Tuesday, February 22

Need a Little Extra? Why not set up a Consignment Business on eBay?

Consignment sales are a great way for you to help non-techie types by selling their items on eBay. Lots of sellers do it, and several retail locations base their businesses on it. You take property of the item from the owner and sell it on eBay. As an eBay Trading Assistant, you’re responsible for taking photos and marketing the item on eBay — for a fee. In addition to the money you earn selling on consignment, you also get excellent experience for future listings of your own merchandise.

To set up your business for consignment sales, you should follow a few guidelines:

  1. Design a consignment agreement (a contract) and send it to the owners of the merchandise before they send you their items. Doing so ensures that all policies are set up in advance and that no questions will arise after the transaction has begun.

  2. Have the owners sign and give the agreement to you (the consignor) along with the item.

  3. Research the item based on past sales so you can give the owners an estimate of what the item might sell for on eBay.

  4. Photograph the item carefully and write a thoughtful, selling description.

  5. Handle all e-mail inquiries as though the item were your own; after all, your fee is generally based on a percentage of the final sale.

Traditional auction houses handle consignment sales in a similar fashion. You can compete with these traditional auction houses and consignment franchises in your own area.

The best part is that if you’re running your eBay business out of your home, from a garage, or from a low-rent industrial office, you’re a step ahead of the big guys who have to pay high rents in fancy neighborhoods to get their drop-in business. They also have to hire people who are familiar with running auctions on eBay — and aren’t you already set up for that?

Don’t worry about the competition! You may hear about the many brick-and-mortar eBay consignment stores that are opening up. (As a matter of fact, one company sold franchises for this business for up to $15,000!) You already know how to sell on eBay, so why would you need a franchise? Use your good sense (and positive feedback) to build your own eBay consignment store.

Tuesday, February 15

12 Things You Didn’t Know About ENIAC: 65th anniversary of the first real supercomputer is here

Feb. 14 was the 65th anniversary of the first real supercomputer. Is there any better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a dozen ENIAC factoids?

eniac 5

ENIAC. These days, the name conjures up one ginormous lonely computer, a relic of other times. But back in the day – February 14, 1946 to be specific – the US Army thought pretty highly of its brand new Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, the world’s first general-purpose electronic computer.

Created with the original intent of calculating artillery firing tables for the Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory, ENIAC’s completion was announced on Valentine’s Day, and then formally introduced to the American public the very next day on February 15.

This year, our Valentine’s Day ode to computing takes the form of one dozen lovely factoids about ENIAC. Enjoy!

eniac 5 again

1. Upon being completed, ENIAC contained 17,458 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, and 5 million hand-soldered joints. The total power consumption was a whopping 160 kilowatts. In one second, the ENIAC could perform 5,000 additions, 357 multiplications, or 38 divisions.

2. The total cost of ENIAC, which weighed over 25 tons and took up approximately 680 square feet, was $500,000. That’s about $6 million today, adjusted for inflation.

3. ENIAC was conceived and designed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert. It took Mauchly and Eckert one year to design and 18 months to build it. While the original intention behind ENIAC was to calculate artillery firing tables for the Army, the war was over by the time it was put into service. Instead, the military used the computer for calculations in designing the hydrogen bomb, weather prediction, and a multitude of studies including cosmic-rays, thermal ignition, random numbers, and wind-tunnel design.

eniac 7

4. Programming the ENIAC consisted of operating a massive series of plugs and switches. It took several days to input and run programs on the ENIAC. This said, ENIAC’s power (at the time) was still marvelous; It could perform the functions that one man would spend 20 hours on in around 15 minutes.

5. The original programmers of ENIAC computer were women. The most famous of the group was Jean Jennings Bartik (originally Betty Jennings). The other five women were Kay McNulty, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman. All six have been inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. When the U.S. Army introduced the ENIAC to the public, it introduced the inventors (Dr. John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert), but it never introduced the female programmers.

6. Jean Bartik went on to become an editor for Auerback Publishers, and eventually worked for Data Decisions, which was funded by Ziff-Davis Publishing. She has a museum in her name at Northwest Missouri State university in Maryville, Missouri.


7. While ENIAC was capable of performing parallel calculations, thanks to the ability to connect the super-computer’s twenty different accumulators together.

8. Unfortunately, a freeze on design in 1943 meant that ENIAC was not initially capable of storing programs in any type of memory.

9. An extensive 1948 modification allowed the ENIAC to store programs in a rudimentary form of memory. A single-address architecture allowed the three digits of one accumulator to be used as a program counter, while another accumulator was used as the address pointer for reading data. A third accumulator was used as the main accumulator, and the rest of the accumulators were used as data storage. This modification reduced the speed of ENIAC considerably, but also greatly reduced the amount of time it took to program the system.

eniac 1

10. ENIAC was the world’s first general-purpose electronic computer, but its reliance on vacuum tubes initially proved troublesome. In its early years, several tubes would burn out every day, leaving the computer inoperable for about half the time it was on. One of the reasons ENIAC was never shut off was because the main cause of vacuum tube failures was turning it on – the warm-up and cool-down periods created the most thermal stress.

