Amazon’s Prime Day returns, tracking pricing history on Amazon, maintaining your privacy with your smartphone.
Get ready for Prime Day next week
Prime Day, Amazon’s annual sales blitz, starts next Tuesday (July 12).
Most of the early deals that have been announced are on Amazon products. You can get up to half off Blink, Eero, and Ring smart home products, for example, and steep discounts on Amazon Fire televisions and streaming sticks
With Prime Video, you can also get movies to purchase or rent cheaply: Dune for $8 or The Lost City for $10, for example.
And Prime Gaming is giving away games like Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Need for Speed Heat, and the two Star Wars Jedi Knight games, Jedi Academy and Jedi Outcast. That’s in addition to dozens of indie games including 10 Second Ninja X, Death Squared, Metal Slug 2, and the King of Fighters 2002.
The trick to avoid spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need during Prime Day is to make a list of the things you really need, and to be diligent on the day about checking the lightning deals and making sure that the price that is listed is truly a deal.
Because that’s not always the case.
How savvy shoppers can get Amazon pricing history
The website Camelcamelcamel is a free service that tracks the pricing history of many products listed for sale at Amazon, so you can tell if the price you’re looking at in real time is actually a deal.
Keepa is both a website and also provides browser extensions so you can see price history information when you’re actually on the Amazon website.
Both of these services provide the option of creating an account so you can be notified of price drops. Camelcamelcamel makes money as an Amazon referrer and through ads, while Keepa has additional data services you can subscribe to access.
Being diligent with you personal security and safety in the modern world
Two recent events provide strong examples of why you should be aware and in control of the settings on your smartphone.
The first is the continuing cascade of consequences around the overturning of Roe v Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Forced birth approaches by some jurisdictions has some privacy advocates calling for people to delete from their devices and app that tracks menstrual cycles. The rationale is that information collected and stored by the software could be used to prosecute people.
It’s true, that information collected and stored by other apps on your smartphone could also be used against you, which is one reason Google has decided to automatically delete location history information if people have visited places like medical facilities and shelters.
You also have more control over the settings of location history when using an Apple device or a Google product.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation has a good article on the topic.
The second incident was reported by writer and actor Hannah Rose May, who discovered that an AirTag had been placed on her without her knowledge. Her iPhone notified her that she was being tracked.
This is disconcerting, to say the least.
AirTags have been quite useful in many situations, too, most recently to help air travellers find their bags in the sea of luggage at many major airports.
But bad actors can use anything to further their nefarious purposes, so women should be aware of this and need to take precautions.
Macworld has detailed instructions on how you can find, block, and disable AirTags.
And Tracker Detect is an Android app developed by Apple to give the same kind of control to people using Android-enabled smartphones from Google, Samsung, and others. The problem with Tracker Detect is it’s a manual scan only.
Another option is AirGuard, which comes from the Computer Science department of Germany’s Technical University of Darmstadt.