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What We’re Reading: Oct. 29 – Nov. 4

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.

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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