Amazon.com is testing delivering packages using drones, CEO Jeff Bezos said on the CBS TV news show 60 Minutes Sunday.
The idea would be to deliver packages as quickly as possible using the small, unmanned aircraft, through a service the company is calling Prime Air, the CEO said.
Bezos played a demo video on 60 Minutes that showed how the aircraft, also known as octocopters, will pick up packages in small yellow buckets at Amazon’s fulfillment centers and fly through the air to deliver items to customers after they hit the buy button online at Amazon.com.
The goal of the new delivery system is to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less, the world’s largest Internet retailer said. Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take “some number of years” as Amazon develops the technology further and waits for the Federal Aviation Administration to come up with rules and regulations, the company added.
If all digital data were stored on punch cards, how big would Google’s data warehouse be?
Google almost certainly has more data storage capacity than any other organization on Earth.
Google is very secretive about its operations, so it’s hard to say for sure. There are only a handful of organizations who might plausibly have more storage capacity or a larger server infrastructure. Here’s my short list of the top contenders:
Amazon (They’re huge, but probably not as big as Google.)
Facebook (They’re on the right scale and growing fast, but still playing catch-up.)
Microsoft (They have a million servers, although no one seems sure why.)
Let’s take a closer look at Google’s computing platform.
As a reminder, it goes byte, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terrabyte, petabyte, exabyte… O_o
David Good’s parents come from different countries - hardly unusual in the US where he was raised. But the 25-year-old’s family is far from ordinary - while his father is American, his mother is a tribeswoman living in a remote part of the Amazon. Two decades after she left, David realised he had to find her.
It had been two decades, but David recognised his mother.
“I knew it was her right away,” he says. “I stood up and approached her. And then it just hit me - what do I do? Everything in me just wanted to hold her, to hug her, but that’s not the Yanomami way of greeting people.
“So it was just this awkward encounter. I put my hand on her shoulder and she started trembling and crying. And I looked into her eyes and I just couldn’t help but start crying myself.”
“There was a silence,” says Hortensia Caballero, who had come upriver with David. “What I remember was a silence. It was a very beautiful, intense moment. Of course all the women in the village, including me, found we had tears on our cheeks.”
David started to speak softly in English. He said “I’m here, I’m finally here,” and “I made it, I’m back” and “It’s been so long”.
Fascinating long read from the BBC.
Online retailer Amazon is severing ties with its online associates in Missouri because of a new state law that subjects their transactions to sales taxes.
Amazon Associates write blogs or product reviews then link to Amazon.com, and collect commissions - between 4 percent and 8.5 percent - if people use that link to buy something on Amazon’s site.
Amazon is blaming a new Missouri new law that takes effect next week subjecting those online transactions to sales taxes for its decision to sever the ties, the Kansas City Star reported.
The retailer notified its Amazon Associates in an email last week that, it will no longer “pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon site after August 27.”
Apple lost a major case when District Judge Denise Cote ruled that the company led a conspiracy to raise e-book prices above those charged by Amazon. Cote’s 160-page ruling, released this morning, offered some intricate detail on just how that conspiracy worked.
Cote described how Apple struck agreements with each of the five publisher defendants—who settled the case before trial—in order to push e-book rates higher than Amazon’s. The negotiations happened in the seven weeks leading up to the January 27, 2010 announcement of the iPad.
Publishers told Apple they were unhappy with Amazon’s standard price of $9.99. Although they received the full wholesale value of each book sold by Amazon, publishers didn’t want $9.99 to catch on as the new default price for e-books, especially since this was so much lower than hardcovers. One strategy they used to keep revenues up was to delay the release of e-book versions of new books, but Apple told publishers it opposed this tactic in its then-forthcoming e-books store. HarperCollins wanted to flat-out charge as much as $18 or $20 for e-books, but Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue also made it clear that this was unrealistic. Apple was more amenable, however, when HarperCollins suggested using an “agency model” instead of the wholesale model used by Amazon.
With a wholesale model, Apple would purchase e-books and resell them at a price of its choosing, whereas with an agency model “a publisher sets the retail price and the retailer sells the e-book as its agent.” Apple would become the agent selling the books, taking a 30 percent commission on each sale, just as it does with its App Store.
