That’s something that’s utterly missing from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Roku, and Apple TV. Consider, for example, a strange paradox of the streaming video age: You’ll totally watch an hour of Ghostbusters on TNT, but you’d never in a million years start it up from the top on Netflix, even though it’s always right there, just a dozen clicks away.
This really is my biggest issue when it comes to Netflix. If there isn’t something in particular I’ve planned on watching, I don’t want to use the app to search through all of their mediocre options.
Amazon Wants to Ship You Things Before You Order Them
Just when you think Amazon has shipping all figured out, they go further: the company just gained a patent called “anticipatory shipping.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, this would decrease delivery time.
In the patent document, Amazon says delays between ordering and receiving purchases “may dissuade customers from buying items from online merchants.”
So Amazon says it may box and ship products it expects customers in a specific area will want – based on previous orders and other factors — but haven’t yet ordered. According to the patent, the packages could wait at the shippers’ hubs or on trucks until an order arrives.
On one hand, I get that most people have purchasing patterns that can be easily tracked and used to predict future purchases. There are definitely brands and products that I’ll absolutely buy. I could definitely see this being a great method for household products, like toilet paper or power cords, and less so for things that account for the customer’s taste, like movies or clothing.
Not to mention the fact that Amazon might ship you the wrong purchase because you didn’t adhere to your usual shopping pattern. Apparently they’ve already accounted for this.
To minimize those costs, Amazon said it might consider giving customers discounts, or convert the unwanted delivery into a gift. “Delivering the package to the given customer as a promotional gift may be used to build goodwill,” the patent said.
No BlackBerry sale, but thankfully Heins is out
So much for BlackBerry getting bailed out by another tech giant or hedge fund. Instead of announcing a buyer, the smartphone maker announced the $4.7 billion agreement with Fairfax Financial is over. And the company is now on the market for a new CEO, as Thorsten Heins was shown the door.
I can’t imagine too many people are surprised about the news, given the company’s struggles and ho-hum patent portfolio.
And all of those articles touting interest from Facebook, Cisco, and Google? They’re all based on courtesy meetings, according to Dan Primack:
In many of those cases, I called corporate development folks at the possible “buyer.” Usually it went like this:
Me: Are you considering a Blackberry bid?
Me: Then what do you make of the reports?
Them: They asked us to look, so we took the meeting as a courtesy.
Twitter’s (Possible) New News Service: Event Parrot
Twitter just launched Event Parrot, a Twitter account that delivers the news to you (though the account is labeled a “Twitter experiment” without any label as it being from Twitter HQ, it’s pretty much a given that it is.)
Thus far, I’ve received two direct messages from @eventparrot, one about Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan being kidnapped and one about Alice Munro winning the Nobel Prize for Literature:
At first glance, it reminds me of the notification alerts I get from the New York Times. Only major events are sent me my phone often once or twice a day. Usually the news has already broken on Twitter before I receive the alerts, which sort of defeats the point of it in the first place for me. But I imagine most NYT digital subscribers aren’t constantly checking Twitter throughout the day. Instead, they rely on these alerts to break this information.
And that’s why I just don’t understand the point of @eventparrot. Both of the direct messages I received were old news for me because I’d read about them… on Twitter. If a Twitter user is interested enough in receiving major news alerts, you’d think they’d already follow most breaking news Twitter accounts, like @BreakingNews, @NYT, etc.
So who is this really for? People who like news, but don’t want to clog up their feeds with news outlets? People who check Twitter occasionally?
And if these people are subscribing to this feed, why aren’t they being updated as news develops? Ali Zidan wasn’t held captive for long, yet I never received another message about the situation.
I think it’s interesting that Twitter is trying out these public experiments to try out new products for users. But this one feels half-baked at best.