Harry Potter real estate, Roast Duck Shanghai-style, and Texting
If country living is your thing, we have the perfect piece of Harry Potter real estate for you to check out–Ron Weasley’s home. How much could the Weasleys make if they put their Devon house on the market? A whole lot of galleons.
People in Hong Kong loved Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s floating Rubber Duck when it arrived in town last May. It seems, however, Shanghai was a bit envious, so they made their own…but well, made it partially roasted. Most of the city was not amused. Click through to the story for a finger-licking picture of the boat.
New research shows expansive posture and larger workspaces promote power but may lead to cheating.
Do you resist making phone calls? Is texting the only way you communicate these days? For millennials, the answer is yes. They are so phone-shy that phone consultants are brought in to explain how and why to use the phones, including an explanation of the dial tone. Personal conversation is still important to create rapport and avoid text communications.
And speaking of texting: Sleep walking, sleep eating, and now Sleep texting, really? Sleep experts are now reporting texting while sleeping is an “alarming trend”. Sleepy people are texting inappropriate messages, losing needed sleep and waking up exhausted. Just turn off your phone and get some restful and restorative sleep!
National Dog Day was earlier this week (didn’t you know?). So of course there’s a collection of funny dog pics and gifs.
This sounds like a great idea for a horror movie: One million cockroaches escape from a farm in China, spreading out through the countryside. YIKES!
Blackberry, small living, and disclosure dilemmas
David Pogue, the tech guy from the New York Times, gives BlackBerry’s ‘hail Mary’ phone, the Z10, a pretty glowing review while Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal was a little more critical in his assessment. Is it possible that the floundering company might pull it off?
Millennials are willing to accept smaller spaces in exchange for walking neighborhoods. How do you help your Millennial clients make the most of small spaces? Gizmodo shares some great ideas for 420 square feet spots.
Complicated productivity systems may actually slow you down, says the Wall Street Journal. Color-coded calendars, 3-part to-do lists and churning through a series of productivity apps may not work for you. Some people have cobbled together a digital and paper system out of frustration with previous systems they have tried. Find out what works best for you and go for it!
Two stories about disclosure this week: A Pennsylvania homeowner sues seller over unreported murder/suicide. And in Montreal, prospective buyers in one trendy loft conversion now have to be informed that some of their neighbors are reputed mobsters.
Good news! Some things will cost less in 2013, such as gas, vacation packages and flatscreen TVs. To find out more, go CNN/Money.
Value-killing remodeling, new iPhone, testing Bing vs. Google
As more and more housing markets improve, homeowners are beginning to consider pulling up stakes to head to a new home. But before you place your home on the MLS, consider those recent renovations. How are they going to impact your final price? Koi pond, garden gnomes, new pool, man cave, or whatever. All could potentially turn off prospective buyers or give them an area to haggle over price. Beware of these and other value-killing remodeling ideas if you hope for top dollar.
Using an iPad right before bedtime can wreck your sleep, according to the Lighting Research Centre, at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The screen’s blue light suppresses melatonin, which helps us fall asleep. The study found that if viewers wore orange goggles that cut out the blue light, melatonin was at normal levels. Don’t want to look like a dork though? The study also suggests using a dimmer display or just avoiding using the iPad right before bed.
Apple launched it’s latest iPhone iteration this week. The iPhone 5 features a larger screen, new processor, and a host of other features, though some are claiming it’s a boring upgrade. New iPhone sales, however, could increase the GDP by 0.5% , adding $3.2 billion to the economy. J.P. Morgan’s analysts expect Apple to sell around 8 million iPhone 5s in the fourth quarter. They expect the sales price to be about $600. With about $200 in discounted import component costs, the government can factor in $400 per phone into its measure of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter.
Most of us are guilty of blindly searching the Internet—we open what is convenient, fast, and comfortable. Much of the time the result is using Google to search. However, Microsoft’s Bing is contending for a piece of the search engine market with their head-to-head comparison game. Google still beat out Bing for our searches, but the results were mostly a draw. How about for you? Bing gives you ‘helpful’ search suggestions but do you think those might be skewed a bit? Anyway, try your own and see what happens.
Email deluge can overwhelm the best of us. An extension for Google’s Gmail allows users to ‘pause‘ their inbox. All messages will wait to be delivered once the pause button is turned off. You can even set up a auto-response letting people know that you’re taking a break and if it’s urgent please contact you some other way. Really though, why not just close your email? It’s the same thing really….
Google added new functionality to its ubiquitous search engine. Now you can find how far your favorite star is from Kevin Bacon with one quick search. Based on the popular ‘Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ type ‘bacon number’ (without the quotes) and a star’s name. Hence a search of bacon number lana turner reveals the actress has a bacon number of 2. Rin Tin Tin? 3 The furthest out I can find is much more current: Justin Bieber is a 4. The result also gives you a the path of how they are connected.
Instead of old Beanie Babies and 8-track tapes, a woman in West Virginia bought a painting with a pretty frame. The pretty painting turned out to be a Renoir. After holding on to the painting for two years, she had it evaluated at the Potomack Co. auction has, where it was verified by experts to be a genuine Renoir painting. The anonymous (and lucky) owner is expected to get at least $75,000 at auction. At that next garage sale down your block, look carefully and you might strike it rich!
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.