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Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying Used and Refurbished Items Online

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I have managed to live quite nicely, thank you, on a middle class salary surrounded by many top notch quality items which I bought used online. For the purpose of this article, let’s define used as anything that was opened from its original packaging including refurbished items. The great thing about buying things used is that unless there’s an obvious cosmetic defect no one is going to know you bought things used unless you tell them. This article discusses the pluses and minuses of buying things used, online.

As a general rule, I won’t buy anything used unless: 1. The item is not readily available new or 2. it saves me a relatively great deal of money- the exception for me is CDs and books which are either hard to find or just save me the trouble of looking for them in a store. I will only buy a used item if the seller has good feedback from a reliable online site or the seller is a well known established company like Best Buy, Amazon or an Associate Store of Amazon. Whenever possible I try to use PayPal rather then credit cards to pay as it is an added source of protection if I have problems with the product or sale.

I will not buy anything used online unless the condition is described as very good or better- figure most people describe things one level better then they are or if the item is sold using the words “Sold as Is” which means the buyer can not return the item once they’ve received it. Let the buyer beware! This to me is an obvious sign that the product is a “lemon” or potential lemon or the seller is someone I don’t want to do business with. I also won’t buy anything from a buyer if the price is ridiculously low as that to me is a sign the seller something isn’t right. There are no free lunches- just drop the thought of buying the item and put it out of mind immediately without losing sleep. Yeah, every once in a while, we read about someone hitting pay dirt and buying a Picasso or something in a garage sale for $25, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to be you or I! Definitely do not buy anything used from someone in another country for over say $50 or your just asking for trouble as there is a pretty good chance the item could be damaged during shipment- have fun getting your money back, or you just get burned altogether and you really have no recourse against someone outside the US.

As a rule I would not buy items with a limited lifetime like DVD players, DVD recorders, anything really that uses lasers as they get worn down, television sets unless the price is so low you can afford it breaking down the next day and junking it, for example. I also wouldn’t buy anything, this is my own personal taste and bias, that was worn by someone, slept on by someone, partially swallowed by someone like a 1 gallon jar of protein power.

What I do buy used, once the above “good conditions” are in place are: 1. Stereo equipment like high quality CD players (the lasers seem to last a lot longer on those!), inexpensive computers, CDs, books, furniture, lamps, pictures & prints, sports equipment, bicycles and scooters, and hard to find items. Most of these items, you can resell either in their original state or for parts. Keep in mind for computers(laptops), that you should demand that the seller restores the computer to its original state and deletes anything that was added unless you want them to leave that on and that the seller is responsible for cleaning the computer for any viruses, spyware and adware. I also wouldn’t spend more then $375 including shipping unless you are buying it with a warranty of some kind and have the option of extending the warranty.

My record on buying used merchandise following these rules has been excellent. I only received one item that was apparently damaged internally during shipment and I got my money back immediately from the eBay seller who had excellent feedback. I bought a $1500 laptop for $700 refurbished with a 1 year warranty from a large well known computer retailer and there was a problem with the hard drive and they replaced it right away with another one which I had never had a problem with. In fact, the only time I ever got burned was when I was stupid enough 5 years ago to buy a laptop from someone I didn’t know on Craig’s List who lived out of State. I learned my lesson then and there- don’t buy anything used from someone you don’t know from a website that isn’t responsible if you get ripped off from someone who advertises on it. In fairness to Craig’s List, I believe they do warn people about getting ripped off, etc, and I only had myself to blame for what happened.

The bottom line is, you can save yourself a lot of money buying things used online but you need to carefully know what you’re doing before you buy anything. Use the tips I’ve listed as a rough starting guide.

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What is This New Backside Illumination on the New iPhone?

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Recently Apple announced the new iPhone and a number of the hardware changes were targeted at the camera. Thanks to the infamous lost iPhone fiasco we expected the 5 mega-pixel camera and flash, but Jobs announced the camera had backside illumination. That left us puzzled so we did a some research on camera chips.

What is backside illumination?

First stop giggling… OK… I’ll admit I think they could have found a better name. Some of the jokes I saw on Twitter seemed to be especially crude about this feature. Backside illumination is a trick of getting better digital photos by getting more of the available light to where it is measured.

First an overview on digital cameras

The key part of all digital cameras is a chip called the CCD (charge coupled device) which senses the light falling on its surface. The light affects the charge a grid of millions of tiny capacitors created on the silicon when the chip is made (making chips is called fabrication and involves a lot of etching and depositing of thin layers and different materials in precisely controlled ways). For simplicity just think about black and white CCD’s where the array of capacitors corresponds to the array of pixels which make up a digital image (color sometimes uses a lot more tricks). The chip has additional circuitry that measures the charge of all of the capacitors which is basically how the light levels of the image are read. To be able to read all of these capacitors there are minutely thin wires running over the top. They’re not actually wires but a thin layer of aluminum or copper that is effectively sprayed on to the chip and then carefully eaten away using acids to leave connecting traces, which are pretty much metal wires bonded to the chip.

