Trivial Opinions

My weekly trivial opinions on life, sports, movies and more!

Archive for September, 2007

Pros and cons of Craigslist

Posted by Jack Deus on September 29, 2007

I have known about CraigsList.org for a while but never really tried to use it, until recently. For those of you who don’t know what CraigsList is, basically it is a website that takes the idea of a newspaper classified section and puts it online for everyone to use, for free. There are personal ads, discussion forums, job listings, and a for sale/wanted section. It is designed to be for locals so each major city in the US has it’s own CraigsList site. I have only used the sale/wanted section so I can only comment on that, so without further ado, here are my pros and cons to Craigslist.

Pros (from the buyer point of view)

1. It’s local, so you don’t have to pay shipping which can get really pricey on bigger items, like foosball tables, exercise equipment, etc. Also, because there is no shipping there is less wait time to get your item. Whenever you and the seller can work out the exchange is how soon you can get your item. You really need the collectors edition Lord of the Rings replica ring at 3am? Ask the seller if they would be willing to meet you at the local all-night coffee shop and it is yours (assuming they don’t like to sleep).

2. Most people are willing to negotiate on price, so you can usually find really good deals. I’ve found especially good deals on computer parts.

Pros (from a sellers POV)

1. You can put just about anything on Craigslist and it will sell. My wife and I have sold a 5 year old lawnmower, an AMD processor, a backpack picnic basket, and a broken lawn trimmer among other things. One item we put up for sale got more than 40 replies in 2 days (we obviously set the price a little low on that one).

2. It’s fast and free to post items for sale. Most sites/newspapers charge some sort of fee to post something for sale, but Craigslist doesn’t. It took my wife (who is familiar with computers, but not fluent in any way) about 5 minutes to post each item, and we didn’t have to pay a dime.

Pro (from both buyer and seller POV)

1. It’s completely anonymous. Searching for things doesn’t require a userID and your e-mail is never used, unless you contact a seller about a specific item. As the seller, your e-mail is never given unless you respond back to an inquiry.

Cons (from buyers POV)

1. There is no enforcement. There was a post for a 500GB SATA hard drive for $100 or best offer, so I wrote the guy and asked if he would take $75 for it. The same day he responded back and said he guessed that was OK and asked where I wanted to meet him. After three replies over three days I still didn’t hear back from him, until finally he replied saying he sold it someone else instead because they were willing to pay the full $100 he originally asked for it. I wrote him back a nastygram saying how dishonest and immoral that was, and that I deserve the hard for $75. Needless to say, I never got the hard drive from him.

2. Since everything is done anonymously, it is hard to know how much interest there is in an item you are looking at, so if you wait a day or two to comparison shop the item might be gone.

3. This is the thing that bugged me the most… I was looking for a specific movie and found it in two different posts people had put up, listing a while bunch of movies they were selling. I inquired about the specific movie to see if they still had it and they replied that they had sold it weeks ago. I know from a few of the items I have posted that it is very easy to edit a post, so if you ever use Craigslist as a seller, please, please, please update your post on a regular basis.

Cons (from a sellers POV)

1. If I were a single girl, living alone, I’m not sure I would post stuff on Craigslist. As I mentioned before the buyer and seller arrange for a place to make the swap and it is usually the seller’s home. Also, because it is anonymous, you have no idea if you are dealing with a sweet old lady or a serial axe-murderer or a sweet old lady who turns out to be a serial axe-murderer. Just like everything in life, if you take the proper precautions, you can avoid dangerous situations. A lot of the time I arranged for buyers to meet me outside my work, this way they didn’t learn where I lived and it was more convenient because I didn’t have to worry about missing plans because they were running late.

2. Going along with the enforcement issue for buyers, there is also not a way to force a buyer to pay you. You may agree on a price and a place to meet and the buyer may change their mind and there is nothing you can do, except re-post it back on Craigslist and hope someone else contacts you for it.

Overall I think the pros of using Craigslist outweigh the cons. I, personally, have had a lot better experiences selling stuff than buying stuff, so I think if you have a few things laying around the house just collecting dust, instead of having a garage sale, just post them on Craigslist and see what you can get for them. As far as buying stuff, expect to be disappointed when you contact someone to see if they still have it for sale, that way if they don’t have it your expectations are met, and if they do still have it, your expectations are exceeded.

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I’ve Joined the Dark Side

Posted by Jack Deus on September 22, 2007

For those of you keen enough to notice the links on the right side of my website and lucky enough to know me well, you were probably surprised when you saw I had a link to *gasp* “My MySpace page!”

For those of you who think the world is about to end because I joined myspace, have no fear, the world isn’t going to end (at least not anytime soon-well, at least not because of this). For those of you who are wondering what the big deal is, gather around close, Jack Deus is about to explain something about himself.

Most of my life I have prided myself on not being able to be pigeon-holed into this group or that group, unless I really wanted to.  Such groups that you could put me into, sports fan and smart-ass. Because of my desire to not give people a loaded gun to label me with, before they get to know me, I try to stay away from really popular things that have a very defined stigma about them, unless I want that stigma. The stigma that I have (and I think most people would agree with me) about myspace is that it is a website that tweeners, teeny-boppers, and child predators use to network socially. Hence the reason why I have always adamantly stated that I would never join a website like myspace, or facebook for that matter. The only one of those three categories that I could possibly fit into (if, in fact, there were only those three categories) would be child predator, and I think that is absolutely disgusting and would never set myself up for anyone to think that I might be one.

