One way your email gets on spammers lists, financial spring cleaning, and stolen mobile phones
Find out how Move Inc. is fighting scraping of their listings. Real estate listings are a valuable commodity because of the individual information and information gathered from a multitude of listings. Hedge funds, banks, other financial institutions and related real estate services find the listing information valuable to gather statistics and create mailing lists. Move.Inc looks for suspicious scraping activity of real time queries during a hold period and can block the scraper’s IP address, and discover if the information is ending up online. Please note that NAR never shares, trades, or sells email addresses.
Spring cleaning isn’t just about dusting and putting away the winter clothes. It also applies to your finances. Spring is a great time to review budgets, look at savings, debt, and prune your receipts. Time has 10 ideas for a financial spring cleaning.
Someone swiped your cellphone? Too bad, so sad, according to The New York Times. You may have filed a police report and your cell phone company, but not much can be done. The FCC’s database of stolen phone information can inactivate the phone’s individual tracking number, but most stolen phone end up overseas, where the database does not work.
Scientists at IBM have nothing better to do than make stop-motion animated movies by moving individual atoms…
A new use for those stress balls everyone gets at convention trade shows: memory aids.
Henry Gribbohm says he lost his life savings on a carnival game and all he has to show for it is a stuffed banana with dreadlocks.
2020: the next housing crisis, resilient agents, and a horse in the living room
Even as we’re still recovering from the last housing collapse, economists are forecasting the next crisis. Their best guess: 2020, as aging Boomers start leaving their giant suburban single-family homes for retirement living. The problem is there aren’t enough families in the following generations to meet demand, either because of finances or preference.
BloombergBusinessWeek has an interesting story this week on the rise (and so far mostly non-success) of Redfin, Zillow and Trulia. In looking at the internet startups that promised disintermediation, hollowing out the home buying experience as others had with travel agents, stock brokers and car dealers, the authors find that people still rely on the traditional agent for the largest purchase of their lives.
How can you spice up your listing photos? How about a horse in your living room? A REALTOR in Virginia helping to sell a $5.99-million horse farm is using a picture taken several years ago for a coffee table book that features the a horse standing in the stable apartment living room. The image was picked up by the Huffington Post, helping to generate some interest on the property.
The Bipartisan Policy Center released its blueprint for reform of the housing market. One suggestion is the elimination of both Fannie and Freddie, replacing the GSEs with a backstop guarantee much like GinnieMae does for FHA and VA loans. Some commentators feel this spells the end of the fixed rate 30 year mortgage as we know it.
We were shocked and saddened to learn about the man who died when a sinkhole opened up under his home in Florida. We wondered if homeowners’ insurance covers sinkholes. According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, it depends on the extent of damage. Standard homeowners insurance is required by law to cover “catastrophic ground cover collapse” but to qualify to that level, the home must be so damaged that it’s condemned. Luckily separate more general sinkhole coverage is available as an add-0n. Wondering if there are sinkholes in your neighborhood? A new service from Floodinsight will tell you for a small fee. You can also contact the Florida Geological Survey.
Samsung is set to unveil it’s new Galaxy IV phone later this month. CNN reports that some are speculating that the phone will have scrolling controlled by the users eyes. When you reach the bottom of the screen the phone will sense it and start scrolling the page for you.
You want to start a garden, but you don’t have a clue what to do. SproutRobot can help you. Sign up for free, and SproutRobot will create a personalized planting plan and send you seeds to plant. If only I had a yard!
North Korea’s been in the news lately. The latest dictate from Pyongyang: the country announced 28 approved haircuts for men and women. Interestingly, the current leader’s coif didn’t make the list…
Downsizing dilemmas, Google Maps, and the start of Best of 2012
As Baby Boomers age more and more people are thinking about downsizing. Trading the McMansion for something more economical and practical. While most people think that downsizing is going to be the magic cure for their still-depressed retirement account, it doesn’t always work that way. It’s hard to give up your lifestyle or your years of possessions, kids might balk at the sale of their childhood home or things, and unless you’re going to a cheaper part of the country, it might not cost as little as you think.
One way to get through the holidays—Dysfunctional Family Bingo! The Wall Street Journal has tips on how to play and how to cope with your family during the festive season!
If you had $29 to purchase one week’s worth of food, what would you buy? Newark Mayor Cory Booker made a few rookie mistakes, detailed in this article by NJ.com.
It’s that time of year again: Holiday office parties. If you’re attending, Time has some advice beyond the ‘don’t make an ass of yourself’ generalities.
Google came out with its annual search Zeitgeist for 2012 video [also posted below].
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.
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.
Reviews for the iPhone 4 on Verizon are coming in this week – from WSJ and NYT. Consensus: Fewer dropped calls and stronger signals, but maybe slower downloads. And you can’t call someone and surf at the same time without wireless. Sigh…
Do you really need a separate GPS? Suzanne Kantra identifies the best navigation apps, ranging from free to $60.00, including StreetPilot for iPhone, Navigon Mobile Navigator and TomTom USA.
Because they’re resident on a phone, navigation apps also offer features that portable nav systems can’t match:
- Use your phone’s address book to select your destination
- Call businesses and other points-of-interest from within the app
- Use geo-tagging location data stored in digital pictures to guide you to the place where the photo was shot
- Find almost any local business or attraction
- Provide real-time traffic information with re-routing to avoid delays
Other news of interest from around the web:
- With winter storms abound, it’s good to keep apprised of the insurance claims process and procedures, compliments of NAR’s HouseLogic.
- NPR ruminates on the power, politics, and societal ramifications of social networking.
- Yahoo! and Zillow buddy up to duel with Realtor.com for attention, clicks, and users.
Who’s Ron Phipps, what is the key to getting email read, and why does Facebook make me sad?
“4G” is the hot buzzword in smart phones right now. All the major carriers claim theirs is the ‘fastest’, ‘largest’, ‘best’, ‘most reliable’, etc. But beyond marketing jargon, what does it all mean? Wired looks at the four major carriers in the US and compares their 4G flavors. They are not created equally. And as it turns out, they’re not really 4G…
Email marketing is never easy. Getting people to hit read or open rather than delete is a constant challenge. Forbes recently had an article on how to write a compelling email subject heading. Their advice: urgency, consistency, focus, and no exclamation points!
About 40% of visitors to your website aren’t entering through the home page, so you must make sure every page of your website is informative and supports your business goals, writes Mikal E. Belicove in the February issue of Entrepreneur. He recommends checking your website’s analytics to determine where visitors are entering your site and having a clear call to action on every page.
It’s always good to know more about who is leading your organization. California Real Estate profiles the 2011 NAR President, Ron Phipps.
eReaders continue to gain ground in the marketplace as prices drop and competition spurs development. But how do you decide on which eReader to get? MSN’s Smart Spending guru says with it’s closed environment Kindle isn’t the answer.
Social Media! Social Networking! How many of us are getting tired of all this? But these days Facebook has spread its tentacles beyond the simple poke and “Dave is having caviar and champagne in Cannes with @Angelina Jolie” pretentious status update. It’s becoming hard not to have a Facebook account. But what if you want to keep it on the DL? The Atlantic has a quick step-by-step guide to making yourself virtually invisible while still maintaining your Facebook account.
And if your friends aren’t virtually hidden, think twice about turning to your news feed for solace if you’re down. A new study finds that Facebook can actually make you sadder. Everyone’s lives seem so much more colorful and wonderful than yours (see champagne, Cannes, and Angelina above), leading you to falsely lament your actually very nice place in the world.
Yikes! According to a recent study, more young kids know how to work smart phone apps than can tie their shoes.