iPhone Tethering

Sep 18

It’s interesting to note that while my AT&T iPhone doesn’t allow tethering in the United States, when I crossed in to Japan to teach a CCIM course, NTT DOCOMO had activated tethering. My iPad2 did not recognize Japanese providers at all, fortunatley we had brought with us the an international MiFi.

It’s a shame we can’t do the same in the U.S.A.

A comparison of mobile internet devices

Jul 07

If you need to have the Internet with you while you travel, there are a number of options from tethering your mobile phone, to portable Wi-Fi like devices to a tetherless iPhone that acts like a Wi-Fi Router.

IREM recently had me review some of the latest and greatest tools in their Journal of Property Management, a publication of the Institute of Real Estate and Management for publishing our article on mobile internet devices. The article compares hardware, speeds, and services offered by the major mobile phone operators.

How to earn a 207% IRR by moving towards a paperless office

Mar 28

–Authors note – this article was published in the March/April 2008 issue of CIRE Magazine .

Looking for a phenomenal return on investment? Want to increase services while gaining a competitive advantage? Believe it or not, a modest investment in technology coupled with a modified work flow process could be one of the best investments you make in 2008.

The biggest gains in a paperless office can generally be found in six arenas:
Increased turn around in document management: no more waiting for snail mail, faxes or even overnight delivery – pull together files for your clients on a moments notice
Improvement in staff efficiency: reducing your staffs or agents time spent in fax queues, preparing snail mail, or filing documents by moving digital documents around at their own convenience
Severing the chain to the office: a small laptop filled with you all of your documents and an always on internet connection is all your sales force needs to be productive whether they are in the home town or in the field doing business
Reduction in storage: take a quick inventory of your office and storage units – how much are you paying to store your client’s paper? As a rough rule of thumb, an entire file cabinet will fill one 4.7 gigabyte DVD disc.
Competitive advantage: being able to move documents at the speed of a mouse is advantage to your client that you should be promoted at every opportunity. Maintaining an always accessible backup of your client’s important documents enhances the chances of return business.
Backups: You do have one right? I don’t mean of your harddrive – what happened if your office had a fire tomorrow – where is the backup of that file cabinet? Backing up decades of digital documents can be done in less than one half day and then moved offsite or out of state for truly effective backups.

Physical Needs/Tools:
The most important tool in a paperless office is a monitor or two that support two 8.5”x 11” documents side by side – allowing the user to work on one document while reviewing the other. If you find yourself printing a document to review it, your already one step backwards from the efficiency of a truly paperless office. Most laptops made in the last four years support two screens (laptop + monitor) or any of Samsung’s large screen monitors (21”+ at 1600×1200 or higher resolution) do a great job with supporting multiple documents on one screen. If you are a fan or follower of the Edward Tufte design philosophies, you know the higher the resolution the better.

This photo gives you an idea of my paperless office.

Laptop It goes without saying that you need a computer to make the paperless office work – but contemplate a new small laptop – one that weighs less than 3 lbs. (I currently use the Sony P and a MacbookPro (running Windows 7 95% of the time)). If your laptop is easy to carry then you are much more likely to take it with you to meetings or home, so size does matter. While you are at it, seek out a laptop with an always on Internet, also called WWAN connection – being able to fax or email a document to a client from your remote cabin location 180 miles from your favorite Kinko’s is genuinely convenient. For the ultimate in portability – consider a laptop like the any of the small netbooks made by HP, Acer, Asus or others they often weighs about two pounds, and are powerful enough to run Windows 7 and can be outfitted with hardrives up to 500 gigabytes – enough to hold a century of transactions.

A digital fax service Don’t think of a fax machine as a piece of hardware anchored in your office but rather as a client driven scanner to your digital file cabinet. Whether you use jFax, efax or another service doesn’t really matter – what does matter is dumping your fax machine in the dumpster as soon as possible – moving to an always on fax service that allows you to send and receive faxes in your email box is worth the $9.95 to $14.95 these services charge monthly. An additional fee will gain you a toll-free fax that your clients will truly love.

