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Doesn't it get your goat having to pay as much as you pay for unlimited 100mpbs at your home from say a provider like Xfinity as it does for a very limited and metered slower service from say AT&T, Verizon, and my least favorite, Exede (formerly Wild Blue), the satellite internet service provider? It sure sends me sideways. 

I was forced to use Wild Blue which later became Exede a few months after I signed on at my investment property that I rent in Lempster, NH. Many tenants insist on free WiFi or they won't book your cottage for their vacation so I was forced to provide a solution for my off-grid waterfront rental.  

My start with then Wild Blue was horrific from the beginning. I placed an order for a slower but higher limited bandwidth of 20gb for $49/mo. with the operator. When no one showed to install as scheduled the operator tried to re-enter my order. Their fault but that made no difference in the end. They discovered the "special" I ordered then was no longer available and no one, I mean no one, would make it right. After failing to get them to do the right thing they said too bad, they no longer offered that plan and forced me into another plan but claimed I'd be happier as it was at  faster speeds. However, it was $10/month more but just 10gb per month, half of their first promise. They told me it would be be more than adequate for simple surfing and email and other such tasks but not streaming. Duh. No metered plan makes sense for streaming video. It's satellite for people off the grid and they take advantage of this fact and really put it to you.

As I used the system while there myself doing normal things for my real estate practice I routinely used that 10gb in less than 2 days and was forced to keep adding 1gb at $10/gb. That seemed not right from the beginning and always fought them on their accuracy. They insisted I was doing more than I claimed and didn't take advantage of their un-metered midnight to 5am unlimited time slots. In any case, at the end of the week just to do normal business I'd end up with $120+ bill! Ouch...that's just a week and NO streaming. They say it's un-metered at night so I would do cloud back ups during those hours they claim it's free and wake up in the AM and checked my account to find it ZERO!! So you call them and they say "sorry" and add a few gb  back. Get the picture? They apologize and say there must have been a "glitch" or some other lame claim and you move on. I stopped using the "free" time to keep from having to wait forever to speak to someone to get some bandwidth back. 

This year I decided to do a test. I started to do my real estate work which includes creating small billboard websites with still photos and a 3 minute or so video clip while my wife would manage her CT Farm Fresh Express Store when we were there prepping the cabin for the rental season. As expected we blew through the 10gb plus 1gb extra in under 2 days. 

I then used my Verizon LTE connection through my iPad and used it as a hot spot. It's ultra fast and much more so than what Exede can deliver. We blew through those 6gb in a day. Just doing business...not watching Netflix or Hulu or other bandwidth consuming practice. Hmmm...why? This makes no sense and also perplexed my visitors who'd call complaining they too were experiencing running out of bandwidth doing little else but casual surfing and email. It's starting to quack like a duck if you get my drift.

Lastly we tested AT&T for data from our iPhones on our shared 20gb per month rollover data plan.  One of my biggest complaints to both Verizon and Exede was why they won't let you carry over unused bandwidth? I paid for it but wasn't there to use it. Seems fair, no? Well AT&T brought back the Cingular roll over minutes plan to data but they only roll over the unused previous 30 days. So as I thought I was building up a nice cached of unused data I quickly discovered they'll go back just to the previous 30 days so they deceive you a bunch in advertising but better than nothing and more than anyone else is doing. While Sprint surely offered the very best plan on paper at $80/mo. unlimited all the way around...you seldom have service, at least where I live and travel, so an unlimited amount of nothing is well, nothing...but I digress. Back to the test: We each connect our phones via Bluetooth as hotspots on my iPhone 6+ and Lizzy's iPhone 5 and worked as we previously described for 12 days straight and only consumed a total of 12.5gb. Amazing, huh? We blow through Exede and Verizon in less than 2 days and yet only 6gb each for 10 days doing the same work. Something is very wrong with Verizon's and Exede's claim of accuracy and I believe the FCC needs to check in on theses corporate thieves. When they find out I am right others will also rise up in anger. They will be fined a pittance compared to earnings with a condition that they admit to no wrong doing, a weak public apology, and life goes on for our fascist public companies who thrive on Wall Street on the expense of every one of us.  

When I called Exede to complain they insist I'm wrong of course and defended their metering to the end. What total bullshit. Ozzie, the tech support guy who was helping me terminate the account and offering me a free 5gb to stay didn't hear one word of my complaint. He kept reading his queue cards putting this on me and kept trying to "keep" me as it's his job.

I didn't care about their trumped-up logs to prove that I was wrong and they were right!  Well, me, the customer, and MY real world experience and that of my many weekly tenants was quite different indeed.  Defend away Exede...you're always right, not the customer as it used to be in the old days of doing business, and as a result you have an unhappy, pissed off PAST customer writing blogs about the thieving and unjust internet service and poor customer service experiences I have had. Even their automated telephone tree service will disconnect you 99% of the time. I told them about this problem in that after you answer all their questions, type in the numbers, your password, once they say please hold for the next operator it hangs up on you. Days later I had to call again and I experienced the same thing. The ONLY way in is through tech support and even that sometimes hung up on me at that point. I suppose that's just me and my telephone and they're system is showing things are operating normally.  Nothing they do is good from where I sit. Avoid doing business with these people at all costs. 

