White House value, goodbye yard signs, and summer travel
A couple of firms have estimated the value of the White House as if it were for sale. A local DC firm has put the asking price of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave at $110 million, though it estimates it would probably close for around $80 million. That figure doesn’t take into account the historic one-of-a-kind nature of the deal. Zillow is more generous, estimating the value at over $220 million, though like much of the country the price has declined over the last year.
Inman’s recent review of The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom (on financial guidance for women), piqued our interest. We have a substantial personal finance collection of our own in our library—in both electronic and print.
Are yard signs going the way of the buggy whip in Aspen, Colorado? The Aspen Board of REALTORS® is seeking a voluntary ban on yard signs, in order to eliminate visual pollution. Some approve of the measure, others are in opposition. “The issue of real estate signs in Aspen is not a simple ‘for or against’ question. It’s multi-faceted,” said Will Herndon, President, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. He defended a firm’s right “to serve our clients’ interests in marketing their properties to the best of our ability within governing codes and regulations of Aspen, Pitkin County and ABOR.”
Fannie Mae, the largest source of U.S. housing funds, said it would not need to request more taxpayer aid this quarter after posting a $2.7 billion profit in the first three months of the year.
Austria’s ‘upside down house’ becomes tourist attraction.
Summer travel season is just around the corner. If your holiday plans include overseas excursions, you might consider getting a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. These bank fees can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Luckily several companies offer cards without these pesky charges.
And credit cards are not the only ones with fees on the rise. Watch out for the airlines, as they nickel and dime their way back to profitability.
Peek behind the scenes at Paramount Pictures as the studio celebrates 100 years with a look at pictures from Life Magazine’s coverage of a massive ‘housecleaning’ that took place in 1970 at the iconic studio.
Commercial outperforms, private wi-fis, and Google buys Motorola
Washington is speculating that Obama administration will protect the 30-year mortgage – along with Freddie and Fannie in some form.
US commercial real estate will perform better than the country’s volatile sharemarket during the current economic downturn because investors value its intrinsic quality, according to a new CB Richard Ellis report.
Money Magazine is the latest to release a Best Places to Live list. Looking at the top picks it’s easy to see the editors like small towns or suburbia.
Who can resist the lure of free wi-fi? But using public wi-fi opens your computer or device to a slew of security risks. Never fear: Freelance Switch gives the scoop on private wifi.
People have been predicting the death of the PC computer for years. With the rise of cloud computing and new operating systems, it seems the PC is getting a second chance. Joshua Topolsky writes in the Washington Post that advances in both technology and the way people use the machines is dramatically changing:
Something very big is happening in computing right now. We’re moving away from closed, disconnected, windowed environments toward something dramatically different. This isn’t like going from a command line in DOS to the graphical environment of Windows. It’s more like going from driving a car to a shuttle launch. What will happen over the next few years in user interface design and decentralized cloud systems will make the previous 20 years seem tame by comparison. We’ve crossed over from a long, slow evolution to an explosive revolution in what a computer is and how you use it — and there’s no looking back.
Patent trolls are a problem, but no where more so than in Silicon Valley. Might that be one of the main reasons Google snapped up Motorola Mobility this week for $12.5 billion? As the new kid on the mobile phone playing field, Google doesn’t have the history or legal files that Motorola, one of the industry founders with 80 years of patents, does. While many of Motorola’s assets will be valuable to Google, its 17,000+ patents may be some of the most important.
According to the latest Pew Research Center survey, 13% of US cell phone owners pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them. Read the rest of the latest mobile phone survey results here.
Apple plans to sell a hell of a lot of iPhones in the second half of the year.
Bye-bye affordable mortgages for most, Oprah doesn’t wash her chicken, and hello iPad 2
Google’s recent e-mail snafu serves as a good reminder to regularly back-up and sync your data. You may even want to consider the traditional model of LOCKSS—Lots Of Copies to Keep Stuff Safe. Even “The Cloud” is not impervious to the perils of computer hackers and system malfunction. Think e-mail, photos, documents, address books, calendars, data on your phone and other devices, and data from online billing services and banks.
The New York Times looks at what might happen to the venerable 30-year mortgage if Fannie and Freddie are shut down. The short answer: larger down-payments, shorter loans, and more costs to borrowers.
MSNBC and Prevention provide tips for a healthier, cleaner, more eco-friendly home. Hide your electronic clutter, don’t use harmful chemicals on your lawn, make sure your refrigerator handle is clean and much more.
Oprah recommends more than just keeping your refrigerator handle clean when she asks Could Your Kitchen Pass a Health Inspection?
Bad news for eBooks and Libraries: HarperCollins, one of the largest publishing houses, announced recently that new titles licensed from library ebook vendors will be able to circulate only 26 times before the license expires. Of course, other major publishers still ban libraries from lending ebook copies of their titles entirely (Macmillan and Simon & Schuster). NAR’s eBook Collection won’t be overly impacted, as HarperCollins hasn’t been a major source of titles for us.
Holding on to Friends and Followers, Obama’s plan for GSEs, America’s Broadband Map, and more on the new iPhone lite.
So you’ve got the followers, friends, and likes – how do you keep them happy? Mashable reports on a recent study on why consumers unsubscribe from Facebook, Twitter or email marketing. Top of the list: either too many posts or repetitive content. And it’s not always obvious that you’re losing subscribers: less than half of disgruntled fans will ‘unlike’ your page. The rest will just hide you from their wall or ignore your posts.
How can you reach out to Gen Xers? Leslie Mann discusses emerging methods of marketing, such as online video and lifestyle marketing. Event marketing, marketing on mobile devices and marketing to specific groups can also help you connect with younger buyers.
The sheer speed, rapidity, and exponential growth of the Internet went beyond the original creators’ dreams. The existing infrastructure is now nearing full capacity.
Large home appliances like refrigerators and dryers are typical examples of energy-hungry devices, but energy hogs don’t necessarily need to be large in size. Forbes reports on how small devices are also collectively sucking a lot of energy from the power grid.
The Atlantic Monthly says Obama Housing Policy Plan Stronger Than Anticipated with three alternatives to decreasing government involvement in the mortgage market over the next 10 years: Go entirely private, create a guarantee that only is competitive in times of crisis, and a housing market meltdown only backup.
FoxNews reports on the first public, searchable nationwide map of broadband Internet availability has just gone live. Called the National Broadband Map, the website was released by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration Thursday afternoon, revealing which providers supply the fastest Internet connectivity — and which communities are the most in need. The New York Times uses the announcement of the map as part of its story on the lack of broadband coverage in rural America.
The New York Times launches a fun interactive mapping site with data from Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. It starts with a map of New York City, but you can choose any zip code. You can browse local data and create demographic maps based on samples from 2005 to 2009 down to the census tract level. Data sets include housing values, race, income, and education.
With many housing markets are finally in at least tepid recovery, some areas of the country that thought they would avoid the crash altogether are finding it was just delayed in arriving. The New York Times reports on recent declines in Teflon markets like Seattle in its article Housing Market Looks Sickest in Cities That Once Seemed Immune.
CNN releases first details of Motorola’s Xoom tablet computer.
More on Apple’s new stripped down iPhone from the Wall Street Journal: The phone would be about half the size and cost of existing models and perhaps rely on cloud computing to cut down on memory requirements. Speculation is that the phone will be released this summer as part of a wider iPhone upgrade. As with all apple rumors, believe it when you see it.
Feb. 18 Addendum: Today’s New York Times is reporting that its sources say Apple is not making a smaller iPhone, but may make a more inexpensive version.