Amazonia for December 10, 2018

December 10, 2018

The Amazon show and tell has ended. The implications of most Amazon announcements have been reported in the “real” media. The Beyond Search team identified a handful of Bezos bullets, however. Read on:

  • Someone should tell one of the world’s richest me to be positive. Here in Harrod’s Creek the shocking news that Amazon will go bankrupt stuns. The Beyond Search goose thinks that Mr. Bezos is working on his legacy; that is, an early “I warned you” makes him into a digital Nostradamus.
  • Ever try to pay for something in an airport store? I have. Sometimes I leave my overpriced bag of trail mix amongst the M&Ms because no one waits on me. Amazon may solve this problem. “Amazon Looks to Airports to Expand Its Checkout-Free Store Footprint” explains that Amazon’s no human check out may solve this problem. Will the price of trail mix go up? Yeah, you know the answer to that.
  • What’s with Amazon in the space data game? We learned  about “Amazon’s Plan to Profit from Space Data” from the Daily Herald. Here’s the plan: “Rather than build its own satellite dishes and ground stations, the company has brokered an exclusive “multiyear strategic business agreement” with Bethesda-based defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which manufactures and operates satellites for the U.S. military.” Useful for policeware and intelware use cases, don’t you think? Nah.
  • What’s the economic impact of Amazon saying it will put a big office in the DC area? A mere $15 billion impact. Get the semi analysis in the Zon-meister’s very own newspaper here.
  • Axios said, “Amazon faces a politically perilous moment.” The JEDI deal is headed for another appeal. Oracle wants to keep its Pentagon power it seems.
  • How much money does Amazon’s Prime video generate? Variety states that it is $1.7 billion. I thought Prime was for shipping. What about the data those viewing habits spin out? What happens if those data are cross matched to book browsing, purchase history, and method of payment? Grab some popcorn and kick back. Relax. It’s Amazon.

Stephen E Arnold, December 10, 2018

Amazonia: December 3, 2018

December 3, 2018

The ecommerce giant has been busy. Selected items which caught our attention in Harrod’s Creek include:

Amazon and Germany: The Waltz Begins

We learned from the ever reliable source Bloomberg that Germany is looking at Amazon as a swinging bar door. The idea is that Amazon is a “gatekeeper.” We think the idea is that Amazon is in control, gets paid when customers buy something from the online catalog and gets paid when other vendors use Amazon to sell. Amazon may also get paid when some vendors pay Amazon to host their own Web sites. Amazon, of course, will cooperate, but it is unlikely that it will change its business model too significantly. Members of the Bundeskartellamt use Amazon too.

The Contrast: Amazon and Microsoft

At the same time Amazon was announcing that it has decided to release some of the technical goodies the company has provided to a certain US government agency for four years, Microsoft demonstrated its technical excellence too. Among Amazon’s more interesting revelations was that it is making its own chips. Microsoft, to respond to this challenge, said that it would release redesigned icons for its Office suite. Also, to counter the technical innovations in Amazon’s Big Data crunching ability, Microsoft also pulled a chess master move when it released a roadmap for its fur covered computer. Not the computer, a road map. Amazon is probably struggling to cope with these strategic body blows from Microsoft.

DeepLens under the Microscope

Not many online shoppers pay much attention to Amazon DeepLens. In my lectures for LE and intel professionals, most of those in the audience don’t either. But eight members of the US Congress want Amazon to explain its facial recognition technology. The issue is accuracy. At some point members of Congress will get the picture for Amazon’s policeware capabilities and come to appreciate the value of DeepLens like systems whether they operate at the levels of accuracy depicted on TV programs and in Netflix videos. Note to Congress: The train has left the station.

Amazon Is Edging into Health Care

Imagine. You need some sort of medical treatment. Do you want to go to an emergency room or let Amazon help you out. Amazon is in the prescription game. Now Amazon has a deal with Xealth, a spin out of Providence St Joseph Health. Ecommerce is coming to the doc’s office. Maybe health care delivery will come with a Prime membership and arrive on one’s door step like a new Amazon Basics T shirt?

Stephen E Arnold, December 3, 2018

Amazonia for November 26, 2018

November 27, 2018

The little ecommerce company has been beavering away.

Amazon Basics Now Includes ARM Server CPUs

One of Amazon’s stealth technologists announced AWS Graviton Processor. Amazon offers up a few details at this link. Lower cost, specialized capabilities, and proof that Amazon is thinking hardware thoughts. IBM markets its cloud capabilities and Microsoft tries to keep Azure alive and well, Amazon powers into a new space. Who wrote about these chips? None other than Jeff Barr. Trust the Beyond Search goose. This is a pivotal member in the Bezos Brain Bucket.

