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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. 

 

New Rules for Home Mortgages

by Mick Marsden

We work a lot with the capable staff at Fenwick Mortgage. This month Christine Bulgini wrote about how the rules have changed for buyers, sellers, and self-employed folks as well. If you're buying or selling a home today you need to know the new rules and how they may impact your goals: 

Mortgage Matters: Housing Market...The New Rules of the Game

 

After taking a beating during the Great Recession, the housing market seems to be staggering back to its feet. But as we make our way back to some sense of normalcy, many new rules have been established - with still more to come.

 

For those buying your first home:

  • OLD RULE: Little or no down payment required
  • NEW RULE: It is now the norm for lenders to require a down payment of 20%. For those with less of a down payment, mortgage insurance will be required, but a good credit score along with other stricter guidelines must be met. And the higher the credit score, the cheaper the mortgage insurance premium. The biggest barrier we have seen to first-time home ownership has become saving enough for a down-payment.

 

For those selling a home:

  • OLD RULE: Once the market bottoms, hold out as long as you can to net the biggest price gain.
  • NEW RULE: As sales prices tend to drop as the year draws to a close, listing your home in the spring has become more valuable than ever.

 

For self-employed borrowers:

  • OLD RULE: With exceptional credit scores, income documentation not required
  • NEW RULE: Regardless of the amount of assets or the borrower's credit scores, self-employed borrowers must show sufficient income based on previous two years tax returns.
    • This is similar to those who earn a substantial amount of income through bonuses or commissions - must have two year history of it with the same employer.

 

For those refinancing:

  • OLD RULE: Refinancing or adding lines of credit within a just a short time after home-purchase was possible due to appreciation of property values.
  • NEW RULE: With property values challenged by current conditions, only those who have a larger equity can refinance to get a lower rate, and getting a 'cash-out' loan, even more challenging.

 

These are just some basic rules which have become the result of added regulations and stricter lender guidelines.

 

By the way, everyone should become familiar with CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). They are the new financial Federal Government watchdog for consumers, and will be responsible for issuing new or changing existing regulations. Check out www.consumerfinance.gov

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