But Apple did not want to open an e-book store at all unless it was profitable, Cote wrote, and in order to make it work, the company had to deal with Amazon. Apple had even considered proposing a partnership with Amazon, “with iTunes acting as ‘an e-book reseller exclusive to Amazon and Amazon becom[ing] an audio/video iTunes reseller exclusive to Apple,’” Cote wrote.
Amazon and other e-commerce firms are cutting ties with all Minnesotans who earn money by posting links that send traffic to online merchants after lawmakers passed a tweak to state sales tax law.
Minnesota E-Fairness legislation, signed by Gov. Mark Dayton on May 23 and going into effect July 1, classifies independent bloggers and online reviewers as a physical presence of a business in the state. This means online companies who pay these people to generate new sales must collect tax not just on those sales, but on all sales in the state.
The tax on online sales is already due, but the onus has been on consumers, who often never pay the tax. The new law puts the onus on Amazon, as long as they have a single blogger posting links to its products from Minnesota.
The state has estimated the new law will generate $5 million in new revenue, but Amazon is having none of it.
The company sent an email to associates in Minnesota, saying it will close all accounts in the state to avoid the tax.
“This is a direct result of the unconstitutional Minnesota state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Dayton,” the letter said. “We will no longer pay any advertising fees for customers referred to an Amazon Site after June 30 nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Minnesota residents.”
The state Department of Revenue said it is working on this issue today, but was not immediately ready to comment.
Aaron Hall, an attorney in Minneapolis who has clients who will be affected and has written about the new law, said even he will lose a couple hundred dollars a month as Amazon pulls the plug on the Minnesota program.
“A lot of bloggers have been hit,” Hall said.
Amazon, which was not immediately available for further comment, is not the only company cutting off ties with Minnesota bloggers and reviewers. Commission Junction, a California-based firm that handles online marketing and advertising, has also pulled out of the state, Hall said. Commission Junction was not immediately ready to comment.
The people affected are part of a grass-roots, independent e-commerce sales force, creating accounts with these companies and posting special links to blog posts, reviews and display ads that credit them for sales. Sometimes they earn a commission, up to 6 percent, Hall said. Some people make tens of thousands of dollars a year.
Amazon has already pulled out of states like California, North Carolina, Colorado, Connecticut, Arkansas, Illinois and Rhode Island for similar reasons.
The online giant called Minnesota’s E-Fairness legislation “unconstitutional” in its lette, and called for federal lawmakers to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act to resolve the confusion of online sales tax policy from state to state.
“Congressional legislation is the only way to create a simplified, constitutional framework to resolve interstate sales tax issues and it would allow us to re-open our Associates program to Minnesota residents,” Amazon said.
Online retail giant Amazon took a step to expand its footprint on the mobile platforms of both Apple and Google, introducing a Login with Amazon application programming interface that developers can integrate with their sites and apps in order to save time for their users.
The retailer touts Login with Amazon as a way for developers to save time and increase security for their customers. Instead of building the infrastructure to have user data and passwords saved, a developer implements the Login with Amazon API and Amazon handles user credentials on its end.
How does the Internet affect power? How does power affect the Internet?
Factors such as ubiquitous surveillance, the rise of cyberwar, ill-conceived laws and regulations on behalf of either government or corporate power, and a feudal model of security collide to create a circumstance in which those in power are using information technology to increase their power, at the expense of users.
Bruce Schneier—renowned security technologist and author—discusses these issues and more with the Berkman Center’s Jonathan Zittrain.
Amazon is the king of online booksellers and, by most accounts, the most feared player in publishing. Yet last week it shelled out a reported $150 million to buy up Goodreads, a social network for book nerds with a devoted but far from enormous 16 million members. So why is most of the media convinced this is a brilliant deal? You´ve probably heard a few of the answers already. Namely, Amazon gets to keep a potential competitor out of the hands of rivals like Apple or Barnes and Noble, while snapping up a vast trove of data
Amazon has failed me, here.