SHELLY KOMER

SHELLY KOMER

REALTOR, ABR, SFR

Inside the Debate over Google’s New Privacy Policy

Mar 28, 2012 in Tech. 0 Comment

Inside the Debate over Google’s New Privacy Policy

On March 1, 2012, Google instituted a new privacy policy, which sparked a public debate about individual rights on the web. People enjoy surfing and researching on the Internet, but they don’t necessarily enjoy having their use of the web being tracked and advertisers market and target them. Google makes money by selling user information and behavior data to advertisers. With Google’s new privacy policy, your activity on each of its more than 60 services, including YouTube, Google Maps, Google Books, Picasa, and so on, is automatically shared among all of Google’s products.

 

On February 22, a letter signed by over thirty state and territory attorneys general was sent to Google. Concerns about sharing user information across Google products were addressed, but Google has ignored complaints on the new changes. The European Union sent a request for Google to postpone making the change as the policy violates an EU law. After a lack of response from Google, on March 5, the French cyber security bureau CNIL began investigating Google’s noncompliance. 

 

Beyond the global debate, on an individual level, it seems that people are conflicted over Google’s new privacy policy. In a recent survey of over 2,000 Internet users, 91 percent said they always find what they search for, 73 percent said the information on the Internet was accurate and credible, and 66 percent said online information was fair and unbiased. Despite this positive attitude towards the Internet, those surveyed felt that it was an invasion of privacy for search engines to track web behavior and personalize search results. 

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Hot New Accessories for the New iPad

Mar 28, 2012 in Tech. 0 Comment

Hot New Accessories for the New iPad

While the new iPad may not be drastically different from its predecessor, other companies have taken this opportunity to create some fun new accessories. If you buy the new iPad, you may also want to take a look at some of these items to go along with it.

 

Digital AV Adaptor

 

This accessory, created by Apple, allows you to display your photos, videos, etc. from your iPad screen onto an HDTV. You can add audio to screens that will support sound. While playing your movies or other images on the big screen, your iPad will be charging. This way, you won’t lose power in the middle of a movie.

 

Wireless Keyboard

 

The new wirelesss keyboard, another product by Apple, adds functionality to the iPad. Powered by Bluetooth technology, it allows you to either type in front of the iPad, or on your lap. This is a must-have accessory if you prefer the traditional keyboard to touch screens.

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How to Turn Your Facebook Fans into Paying Customers

Mar 26, 2012 in Business/Finance. 0 Comment

How to Turn Your Facebook Fans into Paying Customers

Many businesses make the mistake of pushing too aggressively on Facebook. Facebook is most successful for businesses that focus on connecting and making lasting relationships with fans and consumers. By avoiding aggressive advertising with Facebook campaigns, you can make the most of Facebook and turn your fans into paying customers.

 

How to involve yourself on Facebook

The best way to make a sale through Facebook is to involve yourself with your audience. Post interesting and valuable content to establish trust and credibility with your Facebook audience. Once you’ve got your audience engaged in what you have to say, talk to them. Ask them questions, answer their questions, and find out everything you can about them. Once you’ve gotten them to follow what you have to say on Facebook, then you can move your sales in high gear, converting them from fans to paying customers.

 

Offer special discounts and promos

Post information about a product or service that your audience values. Say something interesting or relevant to your fans that will get them to click on the link, and have the link land on a sales page.

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Is the MLB's Added Wild Card Spot a Good Idea?

Mar 23, 2012 in Sports/Entertainment. 0 Comment

Is the MLB's Added Wild Card Spot a Good Idea?

It has been decided by the powers-that-be in major league baseball that there will be two more wild card teams fighting for a place in the playoffs. This change will become effective starting 2012, and will affect the playoffs for the season. The big question remains: what will it do for baseball?

 

Since the schedule was already in place when the decision came to add more wild card teams, the next issue was organizing the playoffs to accommodate the extra wild card teams. They incorporated a playoff schedule that will apply only to this season, and the new one will take over in 2013.

 

Making the Division Titles More Important

 

With the new system in place, division title winners get the benefit of extra time to rest while the wild card teams have a playoff. This will make winning their division more important for teams. In the past, they would have been just as happy with the wild card title.

 

The wild cards will be using their starters to get them to the next level while the division teams will give their players an extra period of rest. This will give them an advantage once they begin the playoffs.

