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Sunday 10 December 2017

1K Free Marriott Points!

Yet again, this Sunday, Marriott is giving those with a Twitter account that is linked to their Marriott account a free 1K points for answering today's trivia question: The extra point ball is snapped from what yard line?  Answer: It's the 15 yard line.
Reply: 15 yard line #RewardsPoints
Click here to be redirected to the Twitter page.  Be sure you log in and that you're already following Marriott through your Twitter.
You have 'til 8pm Eastern to reply.
If your spouse/household partner has a Marriott account, s/he can get 1K points, switch the points after the post to your account to your SPG, then move your points into one SPG account (either yours are hers/his).
That's 2K Marriott points!

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Welcome to the 24rd Century, Canada!

Well, it's finally here.  The Amazon artificial intelligence (AI) devices that have made life easier and fun have finally been officially released in Canada (at least, some of them).  I've listed them here, plus new ones that will eventually come to Canada.

With an Amazon Prime account for only $79CDN, you get:

  • free 2 day shipping (no option of no-rush shipping with a video/music credit like Americans get)
  • same day shipping in Toronto if ordered before 12pm, including on Sundays
  • Amazon Prime video, which, unlike the US, is limited to mostly Amazon's critically acclaimed TV shows with a few additional videos
  • Amazon music, which includes millions of free songs that you can play through an app or through Amazon's artificial intelligence devices (not the "unlimited" version that has millions MORE songs)
  • The ability to use Amazon's AI devices after you purchase them, along with tons of devices that can make your home a "smart" home--light bulbs, thermostats, your front door smart dead bolt to open the door for people and see who you're opening it for, smart plugs that you can plug anything into (e.g., a toaster, a light) and name it anything you want (see below)
I expect the price of Amazon Canada Prime WILL go up soon, as in the States, it's been $99USD for a couple of years now, except for two individual days where the price went back down to $79 for new customers.

It reminds me and others of Star Trek, The Next Generation, whereby the crew could talk to the computer and ask it questions as well as control devices.  The wake up word defaults to "Alexa," which is what many call these devices (incorrectly). It won't listen to you until you state its name.

These devices are regularly getting updated and new apps are available on it all the time, including flash news updates, weather, jokes, your shopping lists, purchase items on, Wikipedia--the list is EXTENSIVE.

As can be expected, you getting ripped off buying them in Canada (except for one--see below).
As an "introductory price" of "only" $49.99 CDN (will go up soon to $69.99), you can get the mini version, known as the Dot, which works terrifically well in a small room or in a larger one, connected to bluetooth or through an audio wire to a more powerful speaker than the one it comes with.
In the US, they're $29.99USD, and right now, you can get one for $5USD more, a TP Link smart plug that you can plug into your wall and control whatever you plug into it.  For example, plug a living room lamp into the TP Link plug, use the TP Link app for your Android/Iphone to name it and control it: "Alexa, turn off the living room lamp.

They'll likely offer "Alexa" exclusive deals, that offer discounts above and beyond what Amazon normally offers, but you have to purchase it through your Amazon AI device, though you have 30 minutes to rescind the edit your purchase.  You will also be able to Subscribe and Save for everyday purchases that they can send you monthly, bi monthly, etc.

Here's the devices currently available from Amazon:
The Amazon Echo Dot
Love how they Canadianized it in the pic, with the background apps that will work with it.  The Canadian Amazon team has been working on the introduction of these devices to Canada for a couple of years, and many Canadians have been using them by buying them from Amazon.COM (they STILL WON'T deliver them to Canada) and shipping them to a US address, then bringing them back and using a service that masks one's URL to allow them to be used, fooling Amazon into believing you're in the States--I recommend for this ($50CDN a year).  As mentioned, BUY IT IN THE STATES--buying in Canada, other than food, tends to be for suckers, as companies know they can overcharge Canadians as competition is 1/10th the American market.

This is the new mini version of the full sized Echo that has superb sound.  Last count, 1923 reviewers on average in the US, gave it 4 stars out of 5.  This second gen version did not get reviewed as highly as the first gen version, which is still available refurbished in the US, but even if you get the new version, you're going to get enough sound out of it to satisfy you, unless you REALLY want to crank it--the first gen Echo could do that!
It IS worth buying in Canada, as it's going for $79 here and $99 in the US.

