* Posts by Mark Hartman

19 posts • joined 9 Nov 2007

50m-year-old mystery space object doesn't look a day over 30

Mark Hartman

Black hole radiation

"Black holes themselves don't emit radiation..."

I thought that was the whole idea behind Hawking radiation -- that black holes in fact radiate equivalent to black body spectrum, and given enough time eventually evaporate (we're talking 10 to the 100th power years).

Hyundai readies Volt-style hybrid

Mark Hartman

Volt or Prius?

Seems more akin to a Prius than the totally electric Volt, making comparison to the latter a poor journalistic choice.

Speaking of Prius, why all the bashing (by non-Prius Hummer owners, I assume). Sure it's not ideal, but it's the best available TODAY. I've averaged 53 mpg over 40k miles in the last 3 years with ours. Get your heads out of your asses, Prius-bashing-dumbasses.

Large Hadron Timewaster

Mark Hartman

G.W. Bush, article co-author

Science in the new frontier is necessarily part art along with the science. But not everyone understands that, including former U.S. presidents and journalists looking for a cute story hook that has boomeranged on them.

Prius hybrid to get rooftop solar panel

Mark Hartman

Why are you idiots knocking the Prius?

I've owned a Prius for two years and put 30k miles on it. It's got all the power and performance I need to crank 70mph on I-90 in Seattle. I AVERAGE 52.5 miles per gallon. In 30k miles, I've rotated the tires a few times and changed the oil every 5k miles.

What the fuck is wrong with that? NO OTHER CAR ON THE ROAD COMPARES TO THAT, and those are the straight facts. Wake up, losers.

What's the best way to digitise VHS tapes?

Mark Hartman

Mini-DVD camcorder with analog-to-digital passthrough

I'm in the middle of doing exactly what you're describing. Most newer inexpensive hard disc DVD camcorders have no analog-in, so I scoured ebay and found that most circa 2005 Canon mini-DVD models have a direct analog input and a passthrough mode that allows you to record VHS footage directly to your computer drive. That way you can edit, chapter and burn. I scored a basically new unit on ...blech...ebay...for around $90. A 300-gig drive to record material onto was another $100.

Of course, the final edit is only as good as the source material, but chances are if you're converting old VHS home tapes, it will be good enough.

For complete instructions, Macworld has a good article:


Subprime PC retailer coughs up $5m fine

Mark Hartman

Not as bad as credit card companies

Most people lured into situations desperate enough to contact Blue Hippo were put there by unscrupulous credit card conglomerates charging predatory interest rates, late fees and penalties well beyond what should be allowed by law. These guys are Tony Sopranos walking Wall Street in blue suits. DO NOT EVER GET IN HOCK FROM THESE BASTARDS!

UK media consultant dupes 2.4m randy YouTubers

Mark Hartman

Addy material

This scenario plays out every parent's worst nightmare. Way too many kids are getting killed in car crashes, and if it takes uber shock value to wake them up, let it be.

Someone hand that filmmaker an Addy!

French motorwonk savages hybrid cars

Mark Hartman

Prius owner weighs in

Hey, just trying to do the right thing by purchasing the best alternative on the marketplace at this point in time. Go ahead and develop new technologies, and if they're good, consumers will buy them. But don't yank my chain for doing my part to save more of the planet's crude oil in the meantime, French Loser Boy.

Online advertiser pays $200,000 for deceptive claims

Mark Hartman

"Lies and deceit" by Adnim (8th post)

Great post, Adnim. You're right on.

Yahoo! Will! Axe! One! Thousand! Workers!

Mark Hartman

Yahoo needs balance between profit and responsibility towards employees

I find myself largely in agreement with Pheet (prior comment). While any company with shareholders has a fiduciary responsibility towards its owners to maximize profits, corporations have become incredibly shortsighted and frequently act with blatant disregard towards the very souls who have labored to make the company what it is, all for the sake of one-quarter returns. They need to learn to take a longer view and strike a balance between short-term profit, foresight into the company's future, and responsibility towards their own labor force.

eBay: 'We will lower listing fees'

Mark Hartman

Re: eBay's problem isn't the fees it's the ratings

Everyone should scroll back to the top of the page and read comment #12 by Neil Docherty: BINGO!

ebay's new feedback policy is a step in the wrong direction. The idea should be feedback transparency, not seller protection.

The Electric Car Conspiracy ... that never was

Mark Hartman

Hummers vs. Hybrids

The statement by some that electrics are just as polluting as cars that burn gas is dead wrong. Even with catalytic assistance, electric power is much more efficient, even coming from a grid comprised of coal-burning power sources. Factor in some renewable assistance such as wind and hydroelectric (as we enjoy here in Washington State), and it's no contest.

The wider issue is that we've got --what? -- 8 billion humans using ever-increasing amounts of crude oil. Who is foolish enough to believe the supply of oil with last more than another few decades, and at exponentially escalating prices per gallon?