Scanner This is one component of your hardware that is important to be brand specific. Our office has tried dozens of all in one devices, photo scanners, and even paper scanners to end with one recommendation – any of the Fujitsu Scansnap scanners – these devices hold 30 pages, scan both sides of a page in seconds, recoge color on the fly and save to a PDF format with the press of one button.

Fujitsu has a number of models that I use including the S510 for my desktop, the S1300 for extended trips, and the S1100 for scanning contracts during the day.

Fujitsu Scansnap S510 – desktop model – very sold and scans

*Fujitsu has replaced the S510 with the S1500

Fujitsu Scansnap S1300 – portable – and powers off two USB ports

Fujitsu Scansnap S1100 – portable – weighs less than 1 lb

On another note, while fancy expensive office mopiers or multifunction scanners/printers/copiers are very high tech, you’ve just moved the inefficient waiting in line from the fax machine to the new device – far better to have a scanner on each desk as you work towards freeing your documents from their digital analog format.

If you have large format documents – add the phone number for the local architectural supply company to your speed dial as they can scan and convert building plans to a PDF format on a CDROM for a nominal fee.

Software On the software side of things, only two tools are needed – one to read/edit/manipulate documents and another to search them.

For the creation, reading, and filing of digital documents, the industry standard is Adobe Acrobat – seek out version 7 or higher and be content knowing you will most likely never use 95% of what the software has to offer. Before you consider another piece of software, fast forward twenty years and make your best guess as to what software will be able to read a 20 year old document.

Using an effective search engine tool that can read your documents like the one included in Windows 7, or the free Google desktop search will assist users who are organizationally impaired.

Legal Considerations This year celebrated the 25th anniversary of the personal computer and the 7th anniversary since President Clinton signed the and yet most businesses still lurch around with a file cabinet on their back with the incorrect impression that they are required to keep documents in a paper format. Check with your local Real Estate Commission and if you are met with resistence, remind them of President Clinton’s bill known as the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act and is known as “E-SIGN”. This Act requires governments to support the move to digital documents.

The Return And where did that fantastic IRR calculation come from?

The Process Facing the overwhelming number of files and documents to scan, many professionals resist the conversion to digital paper hoping for an easier solution, or a new year’s resolution to start afresh.

While technology is a necessary component for the paperless office, equally important is the adoption of a process to integrate digital documents in your workflow. These steps include implementing a policy for when documents are scanned, physically scanning documents, organizing documents for storage, developing a backup system for digital documents and implementing a process to allow you or your clients to retrieve documents easily.

When to Scan While some firms scan documents the moment they physically enter their space, other firms wait until the document is put into “action” or are going to be transmitted to other parties. Before you start scanning documents consider what process works best with your current workflow. At NM Apartment Advisors, our agents scan documents upon receipt, allowing them to carry all of their files in a two pound notebook, 24/7/365.

Who Scans Ownership of files can often be equated with the person who is responsible for scanning files – we have discovered that if it is your file and your client, you are much more likely to spend the time making sure all pages are scanned, and naming the file in a conventional format that allows for an a quick easy scan any file folder to find the correct document. Our naming convention includes everything anyone would need to decipher what is in the file without having to read it – this includes property name, city, client’s name, type of document, status, version and date. So a purchase agreement signed by the seller on a property located at 6101 Sequoia NW might be named something like [ your data directory\listings\6101SequoiaNWABQ\PurchaseAgreement-BuyerAllied-SignedbySeller-12182007.pdf ] .

How to organize storage As the file is named, it must also be stored in a process that matches your office setup – so in our office, all agent’s have a data directory and nested inside of that they have organized their files in the most accessed to least accessed system – so their top directories are active listings and client’s, while their bottom directories are archived deals, closing, and client files.

