All Primed Up – Amazon is Brilliant

I’ve been a member of Amazon Prime for over about 2 years now, and I was just thinking today what brilliant marketing it is. By paying a nominal yearly fee, I get free two day shipping, or really cheap next day shipping on everything I buy from them, but does it save me any money? See before I was an Amazon Prime member, I used to make sure that my Amazon orders reached the $25 minimum to get free “Super Saver Shipping” so I didn’t pay for shipping in the first place.

However now that I’m an Amazon Prime member, I find myself buying things on Amazon I would normally have gone to a store and spending not only my time, which is getting less and less, but in many cases more money. Now when I need to buy something, I find myself saying “Let me check to see if Amazon has it”, and if it does for the same or less price, I buy it there. What’s amazing is, a lot of the time, Amazon has it cheaper.

I’ve got to hand it to Amazon, by coming up with a system that gives people faster shipping, they’ve got me looking to them first, instead of last for the things I need.

If you haven’t tried out Amazon Prime, Check out their free trial and see how much happier it makes you about getting the things you want

Keeping in Step, how to Sync your iPhone’s Calendar with Google Calendar

I love Google Apps for Domains, I use it for all of my domains, I’ve even setup holodeck3.com with the Partner edition so that my users can get @holodeck3.com email accounts and services through them. Google does a lot, for free, and they do it well. I’m also a Mac an an iPhone user. I am never without my iPhone, and only rarely without my laptop.

Google has, over time gotten a lot better at providing me with services I need in order to keep my world more in sync. I was glad to be in the early adoption crowd of users for IMAP on GMail, and the first person among my group of friends to get IMAP support on my Google Apps for Domains accounts. This has helped a lot as my iPhone is now what I use for email when I’m away from my laptop, and in fact I find myself not going to the computer quite as often when I’m “off duty” because of it.

I love Google Calendar and prefer to have my calendar events in Google as opposed to simply a local Calendar on my computer or phone, however when I am at my computer, using iCal is so much easier then using Google Calendar (and having to keep yet another browser window open), and then of course there’s the little matter of keeping my calendar on the iPhone so I have my events easily at hand. Google has long allowed you to subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal’s ics format, but this was one way, only allowing you to read your Google calendar in iCal, not make changes to it. Until very recently the best way to keep iCal in sync with Google Calendar is to use Spanning Sync, a $25 program (use this link and you can get $5 off!), that keeps your calendar in iCal in sync both ways with your calendar on Google.
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Hours away from Vacation

I’m mere hours away from taking a little vacation to Las Vegas along with my wife, and my roommate. Tomorrow morning I will board a Virgin America flight (I’m much looking forward to trying them out), for Las Vegas.

I’ve got a lot of fun planned, including one last trip to the Star Trek Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton. In fact making a final voyage to the Experience was my primary reason for visiting Vegas this month. This will be my fourth Voyage there (blogged about before on my blog, I’ll edit this post with links to my old posts later), and I’m sad it will be my last, but unfortunately the Experience will be Closing on September 1st permanently, so I had to make one last trip. This will be Mike’s first trip to the future, and he’s eager to see what he has only heard about.

But this trip won’t be all Star Trek, on Thursday Night, Barbara and I will be seeing Mamma Mia. We’ve seen the movie and are both looking forward to seeing the play as well. On Friday Night we will be going Medievil, and enjoying the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur, another great treat.

In addition to all that planned fun, we are also going to get to see my parents, who are in Vegas right now, and our vacation plans are thankfully overlapping enough that we can see each other.

I’m looking forward to a very enjoyable trip.

GMail Down

GMail Down
In the latest in my ongoing series of Major websites experiencing outages, GMail has been down for at least the last hour. Google’s Mail service is excellent and over all I’ve always been pleased with it. Their servers are redundant, I don’t have problems with lost email messages, and the spam filtering is second to none. I also am a big fan of the search, filtering, and conversation features that make it the best email experience I’ve ever had, but today, it’s down, and I can’t access my email, which again slows down my productivity. But I take it as a bit of comfort, because the next time one of my sites goes down I’ll remember, even Google has server outages sometimes.

It’s important to note that while the web interface (which I primarily use) is down, the IMAP appears to be fully operational, so I’m still getting new emails buzzing on my iPhone constantly, I just much prefer to work on the web based interface with all of the search functionality that makes it easy to find just the right message when I need it. I hope the server comes back up again soon.

Also before some jerk calls me a fool and tells me that I’m screwing up with my urls, it’s not just me, None of my coworkers are able to get on GMail, neither can my wife (who is not here), nor several friends online. A Simple Date Based Google Blog Search shows that many other people are experiencing problems with 502 errors on the GMail interface today

Update: After getting everything operational again, Google Blogged about the outage, apologizing for the inconvenience.