11. ENIAC ran continuously from July 29, 1947 to October 2, 1955.It was replaced by the Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC), a binary stored program system with 5.5KB of internal memory that begun operations in 1951.

12. In 1973, the landmark federal court case Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand voided US patent 3,120,606 for the ENIAC and placed the invention of the electronic digital computer in the public domain. This same ruling also provided legal recognition for John Atanasoff as the inventor of the first electronic digital computer. (The Atanasoff-Berry Computer was a non-programmable code-breaking machine that was first put into service in 1942.)

eniac program


Monday, February 14

How to Upgrade & Use New Facebook Fan Page Features from @SBTTraining

New Facebook Fan Page Design – How to Upgrade & Use New Features


Yesterday, Facebook launched a new layout for fan pages. This brings the design of Facebook business pages more in line with the latest design for individual profiles. This not provides a more consistent user experience, but the MAJOR NEW CHANGE is the ability to comment on other profiles and pages as your business. In this post we cover how to upgrade to the new Facebook fan page design, and how to make best use of the new features. Read on for invluable tips…

New Facebook Fan Pages – How to Upgrade

OK – simple things first – how to upgrade to the new Facebook Fan Page…

  1. Log in to the Facebook account you use to Admin your fan page (or pages)
  2. Select “Adverts and Pages” from the menu on the left navigation

    Facebook Upgrade Fan Page

  3. In the top right corner of your list of pages, click on the “Upgrade My Pages” button
    Upgrade New Facebook Fan Page
  4. You will now be taken to a list of all of the pages you Admin, and have the option to upgrade them one by one – or if you want to do them all at once just click on the “Upgrade All Pages Now” button at the top.
  5. That’s it! - Right… Let’s get to grips with the new page design and functions, and what this means for how you use your page:


New Facebook Fan Pages – Important New Features

CHANGE 1: Use Facebook as Your Business – THIS IS BIG!!!!

On the right hand side of your page you will now see a button called “Use Facebook As ….”


This is a MAJOR change to the way you can use Facebook as a business. Until now – the only place you could post comments, links etc… as your company was on your own wall. If you wanted to post anywhere else, the comment or link would display as being shared by you from your personal profile – for instance my comments would display as being from Colin Welch – like this:


Now – if I click on the “Use Facebook as Silicon Beach Training” buttion, I can comment on other people’s profiles and pages like this:


And if you want to switch back to being ‘plain old you’ again – just go back to your business page and click “Use Facebook as (your name) again.

This ability to comment as your organisation vastly increases your potential to increase awareness of your brand, products and services. If you’ve made a new resource or product available, or written a killer blog post (like this one), you can now make everyone aware that it has come from your company directly by sharing them all over Facebook AS YOUR COMPANY. The knock on effect of comments and links made by your business then being shared on by others could be MASSIVE!

When in “Use Facebook as your Business” mode, you can use Facebook much like you would in your personal profile – except that you can’t make friends (sad!). You can however go to other business pages and “Like” them and comment on them – so if you run multiple Facebook pages (say, for different products), you can now share content across them, for more coherent brand integration.


Now – when you’re in “Use Facebook As Business” mode – you now get notifications in the top left corner. So every time someone comments on one of your posts, or you get a new like for your page, you get a notification with a red reminder notice – just like on a normal profile page.

CHANGE 2: Show Top Posts on Your Wall

At the top of your fan page there are two filter options at the top of your page determining the content shown – Everyone or Your Business


On the face of it – that’s not too different from what we had before.

However – the old Facebook Fan pages would just show all of the posts chronologically. In the new design, if you select to display posts by everyone, Facebook will display the “top news”, which it describes as a way “for people to see the most interesting stories first” – i.e. – the ones that have had most response, or that their friends have also commented on etc… – again, this is much more like the way normal profiles work, with the ability to view “Top News” or “Most Recent”


If you would rather your Facebook Business Page just displays your posts, in order as the default – you will need to do the following:

  1. On your Page – hit “Edit Page” in the top right hand corner
  2. Under the “Manage Permissions” Tab – change the dropdown where it says “Wall Tab Shows” from “Everyone” to “Only Posts By Page”:
  3. new-facebook-fan-page-show-posts-by-page

How you use this setting will depend on whether you want to use your business page as a stream of new information about the business, or as a vehicle to interact with your customers.

Cosmetic Changes

The other new changes to Facebook Business Pages are largely cosmetic… The pages now display your latest photos at the top, like personal pages, and the menu navigation on the left is now in line with the new personal profiles too.


Friday, February 11

Ever Tried to Name a Book? Visit the Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator for Ideas

This site will surely make you laugh if you've ever wondered about those very "catchy" Malcolm Gladwell titles ...