Archive for August, 2011


So I ended up ordering . . I believe 8 total of the HP TouchPads from:

Barnes & Noble

*ALL* my orders ended up cancelled.  This is a bit surprising since my first order with Insight was placed within 1 minute of the price decrease.  I think they must have sold out BEFORE they decreased the price.  My guess is that all of the above retailers don’t deplete stock until a human verifies/releases each order, OR the system automatically POSTS the credit card transaction.  Given the ridiculous amount of transactions these companies were doing during the rush, what usually occurs automagically was probably stopped by safety checks on the number of transactions, or raw amt. of revenue etc.  Once humans are involved in moving things forward, minutes and seconds very easily turn into hours and days.

It looks like the best bet for getting one of these at this point is probably through HP Directly.  They currently show OUT OF STOCK, but based on their tweets and sign-up page, it seems they do expect to get more in.

So, do you trust their notify page?  Well, I honestly do believe when they get stock, and verify orders are able to be completed, they’ll notify everyone.  That said, you can’t just immediately send emails to hundreds of thousands of people, and even if you could, greylisting and other limiters can often prevent you from receiving the email for a while.

By the time you get your notification, stock may again be depleted, for good.

What I’ve done is put together a very simple shell script that checks HP’s site for changes, and notifies me via email.  The email address I’m using is a “pushed” Exchange email, so I get notified immediately.

I’m pasting the script below, but please understand I do so with ZERO warranty, etc.   I don’t claim to be an expert in bash or scripting, and I’m sure there’s a better way to accomplish the same task.  Feel free to share in the comments if you’ve got a better way, but for me, this script DOES WORK, so I’m happy with it :)

To use this, you will need a Linux box with a bash shell, curl, bc, and the ability to send outgoing messages with sendmail locally.  If you can’t send outgoing email, the script will still alert you via the terminal that something has changed.

Here it is:


#The URL to check for change

#Number of seconds to wait between checks

#The phrase to look for on the page

#The number of times the phrase occurs on the page with no change

#The subject to use for the alert email

#The email address to send alerts to


while [ $stop = no ]


status=$(curl -s $URL_TO_CHECK | grep “$PHRASE” | wc -l)

if [ $status = $OCCURENCES ]
echo Iteration $iteration: NO CHANGE
sleep 30
status_verify=$(curl -s $URL_TO_CHECK | grep “$PHRASE” | wc -l)
echo $status_verify

if [ $status_verify = $OCCURENCES ]

echo CHANGED STATUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
echo “Subject: $ALERT_SUBJECT
sleep 5

echo CHANGED STATUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
echo “Subject: $ALERT_SUBJECT
sleep 5

echo CHANGED STATUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
echo “Subject: $ALERT_SUBJECT
iteration=$(echo $iteration + 1 | bc)

The script goes to this URL:

and looks for the gif image names for those “Out of stock” buttons

They occur (4) times in the page, and it expects to see them (4) times.  If that number changes, it re-checks in 30 seconds, and if it’s still something other than (4), the alert sequence begins.  You can easily change the variables at the top to check other phrases at other URL’s, and make sure you replace the “” with YOUR email address.

Happy shopping!

Get the BEST price for your used DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s online with this free tool I created!

I sold my DVD collection a little while back and was intensely frustrated by the WIDELY varying prices offered by various purchasers.

So, I wrote a tool to do all the hard work for me by heading out to each of the popular sites, poll their price, find the best, and report back.

I just customized it into something I can share on the web that does one disc at a time, based on the UPC code.  The form submits are all custom injected with curl, sourced from RAW capture between my testing browser and the purchasing sites.  Enjoy the fruits of my labor :)

If you have a ton of discs you want a report on, contact me and I’ll see what we can work out.

The site for the tool is:

and the sites it checks at the time of writing are:

EagleSaver, DVDPawn, SellDVDSOnline, SecondSpin, MightyBuyBack, and Abundatrade

HP TouchPad 16GB $99.99 – if you can find one!

HP is ‘getting out’ of the tablet business and is clearing out their TouchPad’s for $99.99 for the 16GB version, and $149.99 for the 32GB version.  Even with no continued support, this is a great price.  It’s tough to get a digital photo frame at this price point in this resolution.  Even if ALL you use it for is a media player or mobile web browser, $100 is well worth it.

They actually dropped the price Saturday, and I thought I missed out, but Barnes and Noble now shows in stock for the magical $99.99 price.  I ordered one last night, but now it shows:

Unable to process order. Please

call 1-877-379-0036, or

212-414-6024, if outside U.S.

I called in, and apparently they have 2,000 in stock and they’re trying to sort it out.  They could not tell me if I’d be receiving one or not.

Try your luck and order here:


A bunch of the larger online retailers are still showing the old price and presumably do still have them in stock., for example, shows “in stock”, but has it priced at $399.99.  It’s the same story at, CDW, etc.

I guess if you’re daring you could buy one, and hope they honor the new price with a partial refund :P


Now show’s out of stock on B&N. .  @9:45am (eastern)


Tried to get another (since I highly doubt B&N will really be shipping mine), and ordered through CDW when they dropped their price.  I waited on hold for over an hour to confirm the order I made online (thank-you cordless speakerphone) to find out they sold out within a MINUTE of the price drop.  HA!

So, if you thought you were getting one from CDW, think again.  Someone else posted on a deal site saying one company accepted nearly 65,000 orders for the 10, ten, yes TEN they had in stock.

As usual, I wish I hadn’t wasted time on this.

Trial by combat!

Notch, founder of Minecraft asked for “Trial by Combat” in response to a recent lawsuit by Bethesda over the naming of their most recent project, “Scrolls”.  They feel it infringes on the name of their “Elder Scrolls” game.

Check out Notch’s recent blog post to see for yourself:

I suppose this in itself isn’t that exciting, but it got me wondering,  and I did a bit of digging.  Check out these excerpts from wikipedia:

“Because the British did not abolish wager by battle until Parliament’s 1819 response to Ashford v Thornton(1818), and because no court in post-independence United States has addressed the issue, the question of whether trial by combat remains a valid American alternative to civil action remains open, at least in theory.”

“Shortly after Southwest started using the “Just Plane Smart” motto, Stevens Aviation, who had been using “Plane Smart” for their motto, threatened a trademark lawsuit.

Instead of a lawsuit, the CEOs for both companies staged an arm wrestling match. Held at the now demolished Dallas Sportatorium (the famed wrestling facility) and set for two out of three rounds, the loser of each round was to pay $5,000 to the charity of their choice, with the winner gaining the use of the trademarked phrase. A promotional video was created showing the CEOs “training” for the bout (with CEO Herb Kelleher being helped up during a sit up where a cigarette and glass of whiskey (Wild Turkey 101) was waiting) and distributed among the employees and as a video press release along with the video of the match itself. Herb Kelleher lost the match for Southwest, with Stevens Aviation winning the rights to the phrase. Kurt Herwald, CEO of Stevens Aviation, immediately granted the use of “Just Plane Smart” to Southwest Airlines. The net result was both companies having use of the trademark, $15,000 going to charity and good publicity for both companies.”

Imagine if this became more popular?