post

Service Pack 1 Released For Windows Vista

Where does the time go? It’s hard to believe that it has been over a year since the release of Windows Vista. As a sort of birthday present, Microsoft has completed Service Pack 1 for Vista. Unlike Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, you will not see much in the way of new functionality. The focus of SP1 is stability, compatibility and performance.

This means that your Vista computer may seem to have more pep after the upgrade. File transfers should complete faster, and problematic peripherals just may run smoother.

Reviews of SP1 are mixed. Some tests are showing speed improvements, while others don’t show much difference. One thing that reviewers [Read more…]

post

Using Video in Your Real Estate Business

Last year when Real Estate agents spoke about home tours online you could almost guarantee the tours were going to be compiled using a combination of still photos, stitched into a tour. (Photo Story etc.) Well that?s all changing as we predicted in November. Why are video tours and video presentations in Real Estate catching on? Well that?s mainly thanks to YouTube for making previous awkwardly large video files easy to share.

What else is it about video that?s so compelling? If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, what?s video worth?10,000 words? Video allows the interested party to get even more realistic imagery and hear audio which means less to read online. Video also convey?s emotion when produced correctly.

Now just because you have a video camera doesn?t mean you should start making your Real Estate video tours and video presentations for your website. You need to first address the idea of professionalism. You are not trying to film ?The Blair Witch Project? you are a professional Real Estate agent trying to position yourself and the homes you represent as a wonderful opportunity for interested parties. To do that successfully, your video should have flow. If you are filming a house, bring your tripod to get smooth, level shots. Use well lit areas, and zoom-in for maximum impact. When these tools are used in the right combination, your Real Estate video will capture the essence of what you are trying to convey.

How do I get started?
Obviously, you will need a video camera, tripod and corresponding accessories for the actual video sessions. Also look into a microphone to attach onto your lapel. This will help remove the echo sometimes caused by using just the video recorders built-in microphone. Also pickup a lightweight, easy to collapse tripod.

In regards to video editing you will need a fairly powerful computer. Using an old PC will definitely test your patience. The right software is also important. If your price-point is FREE*, you are in luck Windows Movie Maker is a decent program. (*Free if you have a registered copy of Microsoft Windows) With Movie Maker importing video is a snap. You can easily add text, transitions and special effects. The result will produce good quality video for web display. For Real Estate agents using Microsoft Vista Premium or Ultimate you will also be able to burn high-quality DVD?s with Movie Maker HD.

If you are still on XP and are looking to create offline high-quality videos on CD, I recommend Adobe Premier Elements 3.0. This program has been a hit for years, and packs a ton of power from its big brother Adobe Premier Pro. Premier Elements is around $100 and now works with Windows Vista.

post

Winforms meets Microsoft Vista

Today?s savvy Real Estate agents use Winforms (or Zipforms) to manage their real estate forms. However if you?ve just upgraded to Microsoft Vista you may have a few challenges getting it installed. Loren Nason over at the Future of Real Estate Technology just posted an article entitled ?How to use Winforms with Microsoft Vista?. In the article Loren talks about the recommended steps to getting your Winforms (or Zipforms) application installed on your PC. Strangely enough Winforms has recommend a theme change. I?m not sure but maybe the compatibility issue is with the new Aero feature in Microsoft Vista? Loren did note that he didn?t have to do this for the desktop version. If you?ve had experience please leave your comments.
To see Winform?s official communication, click here.