Finding the replacement for oil will, in fact, REQUIRE a lot of oil. Continuing the status quo will push us back into the dark ages that much sooner. Put that in your Hummer and smoke it.

Laughing Squid squirts ink at Best Buy

Mark Hartman


Too Many Fucking Lawyers.

Canadian loses $20K in phony eBay sale

Mark Hartman

Understanding the meaning of "worldwide exchange forum"

Some who have commented here don't seem to understand the meaning of "worldwide exchange forum." In the U.S., at least, it's not quite as simple as "catching the number 35 from Harrowgate to Leeds" to check out an item for sale.

And some, like John, above, who insist that ebay is not responsible for scammers who inhabit their site are dead wrong when we're considering folks who have been ripped off because of fraudulent auctions due to ebay's gaping security holes. Just remember: it's ebay that has facilitated a fraudulent auction. Yes, ebay cannot be held responsible for someone who scams using their own account, but when it's someone else's account, that's a different story.

Mark Hartman

Using escrow to purchase -- try it sometime, if you can!

The people on this forum who insist that buyers just protect themselves on high-ticket item purchases by using escrow obviously haven't ever tried it. I recently contacted 12 independent sellers asking them to go for an escrow deal, and they all refused except one -- and he had a (0) feedback record. And, yes, I indicated beforehand that I would shoulder 100% of the escrow costs. It actually represented a savings to the seller, because they avoid having to pay the large paypal commission. The typical seller's response? "There's nothing in it for me."

Mark Hartman

Ebay: Home of the Electronic Grifter

I was almost the victim of the same type of account hijack a few months ago. Fortunately I got my money back, although anyone who has gone through a similar experience knows that ebay is of ABSOLUTELY NO HELP! As I've said before, their so-called "safe harbor" policy actually helps the crooks get away with their crimes.If you want your money back, it's up to you.

Since my experience, I've checked out many high-ticket items similar to the acution I was involved in. An amazingly high percentage of them appear very sketchy, with descriptions that read like they were written by a fifth grader (ore shoud i say, discripsions that read like they wear write by a 5th grader), similar use of all caps and highlighting for key item description tags to draw suck in more buyers, and no response to inquiries asking for details about the item or local pickup options.

While legitimate sellers still vastly outnumber the scammers, I believe it is a growing epidemic, which is why I think ebay should change their tag line from "Shop. Victoriously." to "ebay: Home of the Electronic Grifter."

Crunchy Frog.

Best Buy sells 'last Wii' twice

Mark Hartman

A marketing tactic that doesn't make sense

It seems to me this entire story is based on unsubstantiated hearsay. Why would Best Buy risk losing potential buyers who walk in looking for a unit, then leave because there's nothing on the shelves? Not to mention that there's very little markup in the hardware; Best Buy wants consumers to buy the hardware there, then drop another $150 in third-party software for the WII (much higher profit margin), so it's in their best interests to sell all they have and knock down doors at Nintendo for more units until demand cools.

The only way this story makes any sense is if the store manager at the location referenced in the story was collecting data for his dissertation on "Marketing and the Human Psyche."

Ukrainian eBay scam turns Down Syndrome man into cash machine

Mark Hartman

Paypal compensation limits

Just an addendum to the story that Paypal limits the amount of compensation to standard merchandise to $200 unless the seller meets a rigorous set of criteria, which any scammer obviously doesn't meet. When you're talking about being scammed out of several thousands of dollars, a $200 remittance from Paypal will not go far in assuaging the anger and frustration of being fleeced.

Mark Hartman

Me, the credulous fool

I'm not certain of Anonymous Coward's location -- the UK perhaps -- or his/her familiarity with how business is done on ebay, but the WHOLE IDEA of the forum is to bring together buyers and sellers to exchange merchandise where it is not ordinarily possible due to enormous distance between the parties. It would be absurd to hop a plane and travel 2,300 miles to take a look at a bike for sale. For local swaps, craigslist.org is certainly preferred, but you just can't always find what you want on a local level.

Secondly, I still have faith in the ebay feedback forum as a good indicator of whether or not a seller is honest or should be avoided. Of course, when an account is hijacked as in my case, all bets are off. That's the REAL issue here, after all: the security of member accounts on ebay.

As far as trusting someone I don't know by sending personal funds via a cashier's check, I have some interesting data since nearly losing $1,500 a few months ago: Since that time I have contacted 12 ebay members regarding similar merchandise to see if they would be willing to sell their bikes using ebay's escrow.com. I offered to pay all associated escrow.com fees and pointed out the transaction would save each of them a rather hefty paypal fee, since they are paid the full amount of the auction directly by escrow.com. Of the 12, all refused but one, and that particular person had a (0) feedback rating. Invariably, the reply was "There's nothing in it for me."


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