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Amazon Prime--a good deal?

Stone

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... if I went to Amazon's site on a different computer, not signed into any account, I found most things bought outside of Prime were actually cheaper with the shipping costs than the same item bought with Prime "free" shipping....
Great analysis -- thanks.
 

Chuck(G)

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I dropped Prime because the free two day shipping often slipped to three or four days, and if I went to Amazon's site on a different computer, not signed into any account, I found most things bought outside of Prime were actually cheaper with the shipping costs than the same item bought with Prime "free" shipping.

Not being a Prime subscriber, I was not aware of the price differential. I thank you for that tidbit.
 

Chuck(G)

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OTA CometTV has been showing the B5 series over and over and over....

to wit

as well as SG1 and SG Atlantis, 5 episodes on selected days of the week. I think I've almost got the dialog memorized on SG1.
 

luckybob

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Last month I bought a computer case. It was too small so I returned it. The shipper messed up and returned it to me a week later. Because I was "prime", CS told me to keep it. So I dropped it on CL and made $100.

The way I see it, that $100 pays for prime the next 18 months.

Also, most items I get, are cheaper with prime.
 

lafos

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I've been on Prime since 2001. Often lived in smaller towns, so on-line shopping was sometimes the only option. It's nice to go order something without needing filler to get free shipping.

Lately, I joined the unlimited music service. I can download music so I can listen off-line, which is nice. Took a while to get the service to offer me stuff that I liked, vs. what they seemed to promote.

I use an Amazon-linked visa card which gives back 5% on all purchases, so that they are often the better deal.
 

PeterNC

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I rarely watch movies and rarely buy stuff. With my Kmart/Sears free stuff I have so much clothing I am set for years. Plus with CVS coupons + manufacturing coupons most other life essentials are also very cheap. Food is cheap with sales / coupons at local supermarkets. Gas is local obviously. When I need computer hardware I find eBay the cheapest option or Craigslist. I find Amazon super annoying when it comes to their search engine: it throws back completely unrelated items. That basically sums up my purchasing.
 

luckybob

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I find Amazon super annoying when it comes to their search engine: it throws back completely unrelated items.

And that is how I got that computer case! I searched for "EATX" and I got a regular ATX in the mix.

Amazon is good for the items that I need in the next couple days and cant find one local. case in point, I needed nice dutch oven and the stores were constantly sold out. Everyone wanted $20 shipping (reasonable because these are HEAVY) and with prime it was free. It isnt the answer for everything, but is is damn convenient.
 

Chuck(G)

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Well, the scope is here, right on schedule. I was a little hesitant about buying a DSO, but I finally had to admit that my Tek 465 was older than a lot of people I know. Great workhorse, with great engineering. Never had a lick of problems with it.

OTOH, I remember trying an early Tek DSO--something in the 2200 series, I think. I ran up against all sorts of artifacts of the sampling rate and grew to dislike the thing enormously. I tried it as an alternative to using a storage-tube scope, which had its own issues.

So I decided to try a DSO again--this time, it was cheap--a Rigol DS1054Z 4-channel "entry" model. It appears to be very popular and doesn't require a scope cart to wheel it around. I understand that there are some "bootleg" firmware upgrades available, but first I have to get comfortable with this thing.

Boy, trace colors other than green, USB, ethernet, golly. I hardly know where to start...

Anyone else use one of these?
 

alank2

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I was going to ask what scope you are getting! The DS1054Z is a great scope for the $$$. I've always loved how compact it is. It has been awhile, but I don't think you have to load any bootleg firmware to get it "upgraded" to include all features, I think you just have to enter a license key that there are some generators for (so a search at the eevblog!). I've got a couple of Rigol scopes and they have always been great for me. One tip is reduce the enabled channels to increase the sample rate when you don't need them. 1 CH = 1 GSa/s, 2 CH = 500 MSa/s, 3-4 CH = 250 MSa/s.
 

alank2

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I here you; it is insane what they charge for some things. Name recognition really pushes up the price too. I think "back in the day" which is maybe 8 years ago Rigol got some recognition for having Agilent rebrand a couple of Rigol scopes for their lowest end models. Another scope I'm also a fan of is the Picoscope - I really had some reservations that it was a serious tool being a USB interfaced scope as many USB scopes are not so good, but the couple of Picoscopes I have a really outstanding. The most bang for the buck are models 2206B, or better yet the 2207B or 2406B/2407B.

Your Rigol should come with trial licenses for all features (except bandwidth I think) so you'll get serial decoding, more memory, more triggers, etc. for awhile, but then they will expire. I think though unless something has changed that you can just enter your serial number into a code generator and it will let you double the bandwidth and extend those features permanently.

