Wednesday, March 31, 2010

iPhone Vs. Droid: More Differences

With the big article in USA Today today ("It's an app world, and it could swallow all computing"- lauding the various apps for smartphones and how much we're all using them, I'm happy I joined the iPhone world. 

And I'm using all kinds of apps -- everything from useful stuff like MapsBuddy, which helps you find restaurants, coffee shops, etc. near you -- to silly stuff that's just plain fun, like the VoiceChanger and SkeeBall apps.

One reason I chose the iPhone over the Droid is it has more apps, at least as of now. But I know a die-hard Droid convert who thinks the Droid (based on Google's Android operating system) is better.

However, she concedes that one thing the iPhone has over the droid is "one can search the web while on a call."

But, then again, she names something the iPhone doesn't do: "tethering to pc, so if one is on the road the pc can access the internet through usb tethering to droid." She says she and her husband have used this when camping at the beach.

Do you prefer Droid or iPhone -- or something else? Post your thoughts here in a comment.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

eBayers Beware: Spammers Taking Advantage of Recent Changes

eBay-related scams and spam are nothing new. But the recent changes to eBay's Store format and fees makes for a special opportunity for the spammers.

Spoof emails can be very official-looking. One reader of my newsletter who considers herself very savvy about spam fell for one urging her to upgrade to the new Store subscription format. She was on an iPhone, so she didn't scrutinize it as carefully as she might have on a larger screen. After clicking the link to upgrade she noticed a funny-looking non-eBay url come up, but by that time it was too late.

What can you do to avoid these emails? One rule of thumb is to always go to "My Messages" to answer any official emails from eBay. Do not click on links in emails purporting to be from eBay.

And even in "My Messages," if you get a message from a user you don't recognize, with whom you are not doing a transaction, do not click on any links within their message. 

As one eBay safety rep put it:

"Please be informed that all legitimate eBay emails, alerts or notices should have a duplicate copy on your My eBay Messages. Please be cautious also of links received via email, including those received in My Messages. Many experienced members are being tricked by member-to-member spoofs that appear to be real communications from other users. 

"Please never respond to a member that you don't recall dealing with, or regarding an item you are not selling. Always report these emails by forwarding them to This will allow us to take a detailed look at the message and let you know if it was sent by eBay or not."

"All emails that can be seen on your My eBay Messages are all legitimate, but there are some members who [are] trying to defraud other eBay member by sending an email with a link that will lead you to a spoof site. Please be cautious of this."

Happy safe eBaying!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Droid vs. iPhone

Are you trying to decide whether to buy a Droid or an iPhone?


I recently bought an iphone and have been loving it, but I also know a few Droid users who swear by it. I picked their brains as to their top reasons they like the Droid better.  (The user with these tips is my cousin, a software systems analyst and needs to do a lot of work on her phone):

- Droid has "documents to go." MS apps / Word are available from the phone. They are stored on the phone as a "d card" and you can search them. 

- Navigation voice. The Droid's GPS app will talk to you as a voice. (It's a woman's voice..I was joking with her they need to get an app with a man's voice for women to listen to).

- Speed. With docs to go, everything is fast, "unlike Quick Office," she says.

- Multiple things can be open at a time. 

- Security. Droid has much better security apps, according to her. There is "mobile security" -- you can find Droid on a map with this should you lose it. You can use your pc to track it down. (You do have to set this service up/register with it).

This is useful whether you lose it or it is stolen. You can also lock it remotely.

OK, so what about the iPhone crowd?

- Better camera. My cousin conceded the camera is better on the iPhone. This is important to me because I like to take a lot of pictures for my blog, sharing, etc.

Although for my eBay auctions, I need to use my good camera with the digital macro setting. (Tip: she says professional photographers lean their hand or arm against something when taking a picture to steady the lens and get better pictures. Phone Camera photos tend to be blurry if you do not keep your hand very steady).

- Droid harder to learn. My cousin says it took her a lot of time to figure out the various features of the Droid/get used to it.

- Apps. "Apple has 93,000 to Android's 11,300. But how many applications do you really need?" asks CNN Money's Philip Elmer DeWitt.

I kind of think the apps thing is a big one. However, one may point out that you don't "need" that many. On the other hand, part of the iPhone raison d'etre (and the whole Apple world, in my mind) is that it's fun. Some of the apps are just plain fun. 

