XBox One Disc Drive Malfunction

Multiple Xbox one customers faced the sad realization that, like the Xbox 360 before it, the Xbox one was released with its share of hardware issues. Chiefly among them, the disk drive is either making loud noises and in many cases not functioning at all. Perhaps the best explanation of the problem comes from videos of the folks who have the issue, I’ll be embedding the video on this post. Sony’s Playstation 4 also had a few units not turn on due to faulty assembly, but has not experienced as much headache as the Xbox users thus far. Maybe the biggest problem the PS4 had was the blue light or blue ray of death, a blue light that showed up on the console telling users their machine was broken. The Xbox 360 had a similar problem with the red spinning lights of death that I experienced myself many years ago.

This all being said, failure is the mother of success as I once heard from a friend. You simply cannot expect a project of these proportions to go smoothly the first time around – which is why I’m planning on waiting a couple of months until these issues are resolved and well documented as well as more games have come out to choose from before I pick up my console.

Ebay Fees Updated – 18.9% For $10 Item Normal Listing

Almost three years ago I wrote a post about how much it costs to sell on ebay – that post happened to be a raging success and has gathered a lot of hits over the years. Seeing as that two year old post was so popular and wanting to do eBay justice for their new pricing structure I would like to go through the process again using the same metrics and let you know how much it costs to sell on eBay again based on selling something in November of 2013.

Books, Music, Movies, DVDs

Assuming you’ve sold more than 50 items on eBay for the month the insertion fee for books is just 5 cents. The final value fee is 10%, capped at a value fee of $250 – doubtful you will sell a book on eBay for more than $2500. So, because of our insertion fee a book sold on eBay for $10 will gather a $1.05 fee, or 10.5%. Now progressing to Paypal, their fees actually have not changed for sellers – still 2.9% plus 30 cents. So you get dinged 59 cents on a $10 payment.

Incoming from Paypal payment: $9.41

Outgoing to Ebay: $1.05

Net: $8.36

Cost to sell a book on Ebay:


Miscellaneous Items

The only difference between miscellaneous items and books are the insertion fee – the insertion fee for miscellaneous items is 30 cents. That makes the net from the same example above cents less, so increases the cost to sell on eBay to 18.9%.

Since eBay has streamlined it’s process I would argue it has become much better for sellers who either sell less than 50 items per month or sell very expensive items (to reach the $250 final fee cap).


Making a profit with 18.9% costs

So how much will you need to up the price of an item you’ve acquired to turn a quick profit? Hopefully this is useful for those who enjoy going to the garage or estate sell to find cheap items to make some cash online. Don’t make the mistake of simply multiplying your buying price by 1.189, if you buy something for $10 and sell it for $11.89 you will have to pay $2.25 in fees and then you will lose 46 cents total. Instead divide your buying price by 0.81.

But who wants to buy and sell for no profit? No one. I would personally keep thing simple and only buy things that you expect to sell for 50% more than you pay for them. Good luck, and feel free to comment if you have any questions about eBay strategies.


Sim City 2013 – Worst PC Game Release Ever

Sim City 2013 was hyped up for months before it’s recent release, but here it is two days after the release and most people can still not connect to a server to play a game they paid 60 – 80 bucks for. Not to mention they will be kicked out of the game if their servers go down while they are in the middle of building their city, and this game requires that EA games maintain their servers in order to play the game in the future – something they are not obligated to do in the future and will certainly mean this game will be useless as is 10 years from now. I am astonished EA games allowed such an utter piece of garbage to the market in the state it is in, either they have no idea how to stress test servers or they purposefully released a useless product hoping to make the quick buck. I’ve never taken the time to comment on a poor video game or video game publisher before but this is it – I will never buy an EA games product again.

The New Gmail is Terrible

The new Gmail layout makes Hotmail look more and more appealing. The separation of content and chat frames makes scrolling down the friends list in chat difficult and the extremely large spacing between emails means less work can be done. Why on earth would Google permit something like this from happening, and not provide a way to revert to the old Gmail look? Hopefully this is not a sign of what is to come with Google products, otherwise I would wager on Microsoft and Apple…

If you haven’t switched yet, DONT DO IT! See prompt message below (which is interesting because they way they phrase it is confusing). Select the “continue to the old look”, which really should have been “continue WITH the old look”. Something seems fishy and if you choose the new look you will be in loads of mental anguish over something so dramatically worse it will make your eyes bleed.

