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Saturday, February 16, 2019

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What Does “Fulfilled by Amazon” Mean?

When you’re shopping on Amazon, you might have seen the words “Fulfilled by Amazon” next to some of the things you buy. You hopefully won’t notice anything different about the purchase experience, but you could run into problems.

Amazon the Marketplace

Amazon isn’t just an online store—and it hasn’t been for some time. It’s a marketplace, like eBay or Alibaba; it just hides that fact better.

Over 80% of the products sold through Amazon are bought not from Amazon but from an Amazon Marketplace seller who is paying Amazon to list their product. The numbers are even crazier when you look at the products listed on Amazon, not just sold: of the 350 million-plus products available, Amazon only sell 12 million of them directly—not including books, media, and wine—the rest are sold by Marketplace sellers.

Even if you’ve never noticed you were buying from a Marketplace seller before, the odds are you have.

Fulfilled by Amazon

The reason most people don’t realize that Amazon is a marketplace like eBay is it generally smooths over all the roughs and bumps. Sellers have two options:

  • They can list their products on Amazon and, when an order comes through, pack and ship it themselves.
  • They can list their products on Amazon and bulk ship any number of items to an Amazon warehouse. When an order comes through, Amazon workers pack and ship it like it’s an Amazon product. This is Fulfilled by Amazon.

For sellers, the big advantage of Fulfilled by Amazon is Amazon handles everything. They don’t need to run their own store, handle payment processing, deal with a shipper, pack things up, or customer care—for a small fee, Amazon does it. Sellers sometimes refer to Fulfillment by Amazon as “FBA.”

For customers, the advantage is that they get the same, regular Amazon experience, including stuff like Prime, free shipping, and the like, for an extra 338 million products that Amazon doesn’t sell directly. Most people—including me—don’t even notice when they’re not buying directly from Amazon. The packages arrive at your door just the same.

How to Spot an Amazon Marketplace Seller

While Amazon doesn’t trumpet it from the rooftops when you buy from a Marketplace seller, they don’t hide the information either. Here’s an official Amazon listing.

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Internet Streaming: What is it and How Does it Work?

Smart TV displaying streaming service apps
Manuel Esteban/Shutterstock 

We’ve been streaming content from the internet for a long time, and it’s gotten to the point that the internet is synonymous with services like Netflix and Youtube. But what exactly is streaming, and how does it work?

Streaming Happens Bit by Bit

When you want to watch a video or play a song on your computer, you need to download it first. There’s no way around that. Knowing this, you may look at Netflix or Spotify and ask “how did we figure out how to make videos and music download instantaneously?” Well, that’s just the thing. When you stream media, it isn’t downloading to your computer instantaneously; it’s downloading piece by piece in real-time.

The word “streaming” is self-descriptive. Information arrives at your computer in a continuous, steady stream of information. If downloading movies is akin to buying bottled water, streaming movies is like using a faucet to fill an empty bottle.

You could compare streaming a movie to watching a VHS tape. When you play a VHS tape, every second of video and audio is scanned piece by piece. This happens as you’re watching in real-time, which means that any interruptions will suddenly pause or end your movie watching experience.

When you stream a movie or a song, your computer downloads and decodes itty-bitty pieces of a media file in real-time. If you have an unusually fast internet connection, then the file may be fully downloaded before you’re finished watching or listening to it, which is why a stream will sometimes go on for a while even if the internet cuts out. That being said, anything that you stream doesn’t go into your computer’s permanent storage (although some services, like Spotify, will put some small cache files on your device to make future playbacks faster).

Businesses Work Hard to Make Streaming Fast

Streaming video and audio from the internet isn’t new; it just feels new because it’s finally convenient. Watching a video or playing a song from a website happened bit by bit used to be an annoying and time-consuming affair. The stream would constantly stop and start, and you could spend minutes just waiting for media to buffer (and sometimes, it wouldn’t buffer at all).

But the way that streaming works has mostly stayed the same. Files download bit by bit as you’re watching or listening to them. It’s the infrastructure that’s changed, and businesses like Youtube and Netflix have worked hard (and spent a lot of money) building that infrastructure.

abstract filing cabinets bulging with files
Sashkin/Shutterstock

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Geek Trivia: Marvel Successfully Argued In Court That The X-Men Were Mutants In Order To What?

Marvel Successfully Argued In Court That The X-Men Were Mutants In Order To What?

  1. Ban Copycat Products
  2. Protect Trademarks
  3. Dodge Import Taxes
  4. Establish The Mutant Registration Act

Think you know the answer?



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Friday, February 15, 2019

How to Total Rows and Columns in Microsoft Word

Word logo

If you need to total values in a Word table, you can do so without breaking out the calculator or entering the data into Excel and then copying it back. Word can do simple calculations such as summing, multiplying, and averaging.

Let’s say you have a table something like the following. You have the units sold and the per unit cost, and you want to multiply those to get a total.

table of sales figures in word

Start by placing your insertion point into the blank top cell in the “Total” column.

Next, switch to the new “Layout” tab that appears toward the right end of the Ribbon (there’s a separate Layout tab just for tables) and then click the “Formula” button.

click the formula button on the layout tab

 

In this example, we are going to multiply the value in the “Units” column by the value in the “Unit Cost” column. To do this, type the following into the “Formula” field to multiply the values in the two cells to the left of the current cell:

=PRODUCT(LEFT)

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Deal Alert: Upgrade to a SHIELD (With Controller) for Just $107 Plus Shipping

Gamer Deal: Buy a Nintendo Switch, Get a $35 eShop Credit

Have you been holding off on that Nintendo Switch for months? Well, Nintendo isn’t about to reduce the price of the Switch, but the company is offering a $35 eShop credit with new console purchases on Amazon.

Nintendo isn’t known for slapping big discounts on games or consoles. The company refuses to sell a Switch for less than $300, and first-party games seem to be perpetually stuck at the $60 mark. But that’s what makes this $35 eShop credit so sweet.

When you buy a new game console, you have to grab some new games (otherwise, there’s no point). A free $35 eShop credit is, essentially, a fat discount on a copy of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey.

Now, some of you keen gamers may be thinking about the Nintendo Switch bundles, don’t those come with a free game? Well, those bundles usually cost more than $360, and some of them have become collectors items that go for more than $400. The $35 eShop credit is actually a much better deal.



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