Tech Tip Tuesday: November, 26 2013

How the Real Estate Industry Is Using Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] 

The real estate industry has seen a number of social media innovations over the past few years. Real estate pros are using social media to provide online property tours, schedule showings and showcase local expertise.

Alexis Lamster, VP of customers at Postling and creator of the infographic below, told us that the company analyzed more than 500 Postling accounts specific to real estate and more than 7,000 small business accounts to extract information on how the real estate industry is using social media.

Does your business operate in the real estate industry? If so, how does your company stack up compared to the data below? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 
By:Mashable


Buying a Home? Consider COST not just Price

 

bigstockphoto_Property_Prices_814896 

We have often talked about the difference between COST and PRICE. As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, you must be concerned not about price but instead about the ‘long term cost’ of the home. Let us explain.

Last month, the Mortgage Bankers Association(MBA), the National Association of RealtorsFannie Mae and Freddie Mac all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by about one full percentage over the next twelve months. We also know that many experts are calling for home prices to also increase over the next year.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact an interest rate increase would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 even if home prices don’t increase:

Cost Waiting blog

Purchasing-Impact 

 

By: the crew at KCM


Tech Tip Tuesday: November, 19 2013

 

Top 23 Hidden iOS 7 Features That You Likely Don’t Know About

 

With hundreds of new features to boot, iOS 7 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is a gold mine waiting to be explored to its full potential. Today, we’re going to go through some of the most lesser known features and tips which we believe you should try right now.

All set? Let’s begin.

iOS 7 iPhone 5

1. Use Safari To See Tweets With Links / URLs

iOS Screenshot 20130921-043944 01

Want to quickly see all the tweets in your timeline with URLs / links in them? Simply launch Safari, press the bookmarks button – the one that looks like an open book, obviously – then press the @ button on top. Boom! All the tweets with links in one place. You should be signed in to your Twitter account in Settings > Twitter in order for this feature to work.

2. Turn Parallax On / Off

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015331 02

Don’t like the new iOS 7 Parallax effect on wallpapers – or 3D wallpapers as we would like to call them? Fear that it might be draining your battery? Simply turn it off. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and turn it on or off according to your liking.

3. Enable Motion Sensing Controls

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015339 03

iOS 7 lets you launch Siri or press the Home button by simply tilting your head, or pull downNotification Center by tilting your head to the left. Sounds epic? Indeed it does. Head over toSettings > General > Accessibility > Switch Control to turn it on. Now go to Switches and set up switches to perform different actions.

4. Enable / Disable Bold Text or Change Font Size System-wide

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015355 05

Don’t like iOS 7’s new thin font size? Bold it up! Head over to Settings > General > Accessibility > and enable Bold Text. Changing the system wide font size is as easy as pie, too. Head over to Settings > General > Text Size and adjust the font size to your liking.

5. See Your Frequently Visited Places On A Map

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015438 09

This feature lets you see on a map which places you have been visiting. Might be concerning for some, but here’s how you can find out: go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations. I would suggest keeping this one off for obvious reasons.

6. Block Callers and Unwanted Messages

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015521 13

This feature is a gem to use. Open the contact which might be bugging you, scroll all the way down in contact details and tap Block this Caller. That’s it. The contact will never be able to bug you again. If you want to manage blocked messages, then head over to Settings > Messages > Blocked. This also applies to FaceTime and iMessages.

7. Show Timestamps In Messages App

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015501 11

Open a conversation thread, and swipe from right to left while holding your finger down on the screen. You will see the timestamps of all your sent and received messages.

8. Use Siri To Enable / Disable System Toggles

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015445 10

Siri shed its beta tag along with the release of iOS 7, and can do a lot more than just telling you the weather, calling a certain contact, settings reminders etc. Press and hold the Home button to launch Siri and say – for example – ‘Turn Wi-Fi on’ and Siri will turn on Wi-Fi for you. Same works for Bluetooth and other system toggles.

9. Use Swipe Gesture To Go Back One Screen

iOS Screenshot 20130921-044643 04

In iOS 7, you can simply use swipe gestures to go back a screen, rather than pressing that pesky back button on the display. In Messages for instance, if you’re in a thread, simply swipe from the left corner towards the right and you’ll be taken to the main Messages window. This works pretty much throughout iOS 7, like Mail, Settings, Contacts etc.