(BTW: I deliberately have our phones on AT&T and iPad on Verizon so we have coverage virtually everywhere. Both carriers, especially Verizon, brag how they got it covered and they're so wrong. AT&T for us in CT actually is much better for voice where Verizon is a bit better in NH.)

It takes many of us common citizens and customers of corporate giants who are now considered people by the Supreme Court to call out theses thieves in our midst. I believe we are all getting screwed and paying through the nose. Please comment or email me if you experience your bandwidth disappearing faster than you think it should. I'd love to hear from you! 

Well it's been a while since I got excited about any single piece of technology that makes life a little easier and more efficient. This blog is on the Plantronics Savor M1100 Bluetooth headset. 

To begin I have to start with comfort. I don't think I have ears that are atypical or difficult for headset designers to create a product providing a good fit while being comfortable. I've owned and used many different styles and brands all of which left me disappointed on many levels. The Savor M1100 is by far the best for fit and comfort ever! They ship this model with myriad sizes of surgical silicone covers that would allow many sizes and ear styles to find the perfect fit. My choice leaves this headset as pretty much undetectable when I'm wearing it. At 9 grams total weight, there is zero fatigue and my wife often has to remind me I'm wearing it at times when I truly should not. 

I really liked my Plantronics Voyager but it's lack of comfort, hokey and large behind the ear design was never loud enough the minute I left quiet environs. Voice clarity to the person on the other end or barking commands and questions towards Siri was excellent, a Plantronics hallmark, but when the charging connection failed I certainly didn't scramble to buy another. 

While at its list price and most modest discounts offered by the majority of retailers make this model pricey when compared to others, I found a seller on Amazon that laid one in on me at just under $50 shipped free on Amazon Prime. 

Let's talk features: To begin…it's got built in voice recognition commands. A soothing female voice tells you when it's connected to phone 1 or phone 2 (it's multi-point which I will explain later), and how much talk time is left. Tap the VR button and say "what can I say" and the gal inside states the short list of things you can tell the headset to do: pair Mode, Am I connected, check battery, redial, call information, call vocalist (their version of Siri), or cancel. 

When you phone rings you can say "answer" or "ignore" so you don't even have to raise your hand to take the call or blow it off. I love that you can say "redial" when a call fails or you need to call the same number right back. 

The charge time is very quick, less than 2 hours, which gets you up to 7 days of standby time and up to 4 hours of talk time. It's Advanced Audio Distribution (A2DP) feature allows you to connect to both your iPad and your iPhone making it quite easy to use this great headset on either of your devices without jumping through hoops.  Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) is fast and easy. It's running Bluetooth version 2.1 specs with EDR (The term Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) gives 2 and 3 Mbit/s respectively) and eSCO (to improve voice quality of audio links by allowing retransmissions of corrupted packets, and may optionally increase audio latency to provide better concurrent data transfer.)

At the end of the day if you're looking for a new Bluetooth headset that gives you the voice clarity (it's a triple microphone intake) that's splendid to carry on important and casual conversations and the accuracy needed for good dictation software) that's comfortable at a price that won't break the bank buy this guy! It's my favorite and proof that competition keeps making products like these better and better. 

 

ImageAmmo: Literally a New Twist on Showing Your Photos

by Mick Marsden

 

BNI Member Pete McLaughlin & Mary Ellen McQuire of McClaughlin Associates, the go-to place for all your insurance, in Madison learned about my photography and creative skills through BNI and tole me that I should meet Richard Parri, the idea man behind the new ImageAmmo software for consumers and pros alike. They were right, Richard and I hit it off from the start. 

 

Friendly, smart, creative, Richard's background was in finance. He built a sizable company that he was at the helm of until 49 when a heart attack changed his course. After 16 years being in the slow lane, the notes and diagrams he created during this time in a simple spiral bound book need to finally come to life. 

 

Rich Parri, the creative genius behind ImageAmmo at his bank of HD flatscreens demonstrating the  product to me. 

 

During his time away from the corporate world, he visualized a product that would make presenting images to the world in a unique, dramatic, and interactive way.  The concept got off the ground when Rich met up with Logan Chittenden, a developer that could share Rich's vision. With past experience in game development as well as data management programming, together they refined and grew Rich's notes into the visual treat it has become. More importantly for the consumer and pro alike, a Rhesus Monkey could interface with it. Hyperbole, I know, but it's really stupid simple. 