Let’s assume you have a central DATA or MY DOCUMENTS directory – the folders inside of it might be nested like so:
Directory Name Used for Logic
0-Day2Day\ Email, Outlook, Palm files, Quickbooks These files are being accessed hourly
1-Listings\ Current properties – could be further disaggregated by type (land, multifamily, office, etc.) These files are being accessed daily/weekly
2-Clients\ Use a naming convention that matches your customer relationship manager AND you may have multiple clients in this directory (i.e. USAA_ TX_deal, USAA_NM_deal, etc.) These files are being accessed daily/weekly
3-Personal\ Store your resume, letters to friends, all those bad internet jokes, etc. here These files are being accessed weekly/monthly
4-Family\ This is where you store the cute pictures of your kids, your vacation plans, family budgets, etc. These files are being accessed monthly/quarterly
5-ArchivedListings\ Once a deal is closed this is where it goes until you get a chance to sell it again These files are being accessed quarterly/annually
6-ArchivedClients\ Once a customer completes a transaction on a property this is where it goes until you get a chance to sell it again These files are being accessed quarterly/annually
7-ArchivedPersonal\ Past resumes, former jobs, etc. are moved here These files are being accessed quarterly/annually
8-ArchivedFamily\ Past vacations, old photos, previous school years homework, etc. are moved here These files are being accessed quarterly/annually
9-Misc\ Anything you’ve scanned that you may not want to keep These files are being accessed monthly/quarterly

By labeling your directories names with a beginning number, you can match directories (1 & 5 are deals, 2 & 6 are clients, etc.) AND you can tap the number on the keyboard as a shortcut to moving to that directory.

Finally, in Windows XP or Vista – the user can right click on any given data directory and SEND TO – COMPRESSED FILE to create one .zip file that can be sent to co-workers, clients, the qualifying broker, etc.

Backups By organizing your data based on frequency of use, you’ve the backup process even easier. Daily information can be backed up in a few minutes using an inexpensive 4, 8, or 12 gigabyte USB drive. Weekly backups can be burned to DVD discs which hold 4.7 gigabytes in a matter of an hour or so, while monthly backups can be performed on all of the data to Blu-Ray discs which hold 25 to 50 gigabytes and take four hours or so to backup.

As a temporary backup, external data drives varying in capacity from 160 gigabytes to 2 terabytes can be purchased and connected inexpensively through the USB 2.0 or Firewire ports. Keep in mind that these drives have a limited lifespan and are subject to the same issues of safety and security that your laptop or desktop is – so they should only be used to move data from machine to machine or as a temporary backup lacking anything else.

Automated network backup systems work well, but require the user to be connected to the office network and physically limit your backups to one location – so use these only for interim backups.

Avoid at all costs medium or devices that are specialized in nature or that can be easily altered by the physical environment – this includes tape drives, Boolean drives, or any of the various drive cartridges. If you need to access that data on that medium in 10 years and that company is out of business will you be trolling on eBay for a 10 year old piece of technology to restore your old data?

Web based back ups, while convenient, bring into question who owns your data, who has access to your data, and what happens to your data if the backup company becomes victim of the next dot bomb era.

Depending on the amount of data that must be stored, the best final backup medium is CD-R, DVD-R or Blu-Ray. If kept in a nice scratch proof CD folio in a dark location, like a bank safe deposit box, these discs can be readily read on future format drives decades from now.

Years from now, you will be ecstatic you made monthly backups as files often become infected or corrupted, and being able to go back one month or many months prior to that backup and find a clean file is invaluable.

Client Access Whether you develop your own, pay a subscription based service or use any of the many title company services, there are an abundance of web based tools that allow you to create a virtual closing room to upload your files. This provides your client’s 24/7/365 access to the status of their transaction as well as all of the relevant files.

Envision the day when you leave the office, desk clear of all paper and clutter, all of your information secure in your two pound laptop, improving your efficiency, and offering a competitive advantage to your clients, and of course, how many places can you achieve a 207% IRR.

** If you find topics like this valuable, the consider attending the CCIM’s Ward Center for Real Estate Studies – Technology and Social Networking course http://www.ccim.com/education/course/TSN/TSN0001 . This Chicago based course is an all day course scheduled for April 5th, 2011.

My latest computer is… a Mac?

Dec 06

Yes its true, I’ve migrated into a MacBookPro for my primary laptop.

Was it the allure of Mac OS X? no.
Was it the sex appeal of a sleek machine? no.

