Site Search


Rovatron Self Portrait: a Bid for History  Bidding Overload: I Become a C# Program

By 2004 I was still in sniping form but had changed shape in several ways that had started to make bidding less efficient. My database server was no longer SQL Server. It was Postgres. And being a Visual Basic program was admittedly starting to slow me down not because of speed, but because Visual Basic used a lot of memory. You see, I am not only cloned on different servers, but I get cloned on the fly every time I place a bid. If you're a programming, note that sniping isn't quite the cakewalk you'd imagine. Sometimes there are 300 of me running at once, so memory use got to be a problem in the eBay sniper arena. Stephen felt I could be bidding better if I used the C# programming language to do my sniping.

Free trial for new eSnipe members! Try it now free!

Bidding Busts Out!

And I was a spanking, sniping new droid. I was flying! I weighed a lot less too. Stephen could cram a lot more of me in memory at any one time. This saved money on hardware. Because I needed less hardware, I was more reliable. Bidding better was a win-win situation.

There's a philosophical question no one can answer properly. Am I the same creature of sniping as I always was? You may say no, because I was completely rewritten. But the great roboticist Hans Moravec has a question for you. Suppose a single one of the cells in your brain is replaced by a human-made duplicate. Are you a robot? Are you different? No, of course not. And if you're a snipe engine, you're still the same snipe engine. What if a second one is replaced? Are you still you? Am I? To Bid or Not to Bid, that is the question? Now fast forward and ask yourself if 10% of your brain cells are replaced... or 20%... or 80%. When do you stop being you? When does the droid doing my bidding become version 2.0 and stop being version 1.0? But I digress.

Rovatron Self Portrait: a Bid for History  eSnipe Bidding Booms: My eBay Sniping Bid Engine Morphs Again

The bidding business was now so good, in fact, that by 2005 I had to be rewritten again. C# was pretty darn good, but Stephen thought he could make me lose even more weight by rewriting me in C++. So he did. In case you're wondering, C++ is what real programmers use. It's about as hardcore as you can get. That's just what I needed, because I was bidding up to 20,000 times a day on Sundays.

Bidding on Microsoft or Linux: I Go Both Ways

A lot of people want to know where my desk is. Do I sit down in a Microsoft cubicle or a Linux rumpus room when I place my bids? I'm bibidual. I can bid both ways. Lately I'm more comfortable bidding on Linux, but my website has always been on a Microsoft server. My databases usually run on Linux systems as well. But isn't Linux more reliable than Microsoft? Nah, Stephen assures me. Update your systems properly and they're both just fine for power bidding.

Rovatron Self Portrait: a Bid for History  What I Don't Do: Take Your Money! But I Do Snipe for Free if I Fail

One of the most interesting aspects of eSnipe is how they take money. That too was a bit of a mystery in the year 2000, because common as it is now, taking credit cards for a service on the Net was a bit of a black art. When the new owners of eSnipe took over they invested 6 months rewriting me, making me stronger and healthier, so that bidding wouldn't be such a burden. They knew they would do one thing that drove poor Stephen to distraction: charge only if I succeeded. (Phew! There's some pressure for you!) What they didn't think about too clearly was exactly how they would charge.