Mar 29

As I travel the country speaking to real estate agents the one complaint I hear over and over is “Max when are we going to be able to use our iPhones to access our MLS lock-boxes?” My answer has normally been that the iPhone does not have IR (Infrared) capabilities so if your MLS uses lockboxes that depend on IR to communicate you will have to stick with one of the older IR capable phones (such as Palm Treo etc) or be forced to cary another separate device (a dongle) that will allow you to access the lockbox.  Now all of that may be  changing as several companies have developed IR devices to be used with the iPhone.  They did not however do this in response to the real estate industry and their lockbox woes, but rather as a response to a much bigger market demand, that of the home consumer and their desire to use their iPhone or iPod Touch to control all of their home entertainment equipment (TV, Stereo, DVD etc).  That being said now that the hardware issue has been resolved it would appear that it will only take a progressive lockbox manufacturer that wants to satisfy the needs of it’s customers to simply write an app for the iPhone that uses one of these IR hardware devices to communicate with their lockboxes.  I am sure we will see the same devices soon appear for the Android phones that are flooding the market.  So here’s my public appeal to the lockbox manufacturers on behalf of thousands of your customers that now use the  iPhone (and now Android phones) PLEASE DEVELOP AN APPLICATION!

Here are a few of the manufacturers of these IR devices for the iPhone (and many for the iPod Touch as well), I am sure they will be looking at similar devices for the Android phones shortly.

RedEye Mini for iPhone

i-Got-Control IRB1 dongle Potato's FLPR IR dongle

POWER A Universal Remote Case with IR installed

POWER A Universal Remote Case with IR installed

POWER A Universal Remote Case without IR installed (still works as a case)

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Mar 27

As many of you know I have been an iPhone user since day one, currently on my 4th one which is the 3GS (I lose things…but at least I could track it last time I lost it…..it got stolen).
Anyway I also have a Motorola Droid and it’s the best phone I’ve ever had on the Verizon network….that being said as I use both often and the Droid is a far cry from the iPhone.  If Verizon ever get’s the iPhone (which is not looking good with the latest deal Jobs made with AT&T for the $29.99/month service on the iPad) I would switch in a heartbeat as then I could use just one phone.   The biggest complaint I have on the Droid (albeit again a nice device for those stuck on Verizon) is it just pales in comparison to the iPhone in basic usability on a daily basis.  Using the touchscreen for example has always been more pleasurable and accurate experience for me on the iPhone than the Droid.  Especially noticeably while using the on-screen keyboard as the letters are pretty small so touch-screen accuracy is key.

I recently read an article from Moto Development Group that confirmed there are significant mearsuable differences in the accuracy of the current touch screens on smartphones.  Watch the video below for details but the bottom line is the iPhone was most accurate followed by the HTC phones (the Nexus One and the Droid both Android devices) then came the Palm Pre, the Motorola Droid (almost a tie) and just a bit worse and rounding up the bottom the BlackBerry Storm 2.

I’m sure you will see these technologies improve fast as this was the first touch-screen for some of these companies but I can tell you from experience this is a pretty important part of your daily use.  Until next time…Max-out

Robot Touchscreen Analysis from MOTO Development Group on Vimeo.

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Mar 24

I just watched this video from the TED2010 and it is worth taking the time if you want a peek into maps of the future…BTW the future is actually here and you can experience  some of this new technology at The Latest Version of Bing Maps I love the new Bird’s Eye View which is taken at an angle for great 3-D “sim-city” type of effect.  Here’s a shot of downtown Denver using this effect, you can also rotate and of course zoom in and out to get more or less detail.  The real magic occurs with the integration of Flickr data and Photosynth (if you have not checked out Photosynth do so now) technology  into the maps themselves which give the maps so much more possible information as they actually overlay photos that you or consumers take (with Geocoded data) and upload to Flickr right into the maps.  Watch the video and pay attention about 5 minutes in and they demo LIVE video feeds on the map, and the fact that they have imagery INSIDE public buildings.  They do this by wearing a backpack camera and the effect is pretty impressive.  This kind of technology will change the way consumers experience neighborhoods and therefore the way they shop for real estate……Imagine embedding a Bing map into your website that has integrated geo-coded photos that you uploaded to Flickr so your clients get a compelling visual tour of that area…lots of possibilities.  BLOGGERS>>> check out how Bing is integrating local blog posts with The Local Lens App within the new Bing (just look at the bottom right corner of the Bing Map for “Map Apps”).  Watch the video…take a breath then play with some of these cool tools….Max

