Run My Auction
Run My Auction was created specifically for fundraising auctions. I volunteered
for local non-profits trying to raise money for a good cause. I found working their
auctions extremely frustrating. Bidders stood in line waiting while volunteers
bent over pads of paper and calculators tallying up the totals and trying to figure
tax on items won by the bidders. The process was very time consuming, difficult,
and fraught with errors.
I decided there had to be a better way. I worked one auction and the check-in/
check-out crew were using computers, and I thought finally, someone is doing it
right. The company had two Windows computers running Access. At the end of the
auction, they had to take a half hour to "syncronize" their computers before they
could start the check-out process. Then, fifteen minutes into the process the
computers crashed, another 20 minute delay.
The right answer was still waiting to be found. The software to track the auction items,
bidders, and winning bids had to be a web application. This way, there would be no
software to buy, install, or learn, and if the software was like a website, it would
feel familiar to people. However, Miyoji Productions is headquartered
in a small town and wireless internet is not available everywhere, another complication.
Finally, the solution, Macs. Because of their reliability and their ability to run
a web server and a database server, Macintosh computers were the right choice.
This way even in a venue without reliable internet service, the Macs could act as
a web server and database server and the web application could run over a local
So, I wrote the web application to track bidders, items, winning bids, and then bring all
the information together for check-out. This web application combined with Apple
hardware was the right combination.
The Macs are only required to be the web server and database server. The other computers
which connect to the network can be any computers which run a web browser. Also you
can have up to 256 computers connected to the local network and running the web
application. So the check-in/check-out system can expand to serve any size of auction.
The software is as simple as filling out a "contact us" form on a website. So the
training is simple and quick, even for first time volunteers.