police issue warrant for suspects amazon echo
Via Amazon
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Alexa, where were you on the night of December 26?

According to Engadget, police in Bentonville, Arkansas have issued a warrant for Amazon to turn over any information that might have been recorded on a suspect's Amazon Echo.

James Andrew Bates is set for trial next year for first-degree murder, and police believe some evidence regarding the murder of Victor Collins may be on his virtual assistant. Because the Echo is always ready for your commands, and occasionally turns on by accident, police think that crucial information may live on the device. Amazon has, thus far, not handed over anything on their Echo data servers, aside from purchase history.

Engadget reports:

“Police say Bates had several other smart home devices, including a water meter. That piece of tech shows that 140 gallons of water were used between 1AM and 3AM the night Collins was found dead in Bates' hot tub. Investigators allege the water was used to wash away evidence of what happened off of the patio. The examination of the water meter and the request for stored Echo information raises a bigger question about privacy. At a time when we have any number of devices tracking and automating."

via Gadgetify


However, Bates’ attorney believes her client is entitled to some privacy. "You have an expectation of privacy in your home, and I have a big problem that law enforcement can use the technology that advances our quality of life against us,” said defense attorney Kimberly Weber.

Will this turn into another full-blown privacy issue, like the one Apple underwent when the FBI wanted access to the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone?

Via Amazon
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Quick: What’s the worst part about Amazon?

That’s right! Sometimes things can take, like, a day or two to get to you. But what if you need that loofah right now?

via Reddit

Don’t worry, Prime’s got you, bro.

Amazon Prime Air, the drone driven delivery service that Amazon has been quietly testing for the last few years, made it’s first delivery a week ago. The contents? Nobody knows, but the delivery was successful. They even made a video commemorating the event.

via Cantho TV

So apparently, while we’ve been waiting for days for loofahs, like suckers, Amazon was running a private test project in the Cambridge area of England, which doesn’t look like it has any places where you can get loofahs. The company set up a small, nondescript fulfillment center, which doubles as a hanger for their electrically-powered drone fleet. Flying over the lush, England countryside, the drone, probably carrying a loofah or something, completed its mission to one of its two customers.

The company promises that the program will be expanding from here. Hopefully, soon, we’ll live our fantasy of looking into the sky and seeing an army of drones carrying an army of loofahs.

trending amazon shopping news new mall store pop up
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Amazon has plans to open 100 retail stores across the U.S., adding to it's current tally of 16 pop-up stores in malls across the Country.

According to Business Insider, "The miniature retail storefronts are a separate effort from the physical bookstore that Amazon opened in Seattle last year and are primarily designed to showcase and sell the company's hardware devices, particularly its Echo home speakers."

They sell the pop-ups as places where you can "Ask an Expert," test drive the products, and buy them on the spot without having to pay for Amazon shipping. Right now they only sell mostly Amazon-specific products like covers for Kindles, headphones, or the Amazon Echo, but brick-and-mortar stores are potential future options if the model proves to be a revenue-driver.

We recommend Amazon sell what it delivers best: disappointment. To that end, they could stock the following products, straight from their warehouses:

Haribo Sugar-Free Gummy Bears

More reviews here.

Nicolas Cage Pillow Case

Get it here.

This Threatening Baby Onesie

Buy it here.

...and anything from this slightly-NSFW list.

Check out Amazon's low rating and reviews on Consumer Affairs' website here, and shop for goods at places that support human rights and living wages here and here.

amazon announces game dev tools lumberyard
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Lumberyard is a free 3D game engine for PC, consoles, mobile devices, and VR devices. It's supported by Amazon's cloud services and also features Twitch streaming support. 

The announcement of Lumberyard also includes GameLift, which allows developers access to scaling game servers that grow as player demand does.

Check out the announcement video below:

man finds dildo in shopping cart after negative review on amazon
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Imagine this: you're a student looking for some specific edition of a no doubt ridiculously overpriced textbook, and you think you found what you need on Amazon. You order it, relieved that you don't have to go to your school's bookstore and provide your firstborn as payment. Only when you get the book, it's the wrong edition. You contact Amazon to track down the right edition, and after a few days they tell you they don't have it and to return the book for a full refund.

That's exactly what happened to Pedro in Ireland. Frustrated with his experience, Pedro left a negative review in a customer satisfaction survey, only to later find an enormous schlong, "The Hulk 10.25-inch Huge Dong Black," in his shopping cart ready to offend any delicate sensibilities: "I was at the office, in an open space, with people behind me. A guy and two girls were sitting by me when I opened up Amazon and they saw the contents of my shopping basket." Well, maybe your coworkers should learn not to look at other peoples' monitors, Pedro.

Pedro contacted customer support, and though they wouldn't confirm an Amazon representative had placed the item in his cart, they issued him a €100 credit and an apology, saying they would work with HR to make sure this didn't happen again.

Pedro stands by his actions, believing that any bad customer service should be reported, and that "the entry for "The Hulk" is completely misleading. I would expect something called "The Hulk" to be green. It's picture is pink and the description says it is black. My whole issue with started because of incorrect description of items -- and this entry does not help their case."

Via amazon
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As if having a courier deliver booze to you within an hour wasn't enough, Amazon has announced Amazon Prime Air, a near-instant service that will bring your impulse buys to you by drone!

Amazon Prime Air is a future service that will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones. Flying under 400 feet and weighing less than 55 pounds, Prime Air vehicles will take advantage of sophisticated “sense and avoid” technology, as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more.

No word yet on when the service will become publicly available, as Amazon says it will take time to implement, "but [they] will deploy when [they] have the regulatory support needed to realize [their] vision."

Thirty minutes or less means an unmanned drone will bring me ice cream before it has a chance to melt, right?

 Outrage of The Day: Amazon Backtracks on Decision to Plaster Subway Cars With Nazi Flags
Via PIX11
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Nazi and Imperial Japanese symbols on public train cars in 2015—no one should be offended about that, right?


Amazon has asked New York's public transit to remove an ad campaign promoting the company's new alternate history TV series The Man in the High Castle after severe backlash from the public, according to Mashable.

The campaign, meant to show what a train car would look like if the United States lost WWII, used Nazi emblems and Japanese Imperial imagery on seats.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has called the ads offensive.

"While these ads technically may be within MTA guidelines, they're irresponsible and offensive to World War II and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers," he said in a statement.

"Amazon should take them down."

Brazil receives $1 billion from Norway for reducing deforestation.
Via Quartz
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You know what we never get? Good news about climate change.

Well, not today!

Norway is making good on its commitment to give the country of Brazil $1 billion on the condition of reducing the deforestation crisis that claimed many square miles over the past fifty years.

Quartz has the details:

In 2008, when the Amazon was facing a severe deforestation crisis, Norway, a country made rich from oil and gas production (and the biggest donor to protect tropical rainforests), pledged $1 billion to the government of Brazil if it could slow down the destruction. Doing so would protect the forest's wildlife and also enormously reduce climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions, which are produced when forests are burned to make way for human development.

Brazil has more than risen to the task. By enforcing strict protection laws, promoting education efforts, and withholding loans to local counties that clear too much of the forest, the country has scaled back its forest destruction rate by 75%. It's estimated that Brazilian farmers and ranchers have saved more than 33,000 square miles (roughly 53,100 square kilometers) of forest—equivalent to 14.3 million soccer fields—from being cut down.

This week, an applauding Norwegian government said it will pay out the country's final $100 million—rounding out its $1 billion promise—to Brazil at a December UN summit on climate change.

Brazil gets money, the rainforest remains protected and the planet gets more trees to filter out the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

It's win win win!

Also, welcome to the club, Brazil!