Why I Love eBay

Horror stories abound of online transactions made over long distances that turn sour, either because the goods are never received, or because goods received are damaged or in some cases bear no resemblance to what they were described as. Sometimes these problems are worked out, and occasionally people wind up in court over disagreements related to such services. This has turned some people off from making any online transactions, ever.

Personally I have never had a deal turn bad. I also buy online fairly regularly, for friends, family, and myself. For birthdays, for Christmas gifts, for miscellaneous goods that I either can’t get in stores in this area, or that would cost substantially more for.

One such thing I haven’t found a store for in the area (closest I’ve found via online tools is in Staunton – around 45 minutes to an hour away, depending on traffic and who is driving, etc) is model railroading supplies. Track, rolling stock, and other things required seem hard to come by, in this area at least. And that is where eBay comes in. Sure, a lot of things aren’t new, some are incredibly well used, but in the last month or so I have found some incredibly good deals that I couldn’t have even dreamed of until I received the “You won …” emails.

One such deal was for a large box of used HO scale track, mixed brands (primarily Atlas). Now, a lot of pieces have been cut off, and some of the rails aren’t attached at the ends, but nothing that can’t be put to good use in one way or another.

If I were to buy this in a store, brand new, I would expect to pay upwards of $200. There are around 10 turnouts, which, brand new, would have been worth around $20 each. Then there are several sets of 22″ Radius curves, I’d guess around 30 or 40. If I say there were 6 sets of 6, at $10 each per set, that would be around $60. Another 30 or 40 9″ straight sections as well and we’re looking at $300+ retail value when bought new. Considering all the damage done and the fact that it’s used, I might expect someone to pay maybe $100 minimum? No, with eBay I bought this for less than $30 USD. And this isn’t just a photo that the seller posted on the auction, that is the box sitting in the next room. I received it, it’s here, I’ve checked it all out. I’m excited to start laying it down in some kind of permanent setting.

Just to list off the things I’ve picked up cheaply in the last month or so, all from eBay:

– Various other rail tracks, including switches/points, rerailers, straight sections, etc.

– A flat car with two containers.

– Caboose

– Box car

– 3 40′ container models, to join my other containers that go with the container well cars I bought in New Zealand.

– 2 covered hoppers – one Southern and one Southern Pacific (the latter identical to one I already have) – the continuations of a unit train forming.

– 3 boxcar bodies for use in a storage setting.

– 10/100/1000Mbps network card (for my server, when I get around to rebuilding it).

Also, yet to receive:

– MiniDV camera (expected tomorrow)

– PAL=>NTSC Video Format converter, for my NZ DVD player and my NZ Xbox coming soon, so I can watch on the TV here.

Why Are We So Quick?

Matthew 7

Judging Others

1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Why are we so quick to tell people how to fix their problems without being fully aware of, or even considering, their circumstances?

A number of times recently I’ve noticed either myself or others commenting about lack of money, and someone else will be very quick to respond (because it is online) along the lines of “Well, you have an internet connection, surely that is one way you could save money!”

Three situations spring to mind where while money may be tight, cutting the internet would not be of any benefit. The first is of a work-at-home person who uses their home phone and internet connection for work. This is a great idea in my opinion, it saves gas, and if you can motivate yourself to get up in the morning (or whenever you need to work) to do your job at home with no-one watching over your shoulder or cubicle wall ensuring you’re on task, go for it.

The other is my current situation. The internet bill is not addressed to me, nor do I pay it. I use the internet connection in this house with permission (IE: I’m not stealing the neighbors), but this house is also not mine.

The third also applies to me, but more directly to others. A large number of employers are only accessible online. That is, you need an internet connection and an email address to communicate with them in order to have much of a chance at getting a job to fix your impending financial woes.

So, dear people of earth, just because someone has a problem, doesn’t mean you should fix it without asking them some further questions. Maybe your hastily and rudely given practical solution isn’t so practical after all.

Community-Based ISP’s – Could This Catch On?

I was stumbling around the internet the other day when I came across this article about Wilson, NC. It reports that the small city of Wilson was sick of the phone/tv/internet services being provided by the options they had, so they started their own. My question is, could this take off throughout the country? Comcast, Time Warner, all the other cable and DSL companies have been screwing the country over for a long time. Maybe if more community-based providers come up, it will force the big boys to lower their prices and improve their services. By the way, if anyone in Broadway/Timberville/Harrisonburg/Rockingham Co is interested in starting something like this I’d be keen to join in wherever possible. Whether it would be in a server/services administrative role or something helpdesk, I’m interested!

Here’s the link to the article:


When the Government asks for Suggestions, Help Them Out

Yesterday I skim-read an article about the Federal Government asking for suggestions regarding how internet in the United States can be improved, both in speed and in cost. While I don’t have any suggestions myself, I’m putting this out to try and increase the publicity of the idea of offering suggestions to the lawmakers regarding how the country can improve things.

The Wired article can be found here, and it contains links to over relevant information.

Twiddle Broke the Interwebs

brokeYep, I broke the interwebs. I messed up a firewall script on the smoothwall box while trying to make the proxy transparent (and failed, I might need to ask for some assistance on this one..) and the internet stopped. Not a huge deal, needed to reboot the router which wasn’t a major issue, but while I was gone trying to make it work without a restart Kelly made the picture on the righ left of me with the “interwebs” that I had pulled apart and broken..

Asked her to send it to me so I could post for the humor value.