Archive for March, 2008

eBay Partner Network Now Live

The eBay Partner Network site is now live and accepting registrations. If you’re currently an affiliate with Commission Junction, make sure to sign up and start migrating your links. I know I’ll be spending this week doing it. I’ll be posting a follow up to let you know my thoughts on the new setup.

WordPress And Magento

There are a couple of new downloads you should be made aware of:

WordPress 2.5

You can read all about the ton of updates that were made here. You can also download the new version here.

I haven’t upgraded any of my blogs, but I played around with a local version…it seems nice. I should be upgrading to 2.5 when this sites new redesign launches.

Magento 1.0

After a long wait, Magento has released their first stable 1.0 version of their eCommerce software. You can download that here.

I’m playing around with this locally, and there is a fairly steep learning curve. I’m still going through all of the features and trying to learn how to make it do what I want. I’m hoping Magento releases an official startup guide that goes through each feature and provide tutorials to do certain things. I think it would be nice if they essentially made a guide that teaches you how to go from a blank store, to one with all the demo data. There’s so much I want to do with Magento, so I’m hoping to learn quick.

How To Drive Your Nice Car Long Distance With No Rock Chips

The Viper I just bought had literally NO paint chips or anything on the front bumper…I wanted to keep it like that. I learned a little trick when I was putting my 350Z in car shows. Cover the areas you want to protect with blue painters tape. The product works great because it doesn’t damage the paint, leaves no residue behind, and doesn’t cost much.

Dodge Viper GTS with painter??s tape on front bumper

Dodge Viper GTS with painter??s tape on front bumper

One thing to keep in mind is to try and put the end of the tape so they aren’t on the front end. This will help it go with the wind and not peel off at all when you’re driving.

Dodge Viper GTS Officially Mine

I’m now sitting here in Michigan, and the 97 Viper GTS I came here for is mine now. I can officially add it to my progression of vehicles post. The 97 Viper GTS in blue with white stripes is actually a personal dream car of mine. Even though I’ve had two other Vipers previously, they were earlier model convertibles in red. While nice because it was a Viper, this specific one is something I can actually cross of my things to get in life list. It feels good to be able to accomplish something that I can consider a big milestone.

The car looked better in person, compared to the pictures my friend took. The car is literally immaculate, the interior smells brand new. With only 6,300 miles on it, and completely stock, it’s really a collector car…I’ll still drive it though, and I am already getting the itch to start doing a few modifications. As soon as I get it back to Virginia later this week, I’ll do a complete detail of the car, and take some good pictures. In the meantime you can take a look at these:

My new 97 Dodge Viper GTS Blue with white stripes

My new 97 Dodge Viper GTS Blue with white stripes

High-End Car Shopping Weekend

One of my good friends is in a bit of a conundrum. He wants to spend around $70,000 on a new car, wants a higher-end luxury brand, and it has to be a convertible with back seats. I automatically thought…BMW 335i twin-turbo convertible. Done. He doesn’t want a BMW though! There really aren’t many choices, and it was narrowed down to these:

  • BMW 335i
  • Mercedes CLK550
  • Audi S4
  • Lexus SC430

Those were pretty much the only ones I could think of. The CLK550 was my friends top choice, so we decided to stop by the dealership on Saturday to give it a look. It turned out that he didn’t like it as much in person as he thought he would…back at square one. While wandering around, Smart opened a new dealership right next door…I’ve seen these in Europe years ago, but wow, they are so small:

Smart car

We then headed over to the Aston Martin dealership as I was trying to convince my friend to spend a bit more :) They had a ton of cars in stock, but here’s a couple from the showroom:

Aston Martin Vantage front

Aston Martin Vantage rear

One of the Vantage’s outside had Bamboo interior, it was very exotic looking…I wish I took a picture, but here’s one I found online:

Aston Martin bamboo interior

They also had a gorgeous Ferrari F360 Spyder (which is my first dream Ferrari) in the showroom:

Ferrari F360 Spyder

I convinced my buddy we should check out the Audi S4, as well as the RS4, so it was off to the Audi/Porsche dealership across the street. They had a beautiful RS4 convertible in the showroom:

Audi RS4 Cabriolet

The Audi RS4 is a beast of a car. It has the same motor as the R8 supercar, pumping out 420hp on an AWD car. My buddy really liked it, and although it had a $85,000 price tag, I could still see him getting it. He wanted to compare to the slower S4 cabriolet, which they had back in the warehouse:

Audi S4 Cabriolet

On the walk to see the S4, I was talking to the salesperson about the R8…which I had yet to see in person. As we were walking back he asks me if I’d like to see an R8…”of course”. Then he brings us to a warehouse, all I can say is JACKPOT. The pictures will tell enough:

Supercar warehouse

Supercar warehouse

The warehouse was full of cars like Lamborghini’s, Aston Martin’s, Porsche’s, etc. Literally millions of dollars of inventory. I felt like it was something straight out of the “Gone In 60 Seconds” movie. This was also the first time I got a chance to see the R8 in person, and wow, what a great looking car:

Audi R8 rear

Audi R8 side

Audi R8 front

The Lamborghini Gallardo wasn’t too shabby either:

Lamborghini Gallardo Front

Lamborghini Gallardo Side

All in all, a great day to go car shopping :)

Leaving To Go Pick Up A GTS Viper Today

I’ll be leaving in about 15 minutes for a nice 9 hour drive to Ann Arbor, MI where I’ll be picking up my new GTS Viper. Luckily, I have a good friend that goes to law school out there, so I’ll be spending a few days with her while I’m out there. She drove home (to MD) for Easter, and I’ll just be hitching a ride back with her…which saves me the plane ticket money. She only lives about 20 minutes from where the Viper is located.

