Friday, June 20, 2014

All This Technology and You Can’t Find My Order?

Years ago, I was at the historic Algonquin Hotel in New York and happened encounter famed novelist John Updike. His reputation obviously preceded him, penning such edgy tomes as “Couples” and the “Rabbit” series, but it was his 1960 magazine piece on the last at bat by Red Sox legend Ted Williams that remains one of my perennial favorites. And bypassing my usual credo of never bothering celebrities proceeded to tell him so.

He politely thanked me and moved along. When his biography became available on Amazon I quickly ordered it and sadly, after weeks and weeks of waiting, it never came. Back and forth correspondence ensued and the bottom line was that to this day, I am sans the Updike bio. 

Not that his hasn’t happened to me before with the renowned e-commerce purveyor of seemingly everything. On two other occasions they have managed to bollix a routine order. Now I realize that the company must have to fulfill an inordinate amount of online “shopping carts” on a daily basis and the law of averages would dictate that they likely will miss one or two along the way.

Only it seemed the one or two miscues usually belonged to me.

Which brings me to today’s topic – the aforementioned Amazon.

Earlier this week, I received an online flyer from said company on the release of their new Amazon “Fire,” a 4.7 inch state-of-the-art smartphone complete with audio and object recognition technology with the ability to render images in 3-D.

But apparently the centerpiece of this new entry to the smartphone arena is its “Firefly” feature. If you snap a photo of a book, it will help you buy it, either as an e-book or a physical copy on Amazon and ditto if you listen to a song playing in the background it will direct you to that tune on According to the company it can direct you to facts and data available on Wikipedia.

Prices are comparable to other leading high-end phones, but the Fire touts that it will have double the storage. It will cost $200 for a base model with 32 gigabytes and $300 for 64 gigabytes.

Now I’ve chronicled my technology misadventures on a number of occasions and certainly nowhere near as eloquently as the late Mr. Updike. I do use a smartphone for both business and personal tasks and admittedly have become fairly proficient at it. But nothing I currently undertake requires 3-D images or object recognition technology so for the time being I’ll stick with my boring-by-comparison Android.

But I’m tempted to email Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and ask if they can produce a device this sophisticated, why can’t they track down a $21.99 order for a book?

I just may have to go to Barnes & Noble.

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