Google released a short video recently highlighting some of its key milestones in search over the past decade. It’s both a fun blast from the past and a worthwhile reminder of how much things have changed over the years. The video is also a nice follow-on to the look under the hood of search that Google released in August.
Despite some backlash against early store openings on Thanksgiving Day, retailers could see a record number of shoppers on Black Friday this year.
An estimated 152 million people are expected to shop over Black Friday weekend, up 10% from last year, according to a recent report from industry trade group the National Retail Federation.
Retailers love to make you think you are getting a bargain on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but it’s not always the case. Time gives some tips on what consumers need to know about BF.
Apple has a few Black Friday deals too. While the big ticket items are only so-so deals, some accessories aren’t bad.
Whether you spend your holiday with family and friends or out in the cold shivering in line (also hopefully with friends), Information Central wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Multi-generational homes, reviews of the Kindle Fire, and surviving your relatives
Renting may be the latest fashion, but it still feels like something you do right out of college or if you can’t afford to buy. For an aspirational society like ours, it’s decidedly not upwardly mobile when you have to call your landlord if you want to change your showerhead. Or grow herbs. Or get a dog.
Or have your in-laws move in. The latest trend in homebuilding? A second master bedroom suite. With more and more multi-generational families expected as boomers age and unemployed college graduates move back home, BloombergBusinessWeek gives the details.
And at the other end of the multi-generational living spectrum, new college grads are more and more frequently moving back in with Mom and Dad which is slowing down the recovery.
When is the best time to tweet? 9 am Eastern Time.
What’s inside the new Kindle Fire? Lots of great parts. Reviews are coming in and they range from generally positive: Mashable, Consumer Reports, Mossberg to less enamored: Pogue, WaPo, Wired. And now rumors of a Kindle phone? Hmm…
MSN Money has 18 tips to save on holiday shopping: start early, look for deals and coupons, gift cards are ok, and don’t buy for yourself, you greedy so and so!
AAA reports that millions of people will travel between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, most of them visiting family. That means there are a lot of beleaguered holiday hosts as well as holiday guests out there. Here’s how to survive. Hint: leave the emotional baggage at the door. Good luck on that one…
Life Magazine was known for the quality of its images. But after 75 years there were bound to be a few clunker covers.
Apple and audiobooks are back in action!
If you are an audio(book)phile and you use an Apple device to enjoy audiobooks, then you likely experienced trials and tribulations with the recent iOS5 upgrade. Suddenly, what once worked perfectly no longer worked at all. For weeks, we went without. Work commutes dragged on, walks in the out of doors seemed colder, gym workouts more mundane, life more colorless.
Thankfully, those days are over. OverDrive (the audiobook vendor for most libraries) brings color back to our world. The solution is far from perfect, but for audiobook junkies: it’s a fix. Details below on this somewhat onerous process.
1. Uninstall OverDrive Media Console from your computer (any books you have already checked out with OverDrive will display when you reinstall).
How to uninstall from a PC:
1b. Search for OverDrive using the search box at upper right, click on the program when it is located and click on “uninstall.” Follow the uninstall steps.
3. Download an audiobook from NAR eBooks collection: http://ebooks.realtor.org/D43BF3C1-CAF7-413F-88BA-22D70383D59B/10/369/en/SearchResults.htm?SearchID=45151073
4. Plug-in your Apple device to your computer and make sure iTunes is open
5. Open the OverDrive program on your computer (from a PC click on the start menu –> search for OverDrive –> click on OverDrive when you see it in the list.
6. Transfer the audiobook (or parts of the audiobook) to your Apple device:
7. The book will appear on your Apple device, but will not yet play if you disconnect from your computer:
8. OverDrive and iTunes will make an empty playlist with the same title as your audiobook:
9. Drag + drop the audiobook parts from the “Books” section of your Apple device to the playlist OverDrive/iTunes made for your audiobook:
10. Now disconnect your Apple device from your computer and enjoy.
Two important notes:
1. OverDrive will not save your place, so you need to remember which part and chapter you left off on last when switching from audiobooks to music/podcasts/etc. on your Apple device.
