Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tired of Ebay and Amazon then try this it works!

Tired of Ebay and Amazon then try something else. I LOVE selling things and I know most of you love buying things. We are a perfect match.I started selling online about 3 years ago. I'm a medical contractor so my job involves traveling around the US at various hospitals working on 8-13 week contracts. I have been gone from home as little as 2 weeks to as much as 11 months. I never really know how long I'll be gone on an assignment. I got into selling while I was on the road. When you're on the road in a strange town it's sometimes hard to find things to do.

I always had my laptop with me so it was easy for me to connect with my friends far away. One day someone suggested that I try selling on E-Bay. I listed a few items and they sold so I had a few extra dollars in my pocket. Anyone who sells on E-Bay knows what I mean by a "few" extra dollars. By the time Ebay took out their 15% and Pay Pal took out a few more dollars, I didn't make very much but I still liked the idea of selling online. So it didn't take me long to leave Ebay. Next I tried but I didn't like the idea that they took 15-20% and also kept my money until the buyer was satisfied which left me to pay for everything upfront. After selling on Ebay I already knew that no buyer is ever satisfied. So you can guess how that ended up.

I then started looking around and found some really great sites that were "seller friendly" and "computer user" friendly. They have low fees and allow you to sell almost anything without limitations. The sites make it easy to list your item (with no listing fees) and the percent that they take is much lower than Ebay or Amazon. Also a couple of sites allow you to copy your items from one site to the other (even import your Ebay listings). They actually do all the work for you all you do is press the importer button. How great is that. You can link your account for free to Twitter and Facebook so you can tell all your friends about what your are selling. Over the last few years many of these websites offer loyalty incentives for you to shop on their site. You can collect Photons, Addoway Bucks or Reward Tokens. You can get these by interacting with other sellers on the sites. It's kind a like and interactive Ebay without all the drama. Many time the items that you list will show up on the first one or two pages of Google. People can go directly to your store without logging into the website which makes buying a lot faster and hassle free. Check out the site listed on this blog page and see if this is something you would like to do. There are many sites like these out there with more popping up every day. The best sites are the ones that connect to social networks because that's the place to sell right now.

Check out my Booth on at

Happy Blogging and Have a Great Day !!

Houghton Mifflin, McGraw Hill, Pearson First Textbook Publishing Partners For Apple’s iBooks 2

Today at Apple’s education event, the company introduced iBooks 2, a textbook platform that effectively transforms $200 textbooks into iPad apps at a much more reasonable price. But of course, a textbook platform isn’t worth a thing without the educational powerhouse publishers behind it.

Luckily, the first up to the bat on the iBooks 2 platform are names we know well: Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They’re responsible for 90 percent of the textbooks sold.

Pearson will be offering Algebra 1, Biology, Environmental Science and Geometry, while McGraw Hill offers Algebra 1, Biology, Chemistry, Geometry and Physics. All of McGraw Hill’s offerings are available today, and Pearson’s Biology and High School Science are also available today, with its other textbooks to follow.

Apple is also working with DK Publishing, which has four books launching today: Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life, Natural History Insects, Natural History Animals, and My First ABC.

Will Interactive iBooks Be The Next Big Booty For Pirates?

With the shift from print books to digital books come a few nasty side effects. Sure, it’s much easier to acquire and read books when you don’t even have to get out of your chair, but those digital copies can be cracked and disseminated for free with only a little more effort.

As ebook sales expand, so does ebook piracy, so I have to wonder if Apple’s concerted efforts in creating a new kind of iBook experience will open them up to unwanted attention from digital pirates.

Apple certainly wouldn’t be alone in the fight. “Most publishers have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their anti-piracy efforts,” Tom Allen, President and CEO of the American Publishers Association told me. “They take time, money, and personnel away from nurturing creative talent.”

Of course, it’s not just the big-name publishers and the best-selling authors who have to deal with this. I spoke briefly with Rick Tannenbaum, who operates a small publishing firm called Hen House Press in upstate New York. They publish around a dozen books per year, and although they’ve attempted to use DRM to prevent illicit copies from making the rounds, nothing seemed to work.

“I guess if I were a large corporation I’d have the resources to do something about it, but I’m not,” Tannenbaum told me.