I’ll be posting some updates throughout the week on how everything goes with the sale. I’ve done as much checking out as possible, and I’m confident that the deal is legitimate, and not a scam. My only concern now is rain/snow. The car has never seen rain before, and the forecast is rain/snow all week…just my luck. Maybe the weather Gods will be on the lookout for me. Here’s a bad lighting picture of the car I’ll be picking up:

My new 97 GTS Viper

The Saleen S5S Raptor

Most people know Saleen for either their S7, or their special editions cars like the Saleen Mustang.

Saleen S7

At the New York Auto Show, they unveiled their latest supercar, the S5S Raptor:

Saleen S5S Raptor front quarter

Saleen S5S Raptorrear quarter

Saleen has done a great job with this car, I think it looks like a nice mix of a Lotus Elise, Tesla Roadster and Lamborghini Gallardo. I’d like to see it in person to see how small it really is…hopefully more like the Lambo over the Lotus (which the press release seems to say it is).

The Saleen S7 is priced well over $500,000, the new S5S Raptor is a much more reasonable $185,000. With a 5.0L 650hp 630 lb-ft of tq, the car is capable of doing 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds with a 200mph+ top speed…all while using E85 ethanol. It features 13″ rotors in the back, and massive 6-piston 15″ slotted rotors on the front:

Saleen S5S Raptor wheels and brakes

I need to see it in person, but looks alone, I think I’d rather have this over a Lamborghini Gallardo…which was my previous upper $100k range favorite.

[Source: Autoblog]

BMW Dealership Unethically Refuses eBay Price For New M3

2008 BMW M3 on eBayThere is a story going around about a guy under the alias of dooma350 at M3Post.com. He had given a deposit at his local BMW dealership (Husker BMW) for the sought after new 2008 M3, but decided to look and see what offerings he could find on eBay. He found one advertised as “LOWEST PRICE ON EBAY” that had a starting price of $60,000 with no reserve. The buy it now price was $66,926. Considering dealerships are marking these up as high as $100,000, they were probably under the impression that the eBay listing would generate a little hype and they wouldn’t have to be worried about the price staying at $60,000…which is exactly what happened when dooma350 won the auction.

15 minutes after winning the auction, he received a call from the BMW dealership in Nebraska saying that they would not honor the price due to it was a “mistake”. This was definitely a cop out, as the auction’s buy it now price was changed twice throughout the auction. This tells us that the auction was being watched by the dealership, and a “mistake” is pretty unlikely.

The entire story can be read and followed over at the original post on M3Post.com. Many of the forum members are very helpful, offering advices, contacting media outlets, and more. One member by the alias of “Xcellere” even called the dealership and threatened legal action. Another member who is a licensed attorney in Texas that offered some legal advice…and was even willing to take action at no cost had he been licensed in Nebraska.

All sorts of advice was given in terms of whom to contact, from BMW North America to eBay to the BBB to local media outlets. I think between this story starting to spread (It was just covered on Autoblog), dooma350 will get his price…and maybe even more. This is horrible PR on the dealerships part, as well as BMW. The dealership has already offered the car up for $3,000 lower than the MSRP price, but at this point, it’s not enough. The dealership may have lost a few thousand dollars by doing the right thing, but there is a great potential of losing a lot more than that by not.

Do you think that the dealership should have done the right thing? If they were really this hard pressed about not giving the $60,000 price, they should have either set a reserve on the auction, set the starting price higher, or worse…cancel the auction before it ended. They could have even tried to offer something up when they first said the auction was a “mistake”, instead of just saying it and ending it like that.

Let’s hope that dooma350 gets his M3 at the price he deserves it for. For now you can Digg the original Autoblog article here so that the story can get spread around even more.

This Week Will Be Car Week

This upcoming week of blog posts will have a car-related theme…so for all of you enthusiasts out there, stay tuned :)

Good Start For Visa IPO So Far

I guess I was sort of an inspiration for 2 of my other friends with limited stock trading experience, as they both purchased some stock as well. After being down on the first day (from what I purchased it at), the stock jumped up over 14% today (including after-hours trading), making me about $230 on my $2,994 invested:

My Visa stock

I’d say that’s a pretty good start :) I have been contemplating selling the shares and then buying again later. I have a feeling there will be a big selloff from the banks and people trying to make a quick buck, which will affect the stock price negatively. Overall I think it’s a safe long-term investment stock, so even with a selloff, I feel that it will stabilize and then start to trend upwards. From everything I’ve read, the opinions about what the stock will do are all over the place. From people saying it will go back down to the IPO price, to others saying it will go up to $70-$90. In reality, the stock market is a gamble. Do as much research as you can, learn what you can, see how news, etc affects other stocks, and use that to make a better judgment with your own stocks. I’m definitely no expert, my overall portfolio is down 30% (before Visa)…but just giving my two cents.

All I know is that I had a hunch about Google when they became an IPO. I put them in my fake portfolio at the $95/share, and now look where they are at. I’ve had Apple in my fake portfolio since their shares were $11.38….I would have a 1071.09% return on that right now! I have the same feeling about Visa, so this time I’m running with it. If you do the same thing, and are new to the market, just make sure you don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.

One other interesting thing I found is that many of the major credit card/bank companies went up pretty big today:

American Express: +9.48%
Discover: +10.26%
Mastercard: +5.75%
Capital One: +7.66%
Citigroup: +10.24%
HSBC: +3.01%
JP Morgan Chase & Co: +9.25%
Barclays: +7.26%
Bank of America: +8.56%

I wonder how Visa helped affect these?