Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

DiEM TV: Another Now with Yanis Varoufakis

December 4, 2020

Putting one of the ideas in Another Now into action, last week Black Friday, one day of action against Amazon, buy nothing from Amazon,  do not visit their website, Make Amazon Pay.

During the pandemic Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth by $85 billion. Wealth begets wealth. Jeff Bezos can afford to take risks, have a long range vison, fund loss making projects, within Amazon can leverage projects to benefit all aspects of the business, we see this with artificial intelligence, when Amazon recommends a book it will be possible worth reading.

Facebook abuses its position, as we saw with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook knows more about us than we know ourselves, we are commodities to be used and abused and sold, it can target and manipulate us.

On reading Another Now I thought when do we fight back, when do we start the guerrilla tech war against the tech giants, against the banks, against dirty industries?

We need financial engineers, software engineers, leading researchers in artificial intelligence, who know where to hit vulnerable fragile systems with coordinated attacks.

The fight has begun with Make Amazon Pay, one day of targeted action against Amazon, buy nothing on Black Friday do not even visit their website on that day.

One week on from Black Friday, over 400 parliamentarians from across the world including Yanis Varoufakis and Jeremy Corbyn join in the call to Make Amazon Pay.

A tweet by Mark Dodds suggests a target for the UK, pubcos, a day when we do not drink in any tied pub or corporate pub chains.

Pubcos are zombie companies mired in debt. When they tire of relieving fools of their money they sell off their pubs for redevelopment.

There is action we can all take.

Support local indy businesses, buy coffee from a speciality coffee shop where they care about coffee, you will quite literally taste the difference.

During the first lockdown, I visited little independent shops, the local butcher, baker, fishmonger, fruit and vegetable market stall,  not once did I visit a supermarket. And it was safer to shop in these  little shops, limited numbers, I was in and out within a couple of minutes.

We do not have to use WhatsApp or Instagram, there are alternatives, post pictures to twitter not Instagram, use Skype not WhatsApp.

Facebook must be broken up, stripped of WhatsApp and Instagram.

We should overwrite all personal information on Facebook with false information, allow a couple of days to propagate through the system then delete. Never ever quiz, game or survey on Facebook,  these are scams to harvest your data, as Cambridge Analytica used very effectively. Never tag friends.

There are alternatives to using Amazon if wish to buy books on-line. But better still, pay a visit to your local bookshop.

Amazon provides a platform for third party vendors and these account for around half the sales through Amazon. A somewhat crappy website Bookshop.org does the same, except demands a larger discount from indie publishers than they give Amazon and for bookshops they make less on a book sale than if you walked through their door and bought a book and the sale is not fulfilled by the bookshop.

Writers can do their bit, stop directing to Amazon, support local bookshops, ask your publisher to offer Amazon discounts to local bookshops, at the very least as special offer when books are published.

Tech giants should be taxed on revenue where that revenue is generated. The same should also apply to tax dodging corporations for example Starbucks.

Our lives are controlled by algorithms, Big Tech owns the algorithms. The world of We, a world controlled by numbers.

Amazons suggests what I may wish to read, YouTube what I may wish to watch.

Big Tech has monopolised research on AI. To whose benefit, who has oversight?

Those who speak out are fired.

The treatment of employees by Big Tech who dare challenge their lack of ethics is not restricted to Amazon, as we see with the treatment of Timnit Gebru by Google.

Google fired the technical co-lead of the Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team Timnit Gebru for raising issues of ethics.

Please sign the statement in support of Timnit Gebru.

A day of action against Google in support of Timnit Gebru. What form should it take? For example a coordinated walk out by Google staff on the same day of no use of Google Chrome or YouTube.

Support and use open source software.

Download and install Brave, a faster alternative to Chrome that cuts out the crap.

Brave is a free open-source web browser.  It blocks ads and website trackers, and provides a way for users to send cryptocurrency contributions in the form of Basic Attention Tokens to websites and content creators.

Curry’s demonstrate why buy on-line from Amazon

January 10, 2019

Last week freezer of a fridge freezer failed.

Food rescued and stored in the garden, which at least kept viable for a couple of days.

To repair, quoted a price of £175, or £50 if no repair,  therefore decided to buy a new fridge freezer.

Last Friday paid a visit to Curry’s, a large shed on an inner city bypass, a large superstore of household appliances.

Settled on a Grundig fridge freezer, in the Curry’s Sale, £200 down from £300.

Price of many ridiculously high, for what is little more than an insulated box with a coolant system.

Grundig fridge freezer displayed on the door available in white or brushed metal.

When asked for white, an extra £20 was demanded. This was illegal, something Trading Standards should investigate, as there was nothing displayed to say white was extra. The model on display was brushed metal, a dull gun metal grey.

