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  Open Source projects - Bidwatcher

NEWS -- As of March, 2002, we have packaged the bidwatcher v. 1.3.2 at SourceForge, and submitted a patchfile with the packaging. We have also updated our FTP site, with the new content.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled content ...

     EBay has become, as of mid-2000, the '500 pound gorilla' of the online auction sites. To maintain a portfolio of items being watched (i.e., bid watching), to automate bidding, and particularly, to facilitate last minute placement of bids, which is called 'sniping', this tool runs in a X desktop. It formerly used the Qt tool kit, ver. 1., but has been re-coded to use Gtk+ v. 1.2 in the SourceForge tree.

     We have built a SPEC file, and set up an FTP mirror site, holding the current pristine source, and RPM and SRPM files for users of that packaging system.

     See also FTP copies at: Owl River Bidwatcher FTP site

     The SourceForge branch of BidWatcher has re-awakened in August 2000. As of March 2002, it is nice and functional. One of its CVS committers, Jan Sturnus, maintains an advance release page here.


     These shots are taken from bidwatcher, v. 1.1.6, as installed from the RPM at the FTP site above on June 10, 2000. They depict a real session bidding on a 4 mm DAT drive in an external case.

Main screen

The red highlighted item is the one we will observe through the cycle. We are presently the high bidder at $12.50, and there has been no action for a day on the item -- but the unit is under-priced compared to some recent closing we have tracked.
Bidwatcher main screen

On the desktop, setting up a 'snipe'

Our previously set 'snipe' of $37.75 represents the absolute maximum we are are willing to pay for the unit in question. Bidwatcher on the desktop

Setting up the user's preferences

Bidwatcher setting up the user's

Adding an item to the watch list

Bidwatcher adding an item to the watch

Synchronizing the clock to EBay's

Bidwatcher synchronizing the clock to

Credits screen

Bidwatcher credits screen

Got it with the sniper

Bidwatcher got it with the sniper
This shot was taken an hour later, just after the auction closed.
     One or possibly two bidders appeared in the last minute and bid against us and possibly each other, with one ending up at a $15 bid limit. The previous 'public' bid which we had made was 'beaten' and the other bidders stopped watching. But bidwatcher placed our true limit bid of $37.75 with 25 sec. left to go, and the opposing bidders could not react and 'walk' us up to a higher closing price. Note that the program works hand-in-hand with eBay's progressive bidding system, and we closed with only a $0.50 step raise.
     We got the item, and got it at the lowest possible cost. Note that the Green dot has appeared on an item which we are the high bidder. Red arrows indicate pending 'snipes'. Black dots are being watched without bids; Blue dots indicate that we have been overbid.

Old Good News -- As of June, 2001, eBay's cumulative changes to the auction query format have changed it to a degree NOT understood by bidwatcher-1.1.6 . As a result it was unable to retrieve OR add to the list of items. Fortunately, on June 16, 2001, Stephen Bond <bond@ucsd.edu>: put together patches, Wayne released it, and it works again at release 1.1.6a. The Owl River FTP site has updated packages, built under Red Hat 7.1 .

Older News - still important -- PLEASE READ CLOSELY -- As of December 2000, eBay's cumulative changes to the 'My eBay' page format have changed it to a degree NOT understood by bidwatcher-1.1.6 . As a result it 'poisons' the list of items displayed with bidwatcher with erroneous 'Auction ended' indications. There is a workaround:
  1. Make a note of the item number
  2. Use "RightClick | Delete this item"
  3. Use the "+" snipe add option, and re-add the item number

     The then-current maintainer is Wayne Schlitt (wayne@midwestcs.com), who took the reins from Trent McNair (trent@rmci.net) and Tom McNair (tmcnair@cyberhighway.net). Wayne maintained the v. 1.1.x prime site at: http://www.midwestcs.com/bidwatcher.


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Last modified: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 22:13:01 -0400