2. You will need to delete the book chapters from your Apple device when you are finished.
If you don’t already know, there is a free OverDrive app. It is a much smoother process than the steps above. You can even add more than one library, such as the NAR Library AND your local public library. However, frequently you will find there are fewer selections via the app than when checking out/downloading via your Library’s eBooks site.
Augmented reality always seems to be the next big thing that never turns into anything. AR is when you have a live image of something – like through your smartphone’s camera – and then the image is enhanced with either more information, images, or sound to give a richer experience. So say you’re walking down the street looking for a good place to eat. You could simply hold up your phone to get a quick overview of ratings from Yelp for all the restaurants in your field of view.
It seems like a great enhancement for real estate listings. At an open house, people could get more info on various features, or if they hold their phone up to your yard sign, they could get the details and a tap to a quick video tour on YouTube. There are already apps available just for this - HomeSpotter is one and ZipRealty has another. But I never see them out in the real world. Is it just my market or is it that smartphone saturation isn’t deep enough to warrant the time and effort to set up an AR tour? Or is it just that there is no ‘standard’ AR app to download that’s going to give you access to whatever info you need. If each real estate firm uses a different app, that’s going to keep the market small and fragmented.
I don’t know if AR will ever be more than a toy, but Starbucks has launched its first AR campaign this week with its smartphone app, Starbuck’s Cup Magic (available for iPhone and Android). Once you’ve loaded the app you are directed to find one of five Starbucks’ holiday characters seen on their cups, in their stores or on their coffee bags. Framing it in your phone’s camera will bring the image to life with a short animation. Tapping on the character on your screen will have it do more actions. I tried it today and thought it was pretty fun. Fun enough that I will make sure to go back to Starbucks to find the rest…and probably buy more coffee than I would. Great marketing.
by Russell Carlson, Information Specialist
From the NAR Archives: Virginia Grant recognized the woman sitting in a large pink Cadillac in front of the trendy Lowenstein’s East Department store in early 1957. Grant had seen the woman’s photograph in the newspaper and recognized her. It was Elvis Presley’s mother.
The Memphis REALTOR® (and member of the Women’s Council of the National Association of Real Estate Boards) engaged in some friendly conversation with Mrs. Presley, and was able to confirm a rumor heard in Memphis real estate circles. The Presleys wanted to buy, perhaps “a few acres with a large house, not too far out of town.”
Grant suggested a property of thirteen acres on Highway 51 and mentioned it to the lady. The Presleys were pressed for time. That night they would be leaving for Hollywood to visit their son for a month. Mr. Presley was in Lowenstein’s purchasing luggage for the trip. “Would you give me your card and write the address and a bit of a description on the back, so I can tell Elvis when we get to Hollywood?” Grant was happy to do so.
A month later the phone rang in her office. “Hello Miss Grant, this is Presley. Wonder if it would be convenient to show me the property you told Mom and Dad about?” Miss Grant made the time to do so. A six figure price was eventually arranged by Virginia and another REALTOR® who worked for the owners of Graceland.
“But for the Grace of God,” she said in the September 1957 issue of the Women’s Council newsletter, What Women Realtors Are Doing, “I might never have been at Lowenstein’s East and met the lovely Mrs. Presley, in exactly the way in which I described to you.”
The turkey may cost more, but Black Friday sales start at midnight (or earlier)
According to the Pew Research Center, older Americans are 47 times wealthier than young. Read the report for stunning figures, graphs, and statistics. With student loan debts reaching all-time highs coupled with a grim job market, one has to wonder how this all will impact real estate. Hopefully Obama’s recent executive orders will ease the burden on this population.
The cost for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased about 13 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Holiday creep: Walmart is joining the growing list of retailers starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving night. Wipe that pumpkin pie off your face, re-button your pants, and join the the hordes. And just in time: What’s on sale in November? TVs and DVDs, halloween costumes, outdoor furniture, and seasonal items like apples, potatoes and turkey.
Every year, Remodeling magazine looks at the hottest home upgrades and renovations and calculates just how much owners get back with they sell. Here are the 6 projects with the lowest return to owners.
Is the iPhone safer from hackers than Android? Pretty much.
A round of deep thanks to all the members of our armed forces, both past and present, on this Veterans Day!