Downtown Denver

Birds Eye View

Blaise Agüera y Arcas is the architect of Bing Maps at Microsoft, building augmented reality into searchable maps. He’s also the co-creator of Photosynth

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Mar 15
Atlona AT-HDAir

Wireless video transmitter from PC to HDTV

Came across a pretty handy device called the Altona AT-HDAir ($219) that allows you to display what is currently on your PC to an HDTV (HDMI or VGA connections) within your real estate office with no cables.  It uses wireless technology to transmit whatever you are currently looking at on your PC (laptop or desktop) to an HDTV across the room, on the other side of your desk or even in a conference room next door (needs to be within 30 feet but can transmit through walls).  So I can imagine working with a client and either reviewing a contract or viewing properties on MLS/Realtor.com etc and how nice it would be to have your clients looking at a larger display of their own vs. looking over your shoulder or huddling around your laptop.  With the prices of HDTV’s continuing to drop you could pick up an HDTV monitor/display for anywhere between $149 and $500 depending on how large of a display you want.  Then simply put it on the desk next to you or better yet mount it on your office wall with a bracket that is adjustable and pull it out when you need it.

In the past this was available in lo-res but now it’s available in HD (720p) and it also will broadcast audio along with the video. You simply plug a small USB transmitter into your laptop/desktop PC (Windows only at this time) and then have the receiver located near your larger HDTV.

Or how about hooking this up to a large HDTV in your near-bye conference room so many agents could enjoy a webinar together?

By the way I will be having another advanced social networking webinar soon watch my fan page on Facebook for webinar announcements.

Max

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Mar 13

Ok I knew from the moment it was unveiled by Steve Jobs that I wanted one of these “giant iPhones” in my hands. So when the announcement came late Thursday that you could pre-order them on 3/12 I was up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to click the order button on Apple.com but then I was stuck with the dilemma of “which one?”  I mean there are lots of options 16gb, 32gb, 64gb, with and without 3G…..hmmmmm what to do.  Well here’s what I ended up ordering and why, not because it’s what I think is best, it’s just best for me.

First decision memory size – I chose the 32GB model mainly because I have had the 32GB version of the iPhone 3GS and have never had it more than 1/2 full with my normal usage which includes on average a 1,000 songs, 8 to 10 video podcasts, another 20 misc short videos and a movie or two that I rotate on and off the phone.  So 32GB seemed sufficient for my needs….I know it’s hard to not spring for the extra 32GB for just $100 bucks but hey, I got a hunch there will be an updated version of this baby within 6 to 9 months that will have a front facing video camera and some other cool feature so I thought I could rotate this one to my wife or one of my daughters and pick up the extra memory with new version of the iPad (which will most likely by 128GB by then as well).

Ok so now how about the 3G option…..well as much as I think the 3G would be very handy for quick connections to the web I went with the wi-fi only version for a couple reasons.

#1 I want this thing BAD and really couldn’t see myself waiting another month or so…I’m just being honest.

#2 I already have a mi-fi 2200 from Verizon wireless as my mobile broadband connection device.Verizon MiFi 2200 This device allows me to connect to the Verizon 3G data network then easily connect up to 5 devices to this device via wi-fi which means 5 devices can share a single 3G connection.  Although I rarely use more than one device connected to the MiFi it does give me some great flexibility.  I can use with multiple laptops/netbooks while traveling (sometimes my wife or one of my daughters will have there laptop and want to connect for email Facebook etc at the same time).  It also has allowed me to connect my iPhone wirelessly when the AT&T network is bad in a particular area.  I know someone will say “Yea but you pay more than you would if you bought the 3G service from AT&T for the iPad” yea I know but I already have this device and like the flexibility it offers so why pay for another 3G data connection.  I will just turn on my MiFi and connect my iPad through it to the web when a “true wi-fi” is not available near me.  So it’s the 32GB, wi-fi only model that I ordered.

I’m sure the tech savvy folks over at Tech Savvy Agent will be talking about this device quite a bit in the future as well.  I really feel it could be a “game-changer” for our industry if the right people step forward and develop great Real Estate related apps for it!

I will be posting a full review and lots of photos and video once I get it in my hot little hands…take care.

Max

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