AuctionShoppingBot technical stuff
This robot is under construction!
1) for people who
- collect or trade rare/obscure items,
- buy and/or sell at auctions on line
2) software that you install on your PC
- shopping bot
- artificial intelligence engine
3) a totally new concept
This is software for people who want the rare stuff -- the stuff
that might come up for sale only once or twice a year.
As far as your PC is concerned, the Auction Shopping Bot is a "database
application". Historically, database applications need more horsepower
than other typical desktop applications. Pentium II's and up
are good, Pentium I's are slow. More memory is always better,
but that applies no matter what software you want to run. If you
want the bot to download and store pictures, you will need a BIG
hard disk -- really big! By BIG, we mean that 80 gigs is a
good value at the moment if you will purchase a new drive. Pictures
take up a lot of space; we have no control over that. But hey, real
estate has never been so cheap. We recommend Windows XP, but we will
be testing the Auction Shopping Bot on prior Windows versions and on
Linux in the near future. A fast web connection (i.e., broadband) is
good but not essential for data collection, and is essential if you want
the bot to download lots of big pictures. You might want to sign up for
unlimited internet access, because you might decide you want the Auction
Shopping Bot out there searching 24/7. In short, DO try the Auction
Shopping Bot on your existing set up, but this may be the killer app
that justifies a major hardware upgrade.
shopping bot has artificial intelligence, which enables it to find
items on your list, even when there are misspellings in the item
title (headline), and even when the description is incomplete. But
hey, it is still a dumb robot -- it can mechanically follow your instructions,
but cannot really think, and does not have human intelligence. It
is up to you to give the robot good instructions on what to look for.
The better your instructions to the robot, the better the job the robot
can do for you.
- In case you did not know, "bot" is short for "robot".
- Bots are typically a services available on-line that search
for bargains on the web. Dot com's have been based on shopping
bot services. (We guess that many dot coms have been based entirely
on the shopping bot idea, and most have come and gone.)
- Up until now, bots have only been used to search for new
products for sale, airline tickets, and hotel rooms, and the like
(as far as we know). On the other hand, there are probably lots
of bots out there that we do not know about. Shopping bots are typically
"right now" oriented -- what is the lowest price available for XYZ item
- The AuctionShoppingBot can tell you whether good stuff is for
sale right now. Shopping bots typically just put the information
and links on the screen. This is good if all you want is to buy now.
- The AuctionShoppingBot goes one step further: it puts the
information in a database, so you can retrieve it late -- even months or
years later. We do not know of any other shopping bot that does that.
This database makes the AuctionShoppingBot so useful to collectors
and traders of rare stuff. The auction shopping bot is software, rather
than an on-line service, so you can store in your database, on your PC,
the information on prior sales of items of interest to you.
- The AuctionShoppingBot can reliably search for items up for auction
on line because it has the artificial intelligence engine.
The challenge is that the titles and descriptions in on line
auctions are not structured, and are written by humans who expect
that other humans will read them. For the AuctionShoppingBot to
find items reliably, you need the artificial intelligence engine.
"Reliable" is relative -- the AuctionShoppingBot is still a dumb robot,
but it does a pretty good job for a dumb robot.
This robot is under construction!
We expect to release the software to beta testers
in the fall of 2003 (this year). Contact us if you want to be
among the first! The hardware robot pictured above is also under
construction and needs a name -- send your suggestions. The person
who first suggests the name that we adopt for the hardware robot
will receive a free one year license for the software robot.
We want your feedback! Tell us how to improve our
site for you.
Hits since March 1st, 2003