Someone Else Is In The Bedroom With Eliot And Me  

I almost jumped out of my skin the first time Alexa started talking to us late one night when Eliot and I were watching TV. We were both in bed, just about to doze off, when a rather loud female voice asks us, “How can I help you?”

I thought it was a home invasion. I got so scared. I screamed. Then I realized the little  robot across the room must have heard her name from the TV and woke up. Eliot and I had a good laugh after our hearts stopped racing. 

Eliot received Alexa from the Greenberg clan for his 70th birthday. I was initially more exited than Eliot, but now he is finding new applications for the unit all the time. She plays our music, spells words, gives us the weather, provides news, reads books out-loud, and now does some of our shopping. Yes, there are specials sales that she announces everyday. 

The unit is the Amazon Echo, but the brains are Alexa. Eliot uses a lot of technology but he is pretty amazed by all of Alexa’s capabilities. In fact, it’s a little overwhelming to have a robot that knows more than you. All you have to do is ask a question.

The Echo has seven microphones and a beam forming technology so it can hear us from across the room. Alexa is getting her smarts from the cloud so new information is being added all the time. Echo stays connected and updates itself automatically. 

The Echo is going to find its way to everyone’s home. It’s perfect for seniors who need help  turning  lights, switches, and thermostats on and off. 

Another bonus is that you can use a companion app to help manage all of the third-party skills.

All this for around $175. There are different models so you can pick a less expensive unit.

I think it’s worth going for the whole enchilada.

Thank you Greenberg’s.đź’‹đź’‹đź’‹đź’‹

96 Years Young, Yoga

Don’t miss watching this video if you want to grow older, healthy, and in good spirits. It is extremely inspirational and it will give you great hope. Thank you to my good friend Dr. Williams Lucena, for sharing this with me.    

Make Up Your Mind, Amazon

I am so confused. I embraced the digital world in my 60s, like I was 20. I have trained myself to write all of my notes on my iPhone (no paper). I read everything online ( no print). I mainly communicate through social networks (I cut back on telephone use). I completely turned my life around to fit into the digital revolution. 

You can imagine my dismay when I learned that Amazon recently decided to open 300 to 400 brick-and-mortar bookstores in the coming years. I felt like someone told me the last few years didn’t exist. I hope it did.

What the heck is this all about? Don’t get me wrong. I love bookstores. It was very much a part of my social life. Eliot and I would spend hours roaming through the shelves of bookstores in our neighborhood, or when we went to new cities. We would spend a hundred plus dollars every visit. It was our fantasyland.

But all that has changed. The hours we spent in book and record stores, are now devoted to exploring the Internet. I love Amazon for many reasons, but I don’t understand why they are now reversing their corporate culture. All they are going to do is put whatever bookstores are left out of business

This is another case of the big, getter bigger. 

 

Something As Simple As This            

  

  

 

Images: Mobstub and Amazon

Something as simple as this can save your life, and keep you warm at the same time. I personally like wearables that light up at night so moving vehicles can easily see  you. As we get older, precautionary steps like this should be considered.

I’m not sure how long these types of knit caps have been around, but they are gaining in popularity this year. In fact, several friends have told me they are back ordered on Amazon. Mobstub, and Walmart. 

I think I want one for myself even though I don’t plan to be in cold weather that much. This type of cap can come in handy anywhere, at anytime. The LED light on a tightly knit hat is perfect for airplanes whose ambient temperature is freezing. Have you noticed how cold some cabins are these days? 

Friends who ride bikes first alerted me about these caps. Then I saw online advertisements for them. While there are a few different brands, most of them feature:
On/Off switch controls 4 LED lights
Knitted acrylic material, no itchy wool.

One size fits all.

Replaceable batteries.

Directional lighting 

Price: Around $20. 

If you find a store selling them, let me know. 

Amazon’s Competition

Image from Bloomberg’s Businessweek , Marc Lore

At dinner tonight my girl friend Bonnie asked me if I ever heard of Jet.com. She said it was a new competitor to Amazon and in many cases less expensive. 
I had never heard of Jet.com so I told her that she probably got her facts wrong. She told me to check it out. I forgot all about it until I turned to my nightly ritual of checking in with a few tech sites.

The second I opened Engadget, I spotted a detailed post on the concept of Jet.com. What a coincidence. The biggest takeaway that I got from the Engadget post is that “the more you buy, the more rewards you receive.” This amounts to very big savings. 

Read Wikipedia’s explanation of Jet.com. The founder, Marc Lore, was also the creator of diapers.com and soap.com, which he later sold to Amazon for $545 million. 

I’m anxious for a few of you to try Jet.com and then report back if you think it’s a true Amazon competitor. 

Amazon Gives Startups A Fighting Chance

One of the first things I want to do when I get back to the States, is learn more about the new program Amazon just launched for start-ups. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that Amazon is going to help start-ups launch, market and distribute their products to the hundreds of millions of Amazon customers across the globe.

Never in my life did I ever imagine that a new company could have such an advantage. Amazon is appropriately calling their new program Launchpad. Startups now avoid many of the challenges a new company usually experiences. They can now rely on Amazon’s retail experience and infrastructure to help them be successful. 

