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There's An App For That (on eBay)

Everybody knows that mobile is where technology is going and already is. I've written about the negative impact of the smartphones on face-to-face communication or the lack thereof. I've even gone so far as to host a monthly live event to combat what I believe is a ever-widening chasm of human disconnection.

All that aside, apps --- when they do what they are supposed to do and then some, are pretty darn fly.

Most businesses worth their salt have gotten with the program and tied their commerce activities to an smartphone application. You can take a peek at this infographic to get an idea how pervasive mobile commerce has become.

Years ago when I first began selling on eBay I can't even begin to explain how time consuming and exhausting the process was. Being an Average Joe trying to pay down a couple bills and not a rabid Power Seller it was miserable. But I did what I had to do.

On a recent trip out to eBay headquarters in Palo Alto I got to meet some of the minds behind the eBay Mobile arsenal of apps and they are on it --- clearly aware of what will make the selling and buying experience easier and actually fun.

First and foremost is the Papa Large of them all, the original eBay Mobile app. It is cross-platform and turns your device into a mini point-of-sale machine. As a shopper you can scan bar codes to comparison shop and thanks to a nifty integration with PayPal you can securely make purchases in app and have them delivered just as if you were at your computer (you have to have an account with eBay and PayPal, of course). It gets "fun-ner" as a seller. Scan a UPC code of a product you are looking to sell or enter it manually and this app will auto-populate your listing, you can also select photos on your camera or take them right there on the spot to add to your listing. What was once an hour or two ordeal is now a 15-20 minute exercise (if that long), once you get the hang of it.

So if you are like most of the human race, you own an iPad. One of my most horrifying discoveries upon becoming a proud owner at the start of the year was that little issue of iPhone apps not being optimized for iPad screens. Well the eBay for iPad App is the fix for this and does everything that the eBay Mobile app does, just bigger and easier on the eyes and depending on your skill with touch keypads, it's a more realistic typing experience.

Not my cup of tea personally, but if you are a fashionista and on eBay you will be hard pressed not to use the eBay Fashion app. From the iTunes store: "With eBay Fashion, you can browse and buy from the world’s largest selection of new, designer, branded, and vintage merchandise, with millions of listings for clothing, shoes and accessories. The app’s Fashion Vault offers exclusive, limited time sales on clothing and accessories from today’s leading designers, with built in notifications.

And now, a new way to discover fashion on eBay when inspiration strikes. See a beautiful sunset? Snap a picture and use the eBay Image Swatch feature to find dresses, skirts, tops and coats the same color of the sunset. From designer to vintage, eBay Image Swatch finds fashion that matches your inspiration. The options are endless and so is our inventory. Your photo. Our fashion."

For the men. This is 100% my cup of tea. Hey a man can dream, right? Seriously, the eBay Motors App puts the eBay Motors marketplace in your pocket. Window shop, "kick the tires", dream, or if you've got it like that make a purchase.

The eBay Instant Sale app provides a convenient, simple way to get cash for your electronics or recycle them for free. With this app you can determine the value of late-model and even non-working electronics. Inside the app an offer is made and if you choose to accept you will be provided with a shipping label and postage and the funds will be deposited into your PayPal account once eBay is in receipt of the item and it has been inspected. To see Instant Sale in action, please read my article, Selling Your iPad2.

"Watch with eBay" lets you easily find items related to what you are currently watching on television. eBay is the first company to offer a tablet shopping experience that surfaces a vast selection of inventory relevant to what you are watching on TV. You have to watch the video to believe it.

All of the above apps and how to use them are available at the eBay Mobile site. If any of this is new to you, please check it out and boost your mobile productivity today.

Disclosure: As a member of eBay Parent Panel I must disclose that I am being compensated for this posting. However the opinions and expressions contained within this post are 100% my own.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


EPayne & ConAgra Do The Backyard Bash

This past Memorial Day weekend I hosted a Backyard Bash using ConAgra products, specifically Egg Beaters, Hunts Tomatoes and Chef Boyardee pasta. My wife and I invited a good number of our friends as she loves to season and cook and I love to barbecue. She donned an apron and so did my daughter until our guests came and the chef's hat came in handy as the hot sun bared down on my bald head and the heat from the grill roasted me from the waist up.

