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May 2012

Written By: Gary on May 9, 2012 No Comment

Selling on-line through eBay is easy and (at the same time) challenging. It’s slightly addicting and euphoric when people bid and you make a sale. I was at a comic convention and some stuff I had I couldn’t sell (my target audience is right there) no matter how low I made the price, but on eBay I’ve sold more than a few for more that the same price at the convention. Setting it on a table with a sticker is way easier than photographing it a posting it on-line and then wrapping it and shipping it (and collectables are harder to wrap).

eBay For Dummies (For Dummies (Computers)) Marsha CollierI sold some used 5 Finger shoes for close to what I paid for them (originally on sale), they were in great shape (almost new) but I just didn’t like the way they felt compared to my four other pairs; I sold a well worn pair too, much more than I thought I’d get for them. Stuff I think should sell high, sells low (or not at all), stuff I think won’t sell get snatched up in ten minutes some times (wished I’d made that buy it now price higher). If possible I post extra pictures (if free) and tell why I’m selling it.

If you’ve never shopped on eBay, go buy something, anything; get a spare charging cable for your iDevice or cell phone. Then come back here. Why? Because you need to understand the buyers end of the transaction. Plus, to buy something you need an eBay account and a PayPal account and if you have those set up then I don’t need to explain that part…

It’s easy to sell:

  1. Take a picture, make the item take up most of the photo (or crop it if you know how). Some items let you post more than one picture for free (generally collectables?).
  2. Write a single line title (mot categories charge you for more than one line).
  3. Pick a starting price. Most people say start at a penny, and I understand the logic (more bids makes an object look more desirable) but if it’s an odd item and no one is looking for it…
  4. Pick a buy it now price. If they don’t want to bid they can buy it now for this price (FYI, you pay a slightly higher price if they chose buy it now).
  5. How long is the auction for? Pick 7 days (10 usually costs more).
  6. Write a short description. I say make it a bigger font and center it and use a few colors. Presentation is everything!
  7. Pick a price for shipping, for your first few: if it’s heavy (up to 6 pounds put $8-$10), if it’s light (less than a pound) put $4-6; you’re learning if you lose a few dollars on the first few, not a big deal, right?
  8. Pick where you’ll ship to. This is important, who knows what shipping costs to Timbuktu (yes, it’s a real place), narrow it to the continental 48 states for the few few.
  9. Make sure your additional charges are $0.00 then submit it (then submit again not he next page).
  10. Wait.

It seems like until someone bids on it you can revise it. Sometimes (maybe if people are “watching” it) you can’t revise the title. Even if someone bids on it, you can revise it, but it appears appended at the end of your description.

An eBay item end time is set the instant you publish it (for the number of days you select). If it’s an auction, don’t end it at 3 AM, a lot of the bidding happens in the end few hours. I try to end my auctions during the work days (3 or 4 PM Eastern) or in the evenings on the weekend (Sunday evening seems to be a big time) or even on a week night (I seem to sell a lot of buy it now items on weeknights). But I like to make the ending time be when a good portion of the country is at home or still at work, not during that travel time. For 10 cents you can delay the publish time to be a time of your choosing (I use this occasionally, it’s 2 am and I’m ambitious, I’ll post these to not go up until the afternoon of the next day.

eBay 101: Selling on eBay For Part-time or Full-time Income Steve WeberIf after a few days no one is bidding, consider lowering the start bidding price and the buy it now price. Or look around and see what other people selling are charging or what they’re saying in the description.

What does it cost to sell on eBay? If it’s an auction, it’s 9%. If it’s a fixed price (or buy it now?) it depends on the category, they take 7%-13%. eBay motors is probably different, but you’re not going to sell a car as your first item are you? You also get charged around 3% for the credit card transaction via PayPal. So 10%-16%. If you sell more than 50 items in a month, there might be some small fees just to list an item with buy it now, but you haven’t sold anything yet, so don’t worry about that.

Every so often they have (1-3 day) specials for listing fixed price for free or adding buy it now to auctions for free. It seems like it’s towards the end of the month, but not always.

And I think there is a limit of 100 items per month to sell (or $5000) but what you do to expand that, I’m not sure. I haven’t had that “problem” yet.

