Technology

Amazon needs to work on its suggestion algorithm

I love Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program, its been great for having things like toilet paper, toothpaste, and other household necessities delivered, which in turn means less trips to the store, where a run for cat food inevitably turns into a $200 trip. My only complaint is the seemingly endless way products pop in and out of the program, forcing me to revise my orders monthly.
Amazon tries to be helpful when this happens by listing a similar product in the cancelation email that I may want to use as a substitute. A recent discontinuation
of a certain Herbal Essences shampoo prompted them to ask if I’d like to subscribe to Pantene instead. Sure, why not?
This email I got from them last weekend however makes me think they have a long way to go when it comes to the products they suggest. Somehow I don’t think this would work for us 😉

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Week 11 – Stormageddon’s Heartbeat!

This is a recording Paul did for me of Stormageddon’s heartbeat coming from my doppler. I’ve been able to pick it up since 8 weeks 4 days, but it’s gotten easier to find as the weeks go on. Hoping to feel some movement soon so I won’t be inclined to check it so often!

Magicjack Beats Google Voice to the Punch for Free Voip Calls

I love Google Voice. In fact I love Google Voice to the point that I use it exclusively both online and IRL as my preferred contact number.  The ability to selectively block numbers, the voicemail transcription, and the ability to send certain callers straight to voicemail make this service the perfect enhancement to my run-of-the-mill cell service.

The only thing missing, with Google Voice being an online service, is the seemingly obvious but not-yet-appearing ability to make and receive calls from more than just a cell or landline. Google Talk has given us the ability to make voice calls to other Gtalk users for years now, and with their 2009 acquisition of Gizmo5, it seemed a desktop app allowing users to make free calls to other phones via their home computers would be just around the corner. Techcrunch confirmed this last month when they produced video of what they claimed was the unreleased pc application.

Out of the shadows, and very much unexpectedly, VocalTec Communications Ltd., the company behind Magicjack, has announced it will be releasing just such a product this week. Called ‘MagicTalk’, it will allow users to make and receive unlimited calls to landlines and cell phones in the US and Canada free of charge from their desktop or laptop, and the company plans to release versions for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry platforms in September or October. Each user will be assigned a phone number, although the company will allow numbers to be ported in for a fee. Calls to international numbers will also be extra.

While I’m disappointed Google let a competitor get there first, I’m really excited about finally being able to make truly FREE and unlimited calls from my computer, allowing me to drop the $20 a year Magicjack subscription, and the quarterly $7.95 I was spending on a backup Skype calling subscription.  Magicjack is fully compatible as a forwarding phone for Google Voice, so Paul and I may even be able to sort out a solution for our two personal accounts as well as him using one for business.

While I’m still anxiously awaiting Google’s desktop app, I will be happy to test out MagicTalk in the meantime and look forward to comparing the two services.