Tuesday, December 29, 2009

JoyBidder Auction Sniper wake up computer from sleep

ron ice gave low ratings on Mozilla addon web site because JoyBidder eBay Auction Sniper " is shareware,$9 dollars to buy,you have to keep your computer running so joybidder can place a bid! ".

Here is my comment on his comment.

First, yes, JoyBidder is not free, but it is among the most affordable among others. The financial incentive justifies my actively developing and supporting this software.

Second, JoyBidder eBay Auction Sniper is a desktop software which runs on your computer so that you don't need to store your eBay password on other people's server. If you are a Windows user, you don't need to have it running all the time to monitor auctions or place scheduled bid. Latest version of JoyBidder can wake up your computer from standby/sleep mode, and place bid and go back to sleep. If you don't know what is standby/sleep mode, here is some articles.

How much electricity does my computer use?

Should You Turn Off Computer -Conserve Energy

To save the trouble of reading, the point is that modern computer's Standby/Sleep mode consumes almost the same electricity as turning off the computer. If you haven't tried run JoyBidder under standby mode, the Standby Mode is the second last button on the toolbar. see picture below.

Thanks for all the registered users who supported the software and all the trial users who had given me helpful suggestions. JoyBidder will be even better.

Happy holiday and have a wonderful new year

Saturday, August 8, 2009

JoyBidder.com is moved to a new hosting service

For the most part of last week, due to some yet-to-be-explained technical difficulties from my current hosting service, JoyBidder.com couldn't be accessed.

Now I moved the site to another hosting service. DNS change was made 6 hours ago. United States users should be able to access the new site already. For the rest of the world, it could be a little longer. Please restart Firefox, so JoyBidder can get version update alert from the new site.

However, Twitter alert doesn't work any more because of this change. A new version with the fix is being worked on and shall be released in the next several days.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Usability enhancements in JoyBidder 1.3.0

Besides performance improvement, there are many usability enhancements in JoyBidder 1.3.0. Here are some of them:

1.Use short-cut key on the item grid.

Ctrl-A select all items
Ctrl-Ccopy selected item IDs
Del delete selected items
Alt-AOpen Add Buy Item# window
Alt-F Add item(s) from browser window
F5 Reload all items in view

2. "Add Items" buttons in the toolbar

In the previous version, they are under Add Item menu. They are moved to toolbar based on users suggestion.

3. One Click Item Detail report

You can now selected the items and click the Bug Report in the context menu.
This will copy item detail information into your clipboard, then you can paste them in to the support email that you want to send.
This will make the technical support much more efficient.

4. easier to add eBay ID

In earlier version, you need to enter Shipping country/zip when adding an eBay ID. They are needed for JoyBidder to calculate the shipping cost.
In 1.3.0, you don't need to do that anymore. Shipping country defaults to the eBay registration site and can be changed later if you want to. Shipping zip is optional. It is as important as shipping country since most of the eBay items use flat shipping rate. However, if you do provide shipping zip, please make sure they are accurate, otherwise JoyBidder cannot calculate the shipping cost correctly.

5. easier to add items from browser
In the older version, Add Item From eBay View Item page and Add Item from eBay search results are two separate buttons.
In this version, the two buttons are combined as Add Item From Browser. JoyBidder will perform the right action based on which eBay page you are current at.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

JoyBidder gets a big performance boost

JoyBidder 1.3.0 has been just released to Mozilla addon web site during the weekend. This is a major release containing lots of good stuff. I will share some of these improvement in a series of posts starting with performance improvement.

Here is the performance comparison between version 1.3.0 and version 1.2.3

Reload 24 items~14 seconds~24 seconds
Add 24 items by item#~14 seconds~21 seconds
Sort title 305 items<1 second3 seconds

The performance gain is resulted from the following changes.
1. combine multiple XMLHttpRequests to one whenever possible
2. throttle RDF Data Source Flush calls to reduce file I/O
3. re-write the items grid using CustomTreeview

The test is performed on Pentium M / 1GB /Windows XP laptop with Firefox 3.5 and DSL internet connection.
What is the performance with JoyBidder or any other Auction Sniper/Monitor software on your computer, post your result in the comment.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Portable Sniper : running JoyBidder on USB Drive

Several days ago, a user sent me an email saying that his JoyBidder eBay Auction Sniper won't load or display watch list. He mentioned that he was using Firefox 3.0.11 (portable), which I knew nothing about. After a quick googling, it turns out to be a customized Firefox that can be ran on a USB drive.

I immediately thought the problem could be related to this portable version. I downloaded the portable version and installed it on a 2GB Kingston DataTraveler. To my disappointment, JoyBidder worked perfectly fine. Well, I should be happy since I don't need to fix anything to get JoyBidder to work on Firefox portable, but on the other hand, I still don't know how to fix user's problem. Without much information at hand, I replied and asking for more specific information and also told him to read the FAQ about "3rd party cookie", (which has, by far, contributed to most of supporting emails). I also instructed him on how to use Firefox Error Console to send me error logs if he sees any. I hope he is doing fine, although I haven't got his reply yet. Sometimes I really wish all users just live nearby, so that I can just drop by and fix the problem on site.

Aside from the frustration of not being helpful, the finding of Firefox portable is really useful. Now I can load all auctions in a USB Flash drive, carry it to my office and, well, you know.:)

For fellow snipers seriously thinking of doing this, I recommend using fast USB Flash drive or better yet external hard disk. My Kingston DataTraveler works but performance is slow, surfing web is fine, sniping is not.

You can read this USB Flash Drive Speed Comparison before deciding which one to use.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Unknowingly beat another sniper

I won this item 2 weeks ago. Today when I read the bid log, I realized I just beat another sniper :)

Here is the JoyBidder Auction Sniper bid log screen capture.

My sniper bid fired 10 seconds before auction ended, and I was the highest bidder at $30.89 then. However the price was raised to $33.50 before the auction ended.

Reviewing the eBay bid history tells me what happened.
Here is the ebay bid history screen capture: (my bid is marked with green, my competitor's bid is red)

As you can see, another sniper bid of $32.50 came in 5 seconds later, although it didn't win. If without this final bid, I could have got the item with $3 less. Anyway, I still won the item with 7 cents less than my max bid, and beat the other sniper, not bad :)

I really wish my competitor was using a sniper program to place that last 5 seconds losing bid. Otherwise, I couldn't imaging how unhappy this guy would be after patiently watching the screen, counting the seconds and yet lost the auction to me, who was having lunch with friends then.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sniper don't Twitter?

One of the feature I built into JoyBidder eBay Auction Sniper is sending direct SMS message to bidder's Twitter ID when an auction is outbid or the sniper price is less than the minimum bid price. To enable this feature is easy, just have your Twitter ID follow http://twitter.com/joybidder. I thought it would be a useful feature, considering other sniper software (online or standalone) only send email alert. (To be accurate, there is one software does send SMS alert, but you need to install Skype and purchase Skype credit).

Here is the screen capture on configuring JoyBidder to sent alert via Twitter.

Almost 2 months after the feature was released, to my surprise, the reception is not what I expected at all. Only a few users have tried, even they don't use that much.

Why is it, could it be of the following reasons?
  1. Most of the eBay users don't have Twitter ID?
  2. You don't want others to know that your Twitter ID is following joybidder?
  3. SMS outbid alert is not useful, since if you are not near your computer, you really cannot do anything with it.
What do you think?