Saturday, 30 December 2006

Snow done

If your bit of the world has rather more snow than you'd like, how about following the cunning plan of one Colorado woman: sell it on eBay, buyer collects? Getting your drive cleared at a profit to yourself has to make the winter feel a little warmer!


Genius Skype MSN Yahoo Messenger VOIP mouse

The new Genius Navigator 380 mouse can combine Skype, MSN, Yahoo, Googletalk, QQ and AIM into one window and flip open to become a VOIP phone. Imagine sitting at your desk, clicking to initiate a Skype call and then flipping your mouse open into a phone handset to talk!

The mouse opens like a clamshell mobile phone and combines multiple instant messenger clients into one application. Seven buttons in Navigator 380 are for the phone functions: Phone on/off, List up/down, Volume up/down and OK for call up the IM window.

For those longing for one application to combine interoperability for all their IM clients this has got to be a must have!

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Friday, 29 December 2006

eBay listings

The end of the year is a time for writing random lists of stuff, and far be it from us to break with tradition. Here's a list of some of our favourite lists from the last few days: bring us their top thirty celebrity auctions of 2006: some astonishing tat there.

eBay didn't quite make law blogger Eric Goldman's top ten cyberlaw developments of the year, but the eBay v. MercExchange case did make the runner's up list.

Jaanus from Skype give us his highlights of 2006, which has certainly been an amazing year for Skype.

Brad Schepp's top ten resources for eBay sellers is a brilliant exercise in looking like you're giving away 'Powerseller secrets' without actually saying anything useful at all. Anyone thinking of writing a book on their eBay experiences next year might want to note this technique.

For the geeks among us, the Board of Wisdom has the top ten geek sayings: "I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code."

And finally, Wired's wild predictions for 2007... call those wild? Check in over the weekend for TameBay's predictions for the next year: you'll have read it here first.

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Boxing match

For anyone who's ever complained about the amount of packing they have to do, here's a sobering look at one of Amazon's warehouses two weeks before Christmas.

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Bratz the way to a mellow Christmas

You'd think buying your childs Christmas presents from eBay would be safe enough if they were described as new. Sure sometimes you have to trust to them not getting damaged or lost in the post but if they arrive and are factory sealed you should be onto a winner. Not the case for one family in North Carolina - their little girl opened up her brand new Bratz doll to find several pounds of marijuana hidden in the packaging!

Worth about $7000 that's one Christmas present that was turned over to the police in record time, and some dealer is going to be less than chilled out when they find their stash missing. Ah well, Bratz life!


Thursday, 28 December 2006

Ships sail to repair the Internet

As 2006 draws to a close not many of us give much thought to the Internet being pretty reliable. Sure there may be the odd blip with your own phone line and occasionally websites may not be available, but what of the Internet itself? A salutatory reminder came this week with the earthquake near Taiwan

Up to a dozen fiber-optic cables cross the ocean floor south of Taiwan, carrying traffic between China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, the U.S. and the island itself. Chunghwa Telecom Co., Taiwan’s largest phone company, said the quake damaged several of them, and repairs could take two to three weeks.

It's a common occurrence for communication cables to be severed, but the great thing about the Internet is that there are so many cables offering different routes for data to travel that Internet users generally don't notice any problems. In this instance however so many cables were severed that Taiwan lost almost all of its telephone capacity to Japan, mainland China and the United States.

eBay posted an announcement on the US site to warn users involved in transactions with Asia and Australia may experience a delay in communications with buyers and sellers from those regions.

To fully restore service cable laying ships will have to dredge the cables laying on the sea bed and raise them to the surface for repair in a process that will take up to two weeks to complete. Four ships are en route and should be in position by Tuesday to commence repairs.


Head lines

The story of a woman selling advertising space on her forehead on eBay has been turned into a musical. Bought, of course, by Golden Palace Casino, a Utah mother last year sold the tattoo rights to raise money for her son's education. The musical based on her story, showing in Manhatten's 59e59 Theatre, is billed as "a comedy about the battle between consumerism, fame, art and love".


All my Christmas for sale

The Daily Mail has a rather odd story about selling your entire Christmas - decorations, half-eaten choccies, unwanted CD - on eBay. It's an amusing idea, along the lines of All My Life for Sale, but I can't help thinking the sale itself would have raised so much more for the unnamed charitable beneficiary if the writer had known what she was doing.

A one day listing, beginning Boxing Day, for Christmas decorations is never going to be the most effective. Selling off your own old tat just when everyone else is selling the same thing will never get you the best price. If you want to make a real killing on Christmas decorations, sell them in August (believe me, I've seen it done).