Just in case anyone thinks I'm tooting my own horn about my grillin' skills, a buddy, who really isn't into social media, was so impressed he cranked out the Tweet below:


Mondays With Michelle: Happy Memorial Day [Tuesday Edition]

Forgive the delay. All of us need a holiday from time to time. Even us bloggers on the Internet.

I'm sure you are all out enjoying your delicious bbq feasts on this blazing hot Monday, but don't forget, Memorial day is a day to remember all those that served our country, so as you enjoy your day off of work, your delicious eats and your ice cold beers, remember to give a big thanks to our Armed Forces. 

On to the delicious BBQ feasts...here are a couple of great recipes for days like today...

Neelys Lemon Pasta Salad Courtesy of The Neelys


[VIDEO]: Bahamas-Bound

Me, 2005 (not me, currently).
As a man there are plenty of things I think I know. Now that I am married I spend plenty of time defending my knowledge base understanding that I can and will be wrong from time to time.

One of these times happened during a recent trip to the Bahamas where I was immersed up to my eyeballs in a culture that I previously thought was limited to merely the offerings of the Atlantis Resort and Casino (not that there isn't plenty to do there) and the pink sand beaches I never saw during my first trip there in 2005 (see picture, inset).

Boy, was I wrong. Check out the teaser video below for a sampling of my 4-day experience on the Islands of the Bahamas. I did visit more than just one.

Disclosure: My Bahamian adventure was provided courtesy of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this and subsequent posts and videos are wholly my own.

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Dazzle 'Em With Your Smile (And A Toothbrush)

“I got my first cavity when I was 25. I had my teeth straightened via Invisalign when I was 38. Short of the cavities (several erupted between 25 and 28) most of my visits to the dentist have been uneventful formalities --- a cleaning, a high five for taking care of my teeth and no candy or stickers for the road.

Up until recently I've been following the dentist's orders, brushing with a soft brush head, flossing daily and I eat apples to clean my breath when I'm not home. My kids have perfectly clean teeth. My son got a couple of cavities when he was younger but hasn't had one since becoming a teenager. Both my kids have it engrained in their heads that they brush their teeth when they wake up and before they got to bed. Every 6 months they go to the dentist without fail. And the couple of times I have failed, I get yelled at to schedule their appointments.

Despite all this diligence I've always wondered about those electric toothbrushes. The ones that sit at Target and BestBuy made by Braun with the tiny circular head that claim to do the job better than you can. "One day," I've told myself many a time, "I'm gonna try one of those out to see if they are any good."

And then came the Oral-B ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide:

Now through June 16, Oral-B is offering a $10 mail-in rebate on select power toothbrushes. Please visit OralB.com for more information. To learn more about this and Oral-B's entire product line follow them on Twitter and Like them on Facebook.

What do you do to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Dad Central Consulting on behalf of Oral-B and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Love To Love You - RIP Donna Summer

In the past I have written about celebrity deaths. Michael Jackson's death turned out to be more painful for me than I anticipated. Teena Marie was a shocker and I didn't really know where to begin so I just wrote what came to mind. But Donna Summer? Like Michael (Jackson) this entertainer was particularly integral to my experience growing up in Chicago where House Music ruled the eighties and in some circles still does.

My mother owned the album, the vinyl 331/3 record for the original motion picture soundtrack, Last Dance. It was the first time I heard Donna Summer. I would eventually learn it was her breakout hit that introduced her to the mainstream world. It also introduced me to one of my favorite actors, Jeff Goldblum. The funny thing about all those singers back in the late Seventies is that they would be singing like their lives depended on it, but when you saw them on shows such as Soul Train, they were dressed like school teachers on Sunday and barely moving. But back then I guess that's all they needed. The power was in their voice and the story was in their songs. And their lives? Who really knew or cared?

After Last Dance there was Bad Girls, a song my mother didn't want me to really listen to too tough for fear that my perceptive mind would begin to hear past the police whistle and the chanting to understand what she was really talking about: the pained lives of ladies of the night. But who can forget that intro to Solid Gold? That's right, Solid Gold.

And then there was Love To Love You --- all 10+ minutes of it. Legend has the actual studio recording at 17 minutes. I was in high school and hanging out with friends who were DJs. They were fast becoming the music historians of my time. One in particular had recently snatched up a treasure in the form of a single on vinyl that was nearly ten years old. He payed a pretty penny for it and was beside himself when he showed it to me while I was over his house one day.

