The Amazon Credit Card

Over the past 5 years I have ordered the following items from and received them for free:

My wife and use a credit card for most of our purchases. The credit card earns points that can be redeemed for merchandise at, so every time we buy gas, groceries, pay for tuition, or go to the movies, we earn points that we can eventually redeem from Amazon. We keep track of our spending, and pay the entire bill at the end of each month, so it functions almost like a debit card and we don’t end up accumulating debt.
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Dyson Vacuum Review

I guess it seems a little odd to be reviewing a vacuum cleaner here, but this is a very special vacuum cleaner. I first heard of the Dyson vacuum when talking to some graphic designers. They used it as an example of the design process. I looked into it because I was curious, but couldn’t picture myself spending $400 on a vacuum.

A few months later we had acquired some gift certificates for I was looking around and came across the Dyson vacuum on their site. I found that they had refurbished units for $279. The reviews for the refurbished units were favorable. $279 seemed like a much more reasonable price so after some deliberation we went ahead and ordered it.Dyson DC 07 All Floors Upright Vacuum, Steel Yellow

When the box got her I opened it up and followed the instructions to assemble it. The handle actually fits inside of the hose, so it seemed odd at first, but it keeps the hose tucked neatly up against the vacuum unlike most units.
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Creating Passionate Users: The effect of sound on users

Kathy Sierra has an interesting article about the impact of audio on people’s perception of video quality.

I don’t have a link handy, but there’s a study that showed that the quality of the audio causes people to change their evaluation of the quality of the visuals, but that it doesn’t work in reverse.
Creating Passionate Users: The effect of sound on users

Basically she is saying that on average people will rank the visual part of a video as higher quality if the sound is good and lower quality if the sound is bad. However, if you keep the sound quality constant and change the video quality it won’t impact their perception of the audio quality.
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Get a Business Education with Audio Books

In my experience the people who are most successful always take time to learn and read. Modern society makes this very difficult. According to the 2003 US Census, the average amount of time spent driving one way to work is 24 minutes each day. That means the average person spends 48 minutes of their day in the car. This may not seem like too much, but if a person allows 8 hours to sleep and 8 hours for work those 48 minutes represent 10% of their available free time.

The best way I have found to make my drive time productive is to listen to business audio books. With the Internet and modern mp3 players it is easier than ever to get audio books to listen to in your car. By downloading audio books from the Internet you don’t have to waste time going to a store that may or may not have what you want.
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Can you see it?

If you stare at the block long enough you should eventually be able to make out a giraffe. This is because of the special optical properties of files known as animated GIFs. :)

I sent this to my mom and somehow it got converted from an animated GIF to a static TIFF. She claims she stared at it for 2 hours before she gave up.