Should we trust eBay? Short answer: No!

Unlike all large corporations that try to become famous and trustworthy through good products, eBay proves, day after day, that they become famous by monopolizing the internet selling business.

Every time, and I really have to say this clearly: Every time I sell something on eBay there has to be something hidden in the deal. From the outside, they write that your offer costs: 0.00. But would it end there? Definitely not! You sell your product and you’re happy, but eventually you get an invoice that you have to pay something like 3%-5% of the price of whatever you sold.

If one reads the policy of eBay in their help section, one will find that they clearly state that personal selling is free for up to 20 items per month. What does this mean in the real world? Nothing whatsoever! They still charge you.

In the following picture, you see that I sold components from my older computer. They charge me for them, although I’m not selling them as commercial.


eBay charges you for personal transactions, even though they clearly say that there are no charges for up to 20 items of noncommercial deals (click to view full size).

I’m not happy as a customer. What should I do? Of course, they have no e-mail to contact, because although they suck millions from customers through a robot server that practically doesn’t cost anything, they can’t hire some customer service to answer your questions! So, if you have a problem, please use the non-free phone number, where they’ll make you pay more than the amount you’re complaining about with your phone!

Is this the only time? Not really… I don’t remember once when I sold stuff with eBay peacefully with no problems.

Let me top that with a nice story. Like a few years ago, I was stupid enough not to use PayPal and buy a processor for 400 euros. The seller didn’t send anything and it turned out it’s a scam. How did the guy do it? He simply put an external picture (from outside eBay) which was white. And after the payment, he changed the external link to contain text that says “The item will be sent with no insurance, and the buyer will be responsible”. I realized the trick, and informed eBay. Did they help? Actually they didn’t even try! They made me pay around 45 euros for phone calls with them, but they did nothing! They didn’t cooperate in any way, and my money was gone.

The morale out of this? Don’t use eBay unless you must. Because there’s always something hidden in their “copy of the rules” that you won’t know about until you’re given a good hit.


Tired from LaTeX tedious coding? Try LyX!

I was really tired from latex and it’s extremely tedious way of writing every equation. Of course, the resulting documents from latex are wonderfully organized and perfect for all scientific purposes.

For example, writing equations with latex is horribly complicated… It’s almost a rule whenever you use latex that you miss a bracket that your latex compiler complains or you get the wrong equation. So what’s wrong with the philosophy “What You See Is What You Get”? Nothing except that people often feel they don’t have the same degree of freedom.

The question is: Is there a way to use the full power and facilities of latex, without the suffer one has to live with it? I think the answer is Yes! The answer is LyX.

LyX is a software that’s based on latex, where it codes latex in the background. It can do everything latex does, with all the freedom you require in latex (that could go to the level of looking into the source), while at the same time, you could work in an environment of “What You See Is What You Get” (at least for equations). LyX in reality uses the philosophy “What You See Is What You Mean”, which is the same philosophy of latex but with no coding, except that you can see how your text looks like in the parts that matter, like text style and equations and figures.

In the worst case, if LyX has a function does not have a function that latex has, one can still write latex code inside lyx!

People who’re used to using latex will definitely complain and say “latex for the win”, while I agree that it’s a matter of taste. But I’m a person who likes dedicating more time on the idea rather than on styling, especially when it comes to documentation. There’s no doubt that making the same document on LyX takes much less time than it does on LaTeX. Therefore, the question rises: Why should I spend more time on coding when I still can do the same with a better tool?

Try lyx, and try to make use of it. It does nothing but make you spend half as much time you do to write an article in a scientific journal.

Faith is the enemy of science

As cliché as this phrase would sound, I had the luxury of learning it from practice rather than from hearing.

I spent 3 years of my life working on optically pumped vapor cesium magnetometers in the nEDM (neutron Electric Dipole Moment) experiment at PSI. For almost 10 years, it was believed by experts that cesium magnetometers are absolute magnetometers, with 100% accuracy, and it was believed that a magnetometer is only limited by its sensitivity.

This was believed in an experiment where the relative precision of the measurement required is $10^{-10}$. After spending three years with this belief, which was as long as 10 years for others in my group, and while I was investigating another quantum mechanical effect called “The Quadratic Zeeman Effect”, I stumbled upon an effect that relates the laser power to an absolute shift that could reach 100 pT; which is a relative accuracy shift of $10^{-4}$. Yes, 6 orders of magnitude were omitted for all those years, just because an inherited belief was carried on from one person to the other; with no experimental measurement that proves that cesium magnetometers are really absolute magnetometers.

Although I left religions long years ago, where I realized back then that faith never leads to anything related to the truth; I never realized that faith could find its way into my life again, in some other way.

Opposing faith while seeking the truth about reality is one of the greatest challenges a researcher could face. One would never realize where faith could sneak into your science career to ruin something you’re doing.

Be aware of it!

Cheers, I learned my lesson 🙂