31 Jul

Unattended Auction Sniping

AuctionInsights:

"AuctionInsights.com is an Auction Sniper — it automatically places your bid at the exact time you specify. This means you win more auctions at much better prices. You simply set your Maximum Bid, Quantity to Purchase, and the Timing of the Bid. Once a bid is scheduled, you no longer have to worry about keeping an active eye on the auction. AuctionInsights.com will take care of the bidding details at the exact moment you specify."

Online auction buying is a combat sport!

31 Jul

Want to share Wi-Fi? Just Ask

CNet:

"The Electronic Frontier Foundation is spreading the word about Internet service providers likely to go easy on people who share their wireless access."

That’s the way to do it babe, I like it, uh uh uh uh. (damn, can’t find that song, I’m probably getting the lyrics wrong. I want to be able to sing to the Internet with a corny (19)60’s soul backing vocals shrill voice and, with the magic of voice-enabled (20)10’s century web services, retrieve the song back.)
Update: Jason points to K.C. and Sunshine Band‘s That’s the Way (I Like It)
"Oh, that’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh,
I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh."
That must be it! I had the lyrics, rhythm and tempo all wrong (it’s obviously 70’s disco/funk), and I invented a babe who wasn’t there (must be my French genes.)
Jason also points to Shazam as a first step towards ubiquitous music identification: "Shazam is a brand new service which tags music over your mobile phone. All you do is dial the Shazam test number and hold your mobile phone towards the music for 15 seconds after the tone. (We will end the call.) Then you will receive a txt with the name of the track and artist." It will obviously not recognize my "singing," but still, that’s pretty cool.
01/22/03 update: Can’t Hum in Tune? German Scientists Find the Key

31 Jul

Sony Ericsson Campaign Uses Actors To Push Camera-Phone in Real Life

WSJ:

"In a campaign set to start Thursday, the U.S. arm of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ltd. will take "guerrilla" marketing to a new level. Its goal: to get consumers to pay attention to the new T68i, a mobile phone that can double as a digital camera.
In one initiative, dubbed Fake Tourist, 60 trained actors and actresses will haunt tourist attractions such as the Empire State Building in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle. Working in teams of two or three and behaving as if they were actual tourists, the actors and actresses will ask unsuspecting passersby to take their pictures."

Just to let you know that Sony Ericsson are pathetic cheaters. Ok, you got my attention, now I’ve got another product marked on my unwish list.
There’s a whole generation of marketers and advertisers who have not the smallest notion of ethics whatsoever. Here’s one example of astroturfing on demand: "in a changing world where it

30 Jul

Microsoft Mac FUD, Phooey!

Tim O’Reilly:

"From book sales, of course, we know that OS X is considerably hotter than Windows XP."

I usually dig what O’Reilly is writing, but here he should drop the crack pipe. Book sales reveal trends about books, and maybe the economy at large, but not operating systems. Case in point, after all these years, and billions of metric tons of books about Linux, this OS amounts to exactly 0% market share on the desktop, as independently demonstrated by the referrer logs of about every web site (I’d love to see Slashdot stats just for fun). Unless, by "hotter operating system," Tim meant "OS that failed to translate buzz into sales, because people weren’t impressed with what they saw," and now that makes a lot more sense.
I run Windows XP Pro on our two computers, and never did I feel the need to buy a book about it, yet I find it’s an excellent operating system. If you want to know about the hottest OS, you’d better check… operating system sales. For all the "switch" brouhaha, Apple isn’t going anywhere but sideways (ok, they’re doing fine in the notebook market). People anticipate Jaguar because everyone acknowledges OS X is sluggish. Apple is just borrowing from Microsoft’s book and selling a bunch of patches as an upgrade.
Tim adds he’s been doing a little research and checked Dell’s sales for comparison. Hello, this isn’t the Benevolent Dictatorship of Closed Overpriced Underperforming Hardware here, this is about the open PC market driven by Microsoft standards [*] such as DirectX. Brand names

29 Jul

The EBay Way

Robert X. Cringely speculates that eBay might weight as much in the economy as Wal-mart within a decade. That’s a strong statement, but eBay doesn’t fail to impress.
Now that the dollar is cheaper against the euro, I’m looking at eBay.com daily to monitor the price of digital audio and video gear I might want to acquire (if the price is right, you know the drill.) Most sellers won’t ship outside the US, but I agreed with an American friend to abuse his patience so he’ll send me the stuff I buy. Besides, comparatively, there’s not much for sale on eBay European sites, and prices will probably tend to by higher, if they’re logically based on the price of new items (which bears value added taxes as well as higher local pricing by many vendors).
I wonder whether there’s a business to be made in buying stuff that Americans eBay sellers won’t ship abroad, and sell it to Europeans. Might be worth it if the dollar remains weak, and if you figure out economies of scale to lower shipping costs. I’ll have to think about that. Partnerships with local stores (e.g. music stores often sell used gear) might be an option to find customers and mutualize shipping. Since it’s expensive gear you spend months just to plan the purchase of, people would probably accept to wait several weeks before delivery.

29 Jul

A smart way to expose your site content to search engine visitors

Jon Udell:

"[O]n visiting that URL, the blog reported:
Instant Search
It appears you arrived here from a search engine. Here’s few results from a search of my site for the keywords ‘trackback movable type':
July 20, 2002 – MeFi does TrackBack
June 27, 2002 – MT TrackBack
June 27, 2002 – MovableType 2.2
In other words, it searched itself (using Atomz, in this case, I believe) and expanded the Google query within its local space. Nice!"

29 Jul

End User Abuse License

David Weinberger:

"Ryze.com promises to be your online business networking network and it might be a great service, but I didn’t get past the privacy policy. It begins well and then gets worse and worse"

I have to admit I didn’t even read these TOS when I signed up, and I don’t like what David Weinberger points to. Ryze better be careful, because they’re gathering a crowd that will raise hell like there’s no tomorrow if they abuse the system.

29 Jul

Lawyers hired by Ford are confusingly similar with a bunch of morons

They argue that headings at Fuckedcompany are "confusingly similar" to their trademarks. I’m getting tired of legal arguments built on the assumption that the average consumer has as much common sense and proper judgment as a gnat. And drop the trademark dilution argument, your brands are not sacred cows. The only dilution happening here is your brand being associated with unfounded legal requests.