and My Life

I’m an junkie. I have given myself over to their particular brand of digital consumption and thus far I am more than satisfied with their product. Here is a run down of how Amazon is part of my daily life:

Amazon Cloud Drive – this is Amazon’s take on cloud storage. If you are a newbie to the “cloud” then I would suggest you quickly get to learning. Cloud storage is a way for folks to “store” their digital content, be it pictures, videos, music, documents, etc, through virtual storage pools provided by third parties. That way your content is not simply sitting on your computer or even in an external hard drive, but is accessible through the cloud on multiple devices with the touch of a button. You can have all your files ready and available on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, desktop, etc. There are several third party cloud storage companies out there – DropBox is a very popular option. Amazon provides 5 GB of storage for free (quite less then Google Drive’s 15 GB of free storage) and then charges a yearly fee for increased storage. I currently have 20GB of cloud space through Amazon. One of the neat perks of Amazon’s Cloud Drive is their Cloud Drive Photo app. Every time I snap a picture using my smartphone, this app instantly (and I mean instantly) uploads the photo to the Pictures folder of my Cloud Drive. As soon as I open the folder on any device, the picture I just took is sitting there waiting for me. No more emailing pictures to yourself, etc. Cloud storage also makes sharing files a cinch. Every photo, document, song, etc can be shared with its very own URL. Here is an example – I took this picture while having a Starbucks conversation last week. It automatically uploaded to my Cloud Storage. I can share this URL with you so you can see the picture. But you can’t see any of my other content and if I want to stop sharing this picture, I simply click “stop sharing” in my Cloud interface and the link will no longer work. Pretty amazing:

Amazon Cloud Player – this creates a bit of confusion for some folks, but Amazon has an MP3 player that is separate from their Cloud Drive. I enjoy the distinction because it provides greater flexibility. Amazon will allow 250 free imported songs and then you can upgrade to 250,000 imported songs for $25 a year. Here is the neat part – any song or album you purchase through (and I purchase all my music through Amazon) does not count toward the song limit. Only audio files you upload independently count against the song limit. So, if I have 250 songs remaining to import and I purchase 3 albums through, I will still have 250 songs remaining. But, if I already had a song on my computer and I import that song to my Cloud Player, then I would have 249 songs remaining. The Cloud Player has an app that I use every day to play my music (or listen to sermons, podcasts, etc) in my car. There is also a desktop app that will play your music on your laptop or desktop.

Amazon Kindle – both me and my wife are big Kindle lovers. We have an actual Kindle device and also use the Kindle reading app to read books on our phones, tablets, etc. There are daily Kindle deals that will just blow your mind, such as .99 books and even completely free books at times. For someone who reads as much as I do, the Kindle is a dream come true.

Amazon Prime – this is a membership that provides benefits to lovers. Essentially, Prime offers you these perks:

  • Free two-day shipping on items shipped by $3.99 for one-day shipping.
  • Prime Instant Video selection for free streaming movies, TV shows, etc.
  • Kindle Lending Library, which offers owners of a Kindle device the option to “borrow” books for free one at a time from a huge library. This does not work on the Kindle app, but only on a Kindle device.

I was emailed just today and asked if Prime was worth the money, especially in regards to the Instant Video. I primarily became a member of Prime several years ago simply for the shipping perks. I order a lot of books and the free two day shipping is huge for me. In fact, the shipping perks alone are worth the cost. The Instant Video is becoming much, much better. For a good while it seemed that Amazon simply overlapped the movies provided by Netflix except with a bit of a smaller selection. That is beginning to change. I am noticing Amazon Instant Video is offering titles not available on Netflix, especially in the area of children’s programming (fairly important to me!) and in their promotional efforts. Amazon Instant Video will also provide small rental fees for selections that can be very difficult to find anywhere else. For example, I recently wanted to watch a documentary called “King of Kong” about a video game feud with the game Donkey Kong. It was not on Netflix, but I was able to rent it for $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video. So, Prime provides many movies for free, but then there are still options for other movies with a small rental fee.

Concerning the Lending Library, this is a neat little perk but probably not worth the cost of Prime Membership in and of itself. Right now I am reading a book called “Roller Coasters, Flumes, and Flying Saucers” through the lending library. In 5 seconds, the entire book was sitting in my Kindle for free.

Those are a few ways that is a part of my life virtually every day. From what I can tell, the next generation of the Kindle Fire HD coming out this fall is going to be spectacular, creating an even bigger incentive to stay with their brand. For me at this time, no other company provides the full package of quality digital products like If you are considering using Amazon for any of your digital services, feel free to email me. I will be happy to answer any additional questions you might have.

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