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How to Be the Perfect Wedding Guest: Dos & Don’ts

Mar 21, 2012 in Lifestyle. 0 Comment

How to Be the Perfect Wedding Guest: Dos & Don’ts

With spring just around the corner, love is in the air, and there are sure to be plenty of weddings on your social agenda. Whether you are a friend to the groom or friend to the bride, be sure to follow these easy dos and don’ts to have a fabulous time and be the perfect guest at weddings this year. 

 

Do

-Respond promptly when you receive the invitation so that the bride and groom can get an accurate head count for the caterers.

-Editorialize your RSVP with comments like “will happily attend,” or include a congratulatory note in the envelope. 

-Celebrate your friend or loved one’s big day by arriving early- at least thirty minutes before the ceremony starts.

-Notify the hosts if you can’t make it at the last minute.

-Find the couple’s registry and purchase gifts early to have them sent to the couple’s address.

-If you’re also invited to the bridal shower, be sure to bring along a gift.

-Bring your best self to the party. Let go of all your troubles for a few hours so you can truly celebrate the special day with your friends and loved ones. 

-Introduce yourself to other guests and mingle during the cocktail and hors d’oeuvres.

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First Look at Windows 8

Mar 19, 2012 in Tech. 0 Comment

First Look at Windows 8

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview was recently released allowing users to get a look at the new operating system. Though it’s only been a short while, reviews are already coming in about the new look and design. What can you expect?

 

New Look

 

Windows 8 looks very different from previous versions. There isn’t a round Start button, and the Start screen looks very basic with a choice of only nine colors and five patterns. The design is similar to that created for the Windows Phone. You can tap the images on the screen and it will immediately open the application.

 

The Start Menu no longer exists; it has been replaced by rows of tiles that you can scroll through. You can add tiles to the screen for programs that you need to access frequently.

 

There are two variations of the new Windows 8, one for touch screens and the other for mouse and keyboard users.

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How to Teach Your Kids to Use Credit Cards Wisely

Mar 16, 2012 in Business/Finance. 0 Comment

How to Teach Your Kids to Use Credit Cards Wisely

There is no way to avoid the issue of credit with your kids. Credit is important for car insurance, jobs, and even for buying a home. One of the easiest ways to establish good credit is with credit cards. However, they can also damage your credit if you don’t handle them wisely. Here are some ways that you can teach your kids to be responsible with credit, and start them on the right path for life. 

Put Them on Your Card

You can add your kids as an additional user on your credit card and give them a set spending limit. You will still be responsible for any charges that they accrue, so do not give them a bigger limit than you can afford to pay. This will allow you to watch how they spend their credit, and monitor their behavior.

 

The down side of adding your kids to your credit card is that they know you will pay if they don’t. In addition, they will be paying you, which may not feel like a real credit card payment to them. However, once they max out their portion, they will not have access to credit. For this method to work you will have to set rules and remain firm, just like a credit card company would.

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Most Memorable Moments of the 2012 Oscars

Mar 14, 2012 in Sports/Entertainment. 0 Comment

Most Memorable Moments of the 2012 Oscars

Now that the dust has settled on the entertainment industry's biggest awards show of the year, here's a look back at the most memorable moments of the 2012 Academy Awards.

 

Octavia Spencer’s Speech

Spencer won Best Supporting Actress for the movie The Help and she was deeply moved by the award. She broke down in the middle of her speech where she thanked her family and those who were part of The Help family.

 

Angelina Jolie’s Dress

One of the most talked about outfits of the night, the Versace gown that wowed everyone. It was an elegant black velvet gown with a high slit. Her striking poses in the gown produced comments from news people the next day. Jolie presented the award for best screenwriter.

 

Jean Dujardin’s Underdog Win

One of the biggest surprises came in the Best Actor category. Frenchman Jean Dujardin won the award over favorite George Clooney for his role in The Artist. His enthusiasm was felt by the audience and viewers when he said, “I love this country!”

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The Science of Temper Tantrums

Mar 12, 2012 in Lifestyle. 0 Comment

The Science of Temper Tantrums

For parents, a child’s temper tantrums cause feelings of embarrassment, despair, and helplessness. For passersby, a child in a raging fit is reason enough to dread air travel, grocery shopping, and just generally being near children. For researchers, however, children’s temper tantrums can unlock the mysteries of the developing brain.

 

Preliminary Results

Over time, research has shown that temper tantrums are not just a source of annoyance, but the basis to understanding human communication and social development. In a recent study, preliminary results showed that there are definite, predictable patterns to any tantrum. By monitoring children’s physical and vocal actions during tantrums with high-fidelity audio recorders, scientists determined that children’s actions and voices can signal nuanced emotions they may be dealing with. Specifically, emotions of anger and sadness are manifested differently and at different times through the course of a tantrum. 

