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 !!

Spotify's Daniel Ek: The Most Important Man In Music

Spotify’s Daniel Ek created a free, Facebook-enabled platform that could save the recording industry from piracy–and iTunes.
It’s a typically damp, dark November afternoon in Stockholm, and Daniel Ek is ill. Over the past month the 28-year-old chief executive of Spotify has worn himself down jetting from his Swedish base to San Francisco, New York, Denmark, the Netherlands and France to visit his expanding sales force and launch his music service in one or another of the dozen countries it now operates in.
But there’s no rest for the weary. Next week he’s scheduled to return to New York to unveil Spotify’s new platform in front of his first-ever press conference—a platform that he admits still isn’t ready for a public debut. “I should be home in bed,” sighs Ek, his voice weak and scratchy, “but we need to get this thing perfect.” So the bald, barrel-chested Ek zips his white hoodie to his chin, swaps tea for his morning cup of coffee—the first of six he throws down in a typical day—and heads into an office that resembles a university library during finals. The pool table has been traded for more IKEA desks, and gray daybeds offer a place to nap between all-nighters. Forgoing his large office, which he mostly uses as a meeting room, Ek plops himself down at an open desk. Around him, a dozen engineers from nearly as many countries, united by their geek-chic uniforms—skinny jeans, printed T-shirts and cardigans—frantically bang out code on their silver MacBooks.
All this frenetic energy reflects the strange new reality of the music business. More than New York or L.A. or Nashville, this rented office space along Stockholm’s Birger Jarlsgatan has become the most important place in music, with Ek now standing as the industry’s most important player. Superstar bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers—formed the year Ek was born—now trek to Sweden to kiss the ring; he sits shotgun in vintage cars with Neil Young (his iPhone boasts a picture of them cruising in a white 1959 Lincoln Continental); he texts breezily with Bono. “Both my (maternal) grandparents were in the music industry,” shrugs Ek, “so I’m fairly grounded about the whole thing.”
The music industry has been waiting more than a decade for Ek. Or more specifically, someone—anyone—who could build something (a) more enticing to consumers than piracy while (b) providing a sustainable revenue model. In the 1990s Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker essentially broke the recording industry with their short-lived illegal download site, Napster, which Ek describes as “the Internet experience that changed me the most.” It was fast and free and limitless—through the site Ek discovered his two favorite bands, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin—and he became one of the 18-to-30-year-olds now considered a lost generation: Those who don’t believe you need to pay for music.
In building his iTunes juggernaut out of the wreckage, Steve Jobs subsequently proved that the cure could be almost as destructive as the disease. By training consumers to buy singles, rather than the CDs that had been the industry’s lifeblood, and taking an outsize cut of the action, Apple stoked the continuing ­spiral. Recording industry revenue, a healthy $56.7 billion in 1999, according to IbisWorld, clocked in at about $30 billion in 2011.
Enter a third disrupter, Ek. In the current tech landscape, where Google provides the search, Facebook the identity and Amazon the retail, Ek wants Spotify to supply the soundtrack. As he describes it: “We’re bringing music to the party.” Which explains what’s keeping his sleep-addled engineers on a 24-hour cycle: Rather than a mere music player—albeit one with a revolutionary model that allows legal access to almost every song you’ve ever heard of, on demand, for free—Spotify aims to create an entire music ecosystem.

This Article Explains Why Apple Makes iPhones In China And Why The US Is Screwed Read more:

