R (15) Admin (12) programming (11) Rant (6) personal (6) parallelism (4) HPC (3) git (3) linux (3) rstudio (3) spectrum (3) C++ (2) Modeling (2) Rcpp (2) SQL (2) amazon (2) cloud (2) frequency (2) math (2) performance (2) plotting (2) postgresql (2) DNS (1) Egypt (1) Future (1) Knoxville (1) LVM (1) Music (1) Politics (1) Python (1) RAID (1) Reproducible Research (1) animation (1) audio (1) aws (1) data (1) economics (1) graphing (1) hardware (1)

25 January 2009

Tech Withdrawal and the Ebay Wall of Shame

I bought a used LG vx9800 phone on ebay from a flesh-and-blood human (not a mega-seller) a few months ago. I love it, and I've become melded to it, borg-style, since then. I lost my phone charger about 2 weeks ago. My phone died a few days later. A day or two after that, I started retracing my steps to find it, to no avail. Now i'm, for all practical purposes, a cripple. I'm reading scientific papers and hitting upon words i don't know, and I have no google sms dictionary to rescue me. I can't send myself deadline reminders, or post half-useless ruminations from the coffee-shop while waiting for an electrical outlet to free up. As it stands now, I'm running an electrical cable to my laptop across a busy coffeeshop isle, and i have to re-plug it in after it's kicked out every 5 or 10 minutes... In a desperate attempt to return my life to normalicy, I turn to ebay to get a decent-priced charger. Yet I made the not-uncommon mistake of going too cheap. 3 chargers for $10, shipping included. I figure if one's a lemon, then I still have 2, which allows me to lose one and still have a phone. Nope. They all suck. Sure, I know they're going to be ultra-cheap, but they should work, right? Wrong. They're effectively designed *not* to charge my phone. Within 5 minutes of charging, the phone says "charge complete", and it's obviously not. ( I should point out that a bad charger can be worse than no charger at all (in a sense). A mis-behaved charger can overload and overheat the battery, essentially destroying it in a surprisingly short period of time.) In short, I should have known better. On a related note, ebay's profits from are down steeply for the year ( see here). Paypal and the more recently acquired skype, along with advertising, are holding the dogs at bay for now ( see here ). It's shit like like this that is eating ebay alive from the inside. Here's where I bought my charger. From the looks of it, they're rapidly shoveling ultra-cheap Asian electronics to market, getting a 99.2% approval rating on enormous volume, which means lots of unhappy folks in absolute numbers. Here's one good post that addresses their current crisis ( see here ), but it looks like a *lot* of folks, both buyers and sellers, are pretty pissed off ( see here ) Looking back in time, things get even weirder. Ebay purchased a 25% stake in Craigslist and then sued them??? ( see here ). I've drawn heavily from the NYT here, but the WSJ isn't free... My best ebay purchases, over time, have been second-hand electronics. I regularly include the word "used" in my search terms. There are some great deals out there on second-hand 70's electronics (provided it doesn't cost $50 to ship - an well-made 1970s reciever/amp can easily weigh 40+ pounds). It's like going to a great big yardsale that's open at times other than Saturday from 6am-2pm. What's the lesson here? I re-ordered 2 OEM (original equipment manufacturer) chargers - i.e. they're made by LG. We'll see if this works any better. Still, it's another week before I get the rest of my life back. How many more days before my outgoing voicemail message that pleads, "the fastest way to contact me is to send a text message to this number" once again becomes true? How many days before I'm carrying a 5.2 oz dictionary in my backpack?

No comments:

Post a Comment