Thursday, February 28, 2008

Used Car Buyers: Beware of New Scam

I don't usually post anything about scames, but a friend was almost pulled into this one: A guy is selling a car at an incredible bargain. He's in the military overseas and can't take it with him to his next duty post. Where he is stationed it's impossible sell a car (because the citizens of that country have to pay a big import duty, or whatever). He'll even supply the car's VIN. (On the deal my friend was considering, I did a search on eBay using the VIN, and found that the car with that VIN had recently been sold by a dealer in Texas. The scammers are geting legitimate VIN numbers for sale on eBay.)

The seller says a military aircraft will bring it to you free--right! All you have to do is send him half the money--that's the tip-off--which will be held in escrow by eBay.
Problem is, eBay doesn't hold money in escrow. The seller will have you wire the money to what he says is an escrow acocunt, but it's really a Western Union pickup.

You'll get an assurance that the car is being put on to a military plane, then you'll never hear from the guy or see your car gain. This scam has been posted on Craig's List and similar venues recently. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it is. (And the words "escrow," "overseas shipping," and "guaranteed" are alarms.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now Available as E-Books!

Several of my titles are now available as E-Books.

First, Blogging Hereos can be downloaded at the Wiley Web site as an Adobe Eboook:,descCd-ebook.html

Plus, my short biography of Hugo Gernsback, titled Hugo Gernsback: The Man Who Invented the Future, is here:

I think you'll find the Kindle editions have friendly prices.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What's Up with

So what's up with's "Search Inside The Book" program? It was there one day, and gone the next. Maybe it's a glitch. If so, Amazon must have a backup of every listing ready to go without the "Search" illustrations.

Speaking of Amazon, I've just put two books into their Kindle publishing program. One is an edited edition of How to Become a Fulltime Freelance Writer. The other is a brief biography titled Hugo Gernsback: The Man Who Invented the Future. I'll post about 'em (with links) when they show up on the system.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Blogging Heroes Chapter on the Web!

One of the m ore fun interviews for Blogging Heroes was the one with Scott McNulty, of The Unofficial Apple Weblog (or TUAW). Scott has the nearly unique perspective of not being a died-in-the-wool computerphile. He didn't buy his first computer until after he graduated from college in 1999. (And despite that ended up working as a systems administrater for Windows computers).

In preview, here are a couple of quotes from the interview:
Never say/write anything that you are uncomfortable standing behind.
Write about whatever you are passionate about, and success will follow.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Book Preview

For anyone who may not have seen them already, there are several chapters from my book Blogging Heroes available online in PDF format. The chapter that interviews Chris Anderson is right here at his blog, The Long Tail. Have a look--it's a good sample!

In the interview, Chris notes that, "I do my best thinking via my blogs." Here are quotes from a few other bloggers I interviewed for the book:
* "For me, the future of journalism is blogging."-- Mary Jo Foley, All About Microsoft

"One of the true beauties and powers of blogs is that they can give voice to people who are not heard."-- Frank Warren, PostSecret

* "When I look out at the blogosphere, I don't see lots of inconsequential blogs. I see lots of possibility."-- Gina Trapani,

1948: Crosley Broadcasting Puts its First Television Station on the Air

As the original author of CROSLEY: Two Brothers and a Business Empire that Transformed the Nation, I enjoy sharing information and images having to do with the various aspects of the Crosley empire. Today (February 9) is the 60th Anniversary of Crosley Broadcasting’s first regular commercial television broacasts. WLWT, Cincinnati’s Channel 5, went on the air on February 9, 1948. Here’s an artist’s rendering of the Crosley Broadcasting facilities as seen from the air. This site was on Chickasaw Street in University Heights.

I'll be sharing some photos of early Crosley television activities over the next couple of weeks at my Crosley blog:

Crosley's initial experiments with television began in 1939, with TV demos at the Carew Tower and inside the Crosley Pavilion at the Chicago World's Far. (Crosley was partnered with DuMont at the time.) --Mike

HDTV Converter Box Coupons

Five people have asked me this week about the Federal government's HDTV converter box coupon program, and TV newscasts are pushing it hard. With so much interest, maybe someone who needs the info will find it here.

The deal is that the Feds will give you one or two (maximum) coupons for $40 off a digital
TV converter box. But you have to use the coupon(s) within 90 days of when they're mailed to you. I figure the retail end will mark up prices when the coupons start coming in.

For info, call: 888.388.2009
Or go to and apply for a coupon.
Or write: TV Converter Box Program, P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208. (Correction: I don't think an SASE is required.)
This is also the address to which you send your application if you download it at this URL: