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What We’re Reading: July 26-30, 2010

Some of the items that caught the attention of NAR Information Central’s staff this week:

Researchers from MIT and Harvard report in a study to be published in the American Economic Review that, on average, a foreclosure can reduce the value of a home by 27%, while a forced sale due to bankruptcy or death of the owner only decreases the value by 3-5%.  Foreclosed properties wield a stigma effect, too, causing neighboring homes within 250 feet to 1% of their value.

In Where the Highest Paying Jobs Are (The Atlantic), always interesting Richard Florida writes about a new report released by the BLS on relative pay levels of major US metros.  Mr. Florida sees the dark side of this, the country divided into haves and have-less, but it doesn’t look like cost of living factors into what this means in real life.

Sunday’s New York Times featured a sobering article on privacy in the digital age.  “We’ve known for years that the Web allows for unprecedented voyeurism, exhibitionism and inadvertent indiscretion,” says Jeffrey Rosen in The Web Means the End of Forgetting, “but we are only beginning to understand the costs of an age in which so much of what we say, and of what others say about us, goes into our permanent — and public — digital files.”

On a similar note, the Guardian explores Foursquare, a hot social networking tool that’s becoming popular with many REALTORS®, but its geo-location features and lack of privacy settings worries some.  The New York Times also reports that Facebook’s customer satisfaction level is remarkably low, ranking with utilities and cable companies.  Is this a function of its ubiquity, recent privacy issues, or something else?  CNNMoney.com takes a look at who’s making money on Facebook, including Oodle, the online classified ad company.

And last, Apple released its new Magic Trackpad this week, and of all the reviews that immediately followed, Gizmodo’s is perhaps the most interesting.  Not for the review itself (the Trackpad is “comfortable” but “not magical”, Gizmodo declares) but for the overview of the product’s implications.  Multi-touch will gradually cause the death of the mouse, says Gizmodo, the convergence of iOS (the iPhone/iPad operating system) and Mac OS, and change how users interact with computers in general.

What are you reading this week?  Leave your comments and suggestions below.

Frederik Heller

Manager of the Library & Archives at the National Association of REALTORS.

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