Friday, January 30, 2009

Google's MLS listings

Firstly, note that I did not do any research looking for information as to why the listings that I've seen have mostly been out of date. By out of date I mean that when I ask an agent friend about a house I see she often tells me that it is already sold, sometime MONTHS in the past. That said, read on...

My experience with Google maps mls listings is that they are hit or miss as to whether or not the listings are really on the market. I suspect (warning: paranoid theory) RE agents don't want Google's data to be too accurate. This is one way to try and maintain relevance as technology rapidly changes underneath them. I think this, if its true, will ultimately hurt the RE industry. It could be that agents just don't remove things very quickly from mls - that coupled with any delay that Google has syncing up couild account for the perceived inaccuracy.

I think that as more and more tech savvy buyers and sellers enter the market they are going to expect accurate data - wherever they get it. They are going to be annoyed by inaccurate data, and enter into RE agent relationships grudgingly. Better, for RE agents, to focus and adding value to the data - good services added to the data is always valuable. If you know your town and are willing to get to know the customers and are then able to show them units they'll really like long term, you'll do well.

I wonder what your trade organizations have to say on this... Also, look to the RIAA for a bad example. They dragged their feet and ceded the market for digital music to Apple.

If you're a RE professional, I'd be happy to talk more one-on-one... My fee is usually satisfied with lunch ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Planning a move using google maps

Check out my map:

View Larger Map

I created this with Google's My Maps feature. I've put on the map many of the schools and grocery stores I found (also using Google maps) in the town(s) we are interested. To the east is my office (no that is not a picture of it.)

Though not always accurate, under My Maps, Google has a feature that displays homes for sale. Pretty cool!

I'm sure there is lots more I can do with this. I'm just getting started.

Have you used My Maps? What for?

Monday, January 12, 2009

windows 7 - a nearly non-technical review

I downloaded a copy of Windows 7 (beta build 7000) over the weekend. It loaded onto my t40 in about 30 minutes with 2 reboots. This was pretty good - not as fast as Ubuntu Linux, but faster than XP.

Over the weekend I found that it boots quickly, and shuts down well. It comes up from hibernate with no trouble. It had no trouble with any of my HW. Wifi worked well, but seemed to work better when I explicitly told it to connect to a network when comming out of hybernate.

Esthetically it looks very nice. The text is clean. The colors bright - no more grey or blue everywhere. Everything is very minimilist - no extra pixels wasted on useless information. This is great news as the job of an OS is to melt into the background so you can use you APPs in the foreground.

I like the new Taskbar. It works like OSX's dock in that your apps have a little icon on it. However, unlike the dock, it doesn't have an icon per open window. Instead open windows become available when you hover over click on the icon. I like this since your running apps don't move around making them easier to find. That is, in OSX, when I minimize a window, it goes to a different place than I launched it from.

The new Start Menu us trimmed down significantly from XP. For one it isn't name Start - in itself a HUGE improvement. Microsoft used good color schemes to deliniate between your programs and those items that interact with the system.

The Control Panel is very much improved over XP and even more so over Vista. As in elsewhere in the OS a minimalist aproach is used. There are "advanced" options, but the most commonly used options are righ there in front.

There was on dark spot. Can anyone explain to me why only Apple ships an OS that plays DVDs out of the box? Linux can't, I know, because the codec's are licensed. MS windows 7 can't either???? I was pretty disapointed when I put in a DVD and it said it couldn't play it. To paraphrase the error: I can't play this DVD since your output device (the monitor) can't be copy protected. Hey DVD content providers (and Microsoft): This is STUPID.

All in all, I liked windows 7. I'm going to keep it on this machine for a while... If you like, you can take a look without installing it.