Then we have

I spend ages trying to decide how much to charge for postage. There's an awful lot to mail out and the tree is quite heavy. I think it would cost about £10 to post, but am worried it will put people off bidding. I opt for £2.50 and hope I don't have to pay out much more than that.

Never, never, never guess at postage. By all means, subsidise it within the item cost if that's what you choose to do, but make it an informed decision to do so.

Still on the postage theme, we have this interesting ASQ a bit further down:

Q: is the posting a mistake at 2.50
A: No, the postage is not a mistake - it is £2.50. I have a job that means I can get things delivered cheaply. Thank you

You see, you can make the postage too cheap: buyers don't mind paying what postage *costs*, what they object to is sellers making a huge profit on it. And if you *are* using your post room at work to ship your eBay sales, it's probably best not to advertise it on a public forum.

Of course, if you can seriously write "an hour goes by without a bid I must admit I feel despondent", then you obviously haven't a clue what you're doing, and should probably stick to earning your living writing idiotic articles for tabloid newspapers.

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Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Stolen PC sold to police

A Lake Ann [Michigan, USA] man was arrested for selling two stolen computers to police through the popular Internet auction site eBay. The 24 year old contractor stole two machines from a client company. Officers investigating spotted a wanted serial number on one of his eBay listings, and placed the winning bid. The seller thought he was meeting his high bidder to exchange goods and cash, but ended up being arrested instead.

Via eBay Business Opportunities (though presumably not actually posted *as* a business opportunity).


Your money or your file

In the latest twist on Dick Turpin style hold ups crooks are spreading malicious code which encrypts a companies data or a users emails. They are then demanding electronic payments for the digital keys to unlock them again through services such as PayPal.

According to security firm Websense, one recent victim was the tech administrator at a company in the Northeast. His PC was infected by malicious code, which scrambled company files. An e-mailed ransom note demanded $200 for the digital keys to unlock the files.

The victim did not pay because he doubted his data would be returned even if he paid, says Dan Hubbard, vice president of security and research at Websense. Most of the stolen files were recovered from a backup disk, Hubbard says.

In this electronic age losing your data really is a case of "Your money or your life!"


Un-resold PS3s returned to stores

People who bought PS3s in the hope of turning a fast buck have had their plans spoiled by more consoles being supplied to stores by the manufacturer:

"I figured, hold it to Christmas and everyone will be rushing to get one for their kids."

"It's easy to get now," [another seller] said. "It's not a hot commodity."

Both said they plan to return the systems to the store.


Single ticket?

Another single bloke has a holiday with himself up for auction on eBay. 39 year old insurance operations director Adam Croot had planned the luxury Jamaican holiday to propose to his girlfriend, but she dumped him instead. Now he's looking for another woman to take with him. At the time of writing, bidding is only up to a penny, so what have you got to lose?


Tuesday, 26 December 2006

What to do when the decorations come down

So the Christmas break is over and it's back to work tomorrow for some. The decorations that looked so fantastic will be coming down soon and suddenly the house will look bare. What better than to start planning home improvements for the spring?

eBay india have gone one better, celebrity Mandira Bedi has decorated all rooms of her own brand new house with items bought only from the eBay India site in just two weeks. 103 items were bought on eBay India from 28 sellers located in 15 cities across the length and breadth of the country. Rajan Mehra, Country Manager, eBay India, stated

eBay Dream House is a concept to showcase the wide range of products available at all price points to do up a house of your choice. We felt Mandira would be the perfect choice to take up the challenge of donning an interior decorator hat and buying products from eBay to decorate her home. Mandira has delighted us with her enthusiasm and time invested on searching and shopping for the perfect items for her new home.

You can buy pretty much everything on eBay from a heated towel rail to the kitchen sink. All the furniture, lighting, ornaments and art for the walls. The great think about buying on eBay is that you can buy everything from the comfort of your armchair. Mandra said "I never knew eBay had such great home décor items... once I discovered the choices and started shopping I just couldn't stop..." eBay is the perfect place to start shopping for the new year!


Reasons to be self-employed, #122606

In case you thought you were missing a great big Chrismtas bonus, Slate has some news for you about the shocking level of Scrooginess amongst bosses. My favourite has to be the one British example from their list:

"During my time with the company as a consumer electronic service engineer, the annual Christmas bonus given to all employees was a bag of potatoes," [writes an employee of a Grimsby electronics retailer]. Apparently a relative of the boss owned a potato farm.


Monday, 25 December 2006

Yule log on

What are you doing reading this - haven't you got anything better to do, on this of all days?, asks the BBC. Actually, I'm being terribly Christmassy even though I'm online. I've used SkypeOut to call my sister. I was going to call my parents, then realised they'd be in church, so I checked their church's website to find out when their service would be over so I could call back when they were home. Later (when I've figured out the time difference!) I'll be Skyping my brother in Canada.

