Recent Posts by Dave Howell

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Jun 23, 2016
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / 10.8+ Is there a real reason?

Bwaaaaaaaa!

Dang it. JBW 2.5.6 just failed to log in, so I came looking for an update. Alas, looks like I can no longer use my Mac Cube as my JBidWatcher always-on computer, seeing as how it’s running 10.4.

Fine.

 
Jun 23, 2016
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / New feature request - multisnipe.

Um, back when multisniping worked, that was already a feature. Say you’ve selected a bunch of auctions, and selected them, and set up a multisnipe. Now, go back and click on just one of them, and change the bid amount. There you go. That one auction in the multisnipe set now has a different bid limit.

 
Dec 10, 2015
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Tips and Tricks / Feature request: maximum total bid amount

I’m not Morgan, but this is one of the many features that seems reasonable, but that he shouldn’t do. JBidWatcher needs fewer features, not more. Each little feature, however reasonable, is just a bit more code to maintain, and, as is pretty clear from the fact we haven’t had an upgrade to JBid in almost two years, there’s too much code already. Toss the web interface (which I frequently use), abandon multisniping (which I love dearly), forget the MySQL option (which I used for a while), if that’s what it takes to keep JBidWatcher alive and fresh.

 
Dec 10, 2015
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Tips and Tricks / Shared databases on different computers?

I’d try running just a single copy, and using the web interface to make changes remotely, first, if possible. You probably could use Dropbox, but I think I’d try running it off a thumbdrive first, to make it a lot harder to run multiple simultaneous instantiations.

On the other hand, if you have two copies running and they both try to snipe the same auction, so what? One of the two will get there first. The other one will submit what is now an invalid bid (“Sorry, you already bid that much. You have to bid more or it doesn’t count.”) and have no effect.

 
Dec 10, 2015
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Tips and Tricks / deleting from Derby

Kind of? I realize this is like mowing your lawn with a nuclear-powered laser-bladed hoverdrone, but I tidied up my JBid database a few years ago by going right into the database and executing SQL code directly on the data. (After making a copy of the DB files, of course.) I’ve been using RazorSQL as my ‘talk to databases’ tool for years, and I think it’s rather good. There’s a 30-day free trial.

I am not affiliated with RazorSQL in any way at all except as a customer (and I’m running a really old version).

 
Dec 10, 2015
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Help / Will multisniping be reactivated

{bump}

Me too! I miss multisniping! I need to replace my Magic Trackpad. This is something that there’s many of, and the price tends to be rather variable, it’s a perfect candidate for multisniping.

I"m desperate enough that I even went looking for alternatives. Meh. I do NOT want to give my ebay login info to some web site. Not that I’m likely to, since so far, none of them seem to offer multisniping.

 
Dec 10, 2015
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Help / JBIDWATCHER 2.56 NOT WORKING WITH EBAY.

Mine has been logging in with no noticable issues for the last few weeks. {shrug}

 
Dec 21, 2013
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Help / "Lint" in the JBidWatcher database

I keep JBidWatcher running on an antique Titanium PowerBook (G4 processor) with no screen, so I connect to it via VNC in order to control JBidWatcher. If I find an auction on my own computer that I want to bid on, it’s a bit of a nuisance to paste the bid number via VNC, so when I want to add a new auction, I’ll do that via JBid’s HTTP interface at port 9099.

That page has the little “Add Auction” form at the top, and then a bunch of auction listings below. I mean, a bunch of auctions, many of which ended months and months ago. Setting the “Select Tab to View” to “Current” shows me the currently active auctions and a few that have ended, and setting it to “All” shows me some auctions dating back to 2011.

None of those auctions are visible in JBidWatcher’s native local interface. For example, right now JBidWatcher shows 3 auctions in the “Current” tab, and none in “Complete” or “Selling” tabs. I don’t have any other tabs right now. The http window lists 17 auctions.

These auctions also appear in the “auctions.xml” file. I tried shutting JB down, editing the file, and restarting it, but it just put them all back next time it saved a copy of that file, which is what I expected. The ‘extra’ auctions are clearly hanging out in the Derby database. How do I get rid of them? It’s not very urgent; they’re not hurting anything, but it’d be nice to tidy things up a bit.

JBidWatcher v2.5.2-0

 
May 18, 2011
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / Can't Set Shipping Amount

Well, how mysterious. I updated from version 2.1.4 to 2.1.5, and not only has “Set Shipping” re-appeared, but I can once again access the context-sensitive menus via VNC, which weren’t responding before. I thought the no-context-sensitive-menu problem was an issue with my VNC server or client; I had no idea it was somehow related to JBidWatcher itself.

