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Archive for the ‘Tech Writings’ Category

The Digital Office: Less Paper, More Green

August 18th, 2009 Mike 3 comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

Over the last few decades, the business of real estate has undergone significant changes as to how technology is used to communicate with clients and facilitate transactions. But one thing that has not changed is the mountain of paper required to document the exchange of property. There are close to 40 pages of forms required during the process, and all signed pages must be stored for up to six years as historical and legal records.

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8 Reasons the Next Windows is Worth the Wait

August 3rd, 2009 Mike 1 comment

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

If you’re thinking about buying a new PC in the next month or two you might want to wait until October 22nd. That’s the day the next version of Windows, called Windows 7, will be available on new PCs and store shelves. If you already got a new desktop or laptop in the last year you need not worry; chances are good you have Windows Vista and the upgrade to Windows 7 should be very smooth for you. If you have an older PC with the trusty Windows XP you should consider taking the leap because, this time, Microsoft got it right.

3 Steps to a Netbook Life

July 7th, 2009 Mike No comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

The growing trend in laptop computers over the last year has been the race to the fill the niche between the hulking, weighty beasts known as “desktop replacements” (those laptops with 17” screens and enough processing power to run even Windows Vista at a reasonable speed) and the Internet-enabled smartphones such as the iPhone, Blackberry, Treo, etc. What has emerged is the Netbook: a line of lean and inexpensive laptops that are small enough to carry in a purse or briefcase yet still fast enough to run Windows XP or the consumer-focused versions of Linux.

Optimize Your Web Listings—Visually

June 22nd, 2009 Mike No comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

By now it should be no surprise that the Internet is the starting point when consumers want to search for a home. With millions of listings at their fingertips, it makes perfect sense to narrow down the group of potential properties without leaving the couch. But for the seller’s agent, it can be challenging to grab the attention of buyers when you
only have a few seconds for your online property listing to make an impression. A 2006 Canadian study suggests that consumers make up their minds about the quality of a website within one tenth of a second. So how long does it take for a consumer to determine whether a property is worth adding to their list if it has a bad visual presentation? You decide.

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What is “the Twitter”, Anyway?

June 2nd, 2009 Mike 4 comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

Twitter, the social network tool with 1300% growth in 2008 and currently is all the rage in the media, is one of those things that’s difficult to understand because it is so unlike anything that came before it. Conversations about the online service are usually punctuated with responses like “I don’t get it”, “What a waste of time” and “I don’t care what people ate for breakfast”. While these are all valid concerns, let me do my best to explain the service so you can better judge Twitter’s value for yourself.

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Encryption, Network and Online Security – Part 2

May 1st, 2009 Mike No comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

This article is part two of a two part series on computer security. Part two features network security, online security, and encryption.

Encryption
Encryption is a way of scrambling data and communications so only the owner, or the authorized sender and receiver, can read the data. Without the ‘encryption key’, which is usually just a password, the information is just jibberish. Encryption is a great way to protect sensitive data on your computer, such as personal documents, income tax software saved files, and other financial information from prying eyes.

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Listen to Your Clients One Survey at a Time

April 27th, 2009 Mike No comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

How do you know you’re doing your job well? How do you measure your success serving your clients? Think about it; you can’t improve unless you first know what you’re not doing well. To that end, how many agents send out satisfaction surveys after closing a deal, and how many brokers survey clients to assess an agent’s performance? The Internet age has brought myriad ways to reach out to people using new tools, but surveys are still an effective way of getting feedback on your performance and improving upon that data. There are many tools for online surveys, and below are just a few free and inexpensive options that can help you to gain valuable insight for your business.

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Part 1 – PC Security and Common Sense

April 1st, 2009 Mike 2 comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

This article is part one of a two part series on computer security. Part two will feature network security, online security, and encryption.

In the good ‘ol days of the Internet, programmers who wrote viruses used to do it for the mischievous sense of accomplishment and respect of their hacker-culture peers. These days, however, viruses and malware are big business for organized crime. What this means for you is that viruses are no longer a nuisance, they are meant to steal valuable information without you ever knowing it. What to do to stop the attacks? Security for your home or office computer network is one of those topics that can go from the very basic to the infinitely complex. For 99% of us, though, a few simple strategies will secure your computer and its data against 99% of the threats you’ll run across.

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The New Dynamic (of) Websites

March 1st, 2009 Mike No comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

So what’s the goal of a website? Think about it.  Is it just a place on the Internet to store your bio and listings? Perhaps you go a step further and add a list of links to real estate tools and local community resources. Once someone has seen that information, though, what else is there to bring them back? Now think about what’s different on the websites you visit frequently; what brings you back? I’m willing to put 20% down that it’s a combination of new content and a site that actually engages the visitor. Traditional websites with this ability don’t come cheap, but there’s a practically free alternative for those willing to try something different; a blog.

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Info on the Road With a Smartphone

February 20th, 2009 Mike No comments

This post was written by me during my tenure at the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS. Original article here.

Why do people buy a laptop computer when they’re more expensive, harder to upgrade, and easier to lose than desktops? Because it’s not powerful computing people need, it’s portability. If you haven’t guessed where I’m going with this, I’m asking why only one in five REALTORS® in Massachusetts (according to the 2007 NAR Profile of Members) owns a Blackberry, Treo, iPhone, Google phone, or similar smartphone that can access the Internet from anywhere?

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