And I've emailed some people too: I think an email on Christmas day says "I'm thinking of you, but I don't want to interrupt your family day by calling you", the perfect thing for friends I'm not going to see, wherever in the world they might be.

Because I'm now a grown up and don't "need" gifts wrapped under the tree, the entire world has given me Amazon vouchers, so I spent a jolly hour this afternoon choosing my presents.

I listed a bunch of new stuff last night, and I've had eBay orders today :-D I've also had one guy mail me to whinge that something he ordered last Wednesday hasn't arrived: and I managed to avoid sarcasm in my reply to him: good for me, that deserves an extra mince pie.

I think it's crazy to ask us to avoid the internet on Christmas day. I've no doubt that eighty years ago, the concept of telephoning at Christmas seemed odd and alien, but now, the internet is as much a part of our lives as the telephone is, and just as unavoidable.

But now, I'm going to turn the computer off and go and watch some television. As the man said, happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

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I'm sitting here listening to a bubbling sound which is a bucket of water with a filter pumping air into it with six fish swimming around - next doors little girl is getting the fish tank which she's wanted all year, for Christmas. She's not unwrapped it yet hence the reason I'm still keeping the cat away from an intriguing toy that he's not allowed to play with!

It's made me think just how many people will get exactly what they want today and how many will receive a gift that they're really not quite sure what to do with. Well there is an easy solution, auction it off on eBay. Why not give a little back over the holiday season? eBay for Charity will allow you to donate a percentage of your sale price to your favourite cause to assuage the guilt of disposing the present someone thought you'd like. You can donate between 10% and 100% of the selling price, to one of almost 1500 charities . Your unwanted present could be someone else's must have item as well as a deserving cause benefiting.

Whether it be a childrens charity, animals, medical, or maybe a social charity such as Crisis who eBay made a donation to instead of sending Christmas cards this year.

We hope you have a great Christmas day and have everything you wanted, but if you receive something you didn't really want just maybe you could sell for eBay for Charity too.


Better than a PS3 or having a Wii

Ok so I couldn't help adding it to my Christmas list of must have items. After blogging the Hydrofoam back in November it was too much to resist!

The first thing that strikes you is the size of the box - I thought they were about 9 inches, maybe a foot, but they're a full 24 inches long and about 18 inches wide! The auctions on eBay fail to give the size. Fully justifying the price tag the hydrofoam is a serious remote control toy and it's sheer size looks menacing and justifies it's 70 mile an hour claims.

Picking the hydrofoam up you're struck by how light it is, but then this isn't just a remote control boat and ground vehicle, it can fly as well.

Of course one of these beasts isn't enough, my neighbour has unwrapped his too, so we're off out now to play with them. You'll need some serious space and preferably a lake as well, 40 by 40 meters is the recommended area you'll need. If you've got some Christmas money left over to spend log onto eBay and buy one! You can keep your PS3 and Wii, this is one toy that is going to be a whole lot of fun!


Sunday, 24 December 2006

Silly Season

Christmas Eve brings out its fair share of eBay-related silliness... Short of a gift? For a timely idea (or maybe not), how about a DVD featuring the image of Jesus? (Sorry about the hideous background music.)

Comedian Jeff Keisler features eBay in his Funny Money satirical column for The Street:

eBay acknowledged difficulty entering the Chinese market. "It was almost like we were impeded by some kind of large, stone barrier wrapped around the economy," CEO Meg Whitman said in an imaginary statement.

It's funny because it's true :-D

The eBay Eccentric recalls high and low lights from Christmases past, and Andie Dominick from the DesMoines Register writes a moving, funny and deeply sensible piece about buying her children's presents on eBay.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful day for tomorrow. Remember, if the television isn't doing it for you, eBay is still open for business ;-)


Crisis for eBay Christmas cards

What will you do with all those cards hanging in your house in a weeks time? Bin them? Put them in the recycling? Cut tags for next years Christmas presents from them? Lets face it cards are pretty much endemic to the Christmas festivities and yet the millions of pounds spent on them each year is thrown in the bin at the end of the Christmas festivities.

eBay UK have chosen this year not to send cards, but instead to make a donation to Crisis, a charity which aims to fight homelessness and empower people to fulfil their potential and transform their lives. eBay's replacement eCard is below.

Crisis will open seven centres between 23 and 30 December offering homeless and vulnerably housed people companionship at a time of year which can be particularly lonely for those without a home or family.

If you would like to add your own donation to that of eBay this Christmas please visit the Crisis website.