The Third Echo product, being released December 14th, is a lot like the first gen Echo, in size at least.  It comes with a built in smart hub, which the old one did not--you had to just buy devices that did not need a hub, or had to buy a hub separately.  It even comes with a Philips smart bulb that you can control with your Amazon AI devices.

Here's device you can buy in the States, but not yet available to get ripped off in Canada...yet
The Echo with a screen, giving you detailed pics, words to songs, YouTube clips, your shopping list visually--it's awesome (not that I have it, but I imagine it is from the videos I've seen of it).
The mini version of it, coming December 19th to the States

By invitation only--here's what Amazon says about it:
  • Introducing Echo Look—an Echo focused on style. Now Alexa helps you look your best.
  • Using just your voice, easily take full-length photos and short videos of your daily look and build your own personal lookbook
  • The Echo Look hands-free camera features built-in LED lighting, depth-sensing, and computer vision-based background blur to make your outfits pop
  • See yourself from every angle in the Echo Look app. View photos and videos of your outfits, select your favorites, and share with friends. Discover new brands and styles and see what colors you wear most often.
  • Get a second opinion on which outfit looks best with Style Check, a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists
  • Echo connects to Alexa—a cloud-based voice service—to ask questions, set alarms and timers, check your calendar, weather, traffic, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, play music, and more—instantly
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Starbucks, Fitbit, NPR, and more

And then, there's the Amazon Tap
The beauty of this baby is it's portable.  As long as you have a wifi connection, including using your smartphone as a hotspot, you have "Alexa" with you wherever you go--including the beach!

Friday 1 December 2017

How To Diagnose Your OWN Car

Would you like a device that can diagnose your engine issues?  Amazon does sell a product called "FIXD" that does it for around $60, but with an Android device, you can get one that gets good reviews on Amazon for around $15USD.  With an Android app you download, you can connect it through bluetooth to the device that you connect to your car easily.  You can (especially in car models that are not old--over 10+ years old) get a lot of info, including turning off your engine light, for $15.  TOTALLY worth it.
Don't let "the man" tell you that you need things done to your car that in fact, you DON'T need to get done!
Click here for more on the device on Amazon's website.

Next Steve's Deals Seminar Coming In February-WHAT YOU MISSED LAST NIGHT

Everyone who came to the first Steve's Deals seminar will tell you they walked away with a lot of information that will help them with their future vacation plans.
The turn out was not as grand as I'd hoped considering it was my first, and a free seminar.  The next one will cost--a donation to the synagogue that it will be in, this coming February.  Details to follow.

People who came learned about deals I cannot post publicly, they learned about how to upgrade to 2 bedroom suites, they learned how to save money on groceries and everything else.  They learned about everyday spending credit cards and others that are important to have to help you score practically free vacations.

Look out for upcoming information on the next Steve's Deals seminar!

HOT!! Calvin Klein Men's Suit from Men's Wearhouse From $50USD or $89.15CDN!!

Men's Wearhouse is having a clearance sale.  They have several styles with different sizes in stock.  If you ship to Canada, the suit is $89.15 plus $34.46 shipping--but if you buy 2 suits, they'll ship it for free.  You'll still be possibly dinged with a customs brokerage fee and taxes by Canada Post or...
Send it to a US address, be it, a hotel, or a friend's/relative's house, get free shipping and minimal NY state tax--and if you know someone with a US phone, have them text "mw" to 66960 and you'll get a code for $10USD off your purchase, bringing the cost of the suit down to $50USD +$2.38 NY State tax.  Be sure to change your country to the US at the bottom of the screen, clicking on the Canadian flag, "Quick Links" and switching it--"Proceed as a US Customer".

Act FAST!!--And of course, before checking out, open a new tab, go to the Men's Warehouse through it and save an additional 4% cashback, bringing the cost down to about $50 total!
Click here and see which suits are only $60, including the main one that shows on the link.