It was simply, the best built machine money could buy. After decades of taking apart my Sony VAIO’s and Toshiba Tecra’s, Portege’s and Librettos, I’ve come to realize that the design of these machines is grossly inferior to the MacBookPro. Within the first few months of owning a laptop, I often end up pulling it apart to upgrade the memory or hard drive. Some of my favorite machines are Sony’s (TX, TZ, P), but I am appalled at how difficult it is to replace simple components like the hard drive. Unlike my Acer netbooks that I can replace a hard drive in minutes (or my Samsung, that has an external access port), I can spend hours on a Sony, carefully taking pictures as I remove each layer, only to find some “switch” or button has been booby trapped to make reassembly very difficult.

When my Sony TZ needed a windows reformat and redo, I realized its hard drive space was just too small, so I upgraded to a Samsung R480 (now for sale)

which offered a 500 gig harddrive, and a blu-ray drive that would allow be to read my backups.

Unfortunately, the Samsung just ended up being to big and clumsy to take to meetings, and although I had removed the Blu-Ray drive and added a 750 gig harddrive for data, I was concerned about jostling the machine, so I ended up restore the blu-ray and resetting the machine to its original settings and then set off on my quest to find a durable long last machine.

I wanted a machine that could easily hold all of my data and media (i.e. iTunes) – check
I wanted a machine that could be my hub for synching the iPhones, iPad iTouches and iPods, in our family.
I wanted a machine with enough USB ports and a SD Card reader to be helpful – check
I wanted a machine that felt solid to travel with – check
I wanted a machine that had a large high resolution screen (1680×1050)
I wanted a machine that was fast enough to be my main machine during the day – which means a lot of multitasking (which ruled out most netbooks) – check
I wanted a machine that was well built and easily upgraded – check
I wanted a machine that would let me create apps for the iPhone and iPad – check

While I liked the idea of a Mac Air, the hard drive and processor speed ended up being a limitation.

I purchased the 15″ model with the Core i7 and 4 gigs of RAM and a 500 gig hard drive. I had the hard rive replaced with the 750 gig model and had the superdrive (thats a DVD to PC users) replaced with another 750 gig for a toal of 1.5 Terabytes.

For the first time in a long time, I can carry ALL of my data around with me.

(this photo shows the now replaced Superdrive with an additional hard drive above the existing hard drive.

What was appealing about the design?

Start with the original concept – instead of a series of plastic parts held together by a bunch of screws (if you’ve taken apart an Acer, Asus, Sony or Toshiba you know what I mean), the MacBookPro starts out as a solid aluminum brick:

and then they carve the keyboard out of the top,

followed by the computer innards out of the middle, leaving a small sheet of aluminum on the bottom to seal the machine in. In short – remove ten screws and you have access to the elegance of design of the laptop and easy upgrades to the harddrive, memory and DVD-drive.

Word of advice on upgrades and using Bootcamp: don’t move the DVD drive until after you’ve installed Bootcamp – I spent easily a day of time trying to figure that one out. Also if you plan to run Parallels (Macs version of allowing you access to Windows while running the Mac, as opposed to bootcamp which switches between the OS’s on bootup), install bootcamp first, then windows, the install all of your software, and BEFORE you activate, go back into parallels, install it, run it and then tell Windows (office, etc.) to activate- this will save you from having to repeatedly activate for what is essentially the same machine.

Finally, for those CCIM instructors, Designee’s, and candidates, you should know that the new Microsoft Office 2011 for the Mac now works with Macros for our CCIM spreadsheets.

Has the upgrade been seamless? Not quite, but I have enjoyed it and I love the laptop. I still use my Sony netbook P for meetings during the day, but I prefer the MacBookPro for all other tasks.

I think my new Mac, fits right in – how about you? (bottom right of all the monitors)

Getting closer to my dream laptop

Nov 29

Acer has announced their Iconia line – a dual screen laptop

While the hands on review of the Acer Iconia indicates that the virtual keyboard is tough to use, I’d turn this laptop on its side, and use Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard instead.

We’ve written about the need for this many times:
paperless office
and I hope laptop manufacturers are starting to pay attention to the needs of the power users.

By the way – if you are curious – here is my current multiple monitor configuration

And some past incarnations can be found here

Thanks to Engadget for the headsup on this new release

iPad update

Jul 24

In my last review of the iPad I covered how I was unable to use the iPad to replace a notebook, my book reader, to teach from, and many other tasks. After 30 days of trying to use the iPad in my daily life, my feeling was that eventually Apple would get the iPad Operating System to the point that it was an effective replacement for a notebook, but until then it was just an interesting device.