"Have you heard the uncut version of this?" he asked.

I read the label and saw that it was "Love to Love You" and shook my head.

If I recall correctly he cursed joyfully at me, as most boys do while growing up, and followed with something like, "Wait 'til you hear this!"

He excitedly slipped the record out of the sleeve and placed it on one of the two Technics 1200 turntables connected to his Numark mixer and turned up the volume as high as what wouldn't get the cops called on us. And then I heard: The intro of slow strokes on guitar strings followed by a slow, rolling moan that sounded too real to be contrived. Then Donna sang in a high pitched tease and a low gurgle that let you know she meant it when she said, "…do it to me again and again…" I will never forget that sound and that experience. Bad Girls and Hot Stuff was great but it was then that I understood what this woman was truly capable of. I felt my flesh melting off of me and my heart began to race. She wasn't singing to me, she was singing through me, telling me, "When you lay here so close to me, there's no place that I'd rather you be than with me - e - ooohhhh….."

Even though the song was released a decade before I actually heard it in it's entirety, I thought I knew what I was supposed to know about the fairer sex. Donna Summer quickly alerted me to the fact that I knew nothing. That there were women out there able to render men helpless and hopeless with nothing more than a song. Since then she became a patch in the quilt that is my life. When I hear her music I claim her as mine, not personally but for the music she created, the music that I loved and that I would eventually spin as a DJ for pleasure rather than profit. Since the rise of the iPod listening to her was just as potent but not nearly as intimate because I couldn't hold her in my hands the way I once did as a young'n. I couldn't slow her down or speed her up based on the song before and the song I wanted to play afterwards while mixing. She's been duplicated numerous times via samples and covers. Performers such as Beyoncé, God bless her soul, doesn't even come close.

Donna Summer's achievements include:

  • 5 Grammy Awards
  • 6 American Music Awards
  • The #1 Disco artist during the disco era of 1976-1979
  • She wrote and co-wrote most of her songs, like Michael Jackson and Madonna.

RIP Donna Summer (1948-2012). The Queen of Soul

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Don't Box Me In

So I am one of those guys who uses Pinterest. Yup, I am. A good friend of mine, who is credited at the bottom of the image below, posted this to one of his boards and added a slightly harsh sentiment to go along with it. Mine is shorter. But I'm not sure it's sweeter:

"If you box me in...sooner or later...I will break your box."

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Mondays With Michelle: Atlanta Food Truck Park

Happy Monday my lovely foodie friends! Before I get into the exciting news of the Food Truck Park reopening I have a change in schedule that you all should be aware of. As of this week, Mondays with Michelle will be a bimonthly post. I am working on a project that is going to require more of my time. But don't worry, that just means I'll have more fun stuff to talk to you guys about when I do post twice a month. That said, my next post will be on Monday, May 28th.

Now on to the Food Trucks....

Have I said how much I LOVE the whole food truck scene? 


Getting Put on the Spot At Target

A couple of days ago I was minding my business, heading into Target to get a garbage pail (the old school one) to stash the pup's poo after taking him on walks rather than the main trash. Well I didn't find the trash can but someone in my field saw me. James Andres, otherwise known as @KeyInfluencer on Twitter has a social media resume as long as my arm, maybe even my leg. In any event he recognized me and interviewed me on the spot via Social Cam. I was very concerned as my bald head is usually quite shiny by nightfall and most of my strength was zapped by a cough I caught from my daughter.

I can't embed the video in this post so you will have to watch it by clicking here.

I don't stress Target as many people do. James even began his interview mentioning the idea that people are on display at Target. I know women who put on makeup to go to Target. I've never paid it much mind.

Maybe I should start.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Was I on my Ps and Qs? Did I seem prepared to be caught off guard or am I caught off guard?

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me, you can read my story.


Mondays with Michelle: Spring Eats - Where And How

Hello foodie friends! I am currently on the beach sipping an alcoholic beverage and soaking up all the sun I can handle! :-) Don't be jealous. I'm thinking about each and everyone of you. 

In the spirit of spring fever, here's a list of some fun foodie events going on around the city this week...yummy...