Monday, July 31, 2006

Voice Recorders: Analog vs. Digital

The debate rages on. Many will tell you that digital is the way of the future,
because it's new, it's better, can hold more information, keeps for longer....etc.etc.etc.

Well, I'm not sure that applies to everything. On comparing digital voice recorders for recording ideas such as:
song ideas
movie scripts
a novel
blog entries(!!!)

I realised that these little digital recorders (see fig 1.) have their setbacks. On reading the 5 star rating review system on Amazon.com, I was amazed at the number of complaints about these machines. I was intrigued so I read on..."erased all my information"...."wasn't compatible with XP software"..."recorded 30 hours of grainy, scratchy, unintelligible information"

I was stunned.

fig 1.



These gadgets boast "30 hours recording time!!" but in the small print it actually means 30 hours of unintelligible static OR...3 hours of high quality recording. And what if the machine crashes while downloading to your computer? What then?
A novel lost!! Brilliant ideas down the drain!!

And nobody wants that.

So then I thought, what about the alternative? I could get a dictaphone (fig 2.) ...yes, that's right...using TAPE!!!! (Techno savvy metros gasp in horror here)
But seriously, you record a side of a tape. You turn it over. You record the other side. You knock the tabs out. If you simply HAVE to have everything you ever create on computer (and many do!!) then get a male to male stereo plug, plug one end in the "line in" jack at the back of your computer, plug the other end into your dictaphone, or tape recorder or whatever, use a program like "MP3MYMP3" (freeware, check any site such as tucows etc.) and record the ideas as MP3s.

Brilliant!!!

Fig 2.




If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Or, to go one step further...

Don't "upgrade" to something crap.

Today's weird ebay listings

I apologise for the gap between entries, I have had the flu!

Here is a list of today's ebay items that you might find interesting:
I like to include the outright bizarre - today's focus is MAGICAL ITEMS!!!

With all the links, highlight the entire area from "http://" to "ViewItem"
and paste into a new browser window.

THESE ONES ARE 'MAGICAL':
Logic dictates that these things don't work. But getting 100% +VE feedback for magical items is pretty impressive. Jury's out on this one.

FAIRY PORTAL

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/
HAUNTED-FAIRY-PORTAL-AND-NECKLACE-FROM-101-YR-OLD-WITCH_W0QQitemZ300012574160QQihZ020QQcategoryZ19270QQ
ssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



GENIE

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/HAUNTED-GENIE-
BOUND-TO-WITCHS-300-YEAR-OLD-CRYSTAL-BALL_W0QQitemZ300
012562124QQihZ020QQcategoryZ19270QQssPageNameZWDVWQ
QrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



MERMAID FAIRY

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/HAUNTED-MERMAID-
FAIRY-BEAUTIFUL-MUST-SEE-HER_W0QQitemZ300012848080
QQihZ020QQcategoryZ19270QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1Q
QcmdZViewItem



THESE ONES ARE 'HAUNTED':


HAUNTED COPPER URN:

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Haunted-
Solid-Copper-Urn-Style-Odd-Item-ALTAR-ROOM_W0QQ
itemZ280011593942QQihZ018QQcategoryZ19270QQss
PageNameZWD2VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



WHITE WITCH'S GLASS BOTTLE DECANTER:

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Glass-Heart
-Bottle-Decanter-Haunted-Witchs-Item_W0QQ
itemZ270012838606QQihZ017QQcategoryZ1927
0QQssPageNameZWD2VQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem




AND PSYCHIC READINGS:

These one had 100% +VE feedback)

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/TRICIA-
PSYCHIC-HIGH-ACCURACY-READING_W0QQit
emZ280011006508QQihZ018QQcategoryZ1025
16QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


http://cgi.ebay.com.au/NEW-Spirit-
Guided-Psychic-Tarot-Reading-NEW_W0Q
QitemZ150015745526QQihZ005QQcategory
Z102522QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



http://cgi.ebay.com.au/FULL-PSYCHIC-
CLAIRVOYANT-SPIRIT-TAROT-READING-BY-
ANDREA_W0QQitemZ270010341899QQihZ017
QQcategoryZ19271QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



http://cgi.ebay.com.au/AUSTRALIAN-
PSYCHIC-MEDIUM-TAROT-READING_
W0QQitemZ170012111013QQihZ007QQcat
egoryZ102516QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



Remember to always read the feedback for the person you are buying from. And always with this kind of thing, take it with a grain of (sea) salt!

