BlathrWayne Lorentz

Showing blathrs with the tag “Amazon.”

Koop your money

Monday, October 17th, 2022 Alive 18,801 days

Amazon Music playing the wrong song

Another day, another technology that fails to live up to its billing. This is a familiar one: Amazon.com, and its Amazon Music service.

Today I tried to play the album Koop Islands by the band Koop. Except that I canʼt.

Whenever I press the play button on one of the album's songs, Amazon Music plays something other than the song I requested.

I clicked on Koopʼs song Come to Me and it played the song In the Morning by Natural Self.

I clicked on Koopʼs song Koop Island Blues and Amazon Music played the song Ode to Billie Joe by Nicola Conte.

If Amazon canʼt handle something as simple as playing music, maybe I shouldnʼt let it store my credit card information.

Amazon Music playing the wrong song again.
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Not yours. Canʼt has.

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 Alive 18,795 days

Amazon Music stating that music that it can no longer play some music that it used to play

Streaming media is one of the many areas of technology that has failed to live up to its hype.

Streaming services use vague marketing words promising “unlimited” this and “endless” that. But the seldom-acknowledged fact is that if you rely on streaming music services, the music you love could just disappear tomorrow with no notice, or recourse. Thanks for the money, donʼt let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Just like how newspapers publish lists of whatʼs going to disappear from Netflix at the end of the month, streaming music also gains and loses music and artists regularly.

The screenshot above is Amazon Music telling me that it no longer has any songs by Comsat Angels. It knows Comsat Angels. It used to have Comsat Angels music. But not today. If you love Comsat Angels and give money to Amazon Music, youʼre out of luck.

Streaming music is the same thing as renting music. You donʼt own it. It can be taken away from you at any time.

Itʼs similar to when Microsoft abandoned its e-book store and millions of people lost the millions of books they thought they owned. A digital librarian sneaked into their homes in the middle of the night, emptied their shelves, and left behind a note reading, “Didnʼt you read page 640 of the EULA? You only rented these books. Sucker.”

This is all fine if all you care about is whatever is trendy over the last 48 hours. But people connect to books, movies, and especially music emotionally. Thatʼs why people create music. And to have those emotions yanked away from you is going to be hard on people once they realize that the things they once loved have disappeared and they didnʼt know it was going to happen.

As for the Comsat Angels, Iʼll hit the local record stores to find what Iʼm looking for. Then Iʼll own it. For real and forever.

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Mass hysteria

Monday, October 10th, 2022 Alive 18,794 days

A series of e-mails from Walgreens that I ignored until someone was at my front door

I spend too much time pointing out the shortcomings of modern technology. Thereʼs a reason that Tech and Fail are among my most populated blathr tags.

Today, however, Iʼd like to point out what, on the surface, looks like a tech success story. But at a deeper level is the success of a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer to adapt to changes in society in order to — literally — deliver better than a tech company did.

It started a couple of days ago, when I ordered something medical from Amazon.com. In general, I donʼt buy anything that goes on or in a living being from Amazon. Between counterfeits, people selling used items as new, and a constantly-growing list of other reasons, relying on Amazon just isnʼt safe anymore. When your company canʼt even prevent selling bogus copies of books, you have a problem.

In this case, however, I ordered from Amazon because the medical thing I needed was not available from any of the CVS or Walgreens stores that I can reach, and purchasing from Walmart meant waiting two to three weeks for delivery. Walmart used to be safer than Amazon, but has recently decided to trod the same road to unreliability by embracing unknown, unverified, and dubious independent sellers.

What Amazon delivered was clearly not suitable. Instead of being in branded packaging, the item was in a Zip-Loc bag. Legitimate medical items arenʼt packaged in consumer baggies. Legitimate medical items are also not labeled by hand in ball-point pen. And they also donʼt spill their contents during shipping, unless they are seriously mishandled. The box that the item arrived in was in fine shape, and the medical item sufficiently padded.

Exasperated, I went to the CVS web site to see if perhaps the item was back in stock my local store. The CVS web site would not function. So I tried Walgreens. Except, this time instead of specifying a store that I can get to easily by train, I let the Walgreens web site pick one. And it did a splendid job.

The item I needed was in stock at a Walgreens in an area I would never think to travel to. So I put two in my cart, selected “Same day delivery” and went back to reading my New York Times.

Before I could finish the International section, there was a guy dropping a paper bag on my doorstep.

I checked my e-mail and found that the time from when I placed my order online until Walgreens notified me that my order was ready to be delivered was four minutes. Four minutes. It was picked up minutes after that, and delivered to me straight away.

The total time from when I placed the order to when I received my Walgreens order was 22 minutes. For an item that I couldn't get at a drug store near me, and that Amazon sent a counterfeit of.

Yes, I had to pay $3.99 for the delivery. But the item was a dollar cheaper at Walgreens than at Amazon, and I ordered two of them. So the cost difference was $1.99. More importantly — I got what I paid for.

Walgreens is better than Amazon. Man bites dog. The sky is green. Everything the tech bubble has been preaching about the death of brick-and-mortar is wrong.

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Delivery headache

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022 Alive 18,767 days

I tried to track my PillPack delivery. I got this error message.

I guess this is what happens when I rely on the same company that sells me plastic adhesive googlie eyes 👀 👀 👀 to deliver my prescriptions.

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I understand that you understand

Friday, September 9th, 2022 Alive 18,763 days

Amazon.com chatbot in action

I'm not sure where the Amazon.com chatbot picked up the phrase “Thank you for understanding here.” But, inspired by its gratefulness, I think Iʼll understand “over there” next.

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Seattle, we have a problem

Friday, September 9th, 2022 Alive 18,763 days

An Amazon.com error message

With half a trillion dollars to work with, this still happens to Amazon.com. So, what chance do I have?