Here at Information Central, we pride ourselves on being available to help our members through all the latest means of communication. This summer we added a texting service for members on the go. If you haven’t tried it out yet, here’s how:
- With your smartphone send a text to 66746 with the message body reading ‘askNAR’.
- You will then receive a confirmation that you are registered with our service. Save us to your contacts as ‘asknar’ so that down the road we’re easy to find.
- Ask your question. Due to the limitation of text messaging, questions with short answers are best. What’s my NRDS number? Where do I pick up my convention registration info? Where do I purchase tickets to the YPN event? Does BPOR count for CE credit in Georgia? If we need more information, we’ll ask.
- We watch for incoming texts during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm Central time. If you text over the weekend or when the office is closed, we’ll respond as soon as we’re back.
- Please remember, although we don’t charge for this service, standard text messaging rates may apply.
Message and Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 66746 to opt-out. Privacy: http://www.mosio.com/privacy.php
So give it a try. Not quite sure what to do? Take a look at the following quick intro video we put together this summer:
Vacation home moochers, the big 4 are preparing for battle, and holiday tech goodies
Don’t forget to change your clock back an hour in most parts of the US.
Buying a vacation home is a dream for many. Unfortunately having all your friends mooch off you is often the post-purchase reality. The Wall Street Journal explores how various owners go about negotiating hurt feelings, dirty towels and politely telling your neighbors that you’d love for them to visit you in Italy and here’s a list of nearby hotels to try.
Helicopter drones looking for work outside the military might do well to apply at their local real estate office for a job. Turns out they’re not just good for conducting unmanned aerial strikes against insurgents, drones can also be used to sell mansions, via in-depth tour videos made with cameras mounted to their frames.
Freddie Mac is losing money and will seek additional cash from the federal government.
It’s from last month, but Fast Company had a great article on the coming tech war of 2012 between the four big players in the industry: Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. Each is moving into the others’ territory, each has the resources and vision to fight, each could transform the playing field significantly. It’s an interesting piece on how the world is changing and where we might be headed.
Is your life getting worse or better? The Washington Post has an interactive feature where you can compare how you think things are going vs others in your state vs cold hard facts. It can take a minute to figure out where you are located but then it’s pretty slick.
Remember when you had to pay for for a web browser? In October, Internet Explorer usage drops below 50%. What are people using instead? For many the answer is Chrome. Webmonkey has some great charts showing how quickly people adopt new versions of their favorite browser. Not surprisingly IE has the flattest adoption curve.
Turns out consumers have some pull. When the other big banks didn’t follow suit, Bank of America dropped plans to charge consumers a monthly debit-card fee.
The advantages of flexible tablet and smartphone displays are obvious: They’re more durable, and they pave the way for new input methods, such as bending the display to zoom. Pete Cashmore has the details of what to expect.
4 BR, 2 BA, 1 Ghost: What the Law Says About Selling Haunted Houses
Hoarders have another reason to get help: Being a hoarder could hinder the ability to get or keep homeowners insurance.
Fox News has a slideshow of some of this holiday season’s hottest tech toys for good girls and boys.
Pets are costly. If you thought your medical bills were high, what about those for that family member that isn’t covered by your insurance? The Wall Street Journal looks at skyrocketing pet medical bills.
We’ve always been fascinated by the future. From shamen to fortune tellers to futurists, countless experts have been looked to for guidance and predictions. There have even been a few looks into ‘what may come to pass’ for REALTORS (this one imagines really ugly metallic clothes and talking cars) while this one from AEStrategicIssues is more realistic and near-term, focused not only on the challenges coming down the pike, but also incorporating things you are already seeing in today’s marketplace, like tablet computers and social media.
Now Microsoft, through it’s Office products division, is imaging the near future and exploring how people will ‘get things done’ in the next 5 to 10 years. Apparently it involves lots of mobile and tablets, gesturing, seamless integration of information across devices and smart appliances. While doubtless some of the ideas are a little out there, others will probably be realized at some point, though maybe without the microsoft focus on squares. What do you see in your future? Video countertops or glasses that translate spoken words?
Video from Microsoft Office: Productivity Future Vision (2011)