One of the first apps I put on my iPhone was the VoiceChanger. It had my kids in stitches. 

The iPhone is very intuitive, of course. I am happy with my iPhone, and I did sign a two-year contract. I'll keep my eye on the Droid world, however, and see how it goes down the road.

What do you think? Droid or iPhone, and why? (OK so there's also the BlackBerry, which one friend says is the best smartphone for doing a lot of email, but that's for another day). Post a comment here!

Savannah sites in movies

Savannah, Georgia is the setting of many a famous movie scene.

It may not surprise you to learn that the forrest gump park bench scene was filmed in Chippewa square. That bench is now in the visitors center.

But did u know the pretty woman bar scene was filmed in the sixpence bar?

And, of course, the scene with Forrest gump running was also in Savannah, at wormsloe plantation.

Then there's the film that put Savannah on

the map for many tourists, midnight in the garden of good and evil.

Savannah sites in movies

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Travel tips for savannah, Georgia.

Test post from my new iPhone.


Savannah serves: restaurants in savannah

Restaurants in Savannah -- there are many and the food here in general is delicious.

Our first night we got dinner at a well-known place called the pirate's house. I highly recommend it and both the salad and creamy linguine dish I ordered were excellent.

They also have a fun gift shop section w piratey stuff.

Apparently the place was featured in treasure island by Robert Louis

Another good place was the art cafe across from the mellow mushroom, the latter a funky, busy pizza place. I ate at the bar and had a delicious club croissant sandwich with hearty red potato salad.

While there, I got a rec from a local gentleman -- it's good to ask the natives -- cha Bella.

So my cuz drew and I ate there for dinner. We split a creamy linguine and veggie dish which was tasty

Eating & shopping a swath through Savannah

Savannah, georgia, home to multitudinous drapes of Spanish moss, a plethora of delicious restaurants, and another picturesque historic square every time you turn around.

One of my favorites is the one with the statue of Oglethorpe, founder of the colony of Georgia.

I also really like telfair square, home to the arts & sciences museum.

This is where the bird girl statue made famous in the book midnight in the garen of good & evil now lives.

Eating& shopping a swath through Savannah

Monday, March 15, 2010

Judith Leiber Bags: How Do You Find Her Oldest Designs?

I was at the Antiques in Alexandria show last weekend (March, 2010), and saw a wonderful variety of items. One of my favorites was the vintage handbag display. The vendor there had many gorgeous vintage Judith Leibers. Leiber is known as one of the top, if not the top, handbag designers of all time.

What I did not know was that Leiber designed first for other companies, such as Nettie Rosenstein, 1948-60; Richard Kort, 1960-61; and Morris Moskowitz Co., 1961-62. She launched own firm in 1963.

It pays to talk to the vendors, as you can learn a lot..that's how I learned about Leiber's history. Here's a bag she told me Leiber designed for Rosenstein:


Isn't that fun?  

She had some other fabulous pieces such as this Faberge egg-style clutch:


Leiber emigrated from Budapest, Hungary after World War II. What was interesting to me was that she managed to survive the whole war and Nazi occupation in Budapest by "staying in a building designated for Jews and then in a house set aside for Swiss citizens. Her father, an Austro-Hungarian who managed the grain department of a bank, obtained a pass for himself and forged the words 'and family,' using the same typewriter used to issue the pass," according to

She was born Judith Peto in 1921 in Budapest, and married Gerson (Gus) Leiber, a Brooklyn native, who "was a Signal Corps sergeant in the United States Army serving in Eastern Europe," according to jwa. They married in 1946 and moved to New York City in 1947. "Gerson Leiber is an abstract expressionist painter and a member of the National Academy of Design. His paintings hang in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and other institutions."

I have not has so much luck finding Leiber handbags at estate sales, but I once came across a stash of Leiber-designed belts at one. They were all in one box, mixed in with all kinds of other belts. I was lucky to find them.

You can read more about my belt finds in this back issue at my Yard Salers web site at:

The vendor at the show told me Leiber did not like her belts as much because a lot of customers returned them. They were self-adjustable, a nice feature, but when some customers bent over the belts came undone. This vendor joked that the ladies could simply have readjusted the belts but they chose to return them instead.