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Emerging Trends in Web Design

Mar 09, 2012 in Tech. 0 Comment

Emerging Trends in Web Design

According to web design experts, newspapers and magazines will join the HTML5 parade. Innovation will happen wherever developers write and design apps that perform across platforms. Along the same lines, mobile and desktop web solutions will explode as businesses and developers realize the potential reach of their websites among users. Daily deal sites, once hugely popular, will diminish. Monthly subscriptions, if not already in place, will be available on many websites looking to monetize their content. Both web designers and developers talk about improvements in responsive web design becoming a huge trend in 2012. 

 

Best websites

The best websites from last year promise even more professional and customized sites in 2012. Eight Two Design group, among many others, is emerging as a leader in conceptual web development by creating narratives out of brands and pushing web products. The best websites will have color palettes that reflect natural elements and rhythms of life. 2011 saw the introduction of fabric textures to design, which will likely grow in popularity over the course of the year. Designers use fabric textures to add depth and dimension, and create more lifelike representation and tones.  

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4 IPOs to Watch in 2012

Mar 07, 2012 in Business/Finance. 0 Comment

4 IPOs to Watch in 2012

Facebook’s initial public offering promises to be one of the biggest in history, topping out at $10 million. However, there are other companies that could have interesting IPOs this year. Here is a look at the ones to watch in the coming months.

 

Carlyle Group

This is a private equity company that filed last September. They are located in Washington D.C. but have offices in 4 continents, with 415,000 employees across the world. It was founded in 1987 by five executives and has over $150 billion in assets.

 

Kayak

Founded in 2004 by some of the co-founders of Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia, online travel start-up Kayak is supposed to go public sometime in 2012, but the details are still up in the air. It is a price comparison website for airlines, hotels, and other vacation packages. It was featured among the top 50 websites by the Time magazine in 2009. It allows you to search multiple travel sites to find the lowest price.

 

Caesar’s Entertainment

This company owns over 50 casinos in the United States and around the world, with names like Caesar’s, Harrah’s, and Horseshoe. It has had some problems in the recent past, but did fairly well with its IPO. The stock began at $9 a share and ended up at $12.50. There is hope that online gambling may become legal next year, which could help Caesar’s. It is one of the leaders in the World Series of Poker.

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MLB 2012 Season Preview

Mar 05, 2012 in Sports/Entertainment. 0 Comment

MLB 2012 Season Preview

With the opening games of the 2012 Major League Baseball season just around the corner, spring training is in full swing. While the players are working out their plays and runs, fans across the nation are predicting and fantasizing about the season ahead and the games to come. 

 

Japan Opening Series

On March 28, 2012 the first game of the MLB 2012 season will open in Tokyo, Japan, with the Oakland Athletics stepping up to the plate against the Seattle Mariners. At the 2012 Japan Opening Series the League hopes to bring baseball to fans in all parts of the world. The Oakland A’s signed on veteran slugger Manny Ramirez even though he won’t be able to play until well into the season. Before he retired prematurely in 2011, Ramirez failed a test for performance enhancing drugs. Now that he’s signed back on to play with the Oakland A’s, Ramirez will have to serve his 50-game ban. This year will be his twentieth year as a professional baseball player.

 

On the opposite side of the country, the New York Yankees have signed a $1.1 million contract with the free agent Raul Ibanez. Looking for designated hitters, the Yankees have been in talks with Ibanez for weeks. After letting A.J. Burnett go, the Yankees finally had the purse to seriously pursue Ibanez for their batter lineup.

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Tips on Hiring a Phone App Developer

Mar 02, 2012 in Tech. 0 Comment

Tips on Hiring a Phone App Developer

Do you have a great idea for a phone app that everyone would love? You just know it would be a big hit, but you have no idea how to create it. This is where you need to hire a professional phone app developer who can turn your idea into a money-making reality.

 

Where do you find a developer, and how do you know if they are good? Here are some tips to help you find the right person for the job.

 

Know What You Want

 

You may not have the technical knowledge to understand how the app will work, but you should know what you expect it to do. A developer may have to make some changes to your idea, but they should have a base to begin with. You should be able to explain what the app does, and who will use it. Will you want updates on the app?

 

Know Where to Look

 

If you are planning a big project for the creation of your app, you will want to hire an established company. The more complex the app, the more experience you will want from the developers.

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