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High-tech yard saling
Use your PC or smartphone to find bargains

07/05/12
By John Andrews jandrews@hippopress.com



 If there’s one thing I love as much as playing with new gadgets, it’s hitting yard sales. And finding a deal on a barely used gadget at a yard sale? Heaven. The only way that could be better would be using a gadget to get to the yard sale in the first place.

OH WAIT.
Yes, there are websites and mobile apps devoted just to this purpose. The Saturday morning dorkery triumvirate is complete.
 
Web: I used to be a fan of GarageSaleFinder.com. The site address is easy to remember, the mapping is accurate, and you can search listings by keywords (say, “electronics”). But YardSaleTreasureMap.com does all that and more. Where GarageSaleFinder.com only pulls in the exact addresses it finds on Cragslist, YardSaleTreasureMap.com makes educated guesses from partial addresses spread throughout the Craigslist ad. That’s only necessary because (1) most people somehow don’t think to put their address in  the “Location” field, and (2) Craigslist doesn’t force people to put in an address with Street Address, Town, State, and ZIP Code fields. Hey, what do you want for free, right?
 
My only complaint about YardSaleTreasureMap.com is that its interface is a bit clunky. Your itinerary is automagically arranged on the map, but to change it you have to bring up a separate list and drag the addresses around. Double-clicking a point on the Google map it brings up does not zoom in, but rather adds a new yard sale push pin. That’s an important function to have, and there are other ways to zoom in, but taking over an existing control and changing the way it works is mucho obnoxious. (It also doesn’t color-code estate sales, multi-family sales, and the like the way GarageSaleFinder.com does, but in the end that usually doesn’t matter much.)
 
Still, YardSaleTreasureMap has two more killer features: you can add non-yard sale stops to your route (like coffee shops) and send the whole itinerary to the corresponding Android and iPhone apps. Oh yeah.
 
Android: The Yard Sale Treasure Map app adds turn-by-turn navigation for your itinerary, using your phone’s GPS. There’s also Garage Sale Rover, but that only adds navigation if you buy the $3.99 premium version, and there’s a creepy red dog mascot in their promo video. iGarageSale does the same thing for only $1.99 and you get some dude’s hip-hop MP3 in the deal too.
 
iOS: The iPhone and iPad app for YardSaleTreasureMap.com is called Yard Sale Mapper for some reason. You’ll find iGarageSale, Garage Sale Rover and Garage Sale Finder apps here too. YardSale doesn’t interface with Craigslist like all the others as far as I can tell, but tries to be its own hipster version of it with vintagey items in its example screenshots. Good luck, Yardsale.
 
Windows Phone: There’s not much choice here, so the crown goes to Yard Sale Hunter by default. It guesses incomplete addresses based on the Craigslist city or area URL you enter and saves your searches so you don’t have to re-enter them every weekend. It has GPS support, so maps and directions are right there for you. Because the company that makes it, WallingSoft, is based in Seattle, results will be best there, but supposedly it “supports the entire world!”
 
BlackBerry: Uh, none, it looks like. But shoot, you use a BlackBerry. You’re obviously a high-powered executive forcing people into financial ruin necessitating emergency yard sales to raise cash in the first place. Jerk.
 
Haggle with me by following @CitizenjaQ on Twitter.





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