If you’ve already made the mistake like I did of switching to the new look, I’m sorry for you. Hopefully very soon Google will enable a revert functionality to start using a functional email client again.

Make Money Selling Wi-Fi???

Recently a friend introduced me to a technology where you will make 50% of the profit of someone buying their wi-fi access from you. The website is here and the technology is called “FONERA”. The basic idea is that users can have 10 minutes of free internet as a sample, and then can choose whether or not to buy more time. The idea seems too good to be true, and is it possible to finally share your extra bandwidth without ever having to see whoever is buying it.

Say No to High Fructose Corn Syrup


Have any of you ever wondered why Coke and Pepsi don’t taste as good as you rember it back 20 years ago? How about why they taste different in other countries? How about the high obesity rate in the US as compared to European countries?

“Normal” sugar found in cane and beets are mostly sucrose, which is digested by the body and broken down into fructose and glucose. This process is regulated, so the sugar isn’t necessarily all converted into fat. Fructose, on the other hand, is easily converted into fat. A study in mice suggests that fructose increases obesity. The rats were not forced to eat, but were able to eat as much as they wanted; they consumed a large amount of food, suggesting that fructose suppresses the sensation of fullness. Within four weeks, the rats showed early signs of fatty liver disease andtype II diabetes

Well, thanks to the sugar quota, they do not use cane sugar in their beverages. Instead they use corn syurp, which is cheaper.

I personally enjoy “real” sugar from sugar cane much more than that of Coke and Pepsi. This is why I am starting to switch to Jones cola which uses cane sugar, and this type of sugar is also better in the sense that it is not turned into fat as easily as the high fructose variant.

Looking in my room, I was able to find a few products that use corn syrup including:



Nature Vally Granola Bars

Google Flu Trends

Google has, based on context searching, developed a service that tracks indicators of the flu. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control ), these results are two weeks ahead the CDC survey techniques, and can serve as a useful tool to help warn the CDC of flu outbreaks. The way Flu Trends does this was posted on the site:

Each week, millions of users around the world search for online health information. As you might expect, there are more flu-related searches during flu season, more allergy-related searches during allergy season, and more sunburn-related searches during the summer. You can explore all of these phenomena using Google Trends. But can search query trends provide an accurate, reliable model of real-world phenomena?

We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for “flu” is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries from each state and region are added together. We compared our query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and discovered that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in various regions of the United States.

Below is a screenshot of today’s flu situation according to Flu Trends:

Flu Trends was a product of, Google’s philanthropic non for profit branch.

The Er Hu

The Er Hu (pronounced èrhú) is a Chinese two stringed fiddle. It is one of the oldest instruments still in existence, and remnants of very similar instruments have been dated two thousand years old. Only dense hardwood is used in it’s construction, and surprising enough the best Er Hus have been made from pieces of old furniture.The string was traditionally made of silk, and the covering of the sound box is usually made of python skin. Nowadays, Erhus are still used to play traditional Chinese music and also used during the Beijing Opera. Individuals are only allowed to bring two Erhus out of the country that have the coveted python skin covering.

Read “A Foreign Policy of Freedom”

A Foreign Policy of Freedom , written by Representative and Doctor Ron Paul of Texas, is an essential book to pick up, whether online or at your local bookstore. It can be summed up to be a plea for a return to “the principles of our Founding Fathers: liberty, self-government, the Constitution, and a nonintervention foreign policy”

Below are a few quotes from the book:

“If we followed a constitutional policy of non-intervention, we would never have to entertain the aggressive notion of preemptive war based on speculation of what a country might do at some future date.”

“Maintaining an overseas empire is incompatible with the American tradition of liberty and prosperity. The financial drain and antagonism that it causes with our enemies, and even our friends, will finally force the American people to reject the policy outright.”

“Neo-conservatism has been around for decades and, strangely, has connections to past generations as far back as Machiavelli”

If you are wondering who Machiavelli was, he was a Italian philosopher and diplomat born in 1469. A few of his quotes are below:

“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

“It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

“It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver.”

“It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope.”

“Whoever conquers a free town and does not demolish it commits a great error and may expect to be ruined himself.”

If anyone is interested in reading more from Ron Paul’s book, you can get it for cheap at If not, try searching Google for “Ron Paul Policy Freedom” or “ Niccolo Machiavelli” for more information.