eBay’s Top Shopped Crazes in 2011

Okay, apologies in advance for all the End Of Year lists and crap. But this one also fascinated me, partly because of the content and partly from the who-really-cares aspect.

Last week we considered the world as related to us by searches on Google. They even produced a video called Zeitgeist 2011. Well this week I want to share an excerpt from another press release looking back on 2011. This time from eBay:

SAN JOSE, Calif.— eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace and a leader in mobile commerce, today announced its third annual “Top Shopped” report1, ranking the pop culture moments and trends that captured shopper’s attention – and cash – in 2011. eBay analyzed sales data based on what people bought across categories on the marketplace to identify what piqued the public’s interest this year–from must-have tech and toys, to pop star divas and celebrity standouts.

The list is, as one might expect, a roll call of pop stars, gadgets and sports figures.  The one possible exception being Sade. But here’s the best part, and I quote:

“eBay sales are a direct indicator of what Americans are most fascinated by and uniquely reflects the cultural zeitgeist.”

So it appears that Google and eBay have settled it. The one conclusion that stands out above all others.

The 2012 word of the year is zeitgeist.



Top Three Most Expensive Cross-Category
Purchases on eBay Mobile:

  1. Motors | Mercedes-Benz : S-Class: $212,685
  2. Fashion | Hermes Blue Sapphire Ostrich Birkin Bag: $19,975
  3. Collectibles | 1933 Goudey – Babe Ruth #53 PSA Baseball Card: $19,500

Pole Saw Picture Taker

A few months ago I saw a guy photographing a parade with a camera mounted on a long pole. He was able to shoot video from about ten feet above the crowd and see far down the parade route. It was such a great idea I had to try making my own!

Elevating your camera is a great way to get a striking perspective. In fact there are several websites dedicated exclusively to pole or elevated photography.

For my attempt I used an old pole saw. It’s a two-section fiberglass pole that extends to about 15 feet. Using a PVC fitting I attached a Slik tripod ball head to end of the pole. A ball head is a simple device, but I sprung for the SBH-100 that includes a quick release plate.

A 1/4″ x 20 screw holds it to the fitting, and I used a small screw to cinch the whole mess to the end of the pole.

Here’s my first aerial photo I snapped in the back yard:

Altogether it took about 20 minutes and  required the $25 ball head, about $3 of hardware and the pole. So far I’ve only used it with my Olympus E-410, but I’m looking forward to using it for video soon!

Awesome Little Drive

I was in need of more storage for my video files and shopped around for a new external hard drive.  My current drive was a 500 gig Smart Drive that had been very reliable. I was planning on buying another one when I came across a great deal on the Western Digital My Passport Essential SE Ultra Portable.

This is a tiny unit that uses a 2.5″ laptop hard drive.My Passport 1 tb Drive It supports the faster USB 3.0 so it’s wicked fast (but works fine on the older 2.0 interface ). But the best part is there is no power cord. The special cable handles the data transfer AND power needs. No AC outlet needed!

I’ve been using it now for about a month and have not had one hiccup. Transfer rates are excellent and it has a whole terrabyte of room for me to fill up with raw video footage of silly things.

And isn’t that what life’s all about?

Bag That Camera

I recently read an excellent review of some compact camera bags in the BMW Owners News. I realize that probably isn’t a common resource for photography gear. But the review was specifically looking at small camera bags that are well suited for use while riding a motorcycle.

The camera bags and backpacks by M-Rock, a company I’d never heard of. The review claimed the gear was well made and reasonably priced. I’d been looking for a decent camera bag and a sling bag for my video camera but was suffering sticker shock. The best known brands like Tamrac, Kata or Lowepro seemed expensive. Anyway, I ordered a couple of M-Rock bags on the article’s recommendation and have been very pleased.

Right now they’re running a special on all their gear- plus you can save another 20% if you enter the coupon code 20PC at checkout!

Tracfone Buyers Beware!

Don’t get me wrong, the Tracfone plan is the most economical way I’ve found to own a mobile phone. I consider myself a “casual user” and average about $15 per month for my cell phone service.

But I recently got sucker-punched by a problem that took me weeks to unravel. Fortunately it’s a simple matter to rectify- even easier to avoid!

The Trouble
My new LG600G was unable to send images via email or browse the web. This surprised me because my lame little Motorola was capable of sending photos via email to friends, Picasa or my Facebook page with no trouble at all. After a little digging I learned that my old phone had been on AT&T but the new one was assigned to the T-Mobile network.

Spring into Savings
Many people are not aware that Tracfone and Net 10 do not have their own network. They buy airtime from carriers then resell it to you. Depending on where you’re located one carrier may offer better coverage than another. For me, in Oklahoma, the coverage offered by T-Mobile was pretty bad. And to top it off none of the data features of my phone worked at all!

The Solution
After some wrangling with customer support at Tracfone they finally agreed to send me a new SIM card. The trick here is to insist they provide you with a SIM card for the AT&T network. I’ve included info below on using the SIM card number to identify which network your phone is using.

It’s also possible to avoid this problem altogether before you purchase a phone. The trick is to know a few of the codes used on the Tracfone packaging and website.

Codes to Remember

Model Number suffix shown on retail packaging
AT&T: P4
T-Mobile: P5

SIM Card serial numbers available from the Prepaid menu of your phone
AT&T: 890141…
T-Mobile: 890126…

Market Code shown in the URL as market= when ordering a phone online
T-Mobile: GSM5, COGSM5
Verizon, Alltel and US Cellular: CO
GSM5AT will most likely be assigned to the T-Mobile network

I hope this might help others avoid the aggravation of spotty coverage and unusable features that I have gone through!