 

10. Take Square Photos Using Camera App

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015559 16

Regular photos aren’t cutting the mustard for you? The native Camera app in iOS 7 now lets you take square photos. Launch the Camera app, and swipe to the right to take photos in square proportions. You can use the same swiping gesture to go through Panorama and Videomodes.

11. Update App Content In The Background

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015621 17

Use an app frequently but don’t like to refresh every time you launch it? iOS 7 has you covered. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and enable all the apps you wish to update themselves in the background. Note: this feature really takes a toll on battery, therefore select the apps which are most relevant for you to be updated.

12. Use Panorama Photos As Lock Screen Wallpaper For Added Effect

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015710 22

Use a panorama photo as your lock screen wallpaper which you’ve taken with your device’s camera for a cool spinning effect. Enable Parallax mode for this one which we’ve outlined in feature # 2.

13. Bubble Level In Compass App

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015632 18

The native Compass app in iOS 7 is more than a direction telling companion. Swipe to the right after calibrating the compass to reveal a new screen that lets you access and use a bubble level.

14. Use Siri For Updates From Redmond Pie

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015542 15

Yes, you read that right. Siri can show you the latest updates from our Redmond Pie feed on Twitter. Launch Siri by holding down the Home button and say ‘What is Redmond Pie saying’. And voila, all our latest updates in one place. Neat right? Give this one a shot, it’s our personal favorite.

15. Enable / Disable Control Center In Lock Screen Or Apps

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015638 19

Don’t want anyone else, or yourself mistakenly launching Control Center on the lock screen or running apps? Why not disable it? Go to Settings > Control Center and enable or disable access to Control Center on the lock screen or apps.

16. Turn Automatic App Updates On / Off

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015646 20

iOS 7 updates your apps in the background, saving you time and the cumbersome process of launching the App Store and performing manual updates. You can turn automatic app updates on / off by heading over to Settings > iTunes & App Store and turn on / off Updates in theAutomatic Downloads section.

17. Unlimited Apps In Folders

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015656 21

Folders in iOS 7 are like a black hole. You keep on throwing apps inside them and there’s no limit on how many apps you can have inside one.

18. Enable / Disable Advertising Tracking

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015431 08

Don’t want your iOS device to be tracked for specific ads? Head over to Settings > Privacy > Advertising and disable Limit Ad Tracking. We’ve heard reports occasionally that this feature also saves battery life by a fraction.

19. View All Received Media In Messages App In One Place

iOS Screenshot 20130921-045438 01

Received a bunch of photos or videos from someone in Messages app but lost it in a mile long thread? iOS 7 now lets you view your media all in one place. Simply tap open the last received photo / video, and press the list view (the one with three dashes, as shown in the screenshot) button.

20. Dynamic Wallpapers

iOS Screenshot 20130920-015529 14

iOS 7 supports dynamic wallpapers, in short: animated wallpapers. Go to Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness > Choose Wallpaper > Dynamic, and there you’ll see a bunch of animated wallpapers which respond to your device’s movement.

21. Change Gender Of Siri

iOS Screenshot 20130925-213114 05

Starting from iOS 7, you can actually change the gender of Siri. Yes, that’s right, if the female voice is not cutting it for you then you can add a more manly voice for voice feedback. Go toSettings > General > Siri and change Voice Gender to Male.

22. Edit Queries In Siri

iOS Screenshot 20130925-213059 03

Even after shedding its beta tag, Siri is still far from perfect. It so happens that Apple’s voice assistant is a hit or miss when it comes to recognizing a particular accent. For example, Siri might not be able to differentiate between ‘the sky’ or ‘this guy’ that often. And starting from iOS 7, you can actually edit your voice queries by tapping the tap to edit button on screen in the Siri UI, and fix them using the on-screen keyboard. Sounds pretty neat right?

23. Zoom Into Album Art In iOS 7 Music App

iOS 7 Music App

Cover Flow was shown the white flag in iOS 7, and the new Music app instead shows your music album art is a neat tiled pattern in landscape mode. Sounds cool and all, but did you know that you can actually zoom in or out your album art by simply using pinch gestures?

