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The Easy Button is real


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© April 2015 Anthony Lawrence

2015/04/02

Oh my: Amazon introduces Dash, which really are little buttons you can hang up or stick on to something. Press the button and it connects to your wireless network to place an order with Amazon.

The Amazon dash button as they envision it

They explain that they've thought about accidental presses:


Amazon sends an order alert to your phone, so it's easy to cancel if you change your mind. Unless you elect otherwise, Dash Button responds only to your first press until your order is delivered.


But have they really thought this through? They currently list 258 products that have Dash buttons available; do they really think you'd want dozens of these scattered through your home? Nonsense.

If I wanted to be able to reorder Amazon products without going to my computer or phone, I wouldn't want buttons. No, I'd want to shout it out and have some obedient listening device take care of the details. The funny thing is that Amazon already has a device that could do that: their Amazon Echo. Echo lacks that capability currently, but it seems an obvious feature, and far smarter than Dash buttons.

I don't want to be limited to particular products. For example, both Dash and Amazon Pantry offer Bounty paper towels, but they only offer Select-A-Size. We don't buy that version. There are other products we buy that are not Dash or Pantry items at all. We'd want to be able to load Echo up with the products we do reorder and and have Echo order them. Ideally, she'd confirm her understanding by saying "You last ordered that on.. " and confirming the current price before actually placing the order. That would work for us. Dash buttons would not.

In some warehouse, Amazon must have thousands of these silly buttons. I predict that's just where many will stay.

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-> The Easy Button is real Amazon just made the Easy Button real with its Dash buttons. I can't imagine who would use these.

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Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

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Are Your Bits Flipped?

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

Digital Sharing Crash Course

Take control of Apple TV, Second Edition





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Thu Apr 2 15:04:33 2015: 12645   DavidHern

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This thing is real?!

I thought it was some silly April Fools product thing. As you mentioned, I don't understand why they didn't add this functionality into Echo ("OK Amazon! Order one bale of Bounty paper towels!"). The only reason I can see for these buttons is to coerce companies into paying for exclusive partnership rights to get their products on the buttons...

A few technical questions comes to mind:

- How do these things connect to my wifi network? Presumably there is some way to configure them? What if I have WPA2 enabled and DHCP disabled?

- Can I put these things on their own subnet?

- Do they encrypt the connection to the Amazon server?

- How are these things powered? Will I have to replace a battery periodically or will I need to order more as the battery dies? Will I recieve a meta button to order more buttons?






Thu Apr 2 15:15:24 2015: 12646   TonyLawrence

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The buttons are free (for Prime members), so I guess if you are a regular buyer, they'll replace them as needed.

I assume the network is much like Echo and managed with an app.

They had better encrypt it :)





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