As I have continued using the iPad , I’ve had a change of heart and found three arenas that it truly excels in, including:

  • 1. family trips
    2. as a PDF device
    3. as a 2nd screen for my laptop using MaxiVista
  • For these three uses, the iPad has become an invaluable tool.
    1. Family Trips – our family took a whirlwind, 6,400 mile, 28 day vacation across the western United States hitting most of the National and State parks in 14 states. The iPads always on 3G, mapping and ability to extract information on the internet as well as WikiHood and Wikipanion made for an amazing tool to use on the road. The 10.5 hour battery life was ideal as we were often in the car driving anywhere from 2 to 8 hours a day. Being able to view our photos from that days outing was also very cool – particularly using the “places” feature.

    Our kids were also responsible for providing reports on the people, places, and events that we would see, and they used Keynote to make their presentations on (we also hooked the iPad up to the headrest monitors for presentations in our Toyota LandCruiser).

    2. Using the iPad as a PDF reader. Before I head out for a days meetings – I will load the iPad with PDF documents and files that I might need into the GoodReader App which allows me to pull up any document on short notice and then I can hand it to a client and walk them through it. Just in case I forgot to load a document, I’ve been using the PogpPlug and its related iPad/iPhone App to gain access to all of my date. I know good friends who use Dropboxes App the same way.

    3. One of my biggest frustrations on the road is the lack of a large monitor to manipulate all of my data (our office is entirely paperless). If I am out of town for more than a week, I often end up carrying a 21″ screen (stored in the original box with a handle on it), which also isn’t ideal is this era of only taking carry on bags.

    The iPad now has a $9.95 app called MaxiVista that allows me to use the iPad as a second screen for my Windows machine. Although the app requires an open Wi-Fi router (open in the ports it has open), I travel with one and thats not an issue. After you install the driver on the Windows machine and run the App on the iPad, viola! a second screen that looks like this:

    All in all, the iPad is moving up in its usefulness to our business and our family.

    As an additional note, I can’t be the only one feeling this way, as a revised estimate indicates that over 12 million iPads will be sold htis year.

    Thoughts on the iPad, and its application

    May 04


    I’ve held off on publishing this review because I’ve wanted to use the iPad in as many different situations and try to solve as many issues that have turned up as possible.

    Now that we are 30 something days into the iPads existence, it has already hit 1,000,000 units sold. While Apple has advertised the iPad as a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price, most of the new iPad owners are still grappling with what to use it for.

    Apple, the purveyor of well designed products released its new iPad.

    While my iPad traveled many thousands of miles to arrive at my office in time, many others (including my dad) purchased theirs on the same day from Apple stores across the country. By last count and before a full 30 days on the market, Apple has sold over 500,000 iPads, possibly more than they had anticipated as they’ve had to push back the release of the device in Europe and other countries to allow manufacturers to catch up.

    On April 3rd, 2010 mine finally arrived having traveled over 16,000 miles to reach my front door.

    The following is my attempt to give you the good, bad and ugly of the iPad:
    The iPad is certainly a head turner – I’ve been stopped on airplanes, in airports, in meetings and I’ve often seen my iPad headed in a different direction as well meaning friends have taken it to show off to others.

    The question I am asked the most though is still the most pressing one. What do you do with your iPad? Choices offered include:

    – replacing a netbook or laptop in day to day usage

    – using it as a replacement for Microsoft Office

    – using it to surf the web

    – using it as a presentation device

    – using it as a learning tool

    – using it to read books

    – using it for music and movies

    – using it to as a video game device

    – as a multi purpose tool to use for travel

    Replacing a net book or laptop in day to day usage

    The iPad is about 1/2 the physical weight of a net book and seems to offer a novel format for many of the tasks that a netbook or laptop can perform. That said, some of the basics that we’ve come to expect from a net book or laptop are missing in the iPad, including:

    – a file storage system that is compatible across all of the programs

    – the ability to output the screen via the VGA connector (the iPad requires each program to have this option, and doesn’t offer a operating system level ability to turn on this feature (which makes demoing the iPad problematic)

    – the ability to print to PDF or to a printer across all programs

    The iPads inability to implement these three features on an operating system level is reminiscent of the old MSDOS days when word perfect came with its own printer drivers.