Apple has taken steps to simplify the iBook creation experience with the introduction of their iBook Author application, which allows users to create rich interactive experiences (if they want to) without too much needless fiddling. With tools like that available (and a little luck) we may soon see some impressive new works coming from authors of all stripes.

Could those richer media experiences become the next target for the web’s scores of ebook pirates? Very possibly, if only because it presents an interesting new obstacle for them to surmount. There are already tools available that can transfer Apple’s existing iBooks from the iDevice in question to a computer, which isn’t much of a problem considering they’re all stored in the common ePub format. I fully expect something similar to pop up in the coming weeks and months that allows less-than-scrupulous users dump these new iBooks and share them with others.

As they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

But would that really be such a bad thing? The iTextbooks in particular present a unique case here — when I was in college, some students would split the cost of a textbook and make photocopies of chapters and assignments as needed. As long as they had enough dimes on hand, each student got away with an education of sorts and still only paid a fraction of the cost of a single textbook. That sharing mentality exists outside of the scholastic realm for sure, and if more people learn by being exposed to a shared iBook, isn’t the end result a net benefit?

It depends on who’s asking. As my colleague Matt notes, Apple and their partners aren’t in the business of educating people — they’re here to make money. A smarter, entertained audience is a just a handy side-effect of selling more books, be they digital or not. Someone like Tim O’Reilly sees it a little differently. His company removed the DRM from all of their books’ digital editions last year, and noted that they were “delighted when people who can’t afford our books don’t pay us for them, if they go out and do something useful with that information.”

In the end, there will be very little Apple can do to stop piracy. Look at the long history of iOS jailbreaks and unlocks — while not piracy per se, they illustrate rather nicely that there will always be people willing and able to throw Terms and Conditions to the wind to get what they want. The same applies to Apple’s iBooks — just as there will always be people who would pay to enjoy the frictionless purchase of a book, there will always be people who enjoy the thrill of getting things for free too much to resist.

Damning Evidence Emerges In Google-Apple “No Poach” Antitrust Lawsuit

Next week a class-action civil lawsuit will be heard in San Jose to determine if Google, Apple, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Adobe, Intel, and Intuit conspired to eliminate competition for skilled labor. In anticipation of the hearing, TechCrunch has obtained evidence from the Department of Justice’s investigation in 2010 which was made public this evening for the first time. It appears to support the plaintiff’s case that the defendant companies tried to suppress employee compensation by entering into “no poach” agreements.

Previously, only the DOJ was privy to the evidence, so there was no way for the public to know whether the settlement came out the defendants’ fear they would lose. Now we know the C-level management at these companies did enter into anti-competitive agreements.

Below you can see the redacted Exhibit Joint Case Management Conference Statement attained from Filed today, it contains evidence from the DOJ investigation pertinent to the upcoming civil case.

The evidence states that the defendants agreed not to poach employees from each other or give them offers if they voluntarily applied, and to notify the current employers of any employees trying to switch between them. They also agreed not to enter into bidding wars and to limit the potential for employees to negotiate for higher salaries.

In one particularly juicy piece of evidence from May 2005, Adobe’s CEO Bruce Chizen emailed Steve Jobs regarding “Recruitment of Apple Employees”. In the message, Adobe’s SVP for human resources writes “Bruce and Steve Jobs have an agreement that we are not to solicit ANY Apple employees, and vice versa.”

Additionally, documents state that there is “strong evidence that the companies knew about the other express agreements, patterned their own agreements off of them, and operated them concurrently with the others to accomplish the same objective.”

For example, Lori McAdams of Pixar wrote an internal email to others at Pixar in April 2007 stating, “I just got off the phone with Danielle Lambert [of Apple], and we agreed that effective now, we’ll follow a Gentleman’s agreement with Apple that is similar to our Lucasfilm agreement.”

The defendants ask for the case to be dismissed, stating that the DOJ found “no overarching conspiracy” and that these bilateral agreements were separate. The DOJ announced in September 2010 that it had settled with the companies, establishing that they would cease such illegal hiring practices, even though they never had to admit to wrongdoing. The DOJ currently has the right to check on the companies for compliance.

The plaintiffs seek damages for any salaried employee who worked for one of the defendants during a 4-year period in the late 2000s. That means a lot of Silicon Valley tech workers could receive a payout if the defendants lose or settle the case. The civil case will be heard by Judge Koh in San Jose starting January 26th, 2012, and we’ll have continuing updates on its progress.

