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January 2014

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I like to consider myself a devil customer. I'm the kind of guy who never makes impulse buys, always does product research, and will never fail to find the cheapest price on an item (well, maybe excepting food and other low-margin-variation items).

Recent technological advances have greatly enhanced my evil shopping ways. When I was looking for some cheap Titlest DCIs on eBay, I employed the excellent jbidwatcher to do my dirty work for me. It scoured, sorted, and found exactly what I was looking for within minutes of it hitting the auction block. The result? A full set of professional-grade irons for under $150.

But that's nothing compared to what I'm wielding now.

There are great sites which exist solely for the purpose of collecting and distributing information about the hottest deals to be had. I've been using slickdeals.net regularly for a year or so, as I simply didn't have time to sort through some of the larger sites (this is how I scored my Dell P4 2.4 GHz system + Palm Zire for $250, as well as my Onkyo HTIB, Planar 17" display, and many other goodies). Slickdeals is a "best of the best" site, which distills good deals from all over and gives you a nice summary of the best ones.

But recently, thanks to Mozilla Thunderbird, I've added another weapon to my arsenal.

In Thunderbird, you can pull down headlines from RSS-enabled sites (for example, fatwallet.com) and then interact with the articles exactly as you would with messages within mail folders. That alone is great - it's much better to have all of the headlines at your disposal in a single location, as opposed to having to load each and every site, scrolling through a bunch of pages of worthless information.

Where the true power lies, though, is in Thunderbird's "saved search" feature. You can use this to create a constantly updated live folder, which will display all items that match your specified criteria - if you're familiar with iTunes's "Smart Playlist" feature, this works in much the same way.

So, for example, I can pull RSS feeds from *every* deal site on the net that has them, and then Thunderbird will look for the terms I'm interested in and display all matches in a single location.

This functionality has greatly increased my proficiency at locating good deals. I have folders for RAM, clothes, usb drives, DVD burners, the whole 9 yards... and this enables me to easily find the stuff I'm interested and ignore the junk that I don't care about. Of course, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

I've kicked it up a notch. Suck it, retail!

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