    The largest of these issues by far is the lack of a common file storage system. While iTunes allows documents to be added to each program, its implementation is spotty at best as it would often “forget” to copy files, or show PDF files in the Keynotes file requester. There are easily a dozen tools in the iTunes App store that offer the ability to copy and move files to and from the iPad and your computer, but few of them offer the flexibility to choose which program the files open in and only one of them offers a folder ability. One work around for this for me was to use PogoPlug (a hardware/software/cloud hybrid) to store my files and access them using the PogoPlug app or an internet browser like Safari.

    One place the iPad excels in is surfing the internet. Using Safari and the virtual onscreen keyboard are very intuitive and the zoom and scrolling is much more enjoyable than “mousing” around in Windows.

    Verdict: the iPad is unlikely to replace anyone’s net book or laptop in the near future.

    Using it as a replacement for Microsoft Office

    If you are an avid office user, Apple’s iPad offers three inexpensive tools that are compatible and competition for Microsoft Offices version of word, excel, and powerpoint. Apple’s version of these programs are pages, numbers and keynote, which appear to be lite versions of what Apple offers for Macbook users. While they appear to be a bargain at $9.99 each versus the Microsoft office suite at $299+, the Apple versions are much weaker and simplified versions of the Microsoft tools.

    Each of the programs is mostly compatible with the Microsoft versions, particularly with smaller simpler files, but larger files caused the Apple programs to choke, bomb, or return an error message.

    The best of the three tools is pages, which is a delight to use, particularly when comparing its user interface to Microsoft Offices confusion array of choices on its “ribbon”. Numbers is most likely one of the modes tedious excel like programs I’ve used. While opening Excel compatible spreadsheets was easy, creating them from scratch with the keyboard dock was tedious and counterintuitive. For example, you can’t use the arrow keys to move around in the spreadsheet, and you have to push on a cell twice to enter data into it, and then you have to tell it what kind of data it is.

    While Keynote offers some interesting enhancements to Powerpoint, at times its user interface begs for a mouse. Moving from the keyboard dock to the screen to select things becomes arduous, particularly given the relatively weak physical connection that secures the iPad to the dock connector, something that I found I could disconnect with little pressure on the screen.

    Verdict: while its nice to have office compatible tools to use, the inability to open many of my files will keep the iPad in the “office-lite” category.

    Surfing the Web
    The iPad is an ideal web surfing device – easy to hold when you are sitting on the couch, or an airport chair, blazingly fast, and a very intuitive virtual keyboard make internet browsing adelight.

    It’s unfortunate that the iPads browser, Safari, doesn’t activate the video/VGA out port, as it would be a wonderful tool to share with students.

    Verdict: the iPad delivers here, but don’t be surprised when some of your favorite website’s can’t show you Adobe Flash based video.

    Presentation Device
    I could often entertain students of my technology courses by making a PowerPoint-like presentation using the iPhone. The iPhone’s video out can be activated in only two programs – the video player and the photo slideshow. Powerpoint offers a export function and if you export to .JPG format into a folder and then ask iTunes to include that folder in your sync. When in Photos-SlideShow -select play, and viola the video out option is activated and you can swipe from slide to slide. Yes, animations and sounds are missing, but you can still run a presentation from a tiny phone and a 1 lb projector.

    I was excited when I found Keynote in the iPad app lineup as I realized I would no longer have to go through all of the above steps to make a presentation. Keynote does a nice job of presentations and is very intuitive to use.

    Verdict: the iPad delivers here, but only in programs that activate the VGA out cable.

    Learning Tool
    Apple has long been associated with education and the iPad offers numerous educations tools from the simple but elegant read-along version of Disney’s Toy Story, to the advanced exploration of the periodic tables in the elements app.

    Verdict: The iPad user interface certainly has the ability to deliver and the apps that are starting to trickle out are likely to inspire our children to research the periodic table or read Shakespeare.