Why backside illumination?

All those wires and other parts of the capacitors sit on top of a square silicon tile (called the die) with the capacitors at the bottom. The circuitry and wires don’t obstruct it too much as it works but it does block some light and scatter some in to surrounding capacitors which reduces the quality of image captured especially with limited lighting. Back to that square silicon tile. Silicon is the main ingredient of regular glass (aka silicon dioxide) but the stuff used in making chips is a super pure silicon crystal and transparent. With backside illumination the issues with traditional CCD’s of the capacitors being on the bottom is quite literally turned upside down and now you shine the image on what was the bottom of the silicon tile and let the light shine through the silicon to the capacitors. This way you avoid all the wires and get more light to the capacitors.

With this new camera chip Apple has shown some beautiful looking pictures but they key performance area will be low lighting. Capturing scenes like the last light of a fading sunset. The earlier iPhones (Original and 3G) had very basic fixed focus 2 mega-pixel cameras which struggled in low lighting. The 3GS brought auto focus and auto white balance that improved performance but still struggled with such scenes, often distorting colors. Now with the new camera chip the iPhone should take vastly improved photos, coupled with the in-built flash to handle low lighting indoors.

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WOW Golden Pearl Farming – Fast Way to Make Gold on WOW

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Using the Auction House for making gold on WOW is the fastest way to make it on WOW. But what do you do if you need some fast way to make gold on WOW to begin with?

Many players are trying to farm gold as a fast way to make it on WOW – but that is not the best way, it is not even a good way for making gold on WOW at most cases.

Farming is only good at high level and even then it is not the best way!

This is true especially because when you level up you can make more gold at less time – so you will want to start by leveling up as fast as possible before you start farming in the first place.

But there is an exception to that rule – WOW Golden Pearl Farming!

WOW Golden Pearl Farming is good as they can be sold for a lot of gold at the WOW Auction House most of the time.

There are times that Golden Pearl are sold for 4g-5g, but more often than none you can sell them on the WOW Auction House for a very high prices – that is 80g-100g and even up to 200g per pearl!

This means that if you can get 4-6 Golden Pearls an hour from farming you can make between 500g to 1000g per hour, and you can start farming for Golden Pearl from as low level as 40 while leveling in the same time, or go pearl farming as a fast way to make gold on WOW at a low level as 50.

The secret is not to farm for the pearls themselves but to farm for specific clams that drop them as well as buy them from the WOW Auction House itself.

You see there is a secret for farming those pearls, and you will be amazed how simple it is to get them.

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WoW Best Gold Farming Spots in Wotlk – Wrath of the Lich King

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There is a great need for any player who wishes to survive in the recent expansion to the World of Warcraft (WoW), the Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK). Just like in the real world, living in WoW has become more expensive as new garb and weapons are becoming pricier. Even relaxing at a pub in Dalaran could be worth some amount of gold. This has spurred the emergence of not a few WoW gold guide articles that aim to help the WotLK gamer in farming for gold in Northrend. Most of these articles would tell you where to go to farm WoW gold and the fastest way to make gold in WoW. Even the best WoW gold making guide contains almost the same tips and techniques that you’ll find in these WoW farming for gold articles.

Here are some WoW money making tips that are constantly referred to in these WoW farming guides:

1. Get the right gathering profession. Having the right profession will allow you to be able to build on the right skills to make gold. The best professions are those that are easy to level up and easy to earn gold in. Some of these professions include:

o Mining: Your ores can fetch you lots of gold. If you max your gathering skill level into grand master level, you will be able to mine most ores. You can go to the Burning Steppes and the Un’goro for Mithil and Thorium or the Netherstorm, Terokkar, and Nagrand for Adamantite ore.

o Herbalism: You can find a lot of herbs to sell for gold in the different zones of WoW. You can find some Mana Thistle in the Outlands or some Nightmare Vine drops when you go to Shadowmoon Valley. Other herbs that you can find are Fel Lotus, Ancient Lichen and the Netherbloom.

o Skinning: There is a huge amount of gold that can be made with selling rare leather like those made from cobra scales and wind scales. These can be found at the Shadowmoon Valley, nagrand, and the Blade’s Edge Mountains. You can even be crafty enough to make these into armors and other more useful items to make it worth more gold.

2. Max your crafting profession: Just like your gathering profession, you need to make sure that your crafting profession level is way up before you enter the WotLK. These professions include alchemy, jewelcrafting, and leatherworking. As you would note, these skills can be combined with your gathering professions to be able to increase the gold values of your gathered items.

3. Trade your goods: Watch the auction house. You can make more gold in finding out which ones are selling for less amounts of gold but with potential of selling for higher amounts of gold at a later time. Follow the basic rules of trading which is to buy low and sell high. Watch for things selling at a bargain that could possibly fetch a higher price later on because of an increase in demand.

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