mangochutney

Tasty bits and pieces from the internet, mixed with opinions and canned.

A timeless image about Trump

It's going to be a long time until we have a full understanding of the damage that has been done by Putin's puppet Trump and I fear that a lot of the damage is going to be irreparable. Let's work on stopping Trump and people like him around the world.

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich for AJC (Source)

Reducing my utilization of Amazon products, step 2

Back in January, I cancelled my Amazon Prime membership, beginning a process to reduce the number of Amazon services I use. About a month in, I have missed neither Prime Video nor the Prime shipping options. For shopping I've used both Google Shopping and idealo.de to find online shops with good prices, fast shipping, and sensible return policies.

Audible was going to be more challenging to let go of — and I suspected this beforehand. The search for alternatives yielded almost nothing viable for the following reasons:

  1. Audible have a de facto monopoly on audio book sales.
  2. Audible are the largest producer of audio books and they sell exclusively in their own shop.
  3. Prices for audio books outside of Audible are close to prohibitive.

While this means that I won't be able to let go of Amazon for obtaining audio books, there is a silver lining that lets me claim a partial victory:

Getting the media fully under my control is easy, almost trivially so.
Yes, Audible files have copy protection but in the end the AAX file type they're using is just a slightly modified M4B (MPEG-4 Audio Book) file, which in turn is just an AAC audio file with some extras like support for chapter markers.
With a tiny bit of work, I managed to get a personal use backup of the Audible files into Apple's Books app on my iPhone and even onto an old iPod (both using iTunes, of course). Now I won't have to worry about Audible's copy protection locking me out of the media I bought if their licensing servers go down or the company goes under.

Next step: Kindle eBooks…

Photos May 2017

It was such a beautifully sunny month and I spent a lot of time outside with friends and our dogs

Luna

Eyes always on the stick…
… always.

Mika's two modes

Happy hunter…
… sleepy puppy.

The gang

Please break! Seriously, I was afraid these two were going to crash into me.
Dylan and Lenny like playing rough.

My Bijou

A few impressions of nature

Reducing my utilization of Amazon products, step 1

I just cancelled my Amazon Prime membership.

As for so many other people, using Amazon's consumer facing services has started to leave a bad taste in my mouth, seeing how atrociously they treat warehouse staff, the negative impact their business has on the delivery drivers of various logistics companies, and the myriad of other small or large bad things this company is doing or is complicit in because it makes them money.

A few weeks ago I received an email telling me that the credit card Amazon had on file for Prime membership payments was no longer valid and to update the payment settings lest I want to lose my Prime benefits by 12 January 2019.
The holidays gave me some time to think about how many of Amazon's services I use daily and consciously and I found that it was too many. Ignoring Amazon services I use by proxy, like AWS servers, here goes:

  • Amazon.de and Amazon Marketplace for shopping
  • Amazon Prime for fast shipping
  • Amazon Prime Video for streaming
  • Amazon Kindle for reading ebooks
  • Amazon's Audible for audio books.

With cancelling my Amazon Prime membership, I'm losing access to Prime shipping and Prime Video. Since I've started reducing the amount of things I buy on or through Amazon about a year ago, the former isn't too much of a loss for me. When streaming through Amazon Prime, my partner and I have used her Prime account anyway, so there's no loss for me there, either, until she makes a decision regarding her Amazon Prime account. This could happen sooner rather than later because we use Netflix much more than Prime Video.

It's going to be interesting to see how easy it'll be eschewing shopping on Amazon.de entirely and choosing different online shops but I'm not worried about this. The more difficult task will be finding proper replacements for getting ebooks comfortably and finding a good ereader for them. Finding a replacement for Audible will be similarly difficult. And with the latter two there's also the problem of DRM for the things I've already bought on the platforms.