    Digital Book Reader
    Today is the one year anniversary of owning the Kindle DX, my preferred reading device. In the year I’ve owned the large screen Kindle, I’ve read hundreds of books, 52 issues of the Economist and 312 issues of the Wall Street Journal. I’ve installed the Kindle app on my iPhone, so I can keep reading for those few minutes between meetings. I mention this so you know what an avid ebook reader I’ve become.

    Knowing this, I was looking forward to a color, multimedia version of the iPad to read books and magazines. Unfortunately, the iPad’s size and weight does not make it a good long term reading device. Unlike my iPhone’s kindle app, I can’t seem to keep the iPad from swiveling to/from portrait and landscape – an issue when you lie down on your side to read and the text is turned 90 degrees. Thanks to fellow tech Guru, Todd Kuhlmann for pointing out that the iPad has a switch for this… DUH!

    One of the biggest advantages of the Kindle is the ability for it to sync bookmarks across devices – so I can pick up my iPhone, iPad (using Kindle app), Kindle 2, Kindle DX and Kindle on the PC and start reading exactly where I left reading on another device.

    iTunes has added the iBooks section and app to download books which very similar to the Amazon’s bookstore for the Kindle. Unfortunatley, copy protection keeps you from using your Apple books on your Kindle, but you can read your copy protected Amazon Kindle books on your iPad, because they have an app for that!

    Even if you decide not to make the investment in Apple format books, there are a couple that are worth looking at as they represent what the possible future of digital books could look like.

    They include: Alice, which features an interactive version of Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, and Toy Story which has a follow along reading tool.

    If you are a comic fan, I believe you will love what Marvel Comics has done with the iPad.

    And I think one of the best future applications for the iPad will come from magazines like Popular Science.

    Verdict: its a work in progress

    Entertainment device for music and videos
    Without a doubt, the iPad is a phenomenal entertainment device. I have found myself carrying it around on top of my laptop (it snuggies right in under the batter bay of my Sony TZ) and turning it on to listen to podcasts, music and catch some tv shows on the ABC app. NPR

    NPR –  has done the best job of implementation of their products on the iPad, and of course, you can use it to control Apple’s AppleTV or even as a remote for a Sonos system

    Use it as a remote control for your  – Sonos or the Apple TV.

    And if I’m on the road and I want to watch the same TV as the family I can login and watch our home’s TV/DVR using Sling player.

    Verdict: Nothing better.

    Playing Video Games
    I don’t often get caught up in video games, after all, isn’t using technology in real estate one big puzzle like a video game? But, I have found one game I have really enjoyed – a tower defense game called Field Runners – and I am looking forward to trying out Scrabble with the family. In this version of Scrabble, you can use your iTouch or iPhone as a letter tray, and then flick your letters out on the board.

    The downside of playing video games is finding the a holding/playing position that is comfortable. I have noticed that I play a better game on the iPhone than the iPad, mostly because of the weight and having to hold the iPad with two hands.

    Verdict: very fun and portable, big screen and sound is great, slightly awkward to hold and play.

    As a digital picture frame

    Without a doubt, the iPad is the slickest photoframe I’ve ever seen. I love the photos app and its truly a treat to sit and share photos with friends and family.

    NOTE: the desire to get my photos manageable for use in the iPad has led to several hours of photo organization.

    Verdict: very slick!

    Multipurpose tool for travel
    My biggest disappointment with the iPad is the lack of a dedicated GPS receiver. While the 3G model triangulates against cell phone antennae’s for its location, and the wifi model uses wifi to find its location, I was really looking forward to using a large screen device that had dedicated GPS signal. That said, since the iPad and iPhone are so dependent upon an internet connection for access to all of the material, websites and information in the Internet cloud, its not surprising that the iPad lacks this tool.

    That said, the lack of GPS, doesn’t negate the power this tool offers on the road. I’ve entertained young children with the books, movies and music, I’ve passed long flights in coach with my iPad and a set of Bluetooth headphones (check out the Jabra Halo headset), and it’s the third device I pickup when I’m headed out for a day of meetings (#1 is iPhone, #2 is laptop), in part because I’ve wanted to explore where it works best.

    Having the iPad has been a good distraction from all of the frustrations we associate with travel.

    Verdict: don’t buy one unless you plan to carry it around with you, a lot.