The manufacturing processes of Apple and other electronics companies have come into sharp focus of late, with the revelation of more details about what life is like for the Chinese workers who make the world's gadgets.
When one reads about these working conditions — 12-16 hour shifts, pay of ~$1 per hour or less, dormitories with 15 beds in 12x12 rooms — the obvious assumption is that it's all about money:
Greedy manufacturers want to make bigger profits, so they make their products in places with labor practices that would be illegal in America.
And money is certainly part of it.
But an amazing new article by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher of the New York Times reveals that there's a lot more to it than that.
The article illustrates just how big a challenge the U.S. faces in trying stop the "hollowing out" process that has sent middle-class jobs overseas — and, with it, the extreme inequality that has developed in recent years.
The reason Apple makes iPhones and iPads in China, the article shows, is not just about money.
Manufacturing an iPhone in the United States would cost about $65 more than manufacturing it in China, where it costs an estimated $8. This additional $65 would dent the profit Apple makes on each iPhone, but it wouldn't eliminate it. (The iPhone average selling price is about $600, and Apple's average gross margin is about 40%. So Apple's gross profit on each iPhone is probably in the neighborhood of $250.)
The real reasons Apple makes iPhones in China, therefore, are as follows:
  • Most of the components of iPhones and iPads — the supply chain — are now manufactured in China, so assembling the phones half-a-world away would create huge logistical challenges. It would also reduce flexibility — the ability to switch easily from one component supplier or manufacturer to another.
  • China's factories are now far bigger and more nimble than those in the United States. They can hire (and fire) tens of thousands of workers practically overnight. Because so many of the workers live on-site, they can also press them into service at a moment's notice. And they can change production practices and speeds extremely rapidly. 
  • China now has a far bigger supply of appropriately-qualified engineers than the U.S. does — folks with the technical skills necessary to build complex gadgets but not so credentialed that they cost too much.
  • And, lastly, China's workforce is much hungrier and more frugal than many of their counterparts in the United States.
On this last point, Duhigg and Bradsher tell the story of Eric Saragoza, an engineer who began working in an Apple factory near Sacramento in 1995. The plant made Macs, and for a few years, Saragoza did well, earning $50,000 a year, getting married and having kids, and buying a house with a pool.
Your iPhone is built, in part, by 13-year olds working for ~70 cents an hour. But that's not the only reason Apple builds them in Shenzhen.
Soon, however, Apple started shipping jobs overseas, because the costs of manufacturing in Asia were so much lower. Importantly, these reduced costs weren't just about wages — they were about being closer to the supply chain and the willingness of the workforce to put in over-time. Saragoza was soon asked to work 12-hour days and come in on Saturdays. But, understandably, he wanted to watch his kids play soccer on the weekends.
Saragoza's salary was too high for him to take an unskilled job. And he didn't have the experience and credentials necessary to move into senior management. In 2002, his job was eliminated. Apple, meanwhile, turned the Elk Grove plant into an AppleCare facility, with call-center employees making $12 an hour.
Recently, desperate for work, Saragoza took a job at an electronics temp firm. Assigned to the AppleCare plant, he was paid $10 an hour to test repaired iPads before they were sent back to customers. That job paid so little (and was presumably so depressing) that the now 48-year-old Saragoza quit and is looking for work again.
Meanwhile, in Shenzhen, a young project manager named Lina Lin coordinates the manufacture of Apple accessories for a company in the Apple ecosystem. She makes a bit less than Saragoza made a decade ago as an Apple engineer. She lives in an 1,100-square foot apartment with her husband, their in-laws, and their son. They save a quarter of their salaries every month.
There are lots of jobs in Shenzhen, Lin says.
So, yes, money is part of why all of our gadgets are built in China. But what started a couple of decades ago as a reach for efficiency has now resulted in the entire electronics-manufacturing ecosystem being lifted up and transferred to China.
Apple doesn't build iPhones in the United States, in other words, because there is no longer an ecosystem here to support that manufacturing. There's no supply chain, there aren't enough super-low-cost workers, and there are not enough mid-level engineers.  And many Americans looking for work are still hoping for a return to jobs, salaries, and lifestyles that have simply disappeared.
This is a complex problem, and there's no easy solution. But it's a problem this country is going to have to fix. Or the massive middle class that once drove America's prosperity will just cease to exist.
Now go read Duhigg and Bradsher...

Big Data and Data Scientists -- It's An Issue Of Degree(s)