UpNext Releases Amazingly Fluid 3D Mapping App On iPad And Android


UpNext Releases Amazingly Fluid 3D Mapping App On iPad And Android

Friday, January 20th, 2012

The future was supposed to be all about swooping through pixellated cities, the crepuscular computer ghost-light arcing through the Aurignacian canyons of Neo Tokyo as we trailed our enemies into the dark. Instead we get some of the coolest map visualizations I’ve ever seen with a few social media tricks thrown in to make a very cool mapping platform called UpNext. You win some, you lose some.

UpNext uses 3D renderings of world cities to show points of interest and Foursquare checkins inside a real representation of nearly 50 cities. They’ve just launched their app for the iPad and Android tablets and I am seriously impressed. The resolution is great and the onscreen update speed is amazing. It offers the best of services like Google Maps alongside real city imagery, allowing you to use the map to orient yourself in 3D space. A blinking dot on a 2D street-scape works, but a 3D dot in a 3D city works even better.

“Google launched Google Maps 5 for Android last year. We are bringing the same vector based goodness to iOS, but with more beautiful cartography, faster rendering, and fluid search with our innovative search results system. Our cities are fully textured, our roadways carved in full 3D with overpasses and tunnels and our buildings are all tappable,” said Danny Moon, CEO.

Now all I need are a pair of Virtual Light glasses and a carbon-fiber messenger bike. The app is available now for iPad and Android and is coming soon on the Kindle Fire.

iPhone 4S and iPad 2 Finally Get Proper, Untethered Jailbreaks

While the once long list of legitimate reasons to jailbreak your iPhone has taken a hit with each new iOS release, that burning desire to “Free your device” and/or “Fight the power” and/or “Just do crazy stuff that other people can’t do” never really goes away.

3 months after the release of the iPhone 4S and 10 months after the release of the iPad 2, the ridiculously talented iOS hacking community has finally cracked the ultimate challenge for both devices: the untethered jailbreak.

I know these things can get a bit jargony, so a quick recap: to “jailbreak” means to modify a device to run code and applications not signed or approved by Apple, thereby allowing you to do things with your device far outside of what would normally be possible. “Untethered” means that once it’s jailbroken, it stays jailbroken (whereas a “tethered” jailbreak means the device resets to its normal, un-jailbroken state whenever it is reset)

The team behind this hack, Chronic Dev, is the same group that makes the greenpois0n tool that’s been jailbreaking iOS devices for years. Remember comex, the iOS hacker who went legit with an internship at Apple? He was a key member of this group.

While their server seems to be taking a bit of a pounding right now, you can find the new iPhone 4s/iPad 2 jailbreaking tool (dubbed “Greenpos0n Absinthe”) right over here.

Apple Just Incentivized Every College Kid To Get An iPad. As For High Schoolers…

As I watched Apple’s iBooks event in New York City last week, my mind began to race about the ramifications of such announcements. Everyone had a pretty good idea for weeks (or months if you read the Steve Jobs biography) that textbooks would be a focal point for Apple, but there wasn’t much thought given to what this would mean. During the event itself, I just kept thinking, “wow, Apple just incentivized every college student to get an iPad”.

Except, they didn’t. Not yet.

The weird thing about Apple’s event was that it mainly focused on high school education. Yes, the iTunes U update is fantastic, but for now, the textbook side of the equation is about high schools. And again, that’s weird because the iPad plan seems better suited for college students. In fact, it seems almost perfectly suited for college students.

In kicking off the event, Apple SVP Phil Schiller noted that high school students in the U.S. that enter as freshman only have a 70 percent chance of graduating these days. In urban areas, it’s more like 60 percent, he said. Schiller was setting up Apple’s iBooks textbooks as a possible way to improve this.

The problem is that the cheapest iPad is still $500. What high school student is going to buy that? Basically none — their parents will have to. And that’s fine for some students, but not all. Not even a high percent, I’d imagine. In the inner-cities — again, where education is even more of an issue — it’s probably even less likely of a purchase.

