Good idea but...

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Avatar jebus197 2 post(s)

Good idea, but what I need is something like JBidwatcher that is hosted somewhere as an online App. Jbidwatcher is great when it works, but I can’t count the amount of times I’ve forgotten about a pending bid and have shut the lid on my Macbook (or laptop when I had one) hence missing out on the snipe.

It’s great if you keep your computer switched on all the time, but most people use sleep on their lap tops. Of course Macs sleep when you shut the lid whether you want them to or not (there’s no choice), which makes it too easy to forget that JBidwatcher is running. (Especially if a sale might be a several days away before completion).

Allowing snipes to take place when I’m away isn’t really enough. What I really need is to be able to make bids both whether I’m away, or whether or not my computer is even switched on.

Is there any way Jbidwatcher will ever make it online in any form in this way?

Avatar Morgan Schweers Administrator 1,204 post(s)

My current plan (supported by a good bit of code I’ve written) is to integrate JBidwatcher with Gixen through My JBidwatcher. In other words, you’ll use JBidwatcher to view your auctions, pick which ones to snipe on, and track them in general, and the actual snipe will be placed through Gixen.

Gixen use will require a My JBidwatcher account and a paid Gixen account, at least for now. (It uses the Gixen API which is only available to Gixen Mirror subscribers.)

While I could easily build a sniping web service myself, one of the reasons I built JBidwatcher was so that folks didn’t have to give their username and password to a web site. I’d like to keep that relatively clean, and keep the application itself able to snipe.

However, I’ve realized that folks want offline capability, ESPECIALLY if I’m to encourage folks to use the My JBidwatcher web site. The argument goes, ’You’re already providing a web site, why can’t you make it snipe from there?!’ I’ve found that I’m compatible with the Gixen creator’s approach, and I feel comfortable recommending it. However if other web sniping services expressed interest, I would probably provide them as options.

Is this more or less what you’re looking for?

— Morgan

Avatar jebus197 2 post(s)

I was with you all the way up to the paid for bit. I’m a student, so paying for something, when I’m already paying for bids is out of the question. But thanks.

I still have the same problem though. I mean right now I have a snipe listed that is 21 hours away. There’s no way I can guarantee remembering to keep the lid open and my Macbook switched on all that time.

Besides which it’s not very ‘green’ or environmental to need to have people’s computers switched on 24/7 just to do snipes.

I don’t know how it would work, but surely some kind of encryption of account details would work so that you could guarantee beyond question that there was no way you could read or access peoples account details?

If it looked and worked quite like JBidwatcher, I’m sure a lot of people would trust it.

Avatar Morgan Schweers Administrator 1,204 post(s)

I recommend looking into Gixen. It’s like $6/year. It doesn’t have the features of JBidwatcher, but it’s entirely off your system.

The problem with the ‘encryption of account details’ is that my system has to know your account details, in order to place the snipe, if I were to host my own service. There’s no other way to do it, unfortunately.

Anyhow, I’m still bashing on this problem…

— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

Avatar Jiggy 4 post(s)

What I would like to see is a standalone headless server that communicates with JBidwatcher or My JBidwatcher. The reason for this is that there are many embedded systems running Linux which can run 24/7 without consuming a lot of power and are pretty stable so no need to worry a snipe might fail because the system crashed. Unfortunately they rarely use ARM, SPARC, MIPS, etc… processor architectures, have limited memory and do not have a video out option (although My JBidwatcher solves this) which makes the Java and the current JBidwatcher unusable.

It would be great to be able to have the standalone server do only the sniping and uploading the result to the client when it connects. Alternatively if it is to much work to do the sniping (parsing, etc…) in embedded systems then maybe the server could work as a proxy for My JBidwatcher so that all the work is done by My JBidwatcher, but proxied through the standalone server. This way the username and password would not have to be given to My JBidwatcher since the standalone server could be the one to take care of the authentication with eBay.

I do not know if other people would see the use in this, but I already have a NAS running 24/7 that has a customized version of Debian running and being able to use it to snipe without giving out my username and password would be great.

Avatar ball 13 post(s)

1) Macs can wake and even boot themselves, and, IIRC, have had this ability since 68k PowerBooks. They can also startup automatically after a power failure. This is done via energy saver or an iCal event (the lid may have to be open for this to work).

2) If you have a remote box, you can run JBidWatcher already. All it needs is Java 1.5 or higher. Swing requires X11, but it can be run headless and you can use VNC to edit your auctions using x11vnc.

3) If you want someone ELSE to provide an online service for free, you’re on crack!

Avatar Jiggy 4 post(s)

I understand now that I probably should have started a new thread instead of hijacking this one, sorry for that and anyone can feel free to split my post in a new thread. Now regarding the comment by ball, I take it your second point was directed at me, while your first and last was directed at the thread starter. To answer you, yes I know JBidwatcher will run on a remote box as long as it has Java 1.5 or higher, but that is also the problem because Java is not supported on processor architectures used on embedded systems such as ARM, SPARC or MIPS. Although my NAS has a SPARC processor, it is running a customized version of Debian so getting Java to run is difficult (trust me I’ve tried) and getting Solaris (only place where Java supports a SPARC processor) working on my NAS is also difficult because of proprietary Linux only drivers. Therefore I would like to see a simple standalone headless server that is cross-platform compatible.

Avatar Morgan Schweers Administrator 1,204 post(s)

I’m personally unlikely to re-implement the sniping portion in a more embedded-friendly language. If I were, it would probably be Ruby, which should build for embedded-class systems, but still…it’s just not high on my list. Essentially it would mean supporting a sniping engine in two different languages.

‘Cross-platform’ means different things to different people. JBidwatcher, and its internal library, is cross-platform, but it’s not universal. It’s not going to run on your Android phone, or your typical embedded processor.

It’s possible to run JBidwatcher in a headless fashion, but it doesn’t support sniping in that mode. Instead it supports logging in, bidding, and auction retrieval, and you’d have to build your own timed snipe on top of that. The reason it exists is that someone paid me decent money to put that server into JBidwatcher; they were okay with doing their own bid management, but needed something that responded essentially as an API.

There’s a lot in JBidwatcher, feature-wise, that doesn’t get exposed to the majority of users. You have to really dig in to find it, though.

— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!