Archive for March, 2007

The Sky Is Falling

Friday, March 30th, 2007

http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2007/03/prediction_stor.html

Scot Wingo predicts that eBay Stores fees will go up again. Other blogs start frantically posting that people will leave eBay in droves.

  1. I have not yet seen people leave eBay in droves.
  2. I have seen people SWEAR they’re going to leave eBay right away or if fees go to ____ or for some other reason. And I have not seen them do it. Some have been bitching for years, and I see they are still selling on eBay.
  3. If eBay raises Stores fees to "correct" the site, this means that people are using their Stores in ways that don’t work. When things don’t work, you don’t make money and eBay doesn’t make money. If eBay is trying to get you to stop putting things in your Store and either get them off eBay or get them in the Core, why don’t you do that? Then, Store fee changes affect you less anyway.
  4. What do people think it costs to run, maintain, advertise, and promote off-eBay sales? That can be an expensive undertaking, maybe eBay fees look like a breeze in some cases.
  5. Why are people reacting like the sky is falling upon hearing a rumour?

It’s hard for me to get worked up about this. I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon that says it’s eBay’s Ice Age and eBay sellers will go extinct with crazy high fees. If a multi-channel selling strategy is right for you, you should be looking at it (or doing it) ANYWAY… not just when the CEO of a multi-channel selling software company says something possibly designed to scare you. :) If you are barely listing in your eBay Store (like many of our clients), then you’d have nothing to worry about if Stores fees went up.

eBay will eventually raise fees. Fees for everything go up. Pizza costs more. UPS costs more. My car costs more than this model did 2 years ago. Fees go up. You don’t have to panic and you don’t have to be reactionary. A smart business person is always planning, researching, and looking at options. Do that. :)


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Katie’s Law

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

I saw a piece on TV about "Katie’s Law," a law they’re trying to enact I think in Florida. It has to do with more testing for elderly drivers. Evidently, drivers over 70 cause a lot of accidents, and drivers over 85 are causing HUGE amounts of accidents, especially with fatalities, and at intersections. The Katie for whom it was named was a teenager who was killed when she was driving and a 90 year old woman ran a red light at high speed and crashed into her.

I am for anything they can do for more testing of elderly drivers. I think that anybody who is in good enough shape to see well and have good reflexes should drive. Anybody who does not should not be allowed to drive.

A few years ago, the family took the car away from my favourite Grandma, who is now 87. Grandma had been bumping into a few things. One day, she knocked both side mirrors off… one went when she pulled out of her garage and clipped the mirror, the other one went THE SAME DAY when she pulled back into the garage and clipped the other mirror. She hit my side mirror was when I was parked next to her in the driveway (she was backing out and angled too early). But it all changed the day she hit the gas instead of the brake, and had a minor crash. She was OK, but her passenger (an elderly female friend) got pretty banged up.

We took the car away, but Grandma will tell you to this day that she resents it. She’s fine, she should be driving, and "without wheels," she might as well be in jail. She kept telling me that that bigger accident happened because she was tired and not thinking clearly. As we’re good friends, I finally said to her, "And what about the day you knocked off your side mirrors? Were you tired?" "No, I was not tired," she says. I bring up all the other bumps and fender benders, and she admits that in all those, she was NOT tired. But she is still sure that she can drive just fine.

She’s mad at the family for taking her car. If the NY Department of Motor Vehicles took her license away, the resentment at least would not be pointed at us. She still has a license! NY evidently finds her fit to drive. This is why these laws need to go into place. I want to see vision and reflex testing for drivers over 80.


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I Went To The Police

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

I went to the police station on Monday. I would have gone earlier, but they keep regular business hours. !!!!

On Saturday morning just after midnight (Friday night to those who were still awake), I got a voice mail on the office line. It ran the max length a Vonage voice mail can (over 5 minutes), and it was from someone I don’t know and a number I don’t know. When I listened to the voice mail, I was surprised to hear that it was a drunk-sounding woman fighting with a man who is evidently her boyfriend. He didn’t sound drunk.

