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A Custom Auction Database For the HP Palmtop

A Custom Auction Database For the HP Palmtop

By Bob Penick (bnj@iname.com)

What follows is a description of a database I developed to keep track of my online auction transactions.

In the tradition of the early computer "hackers", I'd like to offer this database to the rest of the Palmtop community. I have a hunch many people will find it a worthwhile application. When I first mentioned the database on the HPLX-L mailing list, I received 10 requests for it in 24 hours. I've never had that kind of response from any other posting I've made to the mailing list.

All I ask in return is that, if you come up with any improvements, you let me know so I can add the enhancements to my own version of the database. You can contact me at the e-mail address above.

Here's a list of the various fields in each record of the database along with a brief comment about the data that each field is meant to hold.

 1: Item description --The description may be different than the one used on eBay.

 2: Auction number --This is a unique number assigned by the auction site.

 3/4: Date and Time the auction ends --I use Pacific Standard Time (PST) since eBay uses that as its clock and calendar. I try to synchronize my Palmtop's clock with the eBay clock. That's important for placing last-second bids.

5: Bidder ID's --Radio buttons for more than one ID (see Note #1 below).

 6: Paid --Final cost, I don't include shipping charges.

 7: Max Bid --The upper limit of a bid I've made.

 8: Min Bid --The lowest bid I made.

 9: Negotiated Price --This is a check box to note auctions completed off the auction site (Note #2).

 10: Group --A category box to allow me to use subsets (Note #3).

 11/12: Gave & Rec. --Check boxes to track feedback received and given.

 13: Mailed Pmt. --Date field showing when I mailed payment.

 14: Rec'd Item --Date field showing when item was received.

 15: Seller ID --Seller's auction ID.

 16: Email --Seller's email address.

 17: Name --Seller's name.

 18-23: Address fields.

 24: Country --I only fill this in on auctions where the seller is outside the USA (see note #4).

 25: Notes --Room for special comments about the auction (see note #5).

Note #1: I use two bidder ID's as "radio buttons" because someone might want to keep track of two ID's. That is, someone might want to bid and sell under different ID's. Similarly, spouses might have different ID's because of different interests but they would still want to track both sets of auctions.

Note #2: When an item doesn't get bid up to the seller's expectation, a so-called "auction reserve," the item doesn't have to be sold on eBay. The transaction may sometimes be completed via private negotiations. Occasionally, other people will contact the second highest bidder to offer a similar item. eBay and other sites discourage this practice but it still happens.

Note #3: I've left some of the category descriptors in the copy of the database so that you can get an idea how to use it.

Note #4: I placed this field at the end of the address section and even put it on the second page since I rarely use it. It is there if it's needed however.

Note #5: I also moved the Notes field to the second page because I remember reading (probably in the pages of The HP Palmtop Paper) that databases sort and find things more quickly if a Notes field is not on the first page.

 Lastly, as with any Palmtop database, I can use the Smart Clip function to print a Comma Delimited Format file of selected records to disk. From there, I can bring the CDF file into a spreadsheet program where I can look at my auctions in different ways. I can sum the money I've spent over a certain period and other financial tasks easier there.

Some features you might want to add:

 1: Check boxes to denote auction sites other than eBay.

 2: A check box to track correspondence sent and received.

 3: Check boxes to track payment. For example, if paid by check or money order and if paid by check then has the check cleared or not.

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