Car Fun

A while ago I bought some clear AU Falcon lenses and amber globes off eBay to replace my amber lenses and clear globes. Yes, it is some fickle car nerd/enthusiast stuff, but I had broken one lense so I thought why not do a little bit of fashion modifying. By ‘fashion’ I mean purely aesthetic trends, compared to say the performance oriented variable-length manifold modification I was planning to do last year but got cold feet cause of lack of space/cash/priorities.

I had waited until after my meeting today to do it. Something as a kind of reward for a good meeting, and for getting my first cycle of sending a complete chapter and getting it back after 3.5 years.

Although I am seriously considering (ie just stopping myself) for going completely crazy and upgrading my 17″ CRT moniter for something nerdilicious like a 20″+ widescreen LCD. I figure that considering I spend at least 8 hours a day in front of this thing I want something I can look at and go “That is totally cool!” Yes, a purely affective thing, nothing to do with my vision. Sort of like what pot plants are meant to do in cubicle offices. I am only considering this because for the first time in ages I have some cash, but I know that I won’t have much cash soon!

EDIT: I bought a Viewsonic 20″ widescreen LCD. And, wow, it actually is more enjoyable sitting here working for 8-10 hours a day.

Magazine Collection Database? eBay?

I have a couple a hundred magazines now. Does anyone know of any good (preferrably free) database programs that will allow me keep track of my collection?

MediaMan appears to be very good. One problem is that it is US based and another is that the ‘price-tracking’ feature which allows you to connect to any site is useless for vintage items or if you are in Australia.

What would be totally excellent would be a database program that communicates with eBay (US AND the australian site) and has a similar function of being able to export item information, images and prices. eBay is fast becoming the only place to find certain items. Anyway, at the minimum, what will need to be developed is a certain form-guide for information on auction items, like certain information would be necessary, publication details (year, company, etc), cover photo, contents, etc.

Any smart programmers out there should seriously think about doing something like this. How many people do you know use eBay for buying stuff? Sneakers, car parts, magazines, funiture, etc. Maybe come up with a working prototype and approach eBay to get them to buy it from you. They could market it as an extension of “My eBay”.

Imagine if this information was networked as a kind of non-centralised library. Like a wiki, but the non-auction information would be contained on individual computers and when things were being sold eBay would access the respective wiki-style database or information, pricing, etc associated with that item and ‘host’ it. It would be ‘wiki-style’ because it would be produced by enthusiasts/fans/amatuers or similar. The qualititave difference between this information and that of wikipedia is the reputation function of eBay that is currently set up as purely determined by buyers and sellers with which an ebayer exchanges goods. How hard would it be to set up a correlative ‘informational’ rating system for the wiki-style database.

There would be a differential between item quality and condition versus the stock information on the wiki-database that would need to somehow be incorporated. For example, a magazine that is all torn up and missing images may be suitable for a researcher who only wants editorials or something, but a collector probably wouldn’t want it. Knowledge would take on a properly swarm character that would be tied to the various markets. I am not sure if this would help buyers or sellers. I think with such a set up the increase in knowedge available would help those with genuinely good items to sell and punish the sheisters.

eBay, are you listening?

eBay would get another level of ‘added value’ to their product that could be easily accessed by consumers. Consumers would in turn by able to harness the truly MASSIVE amounts of information that circulates on eBay’s networks of exchange. Surely this is a win-win situation? Connect this ‘swarm’ information with slightly more permanent source of information, such as wikipedia, and you might a have a mechanism for harnessing one dimension of capitalism’s dynamism, expressed as the minute-to-minute auctions on eBay, for the purposes of producing a relatively easily accessible body of knowledge.

This would be taking eBay’s attempts to harness networks of enthusiasm to another level. They already do it on the level of the spectacle with some of the cars built by famous car builders they have helped produced and which have used eBay networks of exchange for aquiring parts. Perhaps it is time to tap into the networks of enthusiasm on a more structural level and in the process produce a knowledge resource? eBay?


I had not mentioned it before cause I didn’t want to jinx anything but I have just received (via courier) an entire Street Machine Magazine and Supercar Magazine collection bought on eBay. I have nearly every single Street Machine Magazine of the 1980s and almost all the Supercar Magazines, too. Supercar was a competitor to Street Machine, and it was written in a different ‘reportage’ style of writing compared to Street Machine’s ‘machinic’ style.

The collection includes the very first Street Machine magazine. It has a little Street Machine masthead underneath the Van Wheels masthead and features the V12 Jag powered Holden panel van, Alley Cat, on the cover. this magazine alone often goes for over $100 on eBay. The copy I have is excellent quality!!

You can see it here in an official Street Machine magazine binder (3 of which came with the collection). How about those ciggie ads? There is a ‘fold out’ Camel ad in one of them. So wrong…

I paid $310 for the whole lot (which includes $80 courier from Victoria, magazines are heavy! also it is another reason why I am super poor this fortnight!), which is about 70 magazines. I have many of the earlier ones already, so I am going to keep the best kept versions of issues I have multiple copies of and sell the rest back on eBay. Some of the individual magazines I paid $15-20 to buy. To collectors they have certain values, but for me writing my dissertation some of the articles in these magazines were priceless, so I’d pay anything to win the eBay auctions. Now I think I may start up my own online eBay store!

I am now waiting on my scanner/printer and I shall put up some covers and images onto flickr. It is mostly classic 1980s stuff.