They seem to have no idea that they’re on my voice mail. They are in an argument. He was supposed to make something right, he promised, and he didn’t do it. He finally admits that he didn’t, and he’s sorry. She tells him that’s not good enough because he promised he would make it right, and he has to make it right. He doesn’t seem to want to make it right. She is sounding angrier. The voice mail ends, and I have no idea what happened.

What would you do? I think most people would erase it because it’s a wrong number. I didn’t. I put it on a CD and I brought it to the police. On the off-chance that this argument turned into violence for either of these people, someone would want to know what happened before it got violent. Because if one of those people went missing after that argument, someone would want to know what happened just before.

You might say, well what are the chances that it turned violent or police got involved? The chances are tiny, right? To me, the chances are 50%. Either it got violent or it didn’t. I’ve dated people with temper and anger problems. I can tell you that situations and discussions/fights go fine until they don’t. That anybody is capable of anything in any moment. I have dated people who would seem fine and logical and sorry and then SNAP.

And if a fight I were in got somehow recorded by someone’s voice mail, I would want to know that someone cared what happened to me next. Thanks to technology, I have this person’s phone number AND her name from caller ID. The police can track her local precinct down, and see if anything got reported. I hope nothing was reported, but just in case, those people can know that somebody out there cared. I don’t have to call a stranger and ask if everybody’s OK. The police can do that for me.

Make waves. Stand up and say something. Don’t stand by and watch while people hurt each other or consider hurting each other. If you want to see a better world, start with what you can do. And know that you can do a lot. Stop defending or enouraging bullies.


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Where Free Speech SHOULD End

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

I just got wind of this:

Death threats against bloggers are NOT "protected speech" (why I cancelled my ETech presentations)

This was posted by a well-known (and well-liked blogger, speaker, and author). Evidently, at least one sicko has been posting and emailing death threats and other things that make it clear that this person wants to hurt her or fantasises about it (not that that’s better).

I’m sitting here thinking WHAT CAN I DO. What can I do about this? This is not the only time this has happened. This happens more and more as people hide behind online anonymity AND think this is fun or funny.

So what can I do? I can remind each of you to stop this in your lives. Do you know someone who posts threats or descriptions of how they want to harm someone? REPORT THEM TO THE POLICE. Don’t laugh at their proud stories. Don’t tell them that’s cool. Don’t encourage them. Turn them in and stop them. Someone with that little regard for human feeling is capable of expressing that little regard for human feeling in real life, in person, with one or more victims. How will you feel if that person carries something out and you did nothing? And you laughed at their posts?

These things happen when someone decides that he has power over others, and gets encouraged with it. That means there is at least one person in the life of the person making the threats who knows what he is doing and could stop him… but isn’t. That person needs to claim his or her power, and make a change.

There is ALWAYS someone who can stop a bully. Why people choose to look away is another story. It’s not in my nature to look away, and that’s the subject of tomorrow’s blog post.


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How To Bring Down An Empire

Monday, March 26th, 2007

I was just reading a blog post about how you can make THOUSANDS each month selling e-books. Of course, the article wanted you to buy this person’s treasure trove of e-books that you can resell.

This seems odd to me. What are these e-books? Who is buying them? Are they that informative? If you really wanted that many e-books, why not just buy the whole CD of all of them and read them all?

There’s an easy way to bring down this empire, which would mean that these people would HAVE to stop claiming how much money people make from selling e-books… that they’d no longer be selling. With the whole resell rights, these e-books are almost like a chain letter.

Stop reading e-books that people buy in bulk with "resell rights." Search the web for what you want to know. Check blogs. Check Wikipedia. Is there really any information in these e-books that can’t be found somewhere else? I say boycott cheap e-books with "resell rights." If you’re buying them to resell them, and the next guy is buying them to resell them, this just all seems very silly.


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We Don’t Support Our Software

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

I bought a TV tuner card off eBay. It came from Hong Kong, and it was bundled with InterVideo’s WinDVR3. I installed everything, and had problems. WinDVR3 acted oddly on my machine. I installed everything on my backup laptop, and that was OK, but I don’t use that laptop except as a backup.

