Retail is having a moment

Let’s talk shopping.

This is Alexa. Amazon’s Echo.
She’s in our house, and we’ve never ordered a single thing from her. Yet.

Continue reading “Retail is having a moment”


Let’s talk grocery stores for a minute


Have you been to a Trader Joe’s lately?

I remember when they opened on my birthday in Olympia a few years ago. We stayed away for weeks knowing we wouldn’t be able to get into the parking lot. When we finally did go, we had to circle the lot a few times, park far away and then once inside, you had to walk. And keep walking. There were so many people it was like being in a guided art exhibit where you are allowed to linger only a few seconds on each piece. The aisles were jammed and in perpetual motion.

That is a grocery retailer’s dream scenario. Not so much for a consumer.  Continue reading “Let’s talk grocery stores for a minute”

Amazon, Apple and Our Austerity Plan

This post is brought to you by the letter A.

As in Amazon, Apple and our austerity plan. Stick with me. This will all become crystal clear.

I bought an iPad 2 earlier this year and love it. Works perfectly. Couldn’t be happier.

But … 

I love reading downloaded books. That’s my thing. I don’t have kids, so I have a lot of time to read. Yay me. Back before I had the iPad, I even tried reading books with the Kindle app on my laptop, which is a MacBook. That was as appealing as bringing a Smith Corona typewriter to bed. So I ordered an iPad 2 about the time Apple introduced iPad 3. I had collected a bunch of Amazon gift cards and got a good deal as a result.

But … 

As part of our 2012 austerity plan (something else that begins with the letter A, but which we would earn probably a C-minus on if graded) we also ditched DirecTV and went with Apple TV. Yes, really. And that’s worked well and has saved us from having a monthly satellite bill.

But …

That also meant we sent a lot of videos from the iPad to Apple TV. That’s a cool feature. You can watch everything from your friends’ Facebook videos to reading your Twitter feed onscreen, not that you really want to do that. However, during the night of Hurricane Sandy making landfall we did throw Twitter onscreen and found a live streaming video feed from the Weather Channel. Anyway, the whole thing is supercool and we feel very 21st century with this feature.

You know what’s coming. But

That meant I didn’t have a tablet reader. It was being hijacked by my husband, who wanted to watch PBS or something else sensible available through the cool and groovy TV iPad apps.

So I bought a Kindle Fire on Cyber Monday. Yes, I am one of those people. Cyber Monday I think is one of my favorite days of the year, even more than my birthday, which may explain why austerity is all the rage in our house now. And when I saw the promotion on the Amazon site, that was it.

So you could say I met austerity halfway on this.

This purchase has ended the “who gets the tablet tonight” debate in our house. He can watch to his heart’s content, and I can read all night on the Kindle. I still prefer the iPad for looking at websites, and I will never connect the Kindle to my email accounts because I do not want the distraction. My iPad and smartphone (Droid, I know … we went outside our Apple bubble on that one) give me plenty of email alerts, complete with tones and flashing lights and a Bob Dylan ringtone.

My favorite use of the Kindle is to run one of the music apps in the background as I read. Puts me to sleep every night at no extra cost.