eBay Stories January 13, 2015

Contract drivers for Apple and other tech companies vote to unionize in quest for better conditions

Contract workers driving shuttle buses for Apple, eBay, Yahoo and other Silicon Valley companies have voted to unionize, reports USA Today.

A majority of the 120 full-time and part-time drivers who transport those companies’ employees have signed authorization cards with the union, said Rome Aloise, International vice president and secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 853.

The drivers are employed by South San Francisco-based Compass Transportation, which has contracts with Apple and the other firms to transport its workers to and from work.

The vote follows a call by Jesse Jackson for Tim Cook to create “world-class working conditions” for low-paid contractors. Cook subsequently met with Jackson to discuss income and diversity issues ahead of a small protest which briefly entered the lobby of the Apple campus.

Although the hourly rates for the drivers range from $18-20, they argue that high living costs make it difficult to live close to work, and working further out does not allow them to return home between split shifts in the morning and evening–meaning they are effectively at work for far longer than their paid hours.

William Gould, a professor at Stanford Law School said: “These workers, as a practical matter, have to wait in certain areas to do their work (and) they are not compensated for that wait.”

Facebook shuttle bus drivers joined the Teamsters union in November.

Photo: wired.com

eBay Stories December 9, 2014

eBay offering Apple accessory deals to celebrate launching redesigned iPad app

eBay announced today that it’s releasing a completely redesigned experience for iPad that introduces a new layout, larger images, redesigned notifications, improved search and much more.

The completely redesigned iPad app is available globally in the Apple App Store, and features a more consistent, simplified design that puts sellers’ products at the forefront and creates an engaging shopping experience for buyers. “Our aspiration is to make eBay the most inspiring place to shop,” said RJ Pittman, chief product officer at eBay. “This new experience is aimed at giving sellers the best platform to showcase their products and make it effortless for buyers to discover and engage with their inventory.”

Other new features include a new “Today” screen with featured collections, Google and Yahoo ad integration, redesigned seller profiles, and a enhanced search that Yahoo says will now “show you what you asked for, and also other items related to your search.”

To celebrate the launch, eBay is also offering a number of exclusive deals on iOS and Apple accessories through the app:

eBay for iPad Exclusive Deals 

  • Jambox Mini JAMBOX Bluetooth Speaker – $64.99
  • 360 Rotating Smart iPad cover case – $5.75 to $6.95
  • Monster DNA  on-Ear Noise Isolation headphones – $69.00
  • Micro bluetooth speaker – $12.99
  • Beats By Dre Studio High Definition Noise Cancelling Headphones – $249.00
  • Apple Airport Extreme Router – $138.99
  • Apple Lightning cable – $7.99
  • GOgroove FlexSMART X2 Bluetooth Wireless In-Car FM Transmitter – $39.99
  • Seagate Backup Plus 5TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive

None of these prices are earth shattering, but decent enough if you’re currently in the market for one of these items. Keep tuned to 9to5Toys if you want to score Apple and other tech gear at all-time low prices.

The new eBay iPad app is available on the App Store now. A full list of what’s new in version 3.4.0 below:

What’s New in Version 3.4.0

  • Browse through eBay-curated channels including, Today, Deals and Following, as well as Motors, Fashion, Electronics, and Collectibles.
  • View item refresh – placing photos of products front and center
  • Seller profile pages redesigned to place sellers’ products at the forefront
  • Redesigned notifications with a new notification bell on the home screen
  • New Search landing interface
  • Google and Yahoo Ad integration
  • An enhanced selling experience

eBay Stories December 5, 2014

Beats iPhone 6 Apple gift cards

Shopping this year through iPhone and iPad apps is significantly more convenient thanks to Apple Pay and Touch ID. The latest iPhones and iPads allow you to avoid the arduous process of re-entering your credit card information each time at checkout and instead pay for your purchase with the touch of your finger.

Hopefully our holiday gift guides are steering you in the right direction for what to buy this year, especially with guides focused on using your iPhone and iPad in the carmaking music with Apple devicesoutfitting your home with connected smart devices, and more, and these shopping apps should continue to help you along the way. expand full story

eBay Stories September 18, 2014

Want to queue-jump to grab your iPhone 6? Homeless charity auctions off its spot

Update: The winning bid was £570 ($940).

If you’re in London and want to grab an iPhone 6 tomorrow morning without all that tedious queueing, the homeless charity Depaul UK can help. They’ve grabbed a space close to the front of the queue at the Regent Street store and are auctioning it off on eBay to raise funds for homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged youngsters.

This auction is for one spot near the front of the queue outside the Apple Store on Regent Street, London for the launch of the iPhone 6 and a Depaul UK t-shirt.

This auction is for the physical space outside the Apple Store and a Depaul UK t-shirt, not the iPhone 6. Just turn up and take your place in the queue before the store opens to make your purchase.

The auction runs until 6am on Friday, with the store opening at 8am. At the time of writing, the high bid was £105.

eBay Stories August 11, 2014

A MacBook and a few parts from eBay allow hobbyists to take control of an abandoned NASA spacecraft

A MacBook, a flatscreen monitor rescued from a dumpster, a few parts bought on eBay and an abandoned McDonalds as a base may seem a reasonable basis for a hobbyist electronics project of some kind – but taking control of an abandoned NASA spacecraft might feel a little ambitious. Not so, says a team of nine geeks who have successfully taken control of ISEE-3, a spacecraft launched by NASA 36 years ago to measure the solar wind and radiation. The story of what has to be a strong candidate for coolest thing ever is told in full in BetaBeat.

The satellite’s battery has been dead for over 20 years, but it had solar panels to power 98 percent of the satellite’s full capabilities. In its heyday, it ran missions around the Moon and Earth, and flew through the tail of a comet. But technology gets old, and everyone happily let the successful satellite go, knowing it would be back in Earth’s orbit someday — namely, 2014.

Since the satellite went offline, the team had retired, the documentation was lost and the equipment was outdated. They could still hear the satellite out there talking, but they’d need to build the equipment to talk back.

They did have a few more expensive requirements, like a helicopter to lift a transmitter into place, but a crowdfunding campaign took care of the costs. There was then the small matter of getting permission from NASA, no doubt helped by one of the team being a former employee.

They brought the idea to NASA, but there was no precedent on which to base an agreement. No external organization has ever taken command of a spacecraft, but NASA didn’t want to say no, so they asked the team if they needed any help.

Astonishingly, they’ve now successfully placed the craft in a new orbit around the sun, and Google has helped them build a website that will be used to share data transmitted back from it – appropriately enough named Spacecraft For All. The full story is well worth a read.

eBay Stories August 6, 2014

Sam Sung Apple Specialist raises a smile as he auctions last business card for charity

The idea of a former Canadian Apple Specialist auctioning his last business card might sound rather bizarre until you see his name.

The amusing card is being auctioned on eBay, with all proceeds going to the Children’s Wish Foundation, a charity whose mission is to fulfill the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. The charity fulfills the wishes of more than a thousand children a year.

At the time of writing, the high bid was $4,850 with eight days to go. If you’re feeling well-off and generous, you can bid here. The winner will get the framed shirt, lanyard and card.

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