i writeth, you readeth

Keeping Others in Suspended Terror while Cultivating an Air of Unpredictability

PC Mag Letter

6. January 2009 | Category Internet, Personal

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up my Jan 2009 copy of PC Magazine . I have been an avid reader of the magazine for some years now, and after reading an article they had published in response to change to eBay.com and it’s changes in fees and philosophy, I felt compelled to write back. Apparently, someone thought I made a good point and put it in the editorial section. I am pretty stoked about it.

It is kind of odd too, because that Jan 2009 edition of PC Magazine is the last print copy of the magazine. They are going totally digital after that edition. So, I guess it’s a milestone edition and I got published in it. Maybe it could be a collector’s item?

Read my submission:



Holy autocracy, Batman!

25. September 2008 | Category Internet, Observations

Having been a seasoned eBayer from my early excursions on the newly minted inter-net to present, it’s starting to sadden my auction browsing experience.

Since eBay ditched it’s latest CEO for a new, fresh CEO, the company has taken some fairly drastic steps to change it’s business model while cutting away the almost utter devotion most avid users had for the service/community it created.

It has been slowly evolving. First they raise prices for things, which justified or not almost always happens with any floundering and/or greedy business.

Next they decided to take away the voice of reason that many a trustful and honest eBayer relied on, the positive/negative feedback tool. Now a seller cannot complain about a deadbeat buyer, but the buyer can continue to blast you as a seller without real visible recourse.

The latest indiscretion is what really makes you wonder what will come next. Now eBay is insisting that you ship products out for a set price, no mind whether the time/energy to ship at that price is even relevant.

I’ve read that eBay is trying to cater to the larger sellers on eBay with it’s fees and Buy-it-now auctions, but with all the changes and the utter disregard for the small time buyer/seller, eBay is cutting it’s core audience to the bone.

They are slowly morphing into a online storefront. Gone will be the entertainment and candor of possibly the first internet e-tailer that really had a compelling reason for people to get on the internet and buy/sell almost whatever you could dream up on a site originally dealing with Pez dispensers.

It annoys me and I can see myself shying away from the site due to this continued behavior.


Zopa fever!

6. August 2008 | Category Internet, Money, Technology

By now you should know I like delving into interesting financial concepts, especially those online. Having a community based lending option has been intriguing as Prosper has shown.

Well Zopa has finally come into it’s own in the U.S. An import of the U.K. that has now also expanded into Italy and Japan. They were almost 2 years late in the coming to America. Oh, well, at least they made it and could give Prosper a run for it’s (lending) money.

Zopa is a somewhat different beast, but interesting none the least. It also lends out $ but these loans are based at local credit unions. They are associated with Affinity Plus, a credit union from the Cities that I had been acquainted with from my schooling at MSU, Mankato. But the loans are cool. If you get someone else to invest in a CD with Zopa, they can actually help you out. For every CD you purchase through Zopa (CDs are FDIC insured through the credit unions) you help someone out by reducing the rate they pay for their loan thru Zopa. Yes, you can even get your rate down to 0% (i.e. no loan payment) if you get enough help from other Zopa members. That is very cool.

Every CD you purchase is much like a CD at a local bank/credit union. Their current rates continually beat the pants off of local CD rates. These CDs are currently only for 1 yr terms, pretty common for most CD holders out there. With the purchase of a CD you get to apply what ever percent of your return on your money you want to your friend/family member through the site. Say the site offers 3.75% on your money, if you were real generous you could knock down your rate to say 3%, thus giving 0.75% as help to the person of your choosing or even stay at 3.75% and still help someone out a bit more minimally. You get a great rate on a CD and your money goes to help an actual person with their loan rate. Pretty cool.

So ready to help a man out. Check out the link to the left if you are so far interested. Otherwise, contact me and I’ll answer any questions you may have. Wouldn’t it be nice of you to help me pay less on the loan I’m taking out to help with wedding finances? I intend to pay this loan back shortly after festivities, it’s more of a cushion for me.




24. July 2007 | Category Interests, Internet, Observations

The vacation was a whirlwind, but fun. Everyone says we packed in quite a bunch of things for the full week we were gone. Flew into San Fran Sunday night, and drove north through the city and Golden Gate up towards Wine Country. Next day toured Budweiser Beer & Jelly Belly factories and Wine country that afternoon. Wine country was hot and after a bit, it got boring with all the places that wanted to take your money for anything wine-related. That night headed south and met with my friend Nicole (she was the one I visited out in MI last summer). Headed to Yosemite for the next full day. Communed with nature, hoards of tourists and sickening mountain roads. Next day toured gold mining history, a current gold mine and a awesome cave. After that drove into Silicon Valley, where we saw Yahoo, Google and Apple to varying degrees. All were in office/industrial parks, with no real touristy type stores, save for Apple. We actually walked into Google’s campus and checked out their front office. Elyssa was scared about security, but we didn’t meet any until after we walked off the property! My highlight for sure.

Next two days were spent in SanFran. Did self-guided walking tour that Friday, walking a few miles from downtown/Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf. Good lot to see that day. Went on Bus tour the next day and out to Alcatraz that afternoon.

Was a very good trip, one I’m glad we took, even if we planned a good chuck of it on the fly!


Email to my phone

7. June 2007 | Category Internet, Technology

Found a neat new company, Teleflip, that will actually send your email to your via a text message.

Neat thing about it is that you have control over it. You can set which email addresses you get text on your phone from. It works well with Gmail, an awesome email service as well.

I don’t have to log into my email to see what messages I’m getting, I just get them on my phone. It may also be of note that I can receive all my text messages for free with my service from Midwestwireless, which is a good thing too for the cost the messages might cost with any other provider.

So, if you’re eager to get email from certain ppl on your phone and aren’t charged for received text messages, I’d highly recommend this awesome service. FYI, it’s still in beta.