Big city revival, new Gmail, Millennial housing preferences, and man’s best friend
Big cities could be making a growth comeback after a rocky decade. Their growth rates are rising and, for the second year in a row, they are growing faster than their surrounding suburbs.
Is the smartphone the all-purpose Swiss Army knife of the future? Software developers offer August, adding one more utility to the smartphone: house key. Thanks to @paulmacko for sharing this article with us.
Google is ‘improving’ Gmail once again. You can now sort your inbox by tabbed category – personal, social, updates, etc. – so that you only see the type of email you want to deal with now. The rollout is supposed to be gradual, so if you don’t see anything different now, wait a bit. And for now, you can opt out of the upgrade if you don’t like it.
This week Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate released national survey findings of 18-35 year-old Americans that reveal the next generation of homeowners are rewriting the rules to homeownership and reinterpreting traditional norms to fit their values.
The process of home buying and selling invariably entails a move. BuzzFeed offers 33 great moving tips to smooth the transition.
Seems like the whole Midwest has had a week of storms, thunder and lightning. To keep up to speed on the go, check out these apps for coping with severe weather.
The passage of time as seen through photographs can sometimes feel haunting or sad, yet photographer Wilma Hurskainen captures this passage in a stunning, provocative, and mostly happy presentation. Take a look at the four sisters, side-by-side, as children and adults.
Man’s best friend? Last year dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all dollars paid out in homeowners insurance liability claims.
On a lighter dog-related note, if you’re still traumatized by Old Yeller and you didn’t even see the ending of I Am Legend because you ran out of the theater holding your ears. At this cool website, learn the fate of canine cast members BEFORE watching the film!
Ebert RIP, overcoming inertia, recycling electronics
Film critic, author, screenwriter, journalist, and New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest winner Roger Ebert passed on this week at 70. Even in his last years he was prolific, reviewing more than 30o movies. Rest in Peace.
The cell phone is 40 years old this week. The original model was 10 inches long and weighed 2.5 pounds, a behemoth by today’s standards. For comparison, most modern smartphones weigh between four and six ounces. Of course, conspiracy theorists think cell phones might be much older, or this woman went back in time!
What do you get when you team up the London School of Economics and University of Manchester? “The Great British Class Survey,” which focuses on three forms of capital: 1) Economic; 2) Social; 3) Cultural. Check out their “class calculator.” Which of the seven classes best characterizes you?
Is a little voice inside your head insisting that your obstacles to exercising are stronger than you are? Psych it out with a few ingenious strategies that overcome just about every excuse.
Out of dryer sheets? Need a quick paper towel replacement? Here are 13 household items that can do double duty around the home in a pinch.
There should be an app for that: personal breathalyzer.
What do you do with your old cell phones, iPads, iPods, TVs or computers? Put them in the garage or on the curb, hoping someone will take them? WiseBread offers responsible solutions for disposing your old electronics. The choices ranges from donation, selling the items, trading it in or recycling it. Get the pros and cons of each choice here.
I can’t get into the idea of buying fake designer goods. Is image that important? Anyway, if you wonder if your flea market find is genuine, here’s a guide to figuring it out – hint: it’s all in the details…
Short sales on the rise, urbanization as the answer, and Samoa skips a day
The robo-signing scandal that slowed the foreclosure process to a crawl appears to have increased lender interest in short sales.
More than 50 percent of the world’s population now live in cities – and there is no end of urbanization in sight. As opposed to the conventional wisdom, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser believes urbanization to be a solution to many unanswered problems, such as pollution, depression and a lack of creativity.
Brazilians are becoming more and more important in the South Florida economy. The Brazilians’ money has helped resuscitate the real estate market in Miami. Foreigners account for more than half of all property sales in Miami, and condominium towers that once sat empty are quickly selling out.
Felix Salmon writes on his Reuters blog about the comparison between Sears and Apple stores. One is a glorious success, the other a slow dying dinosaur. The difference? Beyond having products that people crave, you can look at how the two companies invest in their retail spaces. It’s a stark contrast.
You haven’t even thrown the box away from your new iPad 2 yet, but the 3rd generation might be on its way sooner than expected. Inc. unwraps the details.
Perhaps not on-the-job, but after hours… an iPhone app helps Manhattan sip on spirits whilst charging the phone. We’re ready for such technology to grace the pubs of Chicago.
If you were planning to celebrate your Dec. 30th birthday in Samoa, forget it. The island nation is moving to the other side of the international date line this week and will go directly from thursday to saturday.
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.
The President’s latest housing program, creative open houses, and murphy beds ?!
Researchers have found that relocating people out of poor neighborhoods can be as effective as drugs in reducing their chances of becoming overweight and developing diabetes.
The federal government’s expansion of a mortgage refinancing program could reduce the monthly payments of up to one million homeowners, but analysts said the modest scope of the plan means it will probably do little to heal the housing market or help the broader economy.
Competition for qualified buyers is fierce. So agents are staging mini-circuses, serving free drinks, offering massages and raffling off Botox treatments to draw guests to open houses. Are you employing new, creative means to get clients to open houses?
There are apps for everything these days. The latest trend is apps that let you rent out your stuff – bikes, cars, rooms and even (yuck) your toilet.
We here in Information Central we always enjoy a good research report. The New York Times summarizes the Congressional Budget Office’s October 2011 report Trends in the Distribution of Household Income Between 1979 and 2007.
If you thought the much-mocked murphy bed went away sometime around the end of “I Love Lucy”, think again. The Wall Street Journal reports on a resurgence of interest in this space saver.
Did you know that the punctuation mark expressing surprise and shock “?!” has a name? It’s called the Interrobang (what a bad name) and was coined in the early 1960s. For a while it was so popular that Remington typewriters came with it. The New Yorker revisits the interrobang and provides a link to a quiz on other less well-known punctuation marks.
Halloween is just around the corner, which means soon the streets will be filled with costumed kids looking for treats, and teenagers looking to deal out a few tricks. If you’d like to spare your home the wrath of teenage pranksters this Halloween, or just keep your property vandal-free all year long, follow these important to tips.
And finally, a bit of library humor (yes, there is such a thing) from the classic British comedy The Two Ronnies. If the youtube video doesn’t display below, here’s a link.
We are pleased to announce that members can now view over 800 titles from the eBook Collection at REALTOR.org on their Amazon.com Kindle or Kindle app device! Users have been calling for this for a long time and Kindle finally opened the door to its closed system just this past week.
All you need to get started is your valid NRDS number and a registered Kindle device or reading app (for use on a smartphone or tablets like the iPad, for instance). Simply browse and search for Kindle eBooks in the collection. Titles that are compatible with Kindle will have an icon. Add titles to your eBookBag and check out as you normally would. Once you’ve checked out, a link will appear taking you to Amazon.com’s Kindle Store for the title you are borrowing. In the upper right corner, instead of ‘Buy Now with 1-Click’ you will see ‘Get Library Book’. Click to add it to your collection. No special software to download, no fuss, no muss!
Select your Kindle or your Kindle reading app device. Sync your device or app and enjoy. I did it this morning with my iPad and it worked like a charm. The only thing I noticed was that my library book was added to my ‘Archive’ section of my Kindle App and not ‘Home’. Clicking into Archive, it was only another quick click to add it to the home screen.
Now not every eBook we have is Kindle compatible – that’s up to the publishers – but we’ll be adding more as time goes on. Kindle titles have a borrowing period of 21 days and will automatically expire. From what I can see, early return is not possible at this time. Other questions? Contact NAR’s Information Central at 800.874.6500, email@example.com or text ‘AskNAR‘ to 66746.