 

 

By: Redmond Pie


Tech Tip Tuesday: November, 12 2013

Auto-Delete Email From Specific Senders 

 

For GMAIL: 

 

I  

love how many Gmail tricks there are — especially the one that automatically deletes messages from specific senders before they reach your inbox. For the last month or so my inbox has been overflowing with junk mail and spam. And while I didn’t want to close my account, I was getting sick of weeding out 30+ unsolicited emails a day from the ones that mattered. My friend told me about an easy filtering trick that she was using to avoid emails from her ex-boyfriend, which totally works for spammy messages as well. Find out what it is when you read more.

If you need certain emails to disappear like we did, it’s really easy to do: when you have the email opened, choose the “Filter messages like these” option under the “More actions” toolbar. From there, choose what you’d like Gmail to do with it — whether that means archiving, deleting, or forwarding the message, it’s up to you. Since I wanted to put an end to getting all this junk mail (there was no option to unsubscribe to these messages, BTW), I chose “delete.” Since then, my Gmail inbox has been looking quite tidy! And now my friend can get through her workday without the fear that an email is going to show up in her inbox from her stalker ex. Sometimes, out of sight really equals out of mind! 

For OUTLOOK:

Outlook allows you to filter messages based on a list of e-mail addresses of junk and adult content senders. If you do not wish to receive these kind of messages, Outlook can search for commonly used phrases in such messages and automatically move them from your Inbox to a junk e-mail folder, your Deleted Items folder, or any other folder you specify.

To use the Rules Wizard to automatically delete any e-mail with the subject “JOKE”:

Step by Step

  1. Click Inbox. Then, on the Tools menu, click Rules Wizard.
  2. Click New.
  3. Click check messages when they arrive, and then click Next.
  4. Select the check box next to with specific word in the subject.
  5. In the text area below, click the blue, underlined phrase specific words.
  6. Here you can specify which words Outlook should look out for. For example, in the Add New text box, enter JOKE and then click Add. Repeat for any additional terms you want to check for. When you’re done, click OK and then click Next.
  7. Select delete it.
  8. Click Finish.

To apply the rule to e-mail already in your Inbox, click Run Now. In the Select rules to run list, select the check box next to the rule you just created, and click Run Now. This will delete all e-mail in your inbox with the subject “JOKE.” When the process is complete, click OK.

Now, anytime you get e-mail with the subject “JOKE,” Outlook will automatically move it to your Deleted Items folder. The e-mail will still be available in your Deleted Items until you empty the folder.

 By:Geek Sugar and Outlook Wise

 

 


Tech Tip Tuesday: November, 5 2013

20 Life Hacks and Tools to Boost Productivity on Your Computer 

 

With the flood of new technologies, websites, apps, news, work files, pictures, articles and the like, staying organized and focused is becoming progressively more difficult.

Luckily, there is a small group of people out there who get excited about making work faster, more efficient and organized. For me, It feels incredible having everything backed up, ordered and easily accessible when I need it. If you’re curious aboutlifehacking, and making your “computer life” more organized, read on. If you were hoping for news on the Biebs, check out TMZ.

I’m going to share with you the amazing tricks and tools I use to organize everything digital…but first you need to start by using Google Chrome. So let’s get started and begin streamlining your computer/cloud, browser and Gmail.

Gmail Tools

I love Gmail. It helps me tame my chaotic brain, and organize my daily work. I love having all my emails, calendars, and (many) documents all available through one service. My Gmail experience has been amplified tremendously by integrating the following tools into my regular workflow: 

ToutApp: A friend, and also the CEO of SendHub told me about ToutApp about six months ago. It has dramatically changed by email experience ever since. Do you get frustrated when someone doesn’t respond to your emails? Are you tired of writing the same responses to similar questions? Well, with ToutApp you can see whether (and when) someone has opened your email, downloaded an attachment or clicked on a link. This is best for people in sales and marketing, but can be helpful for anyone. ToutApp also allows you to write and send canned responses really easily. In ToutApp (on Gmail) I have folders with various email templates for sales, marketing, customer service and hiring/recruiting. Think about how much time this will save you! All those “Hi thanks for your interest in our company. I’d be happy to help, blah,blah” can now be answered in seconds with a simple dropdown menu and a couple clicks. This is the most beneficial Gmail tool out there.

