How Amazon lost the sale

I wanted to buy a couple of hundred dollars worth of stuff this week (some DVDs and a iRobot dirt dog). I added them to my Amazon cart, and went to make sure my wife was cool with the purchases. I forgot about the whole thing until the next day, at which point Amazon had raised the price on those items by over $50! Fine, I didn’t buy them. Today I found the DVDs random in Target for less than the original price on Amazon, and I’ll buy the iRobot thing from Fry’s for a tiny bit more than Amazon originally had it for.

So, Amazon lost the sale by having volatile pricing, and they taught me to go to Target for DVDs instead of buying them online. Nice job Amazon.

When Henry Ford imported America to export rubber

Wow. A few interesting random stories tonight. It appears that Henry Ford wanted to pay less for rubber for his car tires. What’s the logical solution? How about moving a piece of America to Brazil and trying to grow plants on rocks?

…by the late 1920s, the infamous automobile tycoon Henry Ford set out to break the back of this rubbery monopoly. His hundreds of thousands of new cars needed millions of tires, which were very expensive to produce when buying raw materials from the established rubber lords. To that end, he established Fordlandia, a tiny piece of America which was transplanted into the Amazon rain forest for a single purpose: to create the largest rubber plantation on the planet.

Damn Interesting Wikipedia.

Amazon author bio

Amazon wanted an author bio for their Amazon Connect program which I thought I would give a try. Here’s what they got:

Michael Still released his first Open Source project in July 2000, and has been actively developing ever since. He has had a variety of articles published by IBM DeveloperWorks, and once made a Tux out of fairy lights. He is the author of the recently published “Definitive Guide to ImageMagick” from Apress. His gym program states his exercise goal as “develop laser death vision”. Michael grew up in Canberra, Australia but now lives and works in Silicon Valley for Google with his wife and two kids. Michael is a past committee member of AUUG, Linux Australia, and the 2005 committee.

Color ebook!

By far the most consistent criticism of The Definitive Guide to ImageMagick has been that the sample images need to be in color. I would have to agree with this point, which is why I am delighted that Apress took the time to go back around the production process and produce a version of the ebook with color images. It’s cool that they were willing to put in the effort, and not only that, they’re giving anyone who has purchased the ebook to date a free upgrade. Even better, now if you buy the printed book on Amazon, you get the color ebook for free!

I have a limited number of color ebooks to give away, so if you’re interested please leave a comment and explain why you’d like one.