    In conclusion
    For my own uses, the iPad has sparked a full range of emotions between frustration to pure delight. Frustration often sets in with I attempt to use the device stand alone or in replace of other devices, like a laptop or net book. Delight comes from using the device in casual or cramped environments. From a business standpoint, the iPad has worked best for me when I am preparing for teaching a class or a presentation to a small group of clients.

    Tasks that I have had good success with include:

    – Light word processing, number crunching, powerpoint reviews, and research are all easy, if not fun to try in the iPad.

    – Surfing the web

    – Studying for courses – I would use the Kindle DX to read the textbook (it keyword searchs PDF files!) and the iPad to review powerpoints – side by side – even on an airline tray!


    For me, the largest shortcomings of the device are:
    – inability to run flash in web browsing – this precludes use of CCIMs site to do business, REDEX, many of the real estate multiple listing systems and some of my kids favorite websites like ClubPenguin (the irony is not lost on me since ClubPenguin’s parent company is Disney, also owner of Pixar, of which Steve Jobs is a major shareholder).

    – Advanced spreadsheet development, large document creation, and file storage are tasks that are beyond the iPads abilities.

    – inconsistent application of the video out

    – lack of a file storage system that lets you move documents from one app to another, or from one device to another.

    – Setup your iPad with its own email account. Amazon was smart enough to do this for my Kindle DX, and I find its a very convenient way to send documents to either device.

    – Only those users looking for a simple solution should purchase the 3G model. If you need the internet while on the go, I would highly recommend Verizon’s mifi or Sprint’s Over Drive –  both of which allow you to connect up to 5 devices (iPhone, iPad, laptop, and your spouses laptop) for the same low fee.

    Additional related information:

    The specifications of the new iPad can be found here – http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

    Engadget – launch, review, apps, editorial –

    iPad teardown

    Apple sells 300,000 (more than the iPhone) – http://gizmodo.com/5509659/apple-sold-300000-ipads-on-the-first-day

    The decision tree – should I buy an iPad

    What Charlie Rose and Walt Mossberg think of the new iPad

    Folders for Apps is coming in 4.0 upgrade this summer

    If you would like your Ipad (jailbroken) to work with a mouse


    A list of which program let you use your VGA out on your iPad


    – Videos

    – Photos—Slideshow playback only

    – YouTube

    – Keynote

    – Safari—Video content on webpages

    Update and recommendations on power charging.


    Case Reviews from JKontheRun.com

    Vaja Cases- http://www.vajacases.com/

    I just ordered this one: http://www.dodocase.com/#mce_temp_url#

    And Extra Power chargers – http://www.scosche.com/news/462/

    If you have purchased an an iPad – please share your thoughts, suggestions and ideas here.

    NAR Commercial’s technology webinar

    Apr 09

    NAR Commercial recently featured yours truly for a technology in commercial real estate webinar.

    This is the same class that I teach in 4 and 8 hour blocks, condensed down to a 1 hour overview.

    Next course dates are in Sacramento, CA and Santa Fe, NM.

    The passing of an era

    Apr 02

    Many people are not aware of the fact that Albuquerque gave birth to both the Personal Computer, and Microsoft.

    Today, we get word that Dr. Edwards, who developed the hardware for the first personal computer has passed away.

    With the passing of Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, I am reminded of one of Albuquerque’s first failings – the loss of Microsoft, which was incorporated in our fair city, to Bill Gate’s home town of Redmond (Seattle area), WA.

    This was Albuquerque’s first wake up call that they needed to focus on one of the four factors of production, that it wasn’t enough to just have more PhD’s per capita than the rest of the country, they needed to have access to capital, because without it, companies had to move to other locales that could provide money for their expansion.

    The Los Angeles Times has a great obituary for Dr. Edwards that includes his time as a Sandia Labs scientist and the founding of his company, MITS.


    What I would like for father’s day

    Mar 24

    makerbotIt is a rare technology find that has me as excited as the first time I grasped the concept of Star Trek’s replicator.

    MakerBot industries has developed a new product that manufactures anything you’d like using 3D printing techniques and plastic.

    Right now the “cupcake” printer can “make” products that are about the size of a cupcake, hopefully a future upgrade will be larger than a bread box!

    Makerbot via Gizmodo.