As Josh Topolsky points out, Apple does work with school districts to lease iPads on a four-year schedule, presumably at a nice discount. But that means the school owns the iPads and temporarily gives them out to students. That goes against Apple’s stated mission that students should now buy (or get via redemption code) all iBooks textbooks and keep them forever, keeping their notes, highlights, etc.

The school leasing also probably means the iPads are staying at the schools. How does that help for homework? Or are the schools allowing students to take the iPads home, risking losing them or damaging them? That doesn’t seem like a tenable idea for many budget-minded schools.

Schiller also told The Verge that he felt the numbers worked out favorably if the school districts bought students iPads instead of old-school textbooks and computers for the classroom. Maybe. But computers are a purchase the high schools do in multi-year cycles and students share them. For this new iPad textbook system to fully reach its maximum potential, schools would have to buy one iPad for each student that comes through the school. And again, what if they get lost, or stolen, or break?

My point is that Apple’s textbook plan for iBooks is a wonderful, obvious, and much needed evolution of the current system. But it’s more naturally suited for college students. At least right now.

One could easily imagine students buying $499 iPads and $15 textbooks instead of paying several hundred dollars a year for just the old-school textbooks alone. (Though it wasn’t entirely clear if college-level textbooks would have the same $15 ceiling that high school ones do — again, the focus last week was on high school.)

Yes, college students can (and often do) sell back books once they’re done with them. But having been a college student myself, I feel safe saying the entire experience is pretty crappy. I’d much much much rather have an iPad with all my textbooks on it — that I get for a reasonable price, and keep forever, along with all my notes.

Even better, you could imagine the universities themselves wrapping the cost of an iPad into tuition. Many schools started doing this with laptops years ago. Because college is so expensive — and again, college textbooks are so ridiculously expensive — this works. At the very least, it works a lot better than it currently does for high school students.

Even if when the next iPad is announced, the current model drops in price to something like $400 — or even $300 — that’s still an expensive sell to high school students and/or their parents and/or their schools. If every kid in the world already had an iPad, this would be the most brilliant program ever. Unfortunately, Apple needs to sell at least a few billion more iPads to get to that point.

I’m worried we may have a chicken and egg problem here. Apple is giving students a huge incentive to use iPads, but it’s still prohibitive for many of those students to get one. And if many can’t get one, does the iBooks program take off like it should?

If it does take off, I bet it does in colleges first. And that’s why it’s weird that Apple is starting off by focusing on high school.

The education system in this country (and I’m sure you could certainly argue the same is true in most parts of the world) absolutely needs fixing, and it’s great that Apple is working on the problem. I’m just not sure I see how it’s anything but an extremely slow process with iBooks, if it works at all.

I have no doubt that in the not-too-distant future, students walk around with tablet computers carrying all of their textbooks and other education needs. But we need to get the tablets in their hands to get to that future.

Sea Change: Apple Guts Textbook Publishing

The days of the $500 college textbook bills are, it seems, over. With Apple’s announcement of iBooks 2, the world of textbooks is changed forever.

Education is a hard nut to crack. There are bright spots and clever new ideas, but technology hasn’t quite figured out how to do a better job than the “old ways.” That’s why Apple’s decision to launch iBooks 2 and the attendant editing tools is so important: it tears down a number of entrenched technologies while maintaining the scaffolding of familiarity. It leaves the stuff that works and saves the schools, students, and parents money and time.

In short, it stabs the publishing industry while it embraces it, ensuring that its old methods are no longer profitable but offering it new tools to go forward. Whether they survive the initial thrust, though, is anyone’s guess.

There are, according to Apple, 1.5 million iPads in educational institutions. Each of those can hold thousands of books, apps, and tutorials. It just makes sense for Apple to take the lead on something as important as education, just as Steve and Woz led the way with their first Apple IIs in 1980s classrooms.

I am a luddite when it comes to elearning. I see little value in one laptop per child or giving every kid an iPad. Technology is a distraction, at least to my David Foster Wallace view of where television dumped our generation into the doldrums of reruns and latch-key programming. However, if anyone can change my mind about giving the kids a tablet for school, it’s Apple.

Apple’s product is big on promise and will, in the end, kill the sale of paper textbooks. Of that I’m certain. How long it takes is the million dollar question today, but knowing the speed at which Apple forces the paradigm to shift, I doubt the textbook publishers will survive much longer just selling dead tree product.