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Old 02-20-2011, 01:24 PM   #14
Fat Guy
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Posts: 395
Karma: 24165
Join Date: Jun 2010
Device: Kindle 3
Originally Posted by Worldwalker View Post
No conspiracy. Amazon is a business, and they're doing business in a way that they believe will provide the best value -- for them. That does not necessarily equate to the best value for us, and in fact the needs of a seller (get as much money as possible for as little as possible) and the needs of a buyer (pay as little money as possible for as much as possible) are often diametrically opposed. Ideally, from a business's point of view, we'd pay everything we have and get nothing; from a consumer's point of view, we'd get everything we want and pay nothing. Somewhere in between, we come to an agreement and pay something for something, with the "something" in question subject to negotiation and market forces. Amazon is a large, successful company ... I've been doing business with them myself, by the way, since almost the day they opened ... but I don't delude myself into believing that they have my best interests at heart, any more than I have theirs.
Agreed, with one caveat: to the extent that it keeps you buying from them, YOUR best interest is THEIR best interest. Piss enough of YOU off, and they start losing sales, no?

I never said that Amazon was a fly-by-night operation (incidentally, I have one of those insulated cups they sent out on their first anniversary) nor did I say, or even imply, that Kindles had some kind of "secret speaker" or they could spy on conversations, nor anything of the kind, nor who, if anybody, they were reporting anything to (though since you brought it up, that has been done with GM's OnStar in-car microphones). I listed the things that they were known to have done already, such as deleting books (no, it wasn't just one book; it was books, multiple) from the Kindle, determining which passages you have annotated (part of the "everyone has to be like Facebook" fad of the moment), etc. I listed the things reported but not (to my knowledge) proven, such as checking for software patches despite wireless connectivity being turned off to extend battery life.
Amazon as a corporate entity is as susceptible to making mistakes as any other. However, if you're willing to attribute that susceptibility to them, then you must therefore by default also be willing to attribute the inverse, as well: that they can LEARN from their mistakes. So then the question becomes, do YOU trust enough that they can, or have? That's a personal choice that every customer has to make for themselves. However, posts that warn of how 1984-esque amazon is (Yes, yes, I know, of all the books for them to putz up with...) because of the statistically minuscule mistakes they've made are, in my opinion, vastly off base. A better approach, perhaps, is to lay out the facts, sans alarmist 'omg don't buy from or deal with amazon because they made THIS mistake', and let people decide for themselves. I think the vast majority of potential customers will realize that this was a very isolated incident, and that amazon, keeping their OWN best interest in mind, keeps most of ours, so, as well.

The things I listed that you didn't say specifically, I did so to illustrate the mob hysteria that people propagate, instigated by the incident to which we're referring. Of COURSE amazon isn't listening to you.

And, of course, my kindle isn't making my coffee.

Have they demonstrated that they can brick a Kindle? No. Not yet. But it is a computer, specialized though it is, and they do have remote access to it, which they have demonstrated aspects of already. If a competent person has full remote access to a computer, they can generally disable it; hence, it is likely that Amazon has that capability. You will note, though, that was in the section where I speculated on what Amazon might do, should they choose to. Will they? Not unless it's profitable. Can they? Most probably.
Censuring anyone, even a corporate entity, for what they MIGHT do, maybe, possibly, in the future leads to all sorts of hypotheticals that, ultimately, are mostly useless. Do you refuse to speak to a neighbor that offended ANOTHER neighbor, because of what he MIGHT say in the future, to you? Most of us wouldn't. Is it, then, proper, to go around your neighborhood warning others off from speaking with that neighbor?

I don't think it is.

They have made very public missteps, like removing the sales rankings of GLBT books "by mistake"; it's not at all outside the realm of possibility that they would so something that affects the wrong people -- much like that recent government operation meant to disable 10 websites that got 84,000 "by mistake".
Lol. You won't find me defending DHS at ALL. I think nearly any sentient being in the universe would agree that amazon, as an entity, is vastly more competent than DHS. They're not going to brick anyone's kindle.

Simple scenario: the government tells Amazon "Kindles owned by the following 10 people are being used for child porn; disable the user's ability to delete content so we can use them for evidence." So Amazon does ... they think ... and instead of 10, they disable 84,000. Possible? Yes. Probable? I don't know. I'd hope Amazon is more competent than Homeland Security. But saying "because Amazon said they wouldn't delete your books anymore means they can't do it" doesn't make the possibility go away.
Firstly, the problem with this argument is that, on the VERY remote chance that this did happen, it would ONLY happen because the government forced them to, just like happened in the case to which you're referring, and in which case, amazon could hardly be held at fault. In the DHS case, the domain that they wanted killed had those 84k others umbrella'd underneath it, so when it when down, they all did. I don't think (though won't state categorically), that kindles are umbrella'd under anything -- I'm pretty sure amazon has to 'dial home' for each specific device to do anything like what you're speaking of. It simply is not going to happen. CAN it happen? I suppose. But then again, we get back to the 'where do you draw the line?' argument. Your computer, that you're using to post here, can be used in all sorts of manners that you don't want it to be -- and with vastly, vastly greater risk. You CAN get hit by a bus today. Do you base your decisions on that possibility?

Of course not -- I'm being silly and facetious...just like anti-kindle alarmists are being about this issue.
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