Coins to Tunes

Mom found one just like Grandpa's bank!As a six year old, one of my favorite things about visiting my grandparents in their small, southern Illinois town was the thrill of splitting the pile of change from my grandfather’s piggy bank with my brother.  It wasn’t a piggy, actually, but a portly, tonsured monk, complete with fake fur for hair. The classic Friar Tuck, really.  I’m not sure if it was supposed to be an image of frugality or a critical commentary on medieval monks. But either way, we were glad that my grandfather was frugal so that we could feel a 6 year old’s version of gluttonousness.

We don’t have a piggy bank these days, but the change abounds.  Which is why I loved seeing Kelly Hodgkins short piece at TUAW.

You are probably familiar with the coin-counting service Coinstar, which offers cash in exchange for your loose coins. Instead of receiving a cash voucher next time you turn in change, select an iTunes gift certificate and you will receive a receipt with an iTunes redemption code.

The funds will be added to your Apple ID and you can use it to buy iOS Apps, OS X apps, music, movies and books. Coinstar waives the coin-counting fee with these gift certificates, so you will walk away with your full balance. The coin-counting service occasionally offers an iTunes promotion thatll give you an extra $10 when you redeem a minimum amount usually $40. You can find promotions on Coinstars Special Offers webpage or be alerted via email when you sign up for a Coinstar account.

I’ve never used Coinstar machines because they charge that fee. But this looks like a great way to put that change to good use while bringing back the thrill of the coin pile.

Storms Take Down Tech, The Physical World Remains Relevant

A severe patch of storms that rumbled across the Eastern U.S. [on Friday night] — leaving [thirteen] people dead and millions without power — also disrupted an Amazon Web Services data center, affecting service for social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Netflix, which host their services at Amazon’s data centers.

Netflix and Pinterest had recovered most of their service by [Saturday] morning. The worst affected appeared to be Instagram — the Facebook-owned social photo-sharing service remained offline for many users as of this morning, and as of 11 am PT, it hadn’t updated users on its status since its initial service failure. Some users reported on Twitter that service had been restored for them, while others said it remained offline.

via Storm Knocks Out Amazon’s Power, Takes Down Instagram, Netflix.

There are lots of funny quotes floating around from people who found themselves unable to overcome the crushing boredom of down web services. For tech junkies, Barb Darrow had an interesting analysis of the outage for cloud subscribers over at GigaOm (including a link to her story about AWS outage two weeks ago). Four our part, we were awakened by the edges of these storms here in Philly on Friday night. Scary stuff here, so I can’t imagine the scene down there. And I wasn’t online, so didn’t notice any interruptions myself.


Happy Mothers’ Day (Don’t Forget to Post on Your Mom’s Wall)

Was a time, not so long ago when electronics where pretty much a guy thing. Even a few years ago, electronics manufacturers had a hard time figuring out how to sell anything but a television to women. But now, the tide has turned. Nielson released a new survey of American mothers that shows moms are pretty solidly wired.

Yes, Students, Grammar Does Matter

File this under “no really, your teachers aren’t just trying to be mean”:

If you’re working with a startup, odds are you’re wearing a half-dozen hats and doing too much with too little. Often, this means that founders are writing their own website copy, press releases and blog posts. Too often, that results in grammatical errors that reflect poorly on the startup.

Developers may not care, but other folks do.

12 Deadly Grammatical Errors Startups Must Avoid from Joe Brockmeier at ReadWriteStart.

Who pays the cost of shipping?

It’s Good Friday today, the day that Christians mark (“celebrate” seems wrong, somehow) the suffering and death of Jesus. Whether or not you think Jesus is the savior, it makes for a good time to reflect on who ends up suffering for things they never did wrong.

This morning, the Catholic Moral Theology blog published a piece I wrote on the lives of warehouse workers. Over the past year, there have been some great investigative pieces by journalists on conditions for workers in warehouses for online shopping companies. The most recent, “I Was A Warehouse Wage Slave” by Mother Jones’s labor rights reporter Mac McClelland, is a great, but sad, read. It is a must for anyone who buys stuff online a lot.


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