A moot point white, as not in stock, earliest the following Friday, with delivery some time after that.

The performance of the fridge freezer not prominently displayed. Displayed at the bottom of the lower door. Ideal for a dog to read. What were customers expected to do, get down on their hands and knees to read?

Grundig Fridge Freezer ordered. Free delivery not available until Wednesday of the following week, could arrive any time during the day.

Paid an extra £20 for removal and disposal of the old fridge freezer.

Wednesday morning, ie yesterday, delivery arrived at eight in the morning. A call fifteen minutes earlier to warn of imminent arrival.

Delivery said they could not take the old fridge freezer, a service paid for, as no room on their van, but would return within the next hour to collect.

Old fridge freeze dumped on the back lawn. Why, when hard standing where it could have been placed?

This caused a problem, as lawn maintenance service arrived in the afternoon, and had to work around the dumped fridge freezer.

Day turned to evening, no collection of fridge freezer.

Curry’s not only failed to take away the old fridge freezer for which they were paid £20, they also dumped the packaging for the new fridge freezer in the garden.

On checking today to ensure Curry’s had actually delivered the correct model as ordered, to my surprise, or maybe I should not be surprised,  I discovered the delivery was actually intended for someone else.

Curry’s were called this morning. They refused to accept any responsibility. Said the earliest they could collect would be some time next week.   They are in clear breach of contract. They were told, payment would be cancelled, and they could collect the delivered fridge freezer.

Curry’s then backed down said the earliest would be Friday, ie tomorrow, two days after the fridge freezer was delivered and old one should have been collected.

At minimum will expect refund of £20 paid for collection, as Curry’s in breach of contract.

Note: Curry’s turned up 9-30 Friday morning, 48 hours after old fridge freezer should have been collected. Two guys and a van. They had not a clue what it was they were to collect. Yet another example of Curry’s poor service.

Fridge freezer turned on after leaving to rest for five hours.

Had not reached temperature after one hour, had after two hours.

A slight adjustment of thermostat, and now with food returned from garden to fridge, has stabilised at correct temperature.

Freezer is still empty.

A bad design feature, no digital readout of fridge or freezer temperature. These days would expect as a standard feature.

Another bad design feature, bottom of fridge curves upwards towards the door. This makes very difficult pulling out the drawer for vegetables and salad and for gaining access to contents.

To compare with Amazon. A book ordered Saturday evening was delivered Sunday morning.

High Street chains are collapsing. Latest casualty HMV, which is no great loss.

High Street chains are failing because of their poor service. They compete with online by cutting service.  Thus enter a death spiral.

Latest results show failing retailers M&S and Waitrose did not do well over Christmas. This comes as no surprise when their service is so bad. Premium prices, fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves,  and yet cannot man the tills at checkouts.

Cowboy Amazon Logistics dump parcel on doorstep

November 7, 2016

I open my front door to find Amazon Logistics had dumped a parcel on my doorstep.

It is an educated guess left by Amazon Logistics, as no card left.

Last two deliveries were by Amazon Logistic, and both times they dumped the parcel, first time behind a wheelie bin, the second time in a wheelie bin.

Amazon has not denied parcel was dumped by Amazon Logistics

Royal Mail does not dump parcels. They may lose, but do not dump.

The location where the parcel was left, in full view of passers by in the street.

Whoever dumped the parcel blatantly lied, they claimed in tracking notes:

Parcel was handed to resident to K P

Not the first time they had lied. When the parcel was dumped behind the wheelie bin, it was claimed it had been handeed to myself. I was not even there.

Had it rained, the parcel dumped on my doorstep would have got soaked.

I was home at the time the parcel was dumped.

This is the third time  a parcel from Amazon has been dumped. Complaints are made, complaints are ignored.

Note: Tracking notes show delivered by Amazon Logistics.

Cowboy Amazon Logistics dump parcel in wheelie bin

October 19, 2016
calling card left by Amazon Logistics

calling card left by Amazon Logistics

The last time cowboy Amazon Logistics delivered a parcel they dumped it behind the wheelie bin. A complaint was lodged but appears to have made no difference. This time cowboy Amazon Logistics dump in the wheelie bin.

Illegible scrawl on the calling card. No name, no date.

Amazon Logistics have never been told of a safe place to leave parcels. Dumping in a wheelie bin seems to be a strange definition of safe.

How long been there do not know. At a guess, at least a month. Only discovered when throwing junk mail in the rubbish bin.

Cowboy Amazon Logistics dump parcel behind rubbish bin

September 15, 2016
Amazon Logistics meaningless calling card

Amazon Logistics meaningless calling card

Yesterday, an e-mail from Amazon to expect a delivery.

Postman was late. As leaving, I saw the postman, chased him down the street, to ask had he a parcel for me. He replied no.