Rapportive: Knowing a bit about the people that you’re emailing is important. Rapportive gives you a sneak peak of each person you email by connecting their email address to their social networks. You’ll see a snippet of their Twitter feed, a link to their LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and any other social media associated with that email address. Another cool trick with Rapportive: If you don’t know someone’s email address for sure, you can guess it (typically firstname.lastname@gmail.com) by typing it into the TO field of an email, and if their social profiles show up, you’ll know that you got the right person. Try this with some big CEOs or celebrities you’ve been itching to get an email out to.

Inbox Pause: When you’re deep in a project, and email is becoming a distraction, Inbox Pause is a fantastic tool for staying on task. All it does is “Pause” the flood of incoming emails, and hides them in a little folder until you click “Unpause.” You can even setup an auto-response if you’re working on a project that will take a number of hours. This lets people know that, while you’re at the office and available if necessary, you won’t see/answer emails until a certain time. If focusing is tough for you, give this a try.

Boomerang: Sometimes I think of ideas and write emails at strange times, but don’t want to necessarily send them to a partner, colleague or boss at 3 a.m. Boomerang lets you schedule messages to be sent at any time in the future. Additionally, if you’re an inbox-zero type like me, this lets you clear out messages that you’re not ready to deal with at the moment, and have them returned back to you at a future date. Often times I’ll get partnership requests, or invites to events from friends that may be a month in advance. Boomerang let’s me shoot them away until a date closer to the event when I want to be reminded.

Powerbot- Evernote Integration: I recently jumped on the Evernote bandwagon, and finally stopped bookmarking everything. Powerbot nicely links Evernote with my Gmail so I can download and “file” emails/chains, and attachments directly from my Gmail window. It’s a simple tool that pairs well with Evernote Web Clipper for Chrome.

Google Chrome

If you’re not using Google Chrome yet…why? Chrome is fast, efficient, and helps you better organize all the websites you frequent into easily accessible folders that live right below the search bar. Because of the heavy integration with Google, you can just type your Google search directly into the search bar (where in other browsers you need to type a URL). Additionally, Chrome enables you to use many of the aforementioned Extensions to power your Gmail/Google Apps, and generally makes browsing the Internet more effective, “savable” and organized in a way that will always suit your needs. Finally, your settings, layout, bookmarks and folders are all preserved and available on any computer (or cellphone/tablet) with the Chrome browser. All you need to do is sign in to your account and everything is back! Here are my favorite Chrome extensions, all of which are searchable in the Chrome Store (some of these are connected to Gmail as well):

AdBlock/Adblock Plus: If you hate seeing advertisements, enable one or both of these extensions for a little peace of mind.

Clearly: Clearly makes blog posts, articles and webpages clean and easy to read. You can also save them to Evernote to read anywhere!

Dashlane: A fantastic tool for saving/generating passwords, credit card information and website logins so you don’t need to remember the various ones you create around the web.

Economist Radio: Love the Economist but don’t have the time to read the entire magazine? This extension is great for listening to stories while you work, and lives at the top right of your browser.

Facebook Disconnect: Simply stops Facebook from tracking the webpages you visit.

Grammarly Lite: Prevent spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes when you write emails and post to social media–a great tool for the grammatically challenged.,#.,.

HelloSign for Gmail: This extension lets you sign, date and add text to attached documents that are sent to you. No longer do you need to print, sign, scan then reattach a document. Now all you need to do is click ‘Sign’ and add any relevant information and send it right back in a flash.

KeyRocket for Gmail: This is the best way to learn keyboard shortcuts while you work in Gmail. The tips are helpful and noninvasive.