My take is that scopes are great for analog work, but I'm not a huge fan of the MSO concept of using them for digital stuff. I don't find their decoding to be easy to deal with compared to something like a Saleae logic analyzer which gives a single timeline capture instead of hundreds of captures. Saleae has a deal where you can get their equipment at a decent discount if it is for private or educational use, etc., I think.
 

alank2

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...and about Amazon Prime. I've had it for a couple of years here and there and while it is handy, it is also a bit too convenient and easy to order more stuff than you need! My real problem with it is that Amazon wants you to pay for the privilege that other people don't ask you to pay for. If you don't have prime and take advantage of their "free shipping" over X dollars, it takes forever for them to ship it. You can count on a week sometimes for them to even ship! I personally prefer eBay or other sellers that get onto shipping more quickly without making you pay for the benefit... I'm also not a fan of their tiered pricing of practically giving it away to some people at a substantial discount, but gouging others for it...
 

Chuck(G)

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I here you; it is insane what they charge for some things. Name recognition really pushes up the price too. I think "back in the day" which is maybe 8 years ago Rigol got some recognition for having Agilent rebrand a couple of Rigol scopes for their lowest end models. Another scope I'm also a fan of is the Picoscope - I really had some reservations that it was a serious tool being a USB interfaced scope as many USB scopes are not so good, but the couple of Picoscopes I have a really outstanding. The most bang for the buck are models 2206B, or better yet the 2207B or 2406B/2407B.

Your Rigol should come with trial licenses for all features (except bandwidth I think) so you'll get serial decoding, more memory, more triggers, etc. for awhile, but then they will expire. I think though unless something has changed that you can just enter your serial number into a code generator and it will let you double the bandwidth and extend those features permanently.

My take is that scopes are great for analog work, but I'm not a huge fan of the MSO concept of using them for digital stuff. I don't find their decoding to be easy to deal with compared to something like a Saleae logic analyzer which gives a single timeline capture instead of hundreds of captures. Saleae has a deal where you can get their equipment at a decent discount if it is for private or educational use, etc., I think.

I still use an HP/Agilent 1663A logic analyzer. Like any LA, it takes forever to set up, but once done, can furnish a lot of information--and you can save the setup and waveforms for later. Still old-school, though. I've seriously considered outfitting mine with a floppy emulator, but then I don't use it too much because of the setup overhead.
 

alank2

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I still use an HP/Agilent 1663A logic analyzer. Like any LA, it takes forever to set up, but once done, can furnish a lot of information--and you can save the setup and waveforms for later. Still old-school, though. I've seriously considered outfitting mine with a floppy emulator, but then I don't use it too much because of the setup overhead.

Absolutely. The LogicPort USB logic analyzer might be to your liking then; they can be had on eBay at a decent discount from time to time. It has a short buffer, but lots of great triggering and decent software. I think Saleae for long captures, but LogicPort for lots of pins (34 at full speed!).
 

Agent Orange

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Short story as to why I cancelled my Amazon Prime account:

About a year or so ago, I discovered that I could buy some things from Amazon at a very good price if I enrolled in Prime and used the Amazon charge card, and so I did. A month later, when the statement arrived, I attempted to settle the balance of the account with my bank's Visa debit card. Amazon would not me let pay with my debit car,d as they wanted my joint checking account's routing and account numbers. I refused and called someone in their accounting section and explained that I would pay by check and then cancelled my account right then and there. Personally, I don't deal with checks, and maybe out of extreme need, I may write one or two a year. The check book is my wife's bailiwick. I really don't fully understand their point, as you can use and card to pay when on line.
 

Chuck(G)

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Absolutely. The LogicPort USB logic analyzer might be to your liking then; they can be had on eBay at a decent discount from time to time. It has a short buffer, but lots of great triggering and decent software. I think Saleae for long captures, but LogicPort for lots of pins (34 at full speed!).

One of the reasons that I rarely use the logic analyzer is that I mostly work nowadays with MCUs, which remove many of the signals from external view. But I still set it up on occasion.
 

Chuck(G)

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Given the sheer number of PDF files I'm accumulating for gear that I have, I decided to get a Kindle Fire 10.1" display for cheap. Of course Amazon wants me to sign up for their music service and even offers me 90 days free.

So I had a look. My interest is classical and I thought that I'd start with a couple of CDs that were already on my CD player. Nothing, nada, zilch.

The first was James Oswald's "Floral Suites". Oswald was Scots chamber composer for George III and composed some suites named after flowers based on Scottish dances.

Next was Asgar Hamerik's symphony No. 2, the "Tragic". Amazon had never heard of Hamerik.

Finally, I thought I'd go for an easy one--Johan Svendson's symphonies no. 1 and 2. Nope, never heard of him.

So Amazon music is dedicated to pushing what sells.

---------------
On a lighter note, I've started to have some fun with the Rigol. One surprising thing is how far off I was with the old Tek, "eyeballing" measurements, such as volts-peak-to-peak. The Rigol calculates it and can display it prominently as you're fiddling with adjustments.

Next on the agenda are some adjustments that involve summing two waveforms. I'm expecting this to be like shooting fish in a barrel, but we'll see. On the Tek, it was selecting 2-channel "add"; I don't expect that the Rigol will be much different.

Once you get used to the rather peculiar UI, it isn't too bad.
 
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