I left, leaving a note on the door where the parcel should be left.

In the evening, no parcel had been left where I had advised, no card left, my note still on the door.

On reading my e-mail, I found parcel have been left, but not at all clear where.  Delivery tracking

Parcel was handed to resident

I had not given consent for parcel to be left with anyone. And should a card not have been left telling me where it had been left? And my note removed?  Who was the resident? The delivery tracking also said the parcel had been delivered to myself. It had not. Or if it had, where was it?

In a separate note, it is claimed parcel was handed to me at 1521.

It most certainly had not been handed to me, as I was not there, I was in Winchester.

That evening, message posted on twitter, e-mail sent, asking where was my parcel? No response.

The next day, ie today, I found a card. It was meaningless.

This evening I put out the bins for collection. I found my parcel dumped behind the rubbish bins. Had I not put out the bins, my parcel would have still been there, and could have been there for weeks. Had I put the bins out at night, I would not have seen the parcel.

As I write, a thunderstorm for the last couple of hours, now a very violent storm with very heavy rain. Heavy rain forecast all through the early hours of the morning until late morning.

Had I not by accident found my parcel, it would by now be a soggy mess.

ChevronToxico

December 7, 2014
Chevron crude

Chevron crude

Chevron will fight until hell freezes over, then skate it out on the ice. — Charles James, former Chevron Vice President and General Council

We can’t let little countries screw around with big companies like this … — Chevron lobbyist

For decades, Texaco (now owned by Chevron), dumped toxic waste in pristine Amazonian rainforest in Ecuador.

Chevron were sued in Ecuador, Chevron lost, but has refused to pay damages. Chevron has vowed to lock in litigation until hell freezes over, then to litigate on the ice.

This is how Big Business operates.

In a landmark judgement against Chevron in an Ecuadorian court in 2011, the company was ordered to pay more than $18 billion towards the clean up of widespread contamination, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The case, holding Chevron accountable for toxic dumping by its predecessor company, Texaco, has been upheld by appellate courts in Ecuador.

The case now goes to the International Criminal Court.

Please sign the petition calling on Chevron to pay for their crimes.

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Follow Amazon on twitter

October 19, 2014

How do you pursued people to voluntarily follow Amazon on twitter?

Offer them some free Bose music equipment.

Not even that, offer them the remote possibilty of some free Bose music equipment.

Amazon v Hachette-publishers-readers-writers

August 28, 2014
Amazon

Amazon

Amazon is locked into a bitter dispute with French publisher Hachette, but this is not the first dispute, previously it was with Macmillan.

What Amazon is trying to do is drive down the price it pays, it demands ever larger discounts, whilst pretending it is acting for readers.

The techniques Amazon adopts are those of medieval siege warfare.

With MacMillan, the buy button for any of their titles no longer worked.

With Hachette, long delays on a book, advance orders not possible.

The Penguin Random House merger, was an attempt to produce an even bigger conglomerate to challenge Amazon, or at least put up a fight.

Amazon has now not only upset publishers, it has upset writers whose books are not available, it has upset readers who are seeing much loved indie bookshops close.

The current issue is the price of e-books. Amazon wants to set the price at $9.99, Hachette wants $14-99.

Both are wrong, there are zero marginal costs associated with e-books, the price for an e-book should be less than a dollar.

The figure of $9-99 came from if a song is a 99 cents, then let us make a book $9-99. It is also a holy grail $9-99.

There are other players in the market, though they are small fry.

Publish a book and apart from well known best-selling authors, you take a risk. The majority of books go from published to remainder, or published to recycled.

Crowd sourcing removes the risk, you do not publish until you have a guaranteed number of buyers. That is the route Unbound have followed, though their books are expensive, and they have published very few books.

Writers can cut out the middle men, publish a book direct on Amazon, they retain 70%, much better than traditional publisher, but not as good as leanpub.

Disadvantage of Amazon, it is a proprietary format for a Kindle.

Kindle is an inferior e-book reader to a Kobo Touch, and the Kobo Touch uses epub, an open source format.

Leanpub, download in various formats, and with a minimum price, the reader can set what they wish to pay, and they see what goes to the publisher, what goes to the writer. The writer retains the rights.

For an audio book, there is bandcamp. Leanpub is very much offering for the written word what bandcamp offers for music and the spoken word. As with leanpub, the author retains the rights.

Publishers and the book chains have very much themselves to blame for the dire straits everyone now finds themselves in.

Adultery is an international best-seller from an international best selling author. Now if you are in the business of selling books, do you not, if you have an international best seller on your hands, pile it up and sell it fast? Not if you are Waterstone’s or WHSmith.

With Waterstone’s, you may find it on display with new releases, you may find someone who knows what your are asking for.