Well, anyway, the problem has evaporated. If only more problems would be so co-operative.

 
May 17, 2011
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / Snipe waiting, computer goes to sleep...

I can’t say for sure, but I suspect it would be very difficult for JBidWatcher to do that. Blocking a sleep response is probably very different for Windows, OSX, Linux, BSD, and/or Solaris, and JBidWatcher is running as Java code; I would be surprised if there was some standard Java function that connected up to the OS’s underlying power management/sleep system.

 
May 17, 2011
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / Leak when using MySQL?

I switched JBidWatcher over from using the internal Derby database to an external MySQL database in order to have some insight into the auctions in the datastore, but I’ve noticed that after a day or so, JBidWatcher seems to get rather sluggish. In one instance, I’d let it run unattended for a few days, and when I came back to look at it, it was moving so slowly I had to force-quit it and relaunch. I tried switching it back to the Derby dbstore, but it seemed to lose track of a number of auctions when I did that, so I had to take it back to MySQL. It’s dealing with around 40 or 50 auctions spread across two tabs. Admittedly, it’s running under OSX 10.4.11 on a 667MHz G4 machine, so it’s not exactly super-fast even when first launched, but I’ve used this machine as my always-on JBid box for a few years now, and until I switched it to MySQL, it didn’t have slow-down issues.

 
May 13, 2011
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / Can't Set Shipping Amount

Once upon a time, control-clicking on an auction brought up a context-sensitive menu that included “Set Shipping Amount…” as one of the choices. That appears to have vanished at some point. Unfortunately, about half the auctions I’m loading into JBidWatcher are getting “--” as their shipping cost, even though I can see specific dollar amounts in the auction pages on eBay.

I even went so far as to have JBidWatcher switch over to using MySQL for its datastore so that I could gain write access. Then I updated the internal tables to stick the shipping costs into the database. JBidWatcher did update its display to show the shipping costs…for a little while. At some point, I’m guessing it re-loaded the eBay page (probably to keep track of the current bid amount), and overwrote my shipping value with “--” again in the process.

Note that these auctions do NOT have “Please enter zip code to calculate shipping” links. They have all had just a set dollar amount.

I’d love to have “Set Shipping Amount” back again. Of course, if JBidWatcher got better at extracting the amount from the pages, that’d be nice too, but being able to set it by hand is likely to always be a needed option.

 
Aug 25, 2010
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Tips and Tricks / How Close to Snipe

“I’ve already lost 4 auctions from same seller to snipers pulling triggers 2-3 secs before auction ends.”

Er, hmm. There is this fundamental misunderstanding about bidding that is reflected in this comment. No, you haven’t lost auctions to people sniping tighter than you. You’ve lost auctions to people outbidding you, and they could have outbid you 24 hours before the end of the auction just as easily as 3 seconds before.

IF everybody who bid on eBay would enter a bid amount that really truly was the most money they wanted to pay for an item, then there would be absolutely no reason to snipe. However, most people can not or will not enter a ‘true’ amount. They enter a number that’s too low. Then, somebody else enters a different number, and they go back and up their bid.

Let’s say I set up to snipe an auction for $52. One minute out, the bidding is at $34. My snipe triggers 30 seconds before ending. I lose; somebody got it for $53.50. I did NOT lose this auction by $1.50; I don’t know what number the other person entered. Maybe they bid $75. I don’t know. I just know they were willing to pay more than I was. The winner might be the person who’d had the $34 bid; eBay automatically kicked their bid over mine if they entered $75. Or maybe I was winning the auction for 20 seconds, until somebody’s 10-second snipe hit eBay. Or it could have been a snipe that arrived before mine. It does not matter WHEN the other person’s bid was entered, it only matters that they were willing to pay more than I was.

Look back again at the comment I quoted: “I’ve already lost 4 auctions from same seller to snipers pulling triggers 2-3 secs before auction ends.” If damas had a super-fast connection, and his(her?) snipe fired 1 second before the auction ended, would they then win? If the other bids were entered by sniping software, then no, they would not. Auto-snipes fire a pre-determined bid amount at eBay; it doesn’t help if you get in after somebody else if their amount is higher than yours.

So why snipe? Because of the people who are NOT using auto-snipe tools and don’t have the guts to bid their maximum amount in the first place. Hand-bidding Fran wants the same Beanie Baby you do. They bid $5. You’d be willing to go as high as $20. Fran thinks she only wants to pay $10, but really she’d go to $30. So if you just bid $20, it puts your bid as the winning bid at $6. Fran panics, and enters $10. Now the winning bid is yours at $11. She bids $15; you’re winning at $16. She enters $25, and now she’s winning the auction with a bid of $21.