Happy Shopping!!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ebay: What to do when you find a good seller....

This relates to ebay auctions where you may have a difficulty and the seller is helpful and good with communication. This also applies to sellers that post quickly, sell good products, are courteous and considerate and treat you well.

This is sometimes hard to find, and when you find a good seller on ebay, stick with them!!

* Add them to your favourite sellers - you can do this in their "member profile" section or in the item description window. There will be a section under "additional Options" for you to do this - "You may add this seller to your Favourite Sellers in My eBay."

* You can always email the sellers and request items. Not so much with the garage sale type sellers, but the ones with ebay stores that focus on a specific product. (Eg. vitamins, health products) The sellers are happy to hear from buyers about what is in demand, and it will mean more sales for them.

The best sellers are the ones who are accommodating.

Eg. #1
I receive a faulty item and politely let the seller know in an email.

The seller sends me a replacement product.

Eg. #2
An item is posted to me by a seller. I never receive it. I politely email the seller to let them know.

The seller gives me a full refund.


These are the sellers who deserve more business. If they treat you well, respond in kind and keep them on your list of favourite sellers.

There are many sellers who would abuse, deny and refuse to contact in situations such as this. They are to be avoided.

Hooray for the good ones.

Happy Shopping!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Don't Get Obsessed

I am saying this to myself as well as to you!! If you are checking your ebay before your email, then you may have to take a step back. And...if you are checking your emails instead of calling your friends, then maybe its time to take another step back.

Try the following:

Turn off the computer.

Walk outside.

Look at the trees.

Go to the park.

Go to the pub and meet up with friends.

And...if you're like me and you start having dreams in html (!!?!!?!?!) then there may be a problem!!!

There is a whole world out there. Make sure you experience it.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Online Shopping Rule #1: Work out what you DON'T Need

Okay, this is the trick. Find out which features you need and what is essential to you when buying an item online. More importantly, work out what you DON'T need.

For example,
Say that I need to buy a new phone:

I DON'T NEED:
A camera
A keyboard
A flip/swivel head that is likely to break rendering my phone useless

But...

I DO NEED:
One button speaker phone
A built-in torch (very handy for illuminating the back of the TV and computer)

You can save yourself a lot of time and effort if you cut out the features you don't need. From there you can move on to getting the best price for the item.

If you get caught up in features and extras and all that sort of thing, you could be shopping forever.

So remember:

1. Find out what you need
2. Find out what you don't need
3. Narrow it down and get the best price

Happy Shopping!!

Books

I love books. I love reading books. I can't buy them fast enough and I will go through a few books in a week. And of course, I love buying books.

These can be great to buy online in shops or auctions. In the auctions, you can get a lot of bargains if you buy a few at a time from the same seller. Most sellers are happy to combine postage for more than one item.

The only thing to remember is to carefully read the item description and ask all the questions you need.

Things to ask:

Are there any markings, writing or missing pages in the book?

If not, you should be alright. Read the item description carefully because there is nothing worse than asking a question when it has already been spelled out in the description page.

Happy shopping!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Exhibit C - Salt Crystal Lamp


These were, putting it simply, out of my price range. Until ebay!!!
I searched around until I found exactly the right size and weight for the room I wanted it in.
And it turned out to be perfect.

They were perhaps $199 in the shops - even the smallest versions of these beautiful lamps. I got mine for $60 and I am still happy about it over a year later!!!

VERDICT - SUCCESS!!!

Exhibit B - Studded Belt




Retailing for about $30 in some shops, $50 in others, I paid around $35 for this one. Looks great doesn't it? Wrong!! Although I still wear it, on the first day of use one of the metal eyelets fell out of the hole. Then a few days later another one bit the dust. Lesson learned. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don't.

VERDICT - I SHOULD HAVE GONE TO A SHOP!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Exhibit A - Playstation2


First ever auction purchase. Talk about diving in at the deep end!! Retailing for about $350 at the time, I managed to snap this up for $200. I also spent about a week or more finding out about the features I wanted (ie. 2 shock controllers) and this time it paid off.

VERDICT - SUCCESS!!!