 

File Organization/Computer Navigation

The goal for organizing your computer should be to have anything you need searchable and accessible in as few clicks as possible. Through my research (i.e reading too many articles on LifeHacker), I have created a system (combined with some powerful tools) to access anything I need on my computer or on the web, without even having to touch the mouse. Here are the tools I use for navigating, organizing and accessing all my digital information:

Alfred: Mac users: Stop using Spotlight right now. Alfred is a very simple, yet crazy powerful search tool for your computer that also can search the web. I simply hit ALT(Option), SPACE and a search bar comes up. Here I can find documents or folders on my computer, define words, use a calculator, or use shortcuts for accessing web pages or programs on my computer.

Better Touch Tool: A simple, yet useful application for resizing windows. Just drag any window around your screen to access various sizes (half screen, quarter, square, full, etc). This is great for researching someone on one side of your screen, while writing a document on the other.

Evernote: I recently started using Evernote again after a few failed attempts over the last few years. The trick that I learned, and what many people miss, is the fact that Evernote becomes most powerful the more you use it. Store pictures, downloads, quotes, articles, business ideas, receipts, recipes–anything and everything! Now instead of just bookmarking an article, I “clip” it into Evernote, tag it with various words so I can search it easily, and add it to a folder where I can access it from my computer or phone anytime, even without an internet connection. Evernote is a total game changer for all you obsessive collectors and organizers.

 

Organizing Your Cloud

If you haven’t noticed already, cloud computing and storage is taking over. Now more than ever, storing music, pictures and documents on your computer is unnecessary. Google Drive, DropBox, Box.net (among others) are all useful tools for backups, storage, collaborative writing/editing and project management.

A few months ago, I finally got fed up with having to choose between these services, since inevitably, there are pros and cons to each. Now however, I use them all. Using CloudHQ, my Dropbox, Google Drive and Box.net all sync bi-directionally, continuously and in such a way that everything is available everywhere and without duplicates. Redundant? Perhaps. Helpful, sharable and easy to make updates across platforms? You bet!

One last magical tool that was clearly created by Professor Dumbledore (though perhaps with the help of a logician ): IFTTT. It stands for “If This, Then That” and is often used in coding, symbolic logic, law, mathematics and other forms of argument to elucidate logical followings. If P happens, then Q happens. The site lets you create automatic triggers for various things to happen across platforms. For example, IF I upload a picture toInstagram, THEN save/import it to Dropbox. IFTTT works with countless online services so you can automate an almost infinite number of triggers to help you stay organized and up to date. There are a huge number of triggers that others have created, or you can just make your own. A few of my favorites:

If you ‘like’ an article on Facebook, then save it to Evernote (or Box, Dropbox, your desktop, etc).

If the forecast calls for rain today, then text me at 7am with a reminder to wear a raincoat.

If a new apartment pops up on Craigslist with XYZ criteria, then email me.

If I favorite a Tweet, then save it to a folder called Tweets on Dropbox.

And that’s it! While you may already use a few of these programs and services, I believe that (right now at least) combined, these tools make my digital life more secure, assessable and coordinated. I could lose my computer tomorrow and rest assured that nothing of mine (lest the computer) was lost.

Oh yes, and my absolute favorite web service is Asana…but that’s a topic for an entire article.

Enjoy, and eat Two Degrees bars!

By:Peter Walters for The Huffington Post

 
 
 

Homeownership Still the American Dream

 

Chicken Little 

After the harrowing challenges experienced by so many homeowners over the last few years, many housing experts had predicted that the belief in homeownership as a major element of the American Dream would soon die. There is now conclusive evidence that these experts were wrong. As we reported back in September,The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University completed a study which concluded:

The long term cultural preference for owning seems to have weathered the recent housing crisis.”

Now, a second source recently announced similar results. Fannie Mae just released their National Housing Survey of Delinquent Mortgage Borrowers. The survey asked questions about the value of homeownership to the most sensitive of all groups – those delinquent on their mortgages. Here is what they found:

Of those delinquent borrowers:

  • 74% still see homeownership as better than renting when building up wealth
  • 71% still see homeownership as better than renting when saving for retirement
  • 73% still see homeownership as better than renting for overall financial stability
  • 80% still see homeownership as better than renting as an investment plan
  • 70% still see homeownership as better than renting for creating an overall tax strategy

Bottom Line

Homeownership has always been and will always be a crucial piece of the American Dream. 

 

By: the crew at KCM