You can find gorgeous examples of Leiber's belts along with her handbags at the company web site at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Antiques Lessons Learned on "American Pickers"

I've been enjoying the new History Channel show "American Pickers," where two guys who have an antiques selling business tool around the country in their company van, looking for interesting houses (often with "outbuildings") which may contain the rusty, the old, the antique..and hopefully the valuable.

As a "yard sale" addict and eBay seller, the show can be instructive in lessons of what to buy to resell. 

Mike and Frank, the "pickers," have a special affinity for old bicycles, cars, motorcycles, vintage advertising/signs, and, in Frank's case, oil cans. And heck, any antique cans.


What lessons can we glean from the episodes I've watched so far? Here are some:

- vintage, quality kitchen stuff sells well ("I sell the h@#$ out of that," Mike says). For example, nice-looking old metal flour cans.

- "advertising is hot." People love old signs with vintage advertising. More collectible companies' logos of course do better. Coca Cola stuff is hot. 

One of the weirder items I saw Mike and Frank purchase and haul off in their van was an old cigarette sign - a huge gas station 3-d figure of Johnny Roventini, the old Philip Morris cigarette company mascot. He's a little bellhop who was less than 4 feet tall as a fully developed adult.

One of their better scores in all the shows I've watched was an apparently next-to-impossible-to-find (htf, or hard to find, as we say in eBay parlance) antique Vespa scooter, the Ape (pronounced "ah-pay," not "ape," like the gorilla).

Italian for "bee," the Ape was "the three-wheeled variant used for commercial purposes, including the popular auto rickshaw," according to wikipedia. Mike and Frank paid $5000 and sold it for $6000, a $1000 profit.

However, whereas Mike and Frank are usually on target with the prices they pay for stuff, without insulting the owners, in general, Frank made one goof on the last show I saw where he paid too much for an antique car. He forked over $5500 for an old black auto, and their expert later told them it was only worth $3000-$5000 and would cost a lot to repair.

Nice to know even seasoned pros can make mistakes. Or as Mike says in the last episode, "We can't know everything about everything." Isn't that true of anyone?


Are you a yard sale, estate sale, or antique shop addict? Check out my web site,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Quilting Book Lot Brings in Hundreds on eBay

I just got this entry in for the latest Flips contest. It highlights how crafting books can be a great niche, and that it often pays to buy a large batch of books if you can get them at a reasonably low price:


 I enjoy the flip stories you have on your website, as well as the articles that you do. When I saw the list of prizes for this month�s flip story, I had to write! I want to win that prize!!

On February 5th I attended a local antique/estate auction. I noticed that there was a huge lot of quilting books. I estimated that there were at least 250, since there were 23 boxes and I guessed there were probably about 10 in each box. I was the winning bidder, and purchased all for only $66.00.

I had to have my husband go back with me the next day to pick them up, and let me tell you, he thought I had lost my mind!! Well, I got them all home, and began to organize and catalog them, and that�s when I realized there weren�t just 250 book, but something closer to 500!! 

Many of them were even signed by the authors! I picked out certain ones that I thought might sell for the most, based on my research on ebay and, and listed them first. Get this � my first book sold for $75.00 � more than enough to cover my initial investment! The second book sold for around $45.00! 


[Above: Two of Karen's quilting books which stitched up a tidy profit].


Suddenly, my husband was telling everyone about my quilting books. To date, I have listed approximately half of the books (the hardbacks and larger softcovers), and of those I have sold about 80 or 90 books so far, and have made somewhere in the neighborhood of $800.00 or more!! 

In fact, for the last month, quilt books have been the ONLY thing I have been listing. At some point, after all the books have been listed for 6 or 9 months, I will take the ones that are left, and group them in lots of 5 or 6 and relist them. When all is said and done, and the dust finally settles, I hope I will have made at least $2000. Not bad for a $66.00 investment!!

My auction ID is 4eyedbrunette, and you can take a look at my completed listings as see what I mean!

Thanks for letting me tell my story (and I hope I win!).


Wilmington, North Carolina


For more great flips, check out the ebook at


Zero to $2000 a month on Possible?

Steve Lindhorst has done it...his PayPal account is the proof. His new "Quick and Dirty Guide" tells you how you can get similar results:

Amazon Quick and Dirty Guide 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Empty Box Brings $280 on eBay

It never ceases to amaze me the types of things that can bring in the big bucks on eBay. Check out this recent entry to the current Yard Salers flips contest (, from Brenda of

Hi Julia,
I'm new to your newsletter and just read my first issue. It was fun reading about the flips others had. I recently had several wonderful flips but wanted to share this particular one that just happened recently.

