Tag Archives: Amazon Prime

Three Video Games We Preordered – and One We Didn’t

So for a variety of reasons, Holly and I just preordered several video games on Amazon the other day. Actually, I should go through those reasons… So one is that the funds from the anti-trust lawsuit about e-books has hit, so we both had Amazon store credit. Second is that we found out that Amazon Prime members get 20% off of preordered or recently new video games. We joined Prime for their “Amazon Mom” subscription service, and it’s been great for basic supplies for Geek Baby. We’ve added a few subscriptions since then… But since we’re already Prime members, why not take advantage of the perks?

The other reasons are more related to the games. I think this year is finally the year that the newest generation of consoles is finally getting good, so we were perhaps still a bit ahead of that curve when we bought last fall… Still, finally, games. Our last big splurge on games was when our local Walmart was going out of business, so we are swimming in more than we have time to play, but we’ve had our eyes on these for a while, so when we saw the Amazon benefits to ordering we gave our wish lists a look.

That, and E3 happened, so there was suddenly new preview material to look at! This helped guide us in our game purchasing decisions. After watching the new stuff, we decided to order three games… and to not order a fourth. Let’s take a look!

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Review: Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

I mentioned in my post at the beginning of the year that I was looking forward to getting back into reading, especially by branching out and trying new authors and genres I generally wouldn’t think to try. I’m about to feel like a commercial and I apologize for that, but with Amazon Prime I get one free Kindle book a month through¬†their Kindle First program. For the longest time I’ve been awesome at picking one out each month and downloading it… but that’s as far as I’ve gotten with all but one of them (a romance novel that helped me discover a new novelist to read for fun; that’s probably a great post for another time).

So for January, I decided to try one of the most recent ones I’d picked out and read it as my book for the month. I maybe missed doing it in January because time is going by too quickly, but I did finally pick it up this week, and I’m really glad I did.

harmony black

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer has all the great workings of a modern mystery novel; Harmony Black is an FBI agent working for a Special Ops branch who usually works alone, but gets pulled out of her first vacation in years by an unusual string of infant¬†kidnappings. She’s thrust into working with a motley crew of FBI agents and associates, and the mystery takes them back to her hometown, to the unsolved mystery of her sister’s mysterious kidnapping, which happened thirty years ago… and yet by all accounts the same scenario is repeating itself. Oh, and did I mention that Harmony Black is a witch and the branch of the FBI she works for targets magical and demonic criminals in very underground, off the books ways, and the case they’re trying to solve involves the Bogeyman?

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Have online services finally figured out the idea of a family?

Holly and I use a lot of online services – video watching, e-book reading, gaming, music, apps… And all of these work off of individual accounts. When we met, we already had accounts with a lot of the big names – Apple, Amazon, things like that. As we started to grow collections like Kindle books and iPhone apps, we were doing so in parallel accounts.

That meant for us to share Kindle books, we were having to use each other’s Kindles, for Apps we’ve had to buy a number of duplicates. For music, we’d have to burn a CD to share, which we often forgot to do so it was hard to share music. For downloading movies or TV shows, we always had to figure out which account or computer to put it on.

However, of late this problem seems to be going away. I’m not sure how long all of these options have been a thing, but once we found one, we went hunting for others and were not disappointed.

I think it started with Apple, who were advertising their new Family accounts earlier this year. This let us finally connect our Apple accounts, giving us access to each others’ Apps (useful for, for instance, the Board Game apps we had only bought on one account each) and music (great for all those albums we had never shared). It also meant that who had which TV shows or movies didn’t matter, and we could make those decisions more on whose computer has more HD space.

Then we went and looked at Amazon, and found that it finally also has family accounts! Which is great, and was just in time – we could both have easy access to the baby-related Kindle books we’ve gotten, and things like that. It also removes a lot of the issue with us making one of our two accounts into a Prime account. Sadly, we have not found any way to really run a joint Wish List yet, so there’s room for improvement on Amazon yet!

There’s family Gold now on X-Box, though we dropped Gold there just because we haven’t had a ton of gaming time there (and have been on the PS3 more). When we added NetFlix back recently the account can be set up with different viewers – which was bad when it came to setting up the data settings, as Holly mentioned, and which is good with the Kids option which we’ll eventually make use of.

All in all, it feels like the Internet finally has some idea of taking these individual user accounts, and linking them within a household. Which is the sort of thing that users have been awkwardly trying to do for ages. It’s going to happen, so it’s good that they’ve made ways to try and make it easy.

How about you – any services like this that you’ve found, or any you wish would add a family option? Let us know in the comments below!

Moving to the Cloud

I know this has been going on for a while, but recently with the Xbox One announcements it has made me think about it more and more. There are so many things moving to download online and you either buy the code to authorize the download or you tie it to a login account. I have friends who do not have any cable and just have Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others where they get and either watch or download movies and tv shows. We are moving away from owning a physical copy of something and either having a digital copy or paying for continued access to an online version.

David and I have moved toward watching more stuff online, but we still pay for a lot of physical items as well. We do e-books, download tv shows, rent movies, but we still buy the blu-ray of certain shows and we also like to support local book stores (woohoo Tattered Cover). There is some level of trust that is there with keeping stuff in the cloud. If you truly keep everything in the cloud you have to trust that the company you bought stuff from is going to be around for a good long while. There is some trust that we put into Amazon when we buy their e-books because they store the books for us and we can download it for us, but they have to be around for us to continue to download the books we have already bought from them.

The secondary issue is that not too long ago, in a ploy to stop piracy, many internet providers have decided to move away from unlimited download size. They are increasing the price to be able to download at a decent speed and to be able to download enough data. With moving to the cloud, more and more people will need / want faster internet and higher limits. It is not only downloading that becomes an issue, but video chat, online games, etc. We are moving towards a world of being online (original Xbox One design) and the internet providers do not seem to have a model that is conducive to being an online society. Continue reading