Amazon Kindle Will Soon Support ePub Standard Files

Do you own an Amazon Kindle?  If so, you’re probably already aware of one of the major frustrations with the product.  Kindles are amazing but they don’t support the epub file format. Of course, epub is  the format that just about everybody else on the planet other than Amazon sells e-books in.

The company has managed to avoid supporting the epub format for more than fifteen years.

If that has been a sticking point for you, there’s good news – sort of.  Kindle will soon be “supporting” the epub format!

We say sort of, and use “supporting” in quotes because although it would be easy for the company to simply enable their ubiquitous readers to support epub, that’s not actually what the company has planned.  Instead, Amazon will issue an update to Kindles that will allow them to convert epub files to a proprietary format that can be read by their readers.

Kindle users have gotten by for the past fifteen years by using a program called Calibre, which has a somewhat convoluted routine that converts epub files into the Kindle’s native file format.  The results were sometimes not great, but it got the job done.  Even so, it has proved to be intensely frustrating for Kindle users who have complained loudly to Amazon, but to no avail.

Now, finally, Amazon is listening – again, sort of.

Early user reactions to Amazon’s announcement have not been favorable, but the company continues to show absolutely zero interest in genuinely supporting the epub format.

In some respects, it’s easy to understand Amazon’s position. The truth is that at this point, they’re likely alienating enough people with their hardline position against the epub format that they’re not doing themselves any favors.

At any rate, if you own a Kindle you’ll soon be able to convert epub files to something called KF8 and view them on your device.  It’s not a great solution but it’s an improvement over what exists today.

AWS Outage Caused Major Headaches For Businesses

If yours is one of the thousands of businesses that rely on Amazon Web Services (AWS for short) then you’re already aware that recently there were issues.

Even if your business doesn’t rely on AWS directly if you do business with anyone who does rely on Amazon’s Flagship digital service you’re probably at least aware of the recent problems.

At around 10:30am eastern time on December 15th, Amazon’s Web Services began experiencing difficulties.  As a result, every business relying on AWS likewise began experiencing difficulties. Communication from Amazon has been sparse to this point.

The most substantial message we’ve received from them so far was:

“We have resolved the issue affecting Internet connectivity to the US-WEST-1 Region. Connectivity within the region was not affected by this event. The issue has been resolved and the service is operating normally.”

The good news is that for now at least the problem seems to have been resolved.  Unfortunately, we don’t yet have any details about what caused it, what Amazon did to fix it, or how likely the issue is to crop up again in the days and weeks ahead.

It matters because this is the hands-down busiest time of year for many if not most businesses around the world.  If things aren’t firing on all cylinders during the Holiday Season it could spell disaster for entire industries which could send the global economy into a tailspin.

Given that we’ve only just begun to climb out of the economic pit the pandemic threw the world’s economy into, that would be doubly awful.

Amazon is normally better than this at communicating with the masses so we expect we’ll be hearing more from the company quite soon. When we do here’s to hoping it was a one-off that we won’t have to worry about again!

Website Ranking Company Alexa Will Be Shut Down

It’s the end of an era. is an iconic website run by Amazon that ranks and analyzes the popularity of other sites on the web. This site is soon to be retired. is actually a subsidiary company wholly owned by Amazon. They offer an impressive suite of SEO services to webmasters interested in getting as much ‘ranking juice’ out of their sites as they can.

On a recent blog post related to the matter the company writes:

“Twenty-five years ago, we founded Alexa Internet. After two decades of helping you find, reach, and convert your digital audience, we’ve made the difficult decision to retire on May 1, 2022. Thank you for making us your go-to resource for content research, competitive analysis, keyword research, and so much more.”

As of now the company has stopped offering new subscriptions but existing customers will still be able to access their accounts and information until May 1, 2022.  At that time access will be revoked.  Alexa-related APIs will be retired as of December 8, 2022.

Although enjoyed tremendous popularity during the early days of the internet the site has been seeing declining traffic for years and it has reached the point now where traffic is just a fraction of what it once was.

This is the likely reason for sunsetting the service.  While it may be possible for Amazon to reinvigorate the service that would be an uphill battle. That is given the popularity of Google’s excellent offering and given how deeply entrenched Google is in the market.

If you are an Alexa customer enjoy it while you can. You should begin making plans to transition to something else soon because the clock is ticking.  Farewell  As an iconic part of the landscape of the early internet you will be missed.

Coalition Of Big Names Coming Together To Fight Ransomware

If you’re worried about ransomware attacks know that help is on the way.

The CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency) has announced a partnership with some of the biggest names in tech. The specific purpose of this collaborative effort called the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative is to put an end to ransomware and other serious cyber threats.

In recent years ransomware has emerged as one of the favored tools of hackers around the world. It allows hackers to profit in two ways from networks they break into. They can sell any data that they collect prior to locking files and they can charge the victim a hefty fee to get their files unlocked.

The collaborative effort has gained global attention and the following companies have joined the government to assist:

  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Crowdstrike
  • AT&T
  • FireEye
  • Mandiant
  • Lumen
  • Palo Alto Networks
  • And Verizon.

The Collaborative will be expanded as time goes by and will eventually include other companies as well per the CISA. Also note that the CISA is not the sole governmental agency participating in the Collaborative.

The other agencies involved include:

  • The FBI
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • The Department of Justice
  • The NSA (National Security Agency)
  • And US Cybercommand

This isn’t a half measure. There is much width and depth of expertise in the two lists above. It is apparent that the Collaborative means business and has the resources to get the job done.

No one is expecting that the Collaborative effort will be able to put an end to cyber attacks. With the capabilities of this group they will undoubtedly be able to make some serious headway. The very existence of the Collaborative may be sufficient to give at least some hackers pause.

This is great news indeed if you’re at all concerned about cyber security and the threats that hackers around the world pose.

Hackers Offering Fake Free Kindle Ebooks To Hack Amazon Accounts

Do you own an Amazon Kindle? Amazon has a warning for you if you do. Beware. Hackers are now using poisoned ebooks to delete the contents of infected Kindle readers and take control of a victim’s Amazon account.

The hackers take advantage of the fact that on any given day there are literally hundreds of ebooks offered for free on Amazon’s platform.

By disguising their poisoned ebook as just another free title it is easy for the poisoned ebook to get lost in the shuffle. Users are already accustomed to having a wide range of free titles to choose from. Most readers don’t think twice about downloading anything that looks interesting if it’s offered for free.

The hack exploits a token weakness in the Kindle reader’s firmware but there is good news. Amazon moved very quickly and has already issued a patch which fixes the issue. The best way to protect yourself if you own a Kindle device (regardless of version) is to download the latest version of the firmware.

Delaying the update could have tragic consequences. This is because once your Amazon account is compromised the hackers have access to any payment information you have stored on the account. Then, they can order products to their hearts’ content and have them shipped almost anywhere in the world.

Even if you’re not a Kindle owner now is a great time to check your security. Review your Amazon password and be sure you’ve got two-factor authentication enabled for an added layer of protection.

Millions of people all over the world rely on Amazon shipments. If you’re one of those, losing control over your Amazon account could have far reaching consequences indeed. Don’t allow that to happen. If you’re a Kindle owner grab the latest firmware update today. Review your Amazon security settings as soon as possible.