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Old 12-04-2004, 06:58 AM   #1
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Question Running a Home-based business

Let me start off by appologizing if I am asking questions that are either dumb, or have already been answered in another forum... I have searched in some of the other forums, but I have not yet found anything that deals with this specifically.

Secondly, I am a Linux newbie. I have taken a college course on Redhat, and have always been a huge supporter of open source, but I haven't had the opportunity to get into using Linux on a daily basis until now...

My question is this: Can someone point me in the right direction on what types of programs I could use to help run a home-based business?

Here is a little background: I work for Alltel Wireless, and my wife home-schools our 6 children. Last year, she started a home-based business by selling misc. items she found all over the place on eBay. It was an immediate success, and after a few months of selling on eBay, she branched off into selling books on In the past 6 months, we have seen the Amazon business skyrocket from 200 books to our current inventory of about 4,500 books... She still sells some items on eBay, but her biggest area of sales is books. She knows very little about computers, so she relies on me to help her in processing the orders that come in every day. She is currently listing, on average, about 100 books per day, and she sells anywhere from 25-30 books on an average day.
The sales come in via an e-mail from that has all of the sales information in it, and up to this point I have been getting by with some scripts I wrote using UltraEdit. What I would like to find is some way of handling the whole process much better & efficiently than we do now. My goal is to find something that help me integrate the listing process with the order processing. The reason for this is because books are sent via Media Mail (USPS) and the rate is based on the actual wieght of the book. I have a USB digital scale, and we currently use to print our postage...

Can anyone help point me in the direction I should look that would help me to automate alot of this? There seems to be a preponderance of programs that will automate e-mail processing for a Microsux based system, so I'm confident that there is something out there for that will do it better for a Linux based system...
I am currently using Windows XP pro, and trying to setup a dual boot system using Fidora Core, or Redhat 9, and hope to be using nothing but Linux in the future. I could also use some advice on what may be a better OS to use other than Fidora Core or Redhat. But it would need to be something easy to learn and have a good GUI interface.

Thank you for your time and help!

Old 12-04-2004, 08:36 AM   #2
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Take a look at linuxvar.
Old 12-04-2004, 09:27 AM   #3
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Thanks, but that's not really what I was looking for... I was hoping to find something, at least similar in nature, to an access database. I would like to find something that will extract the key info from the emails I receive from Amazon or eBay and format the info into a receipt - I use a Star micronics POS printer to print the receipts, which are used as our "pull sheets" - meaning the receipt has the SKU numbers we use for our inventory, and we use that to locate and pull the book once its sold. Then we have to process the book again to get the weight and print the postage and label for shipment.
What I am would like to do is to set up some kind of database that would allow us to use a books' UPC barcode and a barcode scanner, in conjunction with the USB scales I have to log the weight of the book at the time its listed. Then, when the book is sold, the weight is recalled from this database and then combined with the info from the email to create the pull sheet (receipt) and the shipping label at the same time.
But, for the time being, I would like to find something that would extract the needed info from the emails and be able to paste that info into a text file of some sort...

However, I do appreciate your response - I will continue to read the info on that website to see if there may be something there that could help me with this...


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