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.
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.
The family is coming over for the holidays and your house needs some quick fix-ups. Hometips.com, written by Dan Vandervort, offers over 3000 articles on DIY tips, home repair, exterior and interior improvements, home safety and security and much more. For instance, learn how to safely and easily hang up holiday lights.
‘Austerity’ is the word of the year.
Jakob Nielsen, the web usability guru, had a new post recently on how college students use the Internet. They don’t treat it like teenagers, looking to be entertained, but they also don’t want to read long passages of text without visual clues as to what’s going on. While they do love their Facebook, they are still critical thinkers and are skeptical of fluffy websites.
Smart Money has been running a series that tries to answer the question whether it’s better to go for A or upgrade to B. Here’s their Worth it or not Christmas shopping guide.
With holiday deals abound, it’s likely that you have done a little online shopping recently. Though convenient, online shopping can present a host of security threats. To assist you in protecting your personal information and computer, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (a division of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security), offers some Cyber Security Tips for Shopping Safely Online. Buckle up, and happy shopping!
All fonts have a personality and a purpose. Are you a Comic Sans criminal?
Though it’s not exactly news, the New York Times reports that use of email continues to fall, supplanted by text and instant message. Facebook is even changing it’s messaging service to make it more like text messaging and less like email.
Holiday shopping can take its toll in more ways than one, especially if use credit cards. But even what seems like a good idea at the time can wreck your credit score. CNBC looks at some common actions that can prove detrimental in the long run.
Why buy fancy wrapping paper when it will only end up crumpled in the recycling bin? Every year, Americans spend billions on ribbons, paper, and bows, only to see them ripped up and tossed away. Here are some eco-friendly gift wrap ideas.
The end of the year is often a time to reflect on the successes and the failures of the past 12 months. Rick Newman of US News writes on 20 Companies that failed in 2010. Meanwhile, CNN reviews the dumbest moments in business in 2010. And finally, Google recaps the year in its zeitgeist 2010.
Happy holidays to everyone from Information Central.