A reader asks: "Where are the Amazon Prime movies?" You'd think Amazon would have a category called "Prime Movies" on their website, but no, that's too simple. So how do you find them?
Prime Movies are freebies for those who have paid for Prime membership. To find, type "prime movies" in the search box at the top of Amazon's home page. Tens of thousands come up. Don't have time to go through those? Best narrow the search. There are categories off to the left. In what may be the worst designed Web page in the known universe, some of those categories don't make sense, like "used." (It's a download, dummy.) If you're a Prime member, just ignore the prices to rent or buy.
The second step is to look off to the left again and click "Amazon video." Now you'll see all the categories for Amazon Prime videos, something like 35,000 movies. You can narrow choices from here and get gritty, funny, or political movies made after 2010. We narrowed it to just "funny" and "politics", and found shows like Alpha House, which is hilarious, along with Veep and a Charlie Chan movie.
If you narrow your search to four-star and up, you'll still get thousands of choices. (Too many movies are made.) We clicked "tough guys" and that narrowed our choices to 406 tough-guy movies. (Why isn't there a category for mild guys?)
If you want new, look at movies that were added this week or in the past few months. Check off multiple categories for a custom result like "musicals before 1960 with four or five star ratings," or "comedy suspense after 2010." There should be a category for boring movies, but there isn't. If you don't see all these categories, keep clicking or start over. What's weird is sometimes the same steps yield different results; they must have hired a Microsoft programmer.
Over 66 million Americans now pay $99 a year up front for Amazon Prime, according to the tech news site Recode.net. That's roughly $6.6 billion coming in, and Amazon hasn't sold you anything yet. (That's pretty good for a company that spent years putting growth over profits.) What you get for your Prime membership are free movies, music, unlimited photo storage, a huge lending library, audio books and free two-day shipping.
Does any of this help explain why so many retailers have struggled the past few years? Uh-huh. Wall Street types call it "Death by Amazon."
Heaps of Internuts
• "The World's Most Valuable Brands by Country." Search on that phrase for an interesting world map from MarketWatch.com. In the U.S., it's Google; in Japan, Toyota; in South Korea, Samsung; in China, it's the government-controlled Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The Dutch oil company, Shell, is tied with BMW in Germany. Apple, the most valuable brand for five years in a row, shifts back and forth with Google. Eight of the 10 most valuable brands in the world are American.
• "Patrick Stewart Reads One-Star Reviews of Famous Monuments." Google that phrase to hear the famous actor read comments visitors have placed online. One guy thinks the Statue of Liberty should have rides. Another thinks Stonehenge needs a coat of paint, that it's "certainly past its best." (Got a point there.) And the trouble with Mount Rushmore is it's in South Dakota.
• AtlasObscura.com has fun stories about places all over the world. We didn't know that Puzzlewood, in Coleford, England, was the inspiration for Lord of the Rings. We were looking into going across Canada by train next summer and learned that Toronto has a vending machine dispensing random books at a bookstore called Monkey's Paw -- named for the horror story in which the moral is "Be careful what you wish for -- you just might get it."
• "Photoshop Troll Takes Requests Too Literally." Search on that phrase to find photo mashups by master Photoshop editor James Fridman. For example, two kayakers asked James to put them in more dangerous waters. The photo now shows them paddling inside a pot of boiling pasta. Misspellings are choice subjects: "Hey James, can you pet me inside of a Bugatti?" The photo shows the guy turned into a dog, except for the face, sitting in a car and getting petted. A girl who wants to look "grate" is shown cartoonishly run through a giant grater.
• "Famous Last Words of 19 Famous People." Search on that phrase for some interesting ones. Marie Antoinette supposedly said, "Pardon me, I didn't do it on purpose," as she stepped on her executioner's foot.
• JoyofAndroid.com has helpful tips for getting the most out of your Android phone or tablet. There's a section on common problems with the Google Home device, competitor to the Amazon Echo.
Everything's being built with computer chips these days. Joy went ballistic when her new high-tech scale said her body fat was twice as much as she expected -- and that her bone density was low. If that isn't enough to tick off the Good Humor man, we don't know what is. She was testing the new Yunmai digital bathroom scale. The price is $67.
We've come across similar results with the better-known Omron scale. This one gives your supposed "real age." No matter what age Joy told the scale she was, it said her real age, body-wise, was two years younger. If she put in 60, it said she was 58. If she put in 20, it said she was 18. This turns out to be an electronic fountain of youth!
Gizmos like this have become common as the price of computer chips has gone down. A guy commenting on the Web about a hand-held gizmo he bought said he knew by caliper and tape that his body fat was 15 percent. But his hand-held device said it was 30 percent. It's the new techno-junk.
Out of 838 reviews for the Yunmai scale on Amazon, 92 percent were positive, despite its faults. (We're keeping it because it looks great and has a huge digital read-out. No glasses required.) One user said it informed her that her body fat went up even though her weight went down -- all in one day. One time, Joy got on after a big lunch while wearing heavy winter clothes. The scale read: "Is this Joy?"
Bob and Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
SundayMonday Business on 03/13/2017
Print Headline: Amazon Prime users get free movies and TV, but clunky interface