* You are viewing the archive for December, 2007

Amazon MP3 One Ups Apple, Gets Warner Music MP3s DRM-free

Amazon LogoHot on the heels of news of Apple soon offering rental movies via iTunes, Amazon has some even better news (in my opinion). Another sign that DRM (Digital Rights Management, music with restrictions) is on its way out: Amazon MP3 now offers DRM-free MP3s from Warner Music Group’s catalog.

This makes Amazon’s MP3 download store the first to offer DRM-free music from Warner Music and brings Amazon’s library up to 2.9 million songs, all without restrictions. And Warner’s catalog includes some of the most popular artists: Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Madonna, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.

Continue Reading »

Amazon 30-day Price Guarantee: Check Your Holiday Shopping

Amazon LogoWhile this holiday season has been met with record online shopping, remember that many retailers (even the online ones) don’t necessarily offer their best prices leading up to Christmas. I personally did much of my Christmas shopping via Amazon. And today being the day after Christmas, I thought I’d check the current prices on all those presents I bought and shipped. Here’s what I found:

Continue Reading »

Online Shopping Sets Record Even as Consumers Procrastinate

Internet Tax BanThe Economist, via numbers from Comscore, tells us that since the beginning of November online spending is up by 18% compared with 2006. And Thursday December 6th was the “biggest online spending day yet” with sales of $803m, which made for a weekly online sales record of $4.6 billion (see chart below). Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal today explains that traditional retailers are making a final big push before Christmas (why would they ever not make a big push at this time?).

The articles cites a study/survey, which shows that approximately 71% of shoppers were done shopping as of December 23rd while past holiday seasons have had more like 85% of shoppers done by the 23rd. Part of the article reminded me of my own situation:

Continue Reading »

Why Blockbuster Total Access Doesn’t Work

Blockbuster Total AccessIn theory, Blockbuster has a better offering than Netflix in that it “lets you rent online with the flexibility to exchange movies in-store, so you never have to wait for a movie.” That is, according to the marketing pitch plastered all over its homepage. But I decided to see just how “total” Total Access is, and I found it pretty lacking. In short, over half the movies in my Netflix queue are not available at my local Blockbuster.

Continue Reading »

Email Signatures with Famous Quotes: Amusing or Annoying?

Email SigThe popularity of adding some sort of quote as part of your email signature is on the rise (see discussion here and here). But some can be taken differently than intended. For example: “Too often we underestimate the power of a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Quotes like these can come across as a bit preachy by presuming readers are insensitive and complacent.

Continue Reading »

HD DVD Still Winning Price War vs. Blu-ray: Player & 10 Movies $219

HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray(*Update* The deal mentioned in the title is over, but Amazon has an even better deal: HD DVD player & 7 Movies for $132.)

Today I came across this article by Joel Hruska at Ars Technica in which he links to this Blu-ray deal on Amazon and says the following:

“Samsung is hoping to tilt the scales in favor of Blu-ray; as of right now, Samsung’s BD-P1400 Blu-ray player is selling for $279 on Amazon, down from a $499 MSRP. That’s not so much a discount as it is a steal, and it drops the BD-P1400 squarely within the price range for an HD DVD box.”

I couldn’t help but respond with all of Amazon’s concurrent HD DVD deals, which happen to be much better than the above mentioned “steal.”

Continue Reading »

Internet Video & TV: Can they ever join forces successfully?

Sony TVWe here at TechConsumer are no strangers to trying new ways of getting quality entertainment onto our living room big screens. Regular old cable TV doesn’t cut it, what with frequent commercial breaks, horrible selection, and inopportune timing. Surprisingly (at least to us), though, cable TV is what most of the free world uses (the part of the free world with TVs, that is).

To recap, Logan reviewed using Amazon Unbox on TiVo without a computer, Paul reviewed using both CinemaNow and Vongo on the Xbox 360, and each of us took a turn at pointing out why Netflix is amazing. But each service has its disadvantage ranging from “too complicated” to “inconvenient” with “too expensive” and “too slow” somewhere in the middle.

Continue Reading »

RSS Explained: A Really Simple Summary

RSSFor those uninitiated, RSS is generally thought to stand for “Really Simple Syndication,” a name that’s almost as useless as the acronym in explaining what it is. In short, it’s an online technology that allows you to read headlines/articles from news websites, blogs, and other sources all in one place (see example pictured below).

Continue Reading »