Ratings System

My ratings system is simple. The results are either "Success!" or "Not"
Over time I will compile a graph of successes and not so successful purchases. In the descriptions I will also include why they were successful or not. This will create a picture of what can go wrong (or well!). You can learn from my mistakes.

Roaring successes and outright stuff-ups

Of course, I won't mention any names but here are a few of my roaring successes and outright stuff ups with online shopping...

Dodgy transactions

I saw a Current Affairs type program about a man who bought a car on ebay that never showed up. Now I get annoyed at things like that because it doesn't have to happen - there are two reasons it happened:

1. There are some unscrupulous people out there who will take what they can get.

And:

2. People get fooled.

I can't say it enough. Don't use Western Union to transfer money to people you don't know. It is not traceable!! Also, don't think you know someone because you have exchanged a number of emails. It is so easy to build up a false rapport and generate a sense of security very quickly. Remember, often these scammers do what they do because they are good at it. It's important that more people don't get fooled. If just 1 scammer gets put out of business from this information, I will be a very happy person.

Buying a car on an internet auction is like going to inspect a car in the dark with a blindfold on.

Don't buy something that will p*ss you off

Sounds simple doesn't it?

I admit it. I get caught up in buying stuff. It's fun. I put a bid on for a Nokia 7000 and something model - a fancy flip shell phone with a camera. Then I regretted it. Then I prayed for someone to outbid me, and finally they did. (Hooray!)

I realised how wrong it was for me in so many ways:

1. The flip thing would annoy me after about 5 hours of using it. I don't care if you're Elle MacPherson - NOBODY looks good in a 1 megapixel camera/phone photo!! I'm better off buying a digital camera if I decide I want one.

2. I don't care if I can send videos and stuff - when I use a phone I usually send a text like "I'll be at the station at 6:30pm see you soon"? - I am unlikely to send that person a video of myself on the train, waving.

3. 'Fashion'? phones are just that. And they go out of fashion. And then you look like a dork.

I realised I needed a phone that didn't flip, open up into a keyboard and pretend to be a computer, swivel, attach to my head like the Borg (see photo!), or wash my clothes.






Has anyone else noticed this? Am I the only one? These things look like the Borg!! People have been assimilated!!! It has begun!!!

I needed a phone that made phone calls. And sent text messages.

And that's it.

Sometimes simple is better.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Shopping Online: Tools you will need

One thing you will have to get used to when shopping online is measuring things.

You will need:
A ruler
A measuring tape
A set of scales

Use every method possible to get a sense of what the item will look like in your house - lounge, bedroom or whatever. How much space will it take up? There's nothing worse than getting excited about a purchase, getting it home and realising it's too big or clashes with your decoration scheme.

When it comes to clothing - make sure the size is relevant to your country - a US size 10 is hugely different to UK or Australian sizes. Another mistake people make with sizes is ordering a size 10 - and finding out the clothes are in children's sizes.

Research research research!

I can't emphasise this point enough. Don't just check one site for the item you want. First, do a general search on the item. Next, go to the manufacturer's website and find out the recommended retail price (RRP).

Note: make sure the site you are visiting is in the correct region. A few times I've seen a price and thought wow! That's cheap! Only to find out it's a .com site not a .com.au!! Argh!

Also, there are a few sites such as shopferret.com - these sites seek out different online stores and come back with a number of different prices for the same item. Amazon.com has a similar feature. Check out reviews, ratings and any other info that helps you decide if its really what you want.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

How to lose money buying online

Hmmm. Spent a long time researching what to buy online and what not to buy. Thinking that buying large things like big screen tvs, computers and cars on ebay is not the best idea. Mostly because they can get scratched or dinged during delivery. Or in the case of cars, I have read of people buying cars that don't exist.

Here's a short rundown of what I have learned:

1. Don't buy anything from anyone who asks you to send a large amount of money via Western Union to countries such as Nigeria.

2. Don't buy things that can get completely bingled in transit. Eg. lenses on digital cameras, flat screen monitors (a lot of these have a dead pixel or two!!)

3. Don't answer any emails outside of ebay.

4. Try to pay for things using traceable means. Eg. Money orders from the post office, PayPal can be good for certain items as it can proven you paid for it. Basically don't use Western Union and for heaven's sake don't send cash in the mail. It's illegal in some areas!

Hmm. Still going. I have bought a number of things online with varying amounts of success. More about that later.



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