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Performing stability

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022 Alive 18,733 days

A list of meaningless status updates from eero

Vagueness is not a virtue. I can only imaging that the git commit history for Amazonʼs eero team looks like “Update,” “Update,” “Update,” “Update,” “Update.”

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It's not even Christmas yet

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022 Alive 18,705 days

A pile of packages

Thanks, Amazon. Ooh! Paper towels!

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Well, add something!

Friday, May 27th, 2022 Alive 18,658 days

Bad string handling in the Amazon.com app

It seems that my choices are to:

  • Add a credit or debit card
  • Add a credit or debit card
  • Add a personal checking account
  • or add a personal checking account

Maybe Iʼll enter my personal financial information later, when Amazon.comʼs system is a little more stable.

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🎵Slow down🎵

Monday, May 16th, 2022 Alive 18,647 days

An Amazon Music error message

Part of the Amazon Music screen says “purchased.” Another part says I canʼt download the music I paid for.

Trying again in 15 minutes didnʼt change anything. Nor did trying again in 30 minutes, or 45. An hour after my purchase I got on the blower with Amazon customer service, and was told to wait 24 hours to download the music I paid for.

Thatʼs OK for me, because I'm patient. I was able to download the music when I tried a couple of days later. But isnʼt the whole point of Amazon Music that people are supposed to have immediate, unlimited access to their music?

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Package deal

Saturday, April 9th, 2022 Alive 18,610 days

Abandoned packages from Amazon.com

Three packages for three different people dumped in a corner is actually not the worst Amazon.com delivery experience Iʼve seen lately.

At least these were inside a building, and not just dumped on a sidewalk outside a skyscraper in the middle of Americaʼs fourth-largest city.

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I thought they were working from home

Friday, March 4th, 2022 Alive 18,574 days

Amazon.com telling me itʼs too busy to take my money

Thereʼs a big backup at the floating bridge toll booth, so there are no Amazon.com employees available to take my order right now.

If Amazon.com canʼt keep its web site running, what chance do I have?

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So expected

Thursday, January 6th, 2022 Alive 18,517 days

Things that sometimes donʼt work, or donʼt work as expected:

  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • SiriusXM
  • Amazon Music
  • Pandora

Thing that always works exactly as expected: My wifeʼs vinyl record player.

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Wannabes

Monday, November 1st, 2021 Alive 18,451 days

The tech world in 2021:

  • Meta wants to be the new Google
  • Google wants to be the new Microsoft
  • Microsoft wants to be the new Oracle
  • Oracle wants to be the new IBM

Meanwhile,

  • Apple wants to be the new Sony
  • Amazon.com wants to be the new Sears

Nothing is new.

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Cheaper than Google Cloud, more relianle than Microsoft Azure

Thursday, July 15th, 2021 Alive 18,342 days

Every ten years it seems like the tech world bring in a new batch of people who never bothered to study how things worked in previous decades, and thus end up not only reinventing the wheel, but hyping it up like itʼs the first time anyone ever thought of whatever it is theyʼre all excited about.

Timesharing → Thin clients → Web apps

Hypercard → Web sites

Brittanica → Encarta → Wikipedia

Q-Link → IRC → Second Life → Virtual reality

Rabbitjackʼs Casino → BetMGM

An ad for MicroNET in the February, 1980 issue of Byte magazine

Also not new: Cloud computing. Check out the highlights from this 1979 advertisement for MicroNET:

  • MicroNET allows the personal computer user access to… large computers, software and disc storage
  • You can use our powerful processors
  • Operating time [is] billed in minutes to your VISA or MasterCharge card
  • You can even sell software via MicroNET.

MicroNET was a way for CompuServe to allow people to use spare capacity on its big iron computers. People could upload their personal projects, conduct business, and even develop software using the might of dozens of machines thousands of times more powerful than what they could afford in their own homes. Maintenance, backups, power supply, networking, and other infrastructure details were abstracted away from the end user so the user could concentrate on the task at hand.

Sound familiar, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and a thousand other virtual machine companies?

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Sew what?

Friday, June 11th, 2021 Alive 18,308 days

I bought a new pair of sewing scissors from Amazon. It came in a package that required scissors to open.

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2021 Alive 18,149 days

Amazon Fresh, out of everything

Dear Amazon Fresh,

Why do you always show me what you donʼt have, rather than what you do have?

Iʼm not impressed by your selection if I canʼt buy anything. Youʼre just demonstrating the weakness of your supply chain.

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Monday, December 21st, 2020 Alive 18,136 days

I just saw an ad on TV for working at Amazon.com.

A woman said something like, “I joined Amazon to improve kids education.” What thought process was that?

“I want to help children… I know, Iʼll work at a company that sells fake Chinese diapers!”

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Saturday, December 19th, 2020 Alive 18,134 days

Amazon Fresh failing at search

“Search is hard,” the tech bubble constantly says.

Itʼs not this hard.

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Thursday, November 5th, 2020 Alive 18,090 days

A Whole Foods error message

If Amazon.com canʼt keep Whole Foods running, what chance do I have?

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Tim Wonnacott FTW

Thursday, August 27th, 2020 Alive 18,020 days

Amazon lost another one of my packages. Really lost it. Itʼs so lost that Amazon doesnʼt even know which warehouse was supposed to send it to me.

If Amazon was a person, it would apparently be very embarrassed because it proactively refunded my $16, plus ten bucks for being stupid.

Fortunately, it wasnʼt anything important; just some electronic circuits so I could occupy my brain. Iʼll watch Antiques Road Trip on TV until I can order more.

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A stand-up gal

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 Alive 17,459 days

A bad Amazon.com search

I searched Amazon.com for “easel.”

One of these things is not like the others.

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