Over the past few months my buddy Skidand I have been making preparations to release a video podcast (called Talkin Bull-check it out), and one of the things I have been doing to get myself prepared for this is to watch some other podcasts to get some ideas about how to interact with my co-host and the audience, but still get my thoughts across like I normally would if I were just talking to some friends. Two podcasts that I have found that I really enjoy both have myspace accounts, so they can interact with their audience on a more back and forth level, rather than just them talking and their audience listening/watching. Since I want to take Talkin Bull seriously and I want other people to know that I am taking Talkin Bull seriously, I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to set up a myspace account, but I still wasn’t totally sold on the idea. What finally tipped me over the edge was what I heard listening to Unsportsmanlike Conduct, the local afternoon sports-talk radio show here in Omaha. They were soliciting friends for their myspace account. Finally, I had enough reasons to join myspace so that I didn’t get labeled a predator.

Hopefully, for those of you who know me, you are a little bit more calm about my decision to join myspace. For those of you who don’t know me, hopefully you don’t have the stigma about me that I would have about myself before I read this explanation about why I joined myspace.

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A Message to Bicycle Riders

Posted by Jack Deus on September 15, 2007

Stay off the road!

OK, not really. I realize you legally have to ride on the street and can’t ride on the sidewalk, but please, for the love of whatever you consider holy, plan your routes better. There are three ways to get to my house and the two fastest, most direct ways are curvy, hilly, two-lane roads without shoulders.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to pass someone on a bicycle when driving on a road like that? Obviously not because a lot of you are riding on a roads like that. The most obvious question I ask myself when I see people riding bicycles on these roads is WHY?! I am going to help answer that question, so that hopefully you can see the err in your ways and start riding on any of the many trails in the Omaha metro area.

Pros to riding on the hilly streets where I drive to get home:

1. Duh, the hills. Most serious bike riders want to exert themselves and to prove they are doing this they wear as little clothing as possible, and what little clothing they do where is skin tight. What better way to exert yourself than by riding up and down really big hills (at least really big by the standards of the flat midwest)?

2. Not a lot of traffic. I admit I live in the boonies of the Omaha metro area. There isn’t a lot of traffic on the streets that I take to get home, because 98% of the city doesn’t realize these streets even exist, and 98% of the people that do realize this think that there is no place worth going on these streets. Since 98% of 98% of people in Omaha have no knowledge nor desire to EVER use these streets, bikers apparently lead themselves into thinking no one uses these streets and that they are there just for them to ride on.

Cons to riding on the hilly streets where I drive to get home:

1. Duh, the hills. Not just the hills, but also the curves, and the fact that there aren’t any shoulders on the roads. For most of the road, there is no passing because visibility of cars coming at you is a few hundred yards at best. Also, the speed limit on these roads is 45mph, not 4mph, so the odds of a car coming up on you, not seeing you, and not having anywhere to go because a car might be coming the other way, are pretty high. Do you know what a 2000 pound car does to a person on a bike going 45mph (which, btw, is pretty slow because most drivers using these roads go closer to 60mph)? Hopefully you don’t know, but I’m sure you can guess, and it probably isn’t pretty.

2. The nearest hospital is 4 miles away. So, what happens if a car does hit you because it couldn’t see you? Hopefully the driver is kind enough to load you into his car even though you will probably bleed all over his seats and not offer to clean them, and take you to the hospital where doctors can try to sew your spleen back into your body.

Now, what happens if you are riding your bike and wipe out because you hit gravel or something? At least if a car hits you there is a car to take you to the emergency room. Hopefully if you wipe out on gravel you will only suffer a few scrapes and bruises, but what happens if you break your ankle? Are you going to ride to the hospital 4 miles away? I don’t think so. How about the emergi-care clinic 2 miles away? You might make it there before dark with a broken ankle, if you break it in the morning. All I have to say is you better hope someone drives along the road soon after you wipe out, but remember, one of the pros for you riding on these roads is 98% of 98% of people in Omaha have no reason to drive on the road. Your best bet is to try to make it the half mile to one of the few houses in the newly built neighborhood nearby and start ringing doorbells until you find someone that is home.

But wait, you might be saying, I never go bike riding without my trusty cell phone. To which I will counter, I hope you have a good cell phone provider, because like I said earlier, I live out in the boonies and sometimes the cell service might cut in and out. Additionally, what happens if you land on it as you wipe out? Not only that, but even if you are able to get thru to 9-1-1, it will take them quite a while to get an ambulence out to you. Remember, the nearest hospital is 4 miles away.

It seems to me that the bike riders that ride on the roads I take to get home have no need to wear bike helmets. Why’s do I say that? It’s not because I forgot to tell you the roads are made of marshmallows and if they fall off their bike they won’t hurt their head. Nope, it is because even if they do fall and hit their heads or get hit by a car and thrown into a tree, they obviously don’t have enough brains in their head to weigh the pros and cons of riding on these roads, so no damage could be done.

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