it’s the same. Continue reading “Amazon Locker Review”

Hulu vs Hulu Plus

As an Xbox owner, I’ve paid close attention to the offerings on Xbox LIVE Gold, as I’ve been a member of that since it’s inception.  My profile bears the “8” mark, which means I’ve been a member for eight years.  I was one of the people chosen from the public to test the service before it launched on Xbox 1.  Anyway, my point here is that I’m aware that they’re finally going to get Hulu Plus as a video option on XBL two days from now.  My post here is about Hulu, and not so much Xbox, it’s just the launch on Xbox made me want to ask this.

Why does Hulu Plus not allow you to watch the “regular, free” Hulu videos and episodes?   Hulu has been around for a long time, and I’ve used it several times myself, when I missed recording something, or wanted to look at some recent clip, or something along those lines.  You can view these on your computer, and in most cases stream them to other websites, too.

An updated pay version of the service has been available since last Summer, called “Hulu Plus”.  That’s a version where you pay monthly, and get access to a much larger list of shows and episodes.  In most cases, entire series are available.  However, I found the paywall content lacking in shows I’d REALLY want to watch, so I only subscribed for one month as a test.  It is currently $7.99 a month for pay access.  It was initially more expensive than that, but the price came down, amongst stories that not enough people were interested in paying.

However, what I’m writing about today is the Hulu Plus app and the free version of Hulu online.  In the Hulu Plus app, you can only access Plus material.  There is a sample of some free videos in the Plus apps, but you CANNOT access the regular hulu.com free content through the Hulu app.  I’ve always felt this was a stupid move.  The last time I looked, the free/sample material in the Hulu plus app is the same as when it first launched back in the Summer of 2010.  It hasn’t changed.  The free content on the Hulu website, however, is constantly updating.

The Playstation Network has had Hulu plus for awhile now (since late last year), and Xbox is getting it in a couple of days, if reports are true.  My Blu-Ray player in the bedroom also has a Hulu plus app.  But I don’t bother with these, because there’s no compelling reason to pay for Plus, and the free content is not their “real” free content.  I’m sure it’s some stupid licensing issue, but they REALLY need to make the free desktop content available on the “free side” of the Hulu Plus apps (Xbox, PS3, iOS devices, etc)..

Won’t happen, though.  :(

My Kindle and the library

This week I noticed that Amazon is finally adding a much needed, and puzzlingly absent feature from their Kindles. That’s the ability to borrow a book from the public library. Long available in the Barnes & Noble Nook reader, this feature will come to Amazon’s Kindle sometime later in 2001.

About bloody time!

This has long been the Achilles heel of the Kindle. That, and ePub support. ePub is a public format. And is how other eReaders get other formats onto their readers. Sony and BN have touted this as a advantage over Kindle for some time. As a Kindle owner since the first model, I don’t personally see the ePub restriction as a big deal. Hover, the inability to get a book from the library WAS. I always wished I could do that.

At some date later in this year, I’ll be able to do that. One cool thing about this feature, I read where the feature will work on all the Kindle models, going back to the original. That’s a surprise, as new features usually ardent added retroactively like that. I upgraded to a Kindle 3 last year, but this will be big for Kindle 1 owners. It will also work over the Kindle apps (iPhone, blackberry, etc.). You’ll be allowed to leave notes and whatnot like with any other Kindle book. They’ll not go to the next borrower from the library, and if you buy the book, or borrow it again, your notes will come back.

This is all quite cool, indeed. I’m glad this is finally happening, as Kindles are starting to get into school libraries, and I think is an important thing to be there to help expand Kindle’s reach into schools. There’s a cool story about schools and Kindles here.



The ironic thing about this post talking about a feature a Kindle needs is that I wrote it on my iPad.  ;)

The iPhone

The iPhone has been out since last Friday. Everything I’ve read about it (and I’ve read A LOT) since last Friday has told me this thing would be a tech geek’s orgasm. It’s outstandingly pretty, the interface is everything I want.
But Apple went and priced the darn things out of reach of most folks who care about where their money goes. Or at least folks who aren’t single. :)
A few guys at my office have them, I have several friends around the industry, and one of my old time friends recently blogged about his experience buying one and then using it. The more I read, the more I want one. I guess I’ve become financially responsible because I haven’t run out and bought one already, despite having enough credit to probably buy 30 or 40 of them.
Anyway, I continue to torture myself reading about it, and going “GAAH! – $600!” One of the things I read this morning was pretty funny. It was a story about people’s comedic reaction to his not having bought an iPhone. Check it out. Made me laugh.
I still want one. I wonder if actually going to an Apple store and holding one might be too much for me to resist?