Its a conspiracy I tell ya ... Amazon UK Black Friday sales are rubbish

Amazon sites are having the annual Black Friday sales now at the US and UK sites (if you do not know what BF Sales are click here). While both sites are supposedly run by the same company, the sales practices are entirely different.

What happens is selected items are put on offer for a limited time and limited quantity only. Its a first come first served scenario ... but at Amazon UK, it seems to be more like a blackhole scenario instead. Items will go on sale and right in front of your eyes, the [Add to cart] button changes to sold out in mere milliseconds!! Many people have complained but to no avail.

The first items on sale were CDs by Take That and Susan Boyle. Amazon UK claims that 1000s of CDs of each were sold. Hmmmm .... taking into account the population of UK/Europe and the number of fans that Boyle or TT has, I don't think the 2000 "reported" stock was sold out in 2 seconds?!?! Come on people, how many actually WANT to buy that Boyle CD? Not that she's a bad singer but it can't be that high demand ... maybe if it was Beyonce, or Shakira .....

Amazon US seems to be handling things more fairly. You see a waiting queue and get to join a waitlist if the item is already sold out. There may be instances where a person cancels their order and then it is passed on the the wait list for the next customer to grab. This is better sales practise and will keep a customer happy because they are treated fairly (or so it seems in comparison to the f*cky UK site)

Anyways, customers have started figuring out they can get better deals for some items without having to do the mouse button mashing when the timer dings. There are several good deals though (the Harry Potter 1-6 6 bluray movie collection at £12.97 was a steal ... that equates to around RM64.20 but unfortunately Region B blurays won't work here ... *sigh*). As I post this, the 37" LCD TV just went on sale like 6 seconds ago ... but then so did the response time of the site 'cos all I'm getting is that blasted spinning loading symbol as Amazon UK slows down to a crawl....

UPDATE: one minute later, all the TVs and toolkits are now sold out. Go figure :P

And once again I've left you alone ....

Been so busy with work (exams, special exams, finale exams and more exams) that I've left this to dwindle again. Add on the fact that I have a class again this semester ... but that's done last week. What's been on my mind? Been thinking about getting a media player for the living room TV but the choices out there are confusing.

An oldie is the WDTV but I've read that its hardware is showing its age and can't keep up with newer file containers and codec requirements. Good points is that it supports many WLAN USB devices out of the box and thus can connect to my existing router.

Another popular one is from A.C.Ryan but they haven't been updating their firmware for a bit (as they transition to SDK4 for the Realtek chip they have inside). Which begs the question with all these standalone media players ... once there is no support, what can you do with the device? Another this is it only supports particular USB devices for WLAN networking (preferably its own) ... why can't they just build it in?

The newbie on the block is from Acer with its Revoview RV100 which is probably the cheapest of the bunch and has the possibility of adding a SATA internal HDD for storage. With the HDD it also turns the device into a USB storage device when plugged directly into a PC/MAC. Plus points (other than being cheap) is that it supports Windows 7 Playto feature - no need to transfer files to the object to play anymore, just go to the supported source PC and send the file through the network for playback. Bad points, the Malaysian/Singapore Acer distributor will NOT sell the USB wireless device. The USB plug is an OEM device from Azurewave model AW-NU120 so maybe there's hope in getting it in stores ... else finding one using the same Realtek RTL8192 802.11N chipset.

I may go the hard way and just build a HTPC from scratch. Current plans are to build it using the ASRock 330HT-BD setup with XBMC as the OS and interface. Good points? Its future proof against all formats as long as there is enough CPU grunt to decode and someone writes plugins for XBMC. It has a blu-ray drive ready so it can playback blu-ray discs with proper software (namely powerdvd). Additionally, it can dual boot into Windows and work as a additional PC in the living room. Bad points - without HDD and memory the PC already is a wallet busting RM1500!!. Or maybe I should go for a SFF PC as the starter ..... stay tuned for future updates (waaay in the future, my bills have been piling up)