Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pink ATM Machines and PIN Numbers

Christmas is just around the corner, so I decided to check out the hot toys this season for our loyal readers. I stumbled across a stock of 15 TMX Elmo's, and you can read the previous article to see yojay's master plan to make a profit of $10 a box. Anyway, after deciding that an extra $50 wasn't worth my time, I went online to find another toy. The front page of is pushing robots and life-size ponies, but I had to dig a little deeper to find this gem:

Two things bother me about this ad. First, why are they using a hairy man-hands when this is obviously for a little girl? I guess this is setting expectations for dad. This toy will not inspire your daughter to go out and get a job, but rather, she will beg you to insert money into the machine for her.

The second problem is a little more subtle. Check out the print ad:

The Ultimate ATM machine - it's just like the real thing. The big screen welcomes you and will give you all of your up to date account information. This ATM is so advanced, it even knows your name.

A Pink ATM Machine. A Pink Automated Teller Machine Machine. I've always wanted a Pink ATMM.

Okay, so we've all been there. We've had that moment where you say something that is grammatically incorrect. In fact, I'm sure my gracious host yojay is scanning my post right now looking for my own mistakes (f*** you yojay). But as a society, we don't have a good measure of how fucked up one mistake is versus another. No fear America! Gstdog is here to solve the problem. Here is my patented Two-Dimensional Grammar Faux Pas Matrix (okay, maybe itsn't not patented yet, but I'm working on it....or not).


  • Dunce - Confusing 'effect' with 'affect'. No matter what you do, you're still wrong 90% of the time--it's unavoidable.
  • Simpleton - Confusing 'there' with 'their'. Small children will laugh at you, but at least you can still kick 'their' asses.
  • Dimwit - Any adverb mistake. A trusted professor once told me that an adverb is an admission of a poor vocabulary. Any adverb-adjective combination can be replaced by a better adjective (e.g., really bad = terrible, really big = huge).
  • Idiot - Using "it's" as a possesive. Your best bet is to blame this mistake on either a mild case of dyslexia or a typo. It's far better to admit a disability than being exposed for your true stupidity.
  • Mental Defective - Redundant word usage, or the RAS Syndrome. 'ATM Machines', 'PIN Numbers', and the 'reason why'.
  • Dumbass - Confusing the use of 'I' and 'me'. Why is this one so high on the list? Because yojay bugs the shit out of me about this one, and I guess I never learned in grade school that you can't use 'I' in a prepositional phrase. Goddamn, he pisses me off sometimes.


  • Second - Chatting online
  • Minute - Talking to yourself
  • Hour - Talking to your dog
  • Week - Talking to a friend
  • Year - Talking to a large group
  • Decade - Addressing a nation on TV
  • Lifetime - Written communication* (* If unpaid, probably just a month.)

So how does this work? If I misuse an adverb in this blog post, yojay will give me shit about being a dimwit for a month. If President Bush can't even construct a proper sentence on television, he'll be a dumbass for a decade (trust me, it wears off--nobody cares about Dan Quayle anymore). If you use redundant phrases in a national print ad for a toy, then you are a mental defective for the rest of your life.

How can a reputable company let something like this happen? Don't they pay someone to read this shit? Toys 'r' Us lists the manufacturer as Summit Products. Let's check them out: Trust me on this one--I clicked on commerical products and didn't find any Pink ATM Machines. Okay, maybe the 'I feel lucky' button on Google isn't the right choice for this search.

Ah, now we've got it--Summit Toys. And to confirm, this wasn't a Toys 'r' Us error--Summit lists all of their ATM Machines as such. A quick check around to see if any of them have PIN Numbers, but no luck. Wait! They have an ATMM? Do they recognize their own idiocy?'s just an Automated Teller Machine Mini Machine.

But, alas, the stupidity doesn't stop there. Our good friends over at are in their "ninth year of selling ATM machines." Good for them--nothing like nine years of uninterrupted stupidity.

Check out the Yojay Store. Like the blog? Buy the shirt!

ATM Machine

Posted by Gstdog to Listen up at 12/14/2006 09:57:00 PM

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

TMX Emo Auction breakdown

For the record, I was not looking for porn when I monitored this TMX Elmo Auction.

So, yesterday I came across an entire pallet of these things and thought "Aren't they hard to find?" My cohort agreed but we thought some research was in order. After noticing the secondary market value was about the same as retail, we concluded it would be a lot of work for little reward. However, it seems that in the last day, prices have starting creeping up as more and more auctions are ending and supply is dwindling. A quick check on eBay shows 4-5 auctions ending EVERY minute as of the time of this post. These auctions will dwindle over the next week, with the last second buyers growing increasingly desperate. Online businesses aren't helping much either when they have prices in $100 range or greater.

TMX Elmo bid timeline (final morning)

As you can see by the graph, there was minimal activity in my resprentative auction until the final 5 minutes, when the high bid increased 200%, from $15.00 to $45.00.

Click the picture above to see an animation of the final auction moments.

This clearly shows me that there is demand for these toys, and money to be made on the secondary market, especially when you factor in the inflated shipping charges some sellers have included.

Of course, some people are aiming higher than others, with BUY IT NOW prices of $300 for 2.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mastering MERLIN

For the record, I was not looking for porn when I found MERLIN in my closet.

So I was looking for some wiring for my display lights in my storage bins and came across my MERLIN electronic toy from 1978. Parker Brothers made this cool handheld game and it was one of my favorite toys. I even still have the orginal box, although it's barely square anymore. I believe they have redesigned and re-released this classic game, along with some other great original handhelds of my childhood.

It has 6 game modes:
  • Tic-Tac-Toe
  • Music Machine
  • Echo
  • Blackjack 13
  • Magic Square
  • Mindbender

The last one, Mindbender, is an electronic version of the old code breaking game, Mastermind.

There's even been a Virtual MERLIN project that, despite website appearances, seems to be mostly completed.

So why do we care here? Because there's something to be said for mastering this game. It is a great exercise in efficient code breaking. Below are the results of my first recording of a 9 digit Mindbender game. It makes me wonder, what is the best way to solve these? Is there a secret? Any mathematicians out there have an equation to prove it can be done in says..10 steps everytime? Stay tuned...I may try to figure this out.

In the meantime:

UPDATE: I pulled another sample. After putzing around for 24 rounds, I buckled down and realized that I MUST have enough information by now. I did, but it took some digging to see it. I highlighted in pink the hits and in red the misses. Going back over the history like this, the code slowly revealed itself. It's like a really primitive version of Minesweeper. Now, to improve the process.