I helped a friend clean up a house in preparation for an estate sale. It was agreed that she would not pay me for helping her but I would be able to take home some items of my choice. I picked up this empty box thinking it might be worth something to someone. This is the link for that item..

Vintage Winchester Gun Box


This box did have the original cardboard inserts and manuals but the gun itself was missing.

The original owner wrote his sons name and addresses in 12 different places on this box in red marker. I really didn't know if that would increase or decrease the value.

Within hours of posting this auction, I got an email from a buyer offering me $200 to BIN. Such a quick email always is a red flag to me as that means this must be valuable and worth a lot but the buyer is hoping I don't know that and will let it go. I kindly told him he will have to bid and I'm letting the auction run its course. Good thing I did as it ended up at $280.00!

The winning buyer had zero feedback which I admit made me nervous but all of us had to start at that point so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and hoped for the best. He was very poor at communicating with me but I did receive my payment a week later. I don't know if this was his first experience on eBay but hopefully it was a positive one for him and he will be better at communicating with future transactions on eBay.

So the moral of this story your boxes and keep an eye out for vintage boxes in great shape!
Happy hunting and eBaying!
Brenda Bienlein

[Want to read about more flips like this? Check out my Big Bucks Flips ebook at]

Update from Biz Stone: Twitter accounts grow more than 1,500%

I just received the following update from a list I signed up for from Twitter:


In the early days of Twitter,
I used to send out short updates just to keep everyone in the loop since so much
was happening. It's been a while, but you signed up for short, monthly updates
from Twitter so we thought it was time to start sharing more information. We've
had quite a year. If you haven't visited in a while, we'd like to invite you to
come have a look at
-- we've been busy!


In the course of a year, registered Twitter accounts have grown
more than 1,500% and our team has grown 500%. Recently, we hired our 140th
employee! His name is Aaron and he's an engineer focused on building internal
tools to help promote productivity, communication, and support within our
company. We celebrated with a little dance party.

of Note

Some features of note that we released over the course of a
year include the ability to create
, quickly spread information with a retweet button, and an easier way
to activate
your mobile phone
to work with Twitter over SMS. We also built a new mobile
web site that looks and works much better on smart phones.


By working together during critical times when others
needed help, sharing important information that otherwise might not make the
news, and inventing new and interesting ways to use Twitter, you've shown us
that Twitter is more than a triumph of technology -- it is a triumph of
humanity. Projects like Fledgling
and Hope140
were inspired by you.

there may only be 140 full-time employees working at the Twitter offices, there
are thousands of dedicated platform developers who have now created more than
70,000 registered Twitter applications creating variety and utility for all of
us. We'll be gathering this spring at Chirp,
our first ever official Twitter developer conference.

Stone, Co-founder (@Biz)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oprah Winfrey eBay Clothing Auction: What's Hot?

Did you know the Oprah Winfrey clothing auction is going on right now on eBay? It started Monday, March 1. So what are the bids up to, and how do you even find the items?

After a quick search I found her stuff under auction titles with the words "Oprah Winfrey" and "Worn on Show." The auctions also feature a little blue ribbon, the charity auction symbol on eBay (proceeds go to her South African school for girls).


Some of the items that have gotten bid up the most:

- A Caroline Herrera dress, currently at $1376, 42 bids.

- A Melinda Eng sheer blouse, $1325, 44 bids.

- Lavender Valentino sweater, $910, 19 bids.

But a Dolce & Gabbana cotton shirt is only at $201 at this writing, with 19 bids. 

OK, let's talk shoes...and boots. Some of the high-fliers at the moment:


- Prada tall leather boots, $810, 31 bids

- Manolo Blahnik leather boots, $610, 30 bids

- Manolo Blahnik green pumps, $500, 17 bids.

And how about the lowest-priced classy clodhoppers at this writing?

- Prada black suede sandals, a comparatively spartan $210, with 22 bids.

- Jimmy Choo patent pumps, $315, 24 bids.

Of course, there's no telling where these babies will end up, final-price wise. But even if you're not in the market to buy, it can be fun to look.