So instead, you set up an auto-snipe. 60 seconds before the auction closes, Fran is winning with that $5 bid. Your snipe fires; you’re winning with $6. Fran, who is hovering at her computer, panics, and enters $10. You’re still winning with $11. She bids again, but too late! The auction is over! You got the item for less than another bidder would have paid, and Fran gets to go whine to her friends about those evil snipers stealing her stuff.

You know what, Fran? It’s your own fault! If you’d just bid an honest upper limit in the first place, then you wouldn’t care about snipers.

Using JBid does NOT change this key fact. Last year, I went shopping for a replacement cell phone. There are hundreds being auctioned every hour; multi-sniping was soo fabulous. I was hoping I’d get a green or blue one; in the end, I got a boring silver one. Maybe I should have set my multi-snipes for the colors I liked a few dollars higher; after all, two or three of them sold for just over my snipe amount. That doesn’t mean I would have had them if I’d bid $2 more, and it doesn’t mean my snipe interval was too early. It means somebody put a bigger number than I did, and if I was disappointed, that means I wasn’t honest with myself and I’d bid too low.

So if you’re on a slower connection, and you’re trying to snipe multiple simultaneous auctions, then set your snipe interval out far enough to be able to hit them all. If you enter your true maximum bid, the only danger of sniping early is if somebody is hand-sniping, has not already bid more than you will, and will be able to enter a higher bid before the auction ends.

If you don’t enter your true maximum bid in the first place, then super-fast sniping probably won’t do you any good at all.

So, Morgan, I have no doubt you already knew this, but people ‘losing’ auctions because JBid can’t snipe fast enough? Not your problem. You and JBid already do a lot to ensure that all the clocks are synched and that snipes occur as fast as reasonably possible.

[This long-winded essay brought to you on behalf of all my friends who have whined to me about losing auctions to snipers, and gotten a version of this speech in return.]

 
Aug 25, 2010
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / Alternative Datastore Magic

I was flipping through my moldy pile of old email messages, and tripped across the end of an exchange we’d had back in March (2010) about using a DB server for JBid’s datastore. You were testing out migrating from Derby SQL to MySQL. I was wondering about having multiple instances of JBid on multiple machines running off the same datastore, so I could add auctions at my desk and not worry about forgetting to have JBid running come snipe-time since my server instance would handle the sniping. So, there may or may not be issues surrounding whether or not multiple JBids would be confused by sharing a datastore; we didn’t really slice the details finely enough to make that clear. I did mutter about not using Postgres; you offered the credible defense of what you’d used before vs. what you hadn’t.

I’m working on a different db project of my own right now, and discovered some Postgres commands I’d never noticed before, which might be relevant, should you ever decide to focus on modifying JBid’s database store. Postgres has “LISTEN” and “NOTIFY” commands, which can be invoked like any other SQL command.

http://www.postgresql.org/docs/8.4/static/sql-notify.html

As for not knowing PostgreSQL, y’know, they’re both SQL databases. The command-line programs are spelled a bit differently (mysqldump vs. pg-dump, for example), but once they’re running, if you stay close to the SQL-standard commands, stuffing strings and integers and floats into and pulling them out are pretty much the same. {smile}

Now, I rather suspect your limited JBid development time would be much better spent on an iPhone app (sigh), but I wanted to drop this obscure bit of info into your lap just in case.

 
Aug 25, 2010
Avatar Dave Howell 15 post(s)

Comment Topic: JBidwatcher Development / Mobile version for iPhone/iPad?

Morgan, JBidWatcher is a remarkable blob of code. You save anybody who spends much time getting stuff on eBay sooo much money that you absolutely should be charging something for this. I strongly urge you to not even bother trying to do an iPhone app that depends or expects a desktop-based version of JBidWatcher to do the bidding. A 3rd-party dedicated server will have much higher reliability (“Oops, I forgot to turn my home machine on,” “What, the kids knocked the cable loose?”, “You were playing Call of Duty and crashed the machine?”) and you won’t have to deal with the myriad router/firewall/whatnot issues in communicating between them. $5 for the app itself (and perhaps the ability to snipe directly if it’s running on the iPhone), and access to the snipe-server at $5 for a 7-day subscription (all the auctions you can handle in one week) or $10 for a 30-day subscription with auto-renew.

I’m just making these numbers up, but I think most iPhone users would feel these were mere token amounts to pay for the service.