Apple or Windows? You Chime In.

It has held true that none of my blog posts get as many comments as those that discuss Apple products as real estate technology solutions. The passion and devotion of the legion of Apple fans, not to mention the hordes of Windows users,? has made for some spirited debates and turned many new readers on to MyTechOpinion.

In an effort to spark a discussion to rival any that we have had on MyTechOpinion, I would like to try something a bit different. A sort of editorial piece if you will.

I will ask a question, provide a few pieces of information to fuel the discussion and then allow you to weigh in. My hope is that different opinions and points of view can be presented in a way that will shed new light on the subject, as this is a question that has bewildered me for years.

With that said, here we go:

Is the Apple computer really as superior to a Windows computer as many Mac users would have you believe?

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Simplify Your Real Estate Technology Needs

OK, now that I have your attention, how do I propose you do this? Connect all of your electronic devices to your network. Printers, external hard drives, media card readers, plug them all into your network.

How does this simplify?
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New Computer Under The Tree?

Tis the season for new technology and many of you will find a new computer under the tree on Christmas morning. What an exciting time.

Before you jump in and start playing with your new toy, there is a fair amount of set-up and maintenance to perform. I know, you can?t wait and why does a new computer need maintenance? Trust me, a bit of work upfront will pay off on the long run. Besides, what else are you going to do on Christmas afternoon?
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Mobile Email Without a Magnifying Glass

A hole in the computer industry has been filled. The crazy thing is that no one saw the hole. Let me explain.

With laptops and smart phones, it would seem that the mobile real estate agent’s computing needs are fulfilled. When the laptop is too much to carry, you have the smart phone for email, internet and even document creation. What else would anyone need?

Unfortunately, the smart phone isn’t the perfect mobile companion for everyone. As eye sight goes, those tiny screens get tough to read. On top of that, the thumb-stroke keyboard is only suitable for short messages.

A new class of notebook, the “micro” or “mini”, has hit the market to fill the void between the laptop and smart phone. Equipped with 9-10″ LED screens, full keyboards, webcams, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and solid state hard drives, these mini notebooks make checking email and surfing the internet a real join.

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Is a Mobile Smartphone Docking Station In Your Future?

Hold on to your seat, Active Innovation Management (A.I.M.) is trying to turn mobile computing on its head. They’ve started with a vision of making an efficient and inexpensive alternative to Netbooks called the Olo. Their concept is a “mobile smartphone docking station” which would not include its own processor, memory, or wireless connection.? These specifics play into their concern of shrinking our “ecological footprint.”

A.I.M.’s goal is to make the Olo fully compatible with future versions of smartphones. So when it comes time to upgrade your mobile device, simply upgrade the phone and make any necessary updates to the Olo fitting module. Now the new smartphone could be applied. There is no need to replace components like monitor, speakers, keyboard on the Olo.

No physical prototype is available yet, but the patent process has begun to protect the OloTM concept. So for know well be waiting in anticipation for this great idea to surface.

What will this mean for Real Estate Agents?

In an industry where being mobile is an advantage, I suspect this idea will be warmly welcomed.? Don’t get me wrong, this device will surely have limitations. But what real estate agents need most while mobile is internet with email, access to MLS and contracts.? These activities could be carried out with the limited processing power of a next generation smartphone. Add a large screen and keyboard; I suspect the Olo will be a winner.


Anyone Up For A Game Of USB Switch-A-Roo?

Two computers, a printer, scanner, external drive and a business card reader.

Sound like an inventory of the technology in your real estate office? How do you share those devices with both computers?

Playing the old USB cable switch-a-roo? While this game can burn extra calories and is entertaining to watch, it is a real pain.

Getting crafty with device sharing over a network? This is a better solution with 2 major shortcomings:

(1) The host computer needs to be on to use the devices. This is tough if all of your computers are laptops.
(2) If you work in a large office, your devices will probably be exposed to everyone on the network. Yikes!

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Some Like It Hot (But Your Laptop Doesn’t)

Few things are as dangerous to the well-being of your computer as heat. An overheated computer can cause annoying performance issues, such as lockups. It can also cause permanent damage, like when my CPU fan failed which fried my CPU and motherboard. That was a costly problem.

Heat has always been an even bigger issue with laptop computers. Heat producing components are crammed into the smallest cases possible. This leaves very little room for cooling systems, which are usually limited to tiny exhaust fans. Not quite adequate.

Use your laptop for an extended period of time and feel the bottom. It is hot! People have burned their legs from this heat. Furniture has even been marred from it.

Thankfully, there is an easy, inexpensive solution to the laptop heat issue.

Manufacturers, such as Targus, Belkin and Antec, are producing laptop cooling pads. These thin plates contain 1 or more cooling fans and are powered via a USB cable. When you set your laptop on one of these devices, fresh air is continuously blown on the bottom of the laptop keeping it cool.

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Is Real Estate Ready For 64-Bit Computing?

Just as quickly as Windows Vista became the only operating system choice at the big-box stores, it seems that the 64-bit version of Vista is becoming the pre-installed version of choice. It has gotten difficult to find a Dell or HP computer at such stores as Best Buy, Circuit City or Costco that doesn’t have an edition of Vista 64-bit installed.

What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Vista?

Without getting too geeky, 64-bit operating systems can use more RAM. 32-bit systems are mathematically limited to 4 GB of RAM. This total includes the video card memory, as well.

For computers, such as mine, with 4GB of RAM and [Read more…]