Books, DVDs and CDs are a whole different animal, I’ve sold a few, but it’s barely worth it. There are a million people selling these exact items and there really isn’t much of a difference between them. I think the people who are making money on these have thousands of items for sale and make their money by quantity. I’ve made more money on a used pair of $50 shoes than on a half-dozen new (still shrink wrapped) DVDs. I’m not saying don’t try it, I’m just saying don’t make it your first item.

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Written By: Gary on May 9, 2012 No Comment

I love learning. I also like talking (sharing) about things that (I hope) other people are interested in. Today xkcd talks about how many people each day learn something that everybody knows.

Ten Thousand

At their site, if you hover your mouse over the comic you always get an extra thought/punchline/jab. Today’s extra was “Saying 'what kind of an idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time.”

xkcd is an excellent comic that talks about life, love, tech, math, science and more. Sometimes it’s just a few frames, sometimes it’s dozens. Sometimes it’s really tall and you have to scroll and once in a while it’s got a little bit of color in it. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s serious.

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Written By: Gary on May 5, 2012 One Comment

On Saturdays from May until September, Hines Park closes Hines Drive from 8 AM to 3:30 PM so that people can ride bicycles, walk and rollerblade in the road and not have to fear traffic.

baby-geese.png

They close the road from Outer Drive and Hines Drive (near Ann Arbor Trail in Dearborn) all the way to Hines Drive and Ann Arbor Trail (where they cross is about 12+ miles away? 7 miles?). Many of the parks along that route are open, you just need to access them from a road other than Hines Drive. The parks are the two ends are semi-barricaded off, but it does say you are allowed to drive around them at Outer Drive to get to Helms Haven Park and at Ann Arbor Trail to get to Nankin Mills Park.

Direct link to YouTube video.

The video has a bit of the Rouge River and some geese and baby geese (goslings?). At the end it was later and the road was open, but all the times I shot video, I think I’m on the sidewalk.

Direct link to the PhotoSynth.

Video and photosynth both shot, edited and uploaded from my iPhone 4s. It’s not very fancy edited, just put a few clips together (trimmed a few) and added a (tiny) bit of text.

Written By: Gary on May 5, 2012 No Comment

This stellar planetarium in your pocket is an application called Star Walk, and it’s only 99 cents on the iPhone, this is normally $2.99 and worth it for the price (the cheapest I’ve ever seen). It’s also available for the iPad for $1.99 (which is much cheaper than the usual $4.99).

starwalk.pngThis is listed as a Mother’s day sale so I’m not sure when it’s ending, that’s not for a week (right?!?) and that would be a long sale (unless they got their weeks mixed up!).

I did a much longer Star Walk review a year ago with many screen captures and a lot more information that you’ll have to read for all the details.

This is a planetarium in your pocket. If you device has a the GPS and gyroscope, you just tilt it up at the sky and it will identify what you’re point it. It’s awesome! There are some similar products, but I think this might be the most polished.

Other than some small bits of information (and the space image of the day) you DO not need to be connected to the internet to use this information. So this is useful anywhere you can see the stars!!!

Written By: Gary on May 1, 2012 No Comment

Last week I announced their Birds app as 99 cents, the price has gone up but many other related apps have dropped in price. See the Audubon apps by Green Mountain Digital.

Audubon Birds Field Guide for iPad and iPhone is only $2.99 cents! The second best price ever they’ve ever had. This is their 606 MB huge book (app) that’s is normally $19.99. audobonbirds.png

Another interesting choice is the deluxe Audubon Guides – A Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Wildflowers, and Trees for only $14.99 this is normally $39.99 (but occasionally on-sale for $24.99-$19.99) and this combines their four main apps (books?). But this huge multi-book app weighs in at 1.3 GB (that’s a big chuck of space if you’ve only got an 8GB iOS device).

If you want to see what these apps are like, the North American Owls app is free!

If you’re looking for Butterflies, Insects or Fish (or Tropical Fish), those are on-sale too!

This is one of those deals you should pick up even if you’re into birds/nature/etc. and thinking of getting an iPad or iPhone in the future (assuming you’re interested in birds/nature at all). It’ll be hard to beat these prices.

FYI, I think most (except the Owls?) run natively on the iPad and iPhone, but please double-check before buying!

And the 5 Audubon apps/books available for Android on on-sale at Amazon too.

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