Big Data is creating a demand for university graduates who can make it work for companies, and universities are gearing up with full-time programs and executive education.
Dean Yi Deng of the College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is leading efforts to develop informatics programs under the umbrella of “Charlotte Informatics Partnership” for a variety of vertical industries including financial services, healthcare and bio sciences. Charlotte is, after all the headquarters for Bank of America and, until it was acquired by Wells Fargo, for Wachovia, which still has a large presence there.
To be effective, a Data Scientist curriculum has to be closely linked to commercial and societal needs — so Deng is working with the college’s Industry Advisory Board on the program.
Deng said he realized about two years ago that universities needed to change the way they taught technology. For the last 50 years technology education has been about systems, technology, networks and communications.
“Obviously you can’t do information technology without data, but the focus has always been on the system. In the last decade, data has become equally important.” He set out to persuade people at the university and in the business community that they need to work together to be on the cutting edge in data education.
“The trouble was I couldn’t find a single comprehensive study to back me up. I would tell people you have to take my word for it. It is coming in a big way.”
Within a year, the picture changed. Comprehensive studies were published, companies invested in their own Big Data and acquired specialists with Big Data skills. The Economist ran a cover story on Big Data, while MIT’s Sloan School and IBM published studies linking analytics to business competitiveness. Last May, the McKinsey Global Institute released a comprehensive study about big data as the next frontier for innovation and productivity.
“Now you see Big Data stories almost everyday. The pace of the development is amazing.”
Education hasn’t kept up with development, said Deng.
“We are facing a huge deficit in people to not only handle big data, but more importantly to have the knowledge and skills to generate value from data — dealing with the non-stop tsunami. How do you aggregate and filter data, how do you present the data, how do you analyze them to gain insights, how do you use the insights to aid decision-making, and then how do you integrate this from an industry point of view into your business process? The whole thing is hugely important for the future.”
Deng’s College of Computing and Informatics is already offering Master’s and Ph.D. programs in Bioinformatics. Partnering with the College of Health and Human Services and the University Graduate School, they have developed the first Health Informatics Professional Science Master’s program in North Carolina. “This degree is to train people with solid skills of technology and analytics while being expert in the business of health and healthcare, and making the two working together.”
Now, working with the Belk College of Business at UNCC, the College of Computing is developing a new Professional Science Master’s degree in Business Analytics and Informatics, integrating big data and analytics with business process and management concepts. Their industry advisory group has attracted experts from Bank of America, IBM, SAS, Cisco, McKinsey, Lowes and Ernst & Young.

Box’s Next Frontier: Cloud Storage For The Federal Government

For Box, 2011 was a huge year in terms of customer acquisition. Box ended the year with 77% of the Fortune 500 using the company’s cloud storage offerings. Procter and Gamble marked one of Box’s largest deployments for the year. While Box is still continuing to focus on cloud solutions for the enterprise in 2012, the company has set its sights on a potentially huge fish for the year—the federal government.
Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie tells me that there is a huge opportunity for Box in procuring cloud storage options for government agencies. “There’s going to be a big shift in public sector using cloud services this year,” Levie explains. “With so many agencies having to collaborate with public and other organizations, it’s more efficient to do this in the cloud.”
One of the obstacles to offering cloud services to the government are the high security requirements. For example, we’ve seen some of the early security hurdles Google faced with expanding cloud-based Google Apps to government agencies. But Box has recently started ramping up security for cloud storage, making controls more granular and giving IT administrators more control over user functions. It is expected that Box will add even more security and control for compliance with government agencies’ data.
Levie says that the company is potentially tapping into the $70 billion market for providing technology and software to the government. Clearly, that’s a huge revenue opportunity for the company. And government agencies seem interested in making a move to the cloud. In November, President Obama has ordered federal agencies to improve their records management, encouraging them to ditch paper-based storage to the cloud.
Already, a number of enterprise cloud-services companies are clamoring to appeal to the government for services. Amazon recently launched the GovCloud to provide a secure cloud computing environment for government agencies. IBM, and HP recently won a $250 million private cloud contract. And Salesforce is also eying public sector initiatives to help governments adopt cloud computing.
Box is currently serving a number of local and state governments with cloud storage services, says Levie. At the end of the day, he explains, the government is dealing with the exact same problems as the enterprise. And that is an opportunity Box is not going to pass up.

Air Force Says Iran Didn't Down Drone

"The Air Force is not saying what caused the RQ-170 UAV to crash in Iran, but that Iran's claim to have forced it down is erroneous. The drone didn't come down and land gently as Iran had suggested it did. At least Iran got a good photo op, though the more interesting question is what technology will they be able to glean from what they did capture."

Make Popcorn in Your Wok

Microwave popcorn is ubiquitous these days, but if you prefer not to use a microwave or would like to make popcorn when the power is out or on a camping trip you can always make it in a wok. In addition to the wok and popcorn you'll need vegetable oil and aluminum foil.
Grace Young from gives us the technique: simply line the lid of your wok with aluminum foil and add 2 tsp of vegetable oil to your wok along with 2 or 3 popcorn kernels. Set your range to medium high and place the lid on the wok. When you hear the kernels pop quickly open the side of the lid and toss in ⅓ cup of popcorn kernels. Set the heat on medium low and shake the wok side to side gently for about a minute until all the kernels have popped.