LOST IN THE AMAZON

Everyone in our building is Amazon-nuts, including us. The boxes pile up like mountains in the package room. The lady who handled them quit.

We are just as Amazon-mad as everyone else. We can’t help but be impressed by Amazon’s bargains and free shipping. But they don’t always have the cheapest price. And yet, nearly every thing we get comes from Amazon or one of its five million vendors.

We ordered a bed and mattress from Amazon for about $600 less than the local store was charging. The order page had an option to have the old bed hauled away. But that moved back the delivery date a couple of weeks. We nixed that and called a local guy to haul away the old bed He came, but the new bed didn’t. Now we were bedless and had just given away our couch.

Amazon’s vendor said they called us but we must have had the ringer off. So they rescheduled the delivery for five days later. That was five days too late, so we canceled everything and walked around the corner to American Mattress. It was great to test a bed with our own backsides. And to talk to an actual sales person. But the old-fashioned approach also had its flaws.

We couldn’t be home to accept delivery on the day assigned to us. But we live in a building with a doorman who said he’d handle everything. The store’s driver said he called the doorman but got no answer.The doorman said he saw them parked in front for a long time before they finally drove away. It didn’t dawn on him to ask if they were delivering something to our address. It was also his fault, as it turned out, not Amazon’s, that we didn’t get the first bed delivered on time.

So we will continue to order from our favorite e-store. Surprisingly, the first bed we ordered from Amazon finally came, though we had canceled it three different ways. This time the driver got through to us on the phone, so we could simply say: “We refuse it.” The refund showed up in our account the same day. 

Doorbell Camera

Our friends Olga and Stefano, a Russian wife and her Italian husband, recently got a doorbell camera. That’s how Olga was able to surprise the neighbor by telling him that his son had stopped by her door when she wasn’t home. “How did you know?” he asked.

If you want to see who’s at the front door, and you don’t have a peephole or aren’t home, a video doorbell is the way to go. Google’s “Nest Hello” camera for $229 gets all the publicity. But the number two camera, “Ring Video Doorbell 2,” for $199, may be worth your attention. It’s now owned by Amazon. Both record video you can watch on your phone.

According to DigitalTrends, Ring is the one to get if you prefer simplicity over style. Like Nest, it lets you see and talk to the person at the door without being there, and see video clips on your phone of any action outside your door. Unlike Nest, it’s wireless, so you don’t have to fiddle with your doorbell’s wiring circuits. On the downside, the video isn’t as sharp or clear. Also, Ring’s sound quality is muffled compared to Nest’s. Overall, DigitalTrends recommends Nest over Ring, unless a simple setup is key.

Giving Away a Kindle

A reader writes that she “loves her new Kindle Fire 10, it’s so easy for us old people.” She wants to give her three older Kindles to her granddaughter’s fourth grade class. It’s important to deregister them first. Here’s how:

First, restore the Kindle to its factory defaults. Tap the menu icon (looks like three lines, also called the hamburger icon). Then tap “Settings,” “Menu” and “Reset Device” or “Reset to Factory Defaults.”

Now Google the phrase “Manage Your Kindle,” and click the first result. Next click the “Devices” tab. Finally, click the three dots next to the device you want to de-register and click “deregister.”

Internuts

  • Fosse and Verdon.” Click on that link from YouTube or click the play  button below to see some spectacular dancing by Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon in “Damn Yankees.” The FX channel has a new TV series on the pair, who were married.
  • 27 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Google Sheets Could Do.” Click on that link for tips on using Google’s free spreadsheet program. Our favorite: Type “sheets.new” without the quotes wherever you are on the web to start a new spreadsheet.

Numbers Report

Ever wonder why Google is such a big company? It has 61 percent of the worldwide market for ads that appear next to your searches, according to eMarketer. Overall, its digital ad revenue will amount to $104 billion this year, giving it a 31 percent share of the digital ad market. Facebook is second with a 20. percent share. Google has 35 percent of the worldwide mobile ad market –the ads you see on your phone or tablet, compared to Facebook, which has 27 percent. YouTube will have 1.7 billion users this year, two thirds of all digital video users worldwide.

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