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May 17-18,2008 (WeekendEdition)

Folks here at RainyDayMagazine buy and sell stuff on EBay and Craigslist (Celestron, Meade) all the time.  We love it because we get to buy things at a great price.  Based on our past seven years of buying and selling on both forums, we have noticed three distinct differences between EBayers and Craigslister.

1. EBayers don't like to meet face-to-face, Craigslisters do.

Even if the EBay listing is in the same town, most EBayers will not want successful bidders to come by to pick up the item.  This is understandable as you never know who may show up at the door (porno movie plots notwithstanding).  Craigslisters love it.  Some Craigslisters will actually get so "pissed-off" if you don't want to interact "live" that they would REFUSE to sell you the item (see last point below)! 

2. EBayers love Paypal, Craigslisters want cash. 

The only safe way to do transaction on EBay is to use PayPal.  Accepting a personal check is just crazy, banks checks are easily forged, and US Postal Money Orders are a hassle.  Craigslist deals should be "cash on pick-up" only.  Any other way is just silly.  You already have to interact in real-time, use real money.

3. EBayers can be scam-artists, Craigslisters can be touchy. 

It is much easier to be cheated when you can't touch the goods or see the other party face-to-face.  This is definitely true for items which may be knock-offs or fakes (Rolexes, diamonds, etc...).  Craigslisters are by-and-large very honest, but can sometimes be a bit odd.  Take "WonderWoman" in the email above for instance.  She actually got so annoyed with us because we didn't CALL her instead of emailing that she has decided not to sell us her boxed set of Indiana Jones DVDs.  Well, that is fine by us because anyone who "doesn't drive and don't come into Boston...ever" frankly kind of scares us.

Our EBay and Craigslist experieces has taught us two things:

  1. There are great bargains on EBay (use PayPal) and Craigslist (bring cash).
  2. There is always another seller selling exactly what you want.

BTW, we did manage to find another seller in Boston who had BOTH the Indiana Jones AND Jurassic Park boxed sets for sale at half the price being asked by WonderWoman.  We are going to meet Alex tonight and close the deal... in Newton :-)   [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 16,2008 (FirstLookFriday)

The largest Apple Store in the US opened in Boston yesterday.  Apple fans from all over turned out in record numbers to show their support. 

Apple employees were eager to return the favor.  Five minutes before the 6PM opening, they ran out of the store, parted the crowds, and gave everyone waiting in line "hi-5s." 

It had the desired effect and got everyone REALLY whipped up for the grand opening.   At precisely 6PM, the doors opened, the crowd cheered, and the line started moving.

We wanted to give a sense of the number of folks who were waiting in line.  The photo above was the crowd at 6PM.  The photos below were of folks waiting in line wrapped around the corner about an hour later.  Click on any of the images for a larger version.

Some Newbury Street cafe patrons were a little surprised at the spectacle.  A few asked what was going on.  When learned that it was from the Apple Store opening asked if Apple was giving away free computers.  They CLEARLY have not tasted the KoolAid :-)  We, on the other hand, have not only drank from the bowl, but have created our own flavors.

We got into the store when the crowd thinned out a few hours later.  This store is HUGE.  There are three floors connected by the stunning glass spiral staircase.  We took a few shots from different angles to give readers a feel for the size of the thing.

We have been to a few of these in the past, but the media coverage on this opening was nothing short of amazing...considering that, in the end, it is still just a store :-)  But hey, that IS the genius of Steve Jobs.  Jobs has created a brand which can inspire amazing loyalty and passion... all from folks who pay him money for the privilege!

All in all, we came away impressed.  This Apple Store is a fine addition to the city of Boston and we hope it is a big success for everyone. [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 15,2008 (TeslaThursday)

Two years ago Tesla Motors announced they were going to build an all electric vehicle with the soul of a sports car.  Well, the first production run of car were completely sold out even before the first one rolled off the drawing board.


They have opened their first showroom in LA and are taking orders today for their 2009 production run.  We are ordering ours in sterling silver.  If you want one of these bad boys, cash in your 401K and head on down to the Tesla dealer today. [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 14,2008 (WellItsAboutTimeWednesday)

The veil has finally been lifted on the largest Apple Store in the US.  We tried to make it downtown for the 11AM media event, but did not manage to get to Boylston Street until late in the day.

Needless to say, we not only blew off our interview slot with Mayor Menino, we couldn't even get into the store to look around. However, the beefy security guards in front did allow us to take some photos through the window :-)

From what we could see, similar to the flagship Apple Store in NYC, this one also has an enormous glass spiral staircase in the middle of the store.  The layout is similar to other Apple Stores: spacious, airy, and lots of products for touching.

After waiting for so long, all we can say is "Its About Time!"  The parking won't be any better, but after looking at a covered storefront for over two years, we are happy to see an end to the Boyston Street construction

We wanted to see how the store looks at night so we took a quick trip back after the sun had set.  The place was buzzing with activities as employees were finishing up some last minute store opening tasks.

It looks like everything will be polished and shined for tomorrow.  Not many brands inspire that kind of devotion.  We are going to put in an order for some Apple stocks tonight and we look forward to a fun opening day on Boylston Street :-) [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 13,2008 (FlashTechTuesday)

The pop-up flash on the Nikon D40 camera is suitable for a lot of low light situations, but sometimes a few more photons than what the built-in unit can supply are needed.

For those situations, the Nikon SB-400 Speedlight unit is the perfect solution.  This flash module is compact, fast charging, and built specifically for the new Nikon digital cameras.

It uses two AA batteries.  The head tilts up for bouncing off the ceiling.  There is a locking pin for securing the unit to the camera body.  The overall size and balance of the camera is preserved when the unit is mounted.

This is a quick FirstLook of the SB-400 module.  We will have a lot more examples of this unit's capabilities when we have had more time playing with it. [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau


May 12,2008 (GPSMirrorMonday)

The Cheetah GPSMirror is an interesting device.  It will not tell you how to get from point A to point B, it will not help you steer around slow traffic, and it will not be much help if you are lost.  So what good is it?  It will alert you to every red-light camera in your area.  More importantly, it will alert you to red-light cameras when you are travelling in unfamiliar territory.

Getting the GPSMirror up and running is a simple task.  The unit is loaded with the necessary data and ready to go right out of the box.  Today, we are going to show how to install one in about 30 minutes with no tools. 

The mirror/GPS/LED readouts are all integrated into one unit.  You can just make out the electronics underneath the mirror if tilted and viewed in the right light.

The GPS Mirror will likely be quite a bit longer than most OEM mirrors and is mounted over the OEM mirror with four self-adjusting clips.  The power plug is attached to a long cord which will be long enough to run from the cigarette lighter outlet to the mirror.

Fitting the cord around the dash is a simple matter of tucking it into various gaps and crevices along the sides and trim.  Just remember to start the tucking at the mirror end.  Otherwise you will end up with excess cord at the end with no place to hide them :-)

When everything is plugged in and powered on, the GPSMirror will acquire the satellites and set the time automatically.  We started this project at 11:45AM, total elapsed time for this install... 27 minutes.

Here are a few photos of how things in the rear looks with the OEM mirror compared to the GPSMirror.  For the first time, we can see the entire rear of the car.  It definitely eliminated all of the Boxster's blind spots!

We took the car out for a spin and noticed a HUGE difference in what we can see with a larger rearview mirror.  We were also surprised at the number of red-light cameras we never knew existed in our area!  [Permalink] - Wan Chi Lau

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