What an amazing world we live in. Read more about it in Retailing Today.

And then, we want to share our day in Nice with you.

Welcome to Nice

Getting an early start on the weekend.

   

Looks like the Flatiron building in Manhattan.

  

Strolling the streets.

  

Waiting for a wedding to start .

  

The Mediterrean.waters are so blue.

  

No sand, just large rocks.

  

Breathtaking.

  

We had lunch on the beach.

  

Nice has a style of its own.

 

At Your Service 

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln. 

 
I have been living in Manhattan for almost 40 years. I’m used to walking three square blocks in any direction to get what I want. I’m also used to every type of delivery service. I get all my food, laundry, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, flowers, hardware, and home furnishings messengered to my doorstep. 
Now the rest of the country is going to have “almost” the same conveniences in a short period of time. Amazon Prime Now has just announced a new delivery service which will allow customers to order items from local neighborhood stores and have them sent to their homes in an hour or two.

Amazon Prime Now is testing the new service in Manhattan and then will expand to other cities such as Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, and Miami. An entire country rollout is presently being worked out. Amazon Prime Now is a new service of the Amazon Prime program, which costs $99 a year.  

This new service is another step in Amazon wanting to become your one-stop shop for everything. The first stores Amazon will be working with in Manhattan is D’Agostino, Gourmet Garage, and Billy’s Bakery. Eataly and Westside Market will join in soon.

Uber is reportedly going to announce a new delivery service as well. Let the competition  begin and welcome to my world!!

A New Chapter In Book Publishing

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Book publishers are finally going to compete with Amazon. Harper Collins is leading the way, but I heard other publishing houses plan to do exactly the same thing.

Effective in a month from now, Harper Collins is going to help their individual authors sell books. Harper Collins authors can now add a “Buy Now” button to their own personal websites and social feeds which will transfer book buyers directly to the hc.com (Harper Collins) online store.

That’s pretty cool. Seems like a natural to me. Not sure why this was never done before. I guess the book industry finally decided that they needed to do something novel. Ha!

That’s not all. Harper Collins authors will receive better royalty rates on affiliate sales.

Congratulations to all my friends who publish books with HC. My suggestion! Don’t quit your day job yet. A contact of mine at HC confided that this won’t put a dent in Amazon book sales for many years to come.

Click and Collect Lockers

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Photo: Engadget

I feel like the retail industry keeps reinventing itself. At some point retailers may end up exactly where they started, a storefront. Friends of mine who are business writers tell me that the next big trend in retail will be to have Internet purchases delivered to a pick-up station rather than a home address. It seems that a lot of e-commerce retailers are looking for new ways to accommodate customers.

Engadget reported that Amazon has already started this in London. I heard that it will be instituted in the United States as well. As of last week, Amazon has opened what they call click-and-collect lockers in Finchley Central and Newbury Park Tube stations in London. It seems odd, but purchases are being delivered to pick-up stations in subways in order to be more convenient for workers who commute.

Amazon is not the only retailer seeking out sites for pick-up locations. I hear that traditional department stores, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, and dedicated online retailers are considering this option too.

This may be a win-win for all. Customers get to pick where they want their purchases delivered and retailers get to make fewer delivery stops.

Dirty Phone Calls

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This post is going to gross you out. It discusses exactly how dirty your cell phone is. Maybe you don’t want to know. It’s one thing to find out about how dirty a public bathroom door knob is, or how dirty the inside of your handbag is, but get ready to freak when you learn about the filth and the germs you are putting on your face every time you make a call.

The inventors of PhoneSoap, a device that sanitizes your cell, reported that phones have 18 times more harmful bacteria than the handle on a male public toilet. They also found research reports that showed that staph, E. Coli, and MRSA live on our cell phones!

Okay you’ve been warned. Here comes a shocking bit of info. One in six cell phones have fecal matter on them because people use their phones in the bathroom. All this info comes from Wesley LaPorte, Inventor/Germ-Guru and Dan Barnes, Internet Marketing Guru at PhoneSoap.

This all may sound a little self-serving because LaPorte and Barnes are introducing a remedy for dirty phones, but the info is worth noting. They say that cell phones are susceptible to bacteria because of the warmth they radiate.

LaPorte and Barnes invented PhoneSoap, a small box that simultaneously charges and sanitizes your cell phone using UV-C light. UV-C light is electromagnetic radiation that’s used in hospitals and clean rooms around the world.

There is a lot more to learn about this product but I will allow a previous PhoneSoap fundraising campaign to spell it out. Click here to read much more about this product and cell phone related health concerns.

PhoneSoap is available on Amazon at $45.99. Remember, PhoneSoap charges your cell as well. That’s a huge plus.

Amazon’s Anticipatory Shipping

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In an effort to speed up deliveries, Amazon will be shipping products you haven’t even ordered yet. They will be placing bets on what you will want and when. How weird is that?

Amazon actually just received a patent for something called “anticipatory shipping.” It allows Amazon to predict your future purchases based on previous orders, site searches, and online window shopping.

Amazon is absolutely ecstatic about being psychic. They are going to fill warehouses nearby with items you may need in the future. All you have to do is click on “Buy.” The delivery will be made to you within an hour.