When there's a tragedy, how do you help?
Reading the headlines about the earthquake and devastating tsunami that's assaulted the entire southeast Asian area, and reading about the weblog entries of people who are talking about the tragedy where upwards of 7500 people have been killed, I just keep wanting to ask everyone "but what have you done to help these people?"
I don't talk about charitable organizations that I support, because I don't really want to share my personal politics with the blogosphere, but I will share this: I am an ardent supporter of the American Red Cross. When I read about a tragedy like this, my first reaction isn't to say "how horrible", but instead to say "they need help". Instead of taking the family out for dinner tonight, I donated some money by using the Red Cross Online Donation Form, because they'll need it for relief efforts.
What have you done for the rest of the world lately?
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Who is that knocking at my Weblog's door?As part of my research for a new book I'm writing, I was digging around in my Ask Dave Taylor Web site just to see how the most recent Web browsers identify themselves. Much to my surprise, there are literally hundreds of different crawlers hitting the site now, over and above the usual 20-30 popular Web browsers. Crawlers that I've never heard of from sites -- when they're identified at all -- that are equally unfamiliar to me.
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What was eBay thinking when it built a spam engine?Ah, it's a brave new world over at eBay. On 2 December they introduced "My Messages" so that they'd have a way to communicate with customers directly. You can't communicate with another eBay user using My Messages, it's just a one-way conduit for whatever material the eBay marketing team deems worthy of sharing with its loyal customers. (quite literally, too: customers that aren't loyal and regular visitors to the site will find that the messages in their My Messages box automatically delete after 60 days)
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The best DVD player I've ever owned: Philips DVP-642A few days ago I posted a note about how I had to give my first negative feedback after a poor eBay auction experience trying to buy a set of Tintin DVDs (see After six years, I just left my first negative feedback on an eBay seller...). As part of that process, I decided that what I really wanted was a DVD player that would let me play NTSC and PAL DVDs from any region of the world. Not a radical request, since there are a number of online stores -- including Amazon -- that list region-free DVD players for sale. After doing some online research, however, I decided that I didn't want to pay the often $100 or more surcharge for turning a regular DVD player into a region-free unit, so I went back to eBay...
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The World of eBay and Online Auctions: I'm interviewed by AuctionBytes!My thanks to the fine folk at AuctionBytes for their extensive and thoughtful interview. If you aren't aware, I've been involved with the online auction industry for quite a few years and one of my first startups was an eBay auction tracking service called iTrack.com (since sold to another firm). You can read the interview on their Web site: AuctionBytes Industry Profile: Dave Taylor.
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After six years, I just left my first negative feedback on an eBay seller...I feel vaguely guilty about this, but after being closely involved with eBay since 1998, this morning I finally left my first negative feedback on a seller after having an experience that was as frustrating as it was tedious. And when I say "closely involved", I've written a book about online auctions (The eAuction Insider) and launched, grown, and sold a startup focused on eBay too (iTrack.com).
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Don't miss it! I'm selling a fun and highly collectible Google lapel pin!I've had this cool Google lapel pin sitting on my desk for a few weeks now and finally just listed it on eBay, with high expectations.
It's really a great collectible and sure to garner lots of bids as it's unusual, tremendous fun, and from the company that can do no wrong at this point. Even better, the winning bidder also gets a free Gmail invitation too, so even if you aren't particularly interested in this collectible -- and who wouldn't be? -- it might well be worth it just to get a cool @gmail.com address for yourself.
Today is World AIDS Day and today 16,000 people will be infected...Today is World AIDS Day and the more you know about this horrific plague, the more you should care about us finding a cure and supporting groups that are trying to limit the spread of this disease. According to UNAIDS, for example, 33.4 million people are currently living with either HIV infection or AIDS itself, of which 1.2 million are children under the age of fifteen. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control report that there are over 650,000 citizens with HIV and that 60% of the HIV cases reported since 1998 have resulted in the death of the patient.
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