My Life with the HTC EVO

The HTC EVO 4G is not the best Android mobile phone out there but Sprint is the only carrier that gets reception at my house. Six months ago I began a rather extensive trial of a few different phones and carriers and balked at the EVO after a 30-day trial.

Certainly Verizon would have service in my area, everybody raves about VZW and after all it’s been 5 years since I last did my trials and found that I live in a cell service black hole, in spite of living roughly 3 miles from downtown LA and just over the hill from Dodger Stadium. This was not the case. Verizon service was equally as non-existent for voice calls as was AT&T. The difference being that AT&T offered me a femtocell signal booster (the 3G Microcell) for free whereas Verizon wanted me to pay $250 for their extender. In fact, when I talked to their technical department, I learned that my area is a known trouble zone and that NO TOWER upgrades were scheduled — it would be at least two years before there was any [better] service.

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Amazon to Acquire Zappos

Internet giant Amazon.com will acquire Zappos.com in a deal worth more than $800 million, according to an official announcement today. Amazon Buys Zappos for $850 millionAfter growing into an e-commerce behemoth with a legendary customer service record, it comes as little surprise that Zappos was acquired by the likes of Amazon. There really is no better match when it comes to e-commerce, product, service, and technology.

This deal confirms the groudbreaking success that Zappos achieved through widely publicized corporate policies, happy employees, and impeccable customer service which often includes free next day shipping, and always a 365-days-a-year free-return-shipping guarantee. Amazon clearly gains from Zappos ability to literally obsess over customers, be inventive, and think long term (while growing year over year since being founded in June 1999.

Zappos will receive $807 million worth of Amazon stock and $40 million in cash as part of the deal. The purchase price could value as much as $920 million, assuming the deal is for 10 million shares (shares of AMZN opened today at $88.54), according to Sarah Lacy at Techcrunch.

The news comes on the eve of Amazon’s Q2 earnings call and on the heels of heated rumors of an Amazon / Netflix deal.

Huge story here. Watch the video below from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, read the blog post by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and read the official Лаптоп Магазин р лаптопpress release. And let’s discuss!

Ooma Lives and is Featured at Amazon

I was surprised to jump to Amazon.com just now and find the Ooma box as the top featured item. I’ve been using Ooma as my “land” line for about a year-and-a-half as a Beta tester and have been awaiting reports of improved sales of the VOIP boxes since they recently started promoting it for about half of the original $399 sticker price. I found it a bit ironic that it was featured alongside Amazon’s Kindle — which is so overhyped on the site and perpetually claimed to be “out of stock” ala recent Nintendo Wii marketing ploys.

ooma on sale at amazon

When I first learned of Ooma, the idea of having a box at home through which to make phone calls (for free) and having access to messages online and via e-mail was intriguing. I do not have a personal land line and was tired of paying for Skype. I was using GrandCentral but wanted an alternative since cell reception at my house is so spotty. I was lucky to meet Andrew Frame, founder of Ooma, for a tour of Ooma’s HQ in Palo Alto in the summer of 2007, when I was an intern at the San Jose Mercury News (video below).

When I returned to Los Angeles, I signed up as a beta tester and was impressed with the quality, and loved having a phone number that I could remember (909-0090 nearly trumped the AT&T land line number I had when I first moved to LA — 669-9969). I’d recommend it to anyone who uses VOiP and incurs charges above and beyond ooma’s one-time-only charge for their Core system — now $219.90 at Amazon. If it means anything to you, Ooma still has the endorsement of the almighty Michael Arrington as well.

So is Ooma about to take off into the mainstream?
Or is it nearing its last gasp?

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If Hillary Can Ask You to Pay Back Her Debt Then So Can I

Hillary Clinton went some $10-15 million into debt just to finance her own charade of a much-too-long campaign. Now, with the help of Democratic nominee Barack Obama, she hopes that those who already donated to either Obama or her campaign will pony up yet again to help her get out of her self-prescribed debt.

Well, aren’t we all in a little bit of debt these days? Me? I’m not looking for millions, but even a couple hundred would help me stay in the black. And what’s more, I’m not asking anyone to pay me on top of some publicly paid salary — I actually do all this blog stuff out of the kindness of my narcissistic little heart. But you can PayPal all your pennies to andy@netzoo.net or hook me up with something from my Amazon Wishlist. I’ll let you read it when I’m done if you’re nice. So there! I’ve got nerve too, Hillary!

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Amazon’s US Site Goes Down… Millions in Sales Forfeited

amazon down hardVery disturbing to come across THIS at http://amazon.com — generally believed to be one of the strongest and most stable web companies with servers so trusty that thousands of businesses lease space via Amazon’s S3 Web service.

UPDATE: It’s been shaky, but back up after nearly two hours of all systems down. AdAge estimates that Amazon lost about $2 million in sales:

E-comerce site Amazon went down this afternoon around 1:30 EDT and stayed down for at least an hour. Attempts to access Amazon.com were met with the following message: “Http/1.1 Service Unavailable.” It’s hard to know exactly how many dollars a minute Amazon loses in sales for every moment its site is down, but simple math pegs it at about $1.8 million an hour, based on Ad Age estimates.

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