It’s a bit hard to explain, and I didn’t think it worth posting until I went to this Lytro demo site.
There’s a bunch of photos, I liked the one I set it to start on the best. Click the button on the lower right of the photo, then click on the spider. Cool orb web, eh? Now click on the pink flower above and left of center. Where’d the web go?
What a cool thing for Christmas morning when everyone is opening gifts at the same time?
The reason is that this interacts with the students willingness to resell their textbooks. Since students aren’t going to be able to resell their Kindle texts, the important comparison is the net retail price a student pays for a hardcover (after reselling), versus the list price of the text for the Kindle. One thing is clear: the Kindle books will have to be under that net price.
The thing is – a student controls that net price. Some resell everything and their net price is probably half of the list. If you keep your books, the net price is then the retail price of your text.
But … if you’re going to keep your books, a new element enters the picture – you have to keep your Kindle too.
The cool thing for this analysis is that those factors balance out.
So, say you’re a text-keeper. If you buy 4 conventional books a semester at $100, and Amazon prices the Kindle equivalents at around $50, a Kindle DX becomes a good buy if you use it for only a single academic year – even if you keep it and never use it again!
Alternatively, suppose you buy your $100 books, but you resell them for $50. Amazon will have to beat that net price of $50. But … because you’re text-reseller, you’ll probably have no compunction about reselling your Kindle DX too. The result is about the same: a Kindle DX is a good purchase if you’ll use it for two semesters even if Amazon prices their books just below the net price you’d pay for conventional texts.
The spreadsheet includes all the other details that financial professionals like to see: opportunity costs, discounting, salvage and so on.
But … the bottom line holds. There are two types of students – those that keep their books and will keep a Kindle too, and those that resell books and will resell a Kindle too. For either one, the purchase is close to a no-brainer if Amazon can knock off half the price of a conventional textbook.
The BIG IF for now is what textbooks Amazon is going to be able to make available. My guess is that they are going to start with the standard general education classes. These are probably filled with resellers that might put downward pressure on the list price of a new Kindle DX. The alternative is graduate students – particularly Ph.D. students. These are the book keepers, and their books are often high price and low margin in traditional formats. Publishers like Wiley may leap at the chance to get out of the paper text market.
One of the most bothersome things is having to throw out a whole strand of mini-lights because a third of them (all in a row) have gone out (see below).
There's a tool that can fix this; it's called Lightkeeper Pro, it looks like a gun, and you can buy it by clicking the link.
Plug the lights in, pull the trigger, and on go your lights. It is an unbelievably empowering rush to get out of nonsense like this, but there it is.
Here's how it works.
Believe it or not, the holiday light hegemony is not out to get you.
They actually have figured out that it was really annoying (in the good old days) to have to go through a strand bulb by bulb to find the dead one. If holiday lights were as simple as the bulbs around your house, the whole strand would go out when a single filament broke. But holiday lights are more sophisticated than that.
Those little tiny bulbs contain not only filament but a shunt as well. The filament is low resistance and puts out the light. The shunt has higher resistance. The power goes in and through the filament, to avoid the shunt. Except, occasionally filaments break, in which case the power will go through the shunt.
If the shunt doesn't break, the single bulb goes out, but all the others stay on. But, if the bulb goes out, and the shunt fails, then the whole line fails. This is a big pain, since you can no longer tell which bulb is the problem. The circular file beckons.
This is where Lightkeeper Pro comes in. Shunts fail because there is a tiny little gap in them. I'm guessing that somewhere inside Lightkeeper Pro is a big capacitor, powered by its 3 watch batteries. What you do is unplug any bulb in the dead strand, plug the empty socket into the Lightkeeper Pro, and pull the trigger a few times. It sends little jolts of DC power from the batteries that fuse that shunt back together. Power flows and the lights come on. You don't even have to unplug the strand in most cases.
I kid you not. You have a tree full of lights, a small section goes out, and your significant other starts committing to replacing all the Christmas knick-knacks your budget can afford, plus some that it can't. And you walk in with your Christmas light gun, shoot the lights, and leave a hero.
FWIW: I wouldn't have posted about this at all except that I brought up this gadget at lunch, and everyone was fascinated. I fixed a broken strand outside that evening, and accidentally left it in my coat pocket, so the next day I showed it to one and all, and they were like kids in a candy factory.
N.B. Holiday lights go out in sections (usually thirds) so that your whole light display doesn't fail when one strand has a problem. It's a good thing. What's going on is that, while there is a problem in the dark area, power is still going through to light the other areas, and more importantly, is also being delivered through to the plug on the end and the next strand of lights.
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