With WHSmith, it is far far worse. You will not find a member of staff who knows what you are asking for, you will search high and low in the store and not find it, you will probably find it not even in stock. And yet, WHSmith has Adultery on special offer at half price, and a further 20% off with a 20% off voucher. This is less than buying from Amazon. I repeat, cheaper than buying from Amazon.

Publishers are to blame. They offer the chains who cannot deliver, deep discounts, leaving indie bookshops to go bust. Offer the same discounts to indie bookshops, where they know about books, and you will sell more books.

An analogy would be indie coffee shops. An indie coffee shop, serving quality coffee, is more than able to see off the big chains with their disgusting coffee.

Amazon started with books. Books are cheap, easy to ship, fairly indestructible.

Amazon may have overstepped the mark. They are seen as a bully. They have poor working conditions, they dodge tax. They are now abusing their near monopoly position and stranglehold on the book market. Writers who are not published by Hachette may not be seeing their books blacklisted, for now. Their turn will come when the Amazon siege engines pitch up outside their publishers. And if this is what happens to the giant publishing conglomerates, what of the little publishers, where they care about books, where books have not been reduced to commodities, pile em high, sell em cheap?

Books are important, like music and art, they are part of our culture.

Kindle Fire Review

December 9, 2012

If you want to read free ebooks, don’t buy the Kindle Fire. Amazon has locked down the Fire to make it hard to get any content to it, except by buying from Amazon. It is a huge step back in freedom from the Kindle 3.

Even Apple has not gone so far as Amazon in locking down their devices. You can easily download and read ebooks on Apple devices using only the standard apps.

You can get free ebooks to the Fire too, but the process is so cumbersome that it isn’t worth the trouble given the alternative of buying a Nexus 7, which doesn’t purposely interfere with free content.

The commercial ads are extremely rude. If you put the Fire on standby, it sometimes turns itself on again just to show you ads. It happened to me when I was in bed and wanted to go to sleep. I tried many times to turn it off, but it always turned itself back on and showed me one more ad. In my desperation I shut it down completely, but it rebooted and showed me another ad! To make it shut up I had to lay it face down on the floor with a newspaper on top, where it showed ads to the carpet for I know not how long. In the morning it was finally off, but I surely won’t use that device in bed any more.

  • Don’t buy a Kindle Fire. Buy the very similar Google Nexus 7 instead, that costs the same and is not locked down.
  • If you have already bought a Kindle Fire, return it, and then buy the Nexus 7 instead.
  • If you cannot return your Kindle Fire, you can replace some of the functionality Amazon deliberately left out with this app.

This extremely brutal and to the point review is by the webmaster of Project Gutenberg.

I was warned by Kobo, Kindle Fire is inferior to equivalent Kobo device and about the intrusive adverts. Kobo also warned of the lock down, and said you were restricted on net access, for example youtube blocked.

Other reasons not to buy any Kindle:

  • propriety format not an Open Source non-propriety format
  • Kindle monitors what you are reading
  • Amazon can at any time wipe all the books off your Kindle
  • Amazon are tax dodgers

If you insist on e-books, use Calibre and ePub an Open Source non-propriety format. Better still, read real books.

38 Degrees seeks your help in tackling tax dodgers

November 23, 2012
£4.1bn: the true cost of tax avoidance

£4.1bn: the true cost of corporate tax avoidance

Starbucks, Google and Amazon: they’re all at it. These super rich big businesses were recently dragged up in front of MPs and exposed for using tax havens and other scams to pay little or no corporation tax.

There’s big talk from our politicians but not much action. Google even recently admitted “We could pay more tax but we would have to do so voluntarily”.

But together we have the numbers, track record and imagination to tackle tax dodging and win. And it’s the perfect time to work together to take it on. It’s all over the news and lots of people seem to want real change. These are the best ingredients for a great 38 Degrees campaign.

We’ve got the right moment – but we need the right next move to force a change. 38 Degrees members have voted time and time again to prioritise tackling tax-dodging. Can you fill out a few questions to decide together what we do next to tackle tax dodging?

Businesses based in the UK aren’t playing on a level playing field. From our local bookshops, right up to big names like John Lewis they’re being undercut and put out of business by tax dodgers. Something needs to change.

Alongside this, scores of high profile business people and celebrities have been dodging tax on their incomes. Our public services are being cut and we’re being asked to tighten our belts whilst others are being let off scot free.

We’ve shown before that when we act together we can push corporations and politicians to do the right thing. We’ve taken on companies like McDonalds and embarrassed them into not dodging tax around the Olympics.

If we focus our people powered movement on the right next move – we could force the change we need to see. It takes a couple of minutes to fill out the survey.

And please do not forget to join the occupation of Starbucks on 8 December 2012. If there is no action organised near you then organise one.


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