 

 

I had interest in learning more on many levels. As a professional photographer I am always looking for new and creative ways to showcase the many homes my River to Shore Group team presents on line. For the occasional wedding or event I shoot I found ways to share the images with my clients in ways so creative it's not just leading edge, I'd have to say it's bleeding edge. 

 

Richard and Logan have been working tirelessly on this project for about a year.  I met Richard in his Madison, CT home office perched on the 3rd floor of that takes advantage of serene views his waterfront home's offers. I can't see how I'd get tired of working there. When I arrived the banks of large, flat HD screens reminded me of those TV shows and movies with the super-geek behind a keyboards chasing down criminals, Wall Street thieves, terrorists, and the like. It was simply the perfect venue for him to show me the many ways this product could be used. I was wildly excited. 

 

 

Given that a photo is worth a thousand words, the best way to get your arms around the product is to visit: http://imageammo.com/

 

For me the future is clear. Photography clients would receive a personalized "thumb" drive with their photos and ImageAmmo runtime program on it instead of the old DVD's which can travel a whole lot easier. Buyer's of Real Estate will have a great time exploring the photos of any home I publish online in the very near future. It'll be a killer app for my new iPad to say the least. 

 

Kiosks are a great use for this technology as well. If you want to see an example Rich and Logan's good work and have a great meal to boot (the make the best pomme frites)  go to Cafe Routier on RT in Westbrook (www.CafeRoutier.com) where a large touch screen is mounted on the wall in the lounge area for customers to interact with. Very cool. 

 

I'll be writing more on this great technology as it unfolds. I'll certainly be at the front of the line to incorporate this into my real estate marketing, so hey, Rich and Logan, get the pro-application finished will ya?


HERALD: A fabulous Mac Mail Plug-In

by Mick Marsden

Most who know me know my passion for technology in general, but I'm nothing if not THE Apple enthusiast. Yes I have my iPad 3G 64gb coming, own the iPhone, and a fully loaded 17" MacBook Pro. In fact the entire River to Shore Group uses Apple technology to create better marketing materials, maintain better communications, and have more capabilities wherever we are. 

 

If you're into social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like, TweetDeck is the best aggregator I've seen. In addition to making it incredibly easy to make posts to whatever accounts you have ownership of or administrator rights. When a post is made in a channel or column you created on the deck, it will feed that post automatically through Adobe Air which places the message into a neat, small, translucent window in any corner you prefer. Goto TweetDeck.com to download the software and try it out. It's fabulous to write and post one message that's appropriate for 5 accounts in one click, photos, and more.

 

 

 

Another natural addition to your communications palette is the Mac Mail plug-in known as "Herald" written by Erik Hinterbichler from Mountain View, CA (Where else?). It's simply an elegant solution, beautifully coded, and a must have for someone who want's to be on top of their email.

 

 

Since using it I find I can quickly delete the items I'd be deleting when I poured over a long list of unread mail, immediately respond to those items requiring it, and simply check off that I read those that I want to keep that require no response at all, or lastly simply click it off for me to deal with within Mail at a later time. 

 

It is highly customizable and there is simply nothing I can find wrong with it from either a design or function perspective. Goto: http://erikhinterbichler.com/software/herald/ for a free download. You might want to donate some $$ to the author letting him know in green what you think of his fine work. 

 

If you do use it, please post your comments here so others can read the consensus on this plug-in

The River to Shore Group Uses iPhone App to Assist Buyers

by Mick Marsden

We are known for being experts at using leading edge technology in real estate to best serve our buyers and sellers. It should then come as no surprise to learn that our listings are now iPhone enabled. 

We debated on whether to wait until our branded app would finally available on the App Store but hey, you're in the market now. You'll love how this free app will allow you to stand in front of any of our listings, or any other on the MLS for that fact, and see photos and up-to-the-minute details on the home you're in front of. You can easily see what else is for sale nearby to see how well it's priced and with the touch of your finger you can be talking to us immediately or send us an email with your question or request to see the home. 

4255

Download your free app today! Click the icon below and enter 4255 when prompted. It's that simple.

New Home Sales Surge 9.6% in July

by Michael Marsden

New U.S. home sales surged 9.6 percent in July, rising for the fourth straight month
and beating expectations as the housing market shows continuing signs of rebounding from its historic downturn.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 from an upwardly revised June rate of 395,000. Sales are now up 32 percent from the bottom in January, but off 69 percent from the frenzied peak four years ago.

Last month's sales pace was the strongest since September and exceeded the forecasts of economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who expected a pace of 390,000 units. The last time sales rose so dramatically was in February 2005.

The median sales price of $210,100, however, was still down 11.5 percent from $237,300 compared to the same time a year ago. There were 271,000 new homes for sale at the end of July, down more than 3 percent from May. At the current sales pace, that represents 7.5 months of supply, the lowest since April 2007. The decline means builders have scaled back on construction to the point where supply and demand are coming into balance.

    Source: Associated Press, Alan Zibel (08/26/09)

 

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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