Amazon Sells a Lot over the Holiday

Although the source is not the most reliable, Bloomberg reports that Amazon sold more products in five days in the Thanksgiving interval than it did in 2017. Hard numbers? How about 18 million toys. Ah, Bloomberg. Get the scoop at this link. The Street says that Amazon sold $8 billion in stuff on one day. What about the mom and pop hobby store in Paducah, Kentucky? Oh, it closed. Too bad.

New Gizmo Coming?

IEEE Spectrum drops a lot of buzzwords suggesting that Amazon’s secretive Lab126 is working on new products. IEEE suggests that a paper outfit is connected to Amazon. The outfit is Chrome Enterprises, and it may be working on a faster, better, and probably cheaper way to do wireless magic. The report includes this soothing paragraph:

Cupertino’s branch of MassageEnvy is fewer than 500 meters from a satellite Lab126 building, called SJC3.

Amazon Offers Free Online Class to Train You to Use AWS

ZDNet reported that Amazon offer free training. The idea is that Amazon will teach you to use Sagemaker, DeepLens, and other AWS smart software. Hey, if the universities cannot do the job, Amazon can. The write up stated:

The company has over 30 online machine-learning courses, including video, labs, and documentation that have been used within Amazon for the past 20 years.

Here’s another Amazon wizard’s name to note: Dr Matt Wood, AWS’s general manager of artificial intelligence.

How do you know you have passed the course. Well, you pay $300 for an AWS SAT type test, of course.

Has Microsoft got the Windows 10 update working yet? What about Azure log ins? Two Seattle companies. Which has momentum?

Stephen E Arnold, November 26, 2018

Amazonia: Chopping Digital Trees, November 12, 2018

November 12, 2018

After a few days wandering in the Peruvian mountains, I had a moment of either insight or oxygen deprivation. Amazon can yield Amazonia. No, not jungle insects. Digital information which provide some insight or shape shifting to the company which seems positioned to suck Google’s online revenue like a frisky mosquito.

Thus, we have the first installment of Amazonia:

Alexa Listens and Records

ITEM ONE: Everyone’s favorite surveillance device is in the news. According to a report from WMUR tv:

A judge has ordered Amazon to turn over recordings that might have been captured by an Echo smart speaker in the Farmington house where two women were stabbed to death in January 2017.

The write up points out:

“I think most people probably don’t even realize that Alexa is taking account of what’s going on in your house, in addition to responding to your demands and commands,” said Albert Scherr, a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Don’t have an Alexa device? Keep in mind that Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant now available on Windows 10 PCs as a standalone app. More info is here.

Alexa, are you connected to Sagemaker and DeepLens? Unfamiliar references, gentle reader? Worth tracking down our four part Amazon policeware series. Start here.

Oracle, What Database Will Amazon Use?

ITEM TWO: Amazon Eases Out the Troublesome Oracle

“Keep Talkin’ Larry: Amazon Is Close to Tossing Oracle Software” reveals that Amazon is about ready to undergo its final chemotherapy session. Most traces of the Oracle disease have now been eliminated. Sure, there are lingering side effects like Oracle PR creating inflammation in Amazon, but the end is in sight.

I learned from the real news, real accurate Bloomberg:

An executive with Amazon’s cloud-computing unit hit back at Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison, who ridiculed the internet giant as recently as last month for relying on Oracle databases to track transactions and store information, even though Amazon sells competing software, including Redshift, Aurora and DynamoDB. Amazon’s effort to end its use of Oracle’s products has made new progress, Andy Jassy, the chief executive officer of Amazon Web Services, tweeted Friday. “In latest episode of ‘uh huh, keep talkin’ Larry,’ Amazon’s Consumer business turned off its Oracle data warehouse Nov. 1 and moved to Redshift,” Jassy wrote. By the end of 2018, Amazon will stop using 88 percent of its Oracle databases, including 97 percent of its mission-critical databases, he added.

Time’s are changing for the once dominant database giant.

Amazon: Free PR on a National Scale

ITEM 3: The location of a big Amazon office complex may be known. Surprise, Amazon’s giant PR play called HQ2, the erstwhile competition among cities for a second headquarters, may be over. Where is the online giant and policeware vendor heading? The Washington, DC, area. We learned in “Amazon and Microsoft Are Fighting for a $10 Billion Pentagon Contract — and HQ2 in Virginia Could Be Jeff Bezos’ Boss Move”:

“Let’s just put it this way. I don’t think the timing of Amazon moving its headquarters near D.C. is coincidental,” Daniel Ives, Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities, told Business Insider.

Yep, coincidence. But can Amazon win JEDI? Microsoft is trying to prevent the juicy plum from ending up in a Whole Foods shopping basket. But Amazon does have that other government cloud contract, and it seems to deliver what In-Q-Tel could not. Plus, the bitter harvest of the Distributed Common Ground project still lingers in some mess halls.

Stephen E Arnold, November 12, 2018

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