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Friday roundup: news that caught my eye

There was a lot of small news this week that didn’t warrant an entire blog post but I still wanted to mention them here since not all of you are following me on Twitter or in the Buxr discussion board. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Walmart is staging a new price war, this time in video games. Last Wednesday GameStop’s stock tumbled 8.26% on the news and caused a discussion on the topic ‘can Walmart cause deflation’ on NPR Morning Marketplace on Thursday.
  2. Do you have a Google Gmail account? You can send a free post card to your friend with this free Google sponsored service. There are several designs available but all have a Google logo hidden in them.
  3. Lenovo is running a 40-day holiday giveaway. I usually don’t take part in these (just as I never play lottery) but there is something about this particular one that attracted my attention. Maybe the fact that it takes very little time to try? :-)
  4. Disney Rewards is giving away 5 points daily in December. You need to login daily and enter the unique code they feature on this page. What a brilliant idea to bring people to the website! You can redeem the reward points towards movie DVD’s, soundtracks CD’s or theater tickets.
  5. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Amazon beats Walmart and Target in a usability test conducted by uTest among the three retailers. Target came in last in every tested category. 600 testers from more than 20 countries took part in the test, over the half of the bugs found were at Target.
  6. New York Times rounds up several smart phone apps for reading e-Books. I use Aldiko on my G1 and it is great!

WiFi is now free at Barnes & Noble stores

Caribou coffee offers free WiFi to everyone. Starbucks gives 2 hours of access daily to their Rewards Members. Barnes & Nobles is one of a few more places where I regularly go to work and finally they are opening up wireless access to the web as well. The lack of WiFi has been the biggest reason why I didn’t come to the place more often.

The announcement has more than anything to do with the eBook store B&N launched earlier this month, a store competing with the Amazon’s library of eBooks for the Kindle reader. B&N doesn’t offer a dedicated reader device yet but there is an application for iPhone and BlackBerry that you can use to view books on (as well as using your laptop). The prices on new releases are similar to Amazon’s $9.99 but you also get access to over 500,000 free (public domain) books via Google Books.

I don’t have the Kindle and I have always been reluctant to buy a device with proprietary/closed architecture which Kindle is. The latest scandal about Amazon pulling eBooks has reassured me about my choice. That said I would very much like to get myself an e-Ink device and if B&N comes out with one I will certainly take a look.




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