I tried to get support for WinDVR3, and InterVideo wrote back (a week later) that they don’t support anything that’s OEM or bundled. So even though I had a real copy of WinDVR3 with a unique serial number, I was able to register it, and somewhere in the price of my card was whatever my seller paid for WinDVR3 to sell it to me, InterVideo won’t support it. I’d evidently have to buy it AGAIN from Intervideo for around $80 to get some support.

No thanks.

I bought Beyond TV from SnapStream.com. This app worked FLAWLESSLY, and has a real DVR interface. It’s just like working with a TiVO. The settings are really flexible, and it’s been recording shows while I sleep. It then has more neat features like ShowSqueeze, which can really compress a file so that it better fits on a portable video device. Clever!

So no problem, InterVideo. Don’t support your own licensed software. Your crappy software and crappy refusal to support it lead me to find something so much better, and I was happy to pay $70 for Beyond TV. I spent less and got SO much more. And guess what I’ll tell all of my friends.


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Available Child Care

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Sometimes, you see signs in the street for a local handyman. Around Xmas here, you see signs for people who can be paid to hang your holiday lights. And you probably see signs for weight loss and work-at-home schemes.

How about a sign for child care? I see signs around town, nailed to telephone poles, and all they say is "CHILD CARE" and a phone number underneath that.

Who calls that number? Who considers that a good solution for needing care for a child? Who bypasses friends, family, babysitters, and day care centres to call that number?


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Pet Food Recall

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

The news is all over the TV about the recall of pet food, foods that are KILLING pets. There are two weird things here.

1) After hearing about the food killing pets for months, the manufacturer evidently fed the food to 50 pets, I guess just to check. 7 animals died. Don’t we have a better way of determining if the food is killer?

Remember when spinach was hurting people? Did that manufacturer test it by feeding it to people and seeing what happened? So why is this OK?

2) I went to their website to try to learn about the recall. Here’s what I saw:

You can click to enlarge that, but it’s what it looks like. The home page says Product Recall. Under that is NOTHING. No text showed up. No links. I tried Internet Explorer and Firefox. I asked one of my staff, who uses a Mac, to check it. He got the same thing.

Thanks, Menu Foods. Thanks for the helpful recall info! Evidently the real info is at www.menufoods.com/recall.

For those of your worrying about my pets (such as the dog on all the pages at http://www.aswas.com), they are fine. Rita the dog is fed Trader Joe’s soft food and Nutro crunchy kibble, which is not in the recall. Mickey the cat (not on the website) is fed Trader Joe’s Tuna For Cats and Nutro crunchy kibble, also not in the recall.


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Playboy CEO

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y07/m03/i07/s02

The Playboy CEO is going to be the keynote speaker for the upcoming PESA conference. Now, I quit PESA in February 2005, and my business has strongly improved since doing that. So I’m not a member. I don’t like how they were run at least when I used to be in them, so know that I’m no fan of this particular group. I was there when it was started, I was there a year or so after it started, and I think I just know too much behind the scenes stuff that I don’t like.

The Playboy CEO. When I think about the eBay sellers in that group, their businesses, and their goals, I am not sure what the Playboy CEO has to say that’s going to help them with their (mostly) small businesses. I guess someone who’s going to attend this thing will have to tell us what the relevance ended up being.


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What Spam Means To You

Monday, March 19th, 2007

I recently read a bit about how Hormel is suing over people’s usage of the word Spam meaning junk email. Sometimes trademarks get diluted. Most people who ask for "Coke" are really asking for cola, and will be totally OK if they’re served Pepsi. Heck, I bet most of those people would be OK with a supermarket brand even though they asked for Coke. Another diluted trademark would be Kleenex. You’ll take any tissue, but you might call it a Kleenex.

When someone tells you they got spam, do you imagine they have junk email or do you imagine they have a can of "meat" that spent too long in a factory? I’m not sure why Hormel is worried. I wonder if their sales are up since the word "spam" came into use for email. And if sales are down, do we think it’s because of email or because people care more about what they’re eating?

Hormel shouldn’t be suing anybody.


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