• Real Estate

    Posted on October 24th, 2013

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    First Time Buyers: What To Look For When Viewing A House

    First Time Buyers: What To Look For When Viewing A House

    Buying your first home is an exciting time. You get to choose where you’re going to make your home, whether it’s just for a few years, or the foreseeable future. Buying a house is also one of the most expensive investments you’ll ever make, so it’s essential that you choose the right house that you will be happy in for years to come.

    When viewing a potential new home, there are lots of things you need to look out for and consider so that you can weigh up all of the pros and cons of each house you look at. The people showing you round will always try and show off the best features of the house, and may well skim over anything that could cause you problems in the future. To help keep you on the straight and narrow, here’s a handy list of things to look out for when viewing a house.

    Once is Never Enough

    There’s a lot to take in when viewing a potential new house, and you’re not likely to remember all of the important aspects from just a single viewing. Therefore it’s vital that if a particular property interests you, that you should arrange for a second or even third viewing to make sure you cover all of the relevant aspects.

    What’s on [...]

  • The new iPads: Want thrills? Look elsewhere

    The new iPads: Want thrills? Look elsewhere

    A 64-bit chip would move the iPad closer to being laptop surrogate, but more is needed to achieve adaptive computing

    At 10 a.m. PT today, Apple is expected to show off new iPad and iPad Mini models. In the month before the iPhone 5c and 5s were announced, there were constant rumors about what they would sport. On the whole, the rumor mill was very accurate, no doubt thanks to a little help from Apple to keep the iPhone top of mind. By contrast, there have been few rumors circulating about the new iPads.

    Does that mean Apple has shocks in store — or that there’s actually not much to say about them? I’m betting on the latter. I fully expect Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor, M7 motion coprocessor, and fingerprint scanner (all introduced in the iPhone 5s) to make their way on to the full-size iPad. Some or all might also find their way into the cheaper iPad Mini, but given how the iPad Mini accounts for more than half of all iPad sales at[...] Read More...

  • IBM: Singing the Big Blues Again

    IBM: Singing the Big Blues Again

    Before Steve Jobs’s second tour at Apple (AAPL), International Business Machines(IBM) was considered the biggest turnaround in tech history. After all, how many other companies founded in 1911 can boast more than $100 billion in revenue by being the world s largest service vendor and the second-largest software player? Remember Digital Equipment?

    Big Blue fought insolvency with creative destruction, vastly restructuring its business focus under famed ex-Chief Executive Louis Gerstner and jettisoning its pioneering personal computer division back when doing so was sacrilege to competitors Hewlett-Packard (Read More...

  • Spot the Next Big Trade in Three Small Steps

    Spot the Next Big Trade in Three Small Steps

    A while ago, I was given advice about how to manage an investment portfolio for long-term investing. It went something along the lines of “When there’s a gold rush, invest in shovels.” The idea behind this is very simple: during a gold rush, those who are looking for gold will need shovels to dig, regardless of if they find the shiny yellow metal or not. As a result, the shovel sellers will always profit—possibly making more than those who were looking for gold!

    This investment advice should not be taken literally, as I doubt many shovel for gold now; however, it can be used across the board in a more general sense. Investors who are looking to grow their portfolio can add companies that provide services to a certain sector that’s hot or witnessing robust growth.

    To find those companies, investors have to look at the big picture, and then narrow it down from there using a top-down approach. They can find the “next big thing” for their portfolio by taking the following steps.

    Economic Analysis

    The first an[...]

  • Heed these 10 expert tips for mobile app design

    Heed these 10 expert tips for mobile app design

    Too many iOS and Android apps are hard to use due to poor design — follow this advice to make sure your app isn’t one of them 

    A while back, I complained about mobile apps that went bad due to poor user interface makeovers, such as the Associated Press’ AP Mobile, PRX’s Public Radio Player, and Gannett’s USA Today apps. Media companies — which really should know better — seem to be especially prone to bad mobile app design.

    Good design is important for any application, despite what years and years of bad apps from vendors and IT shops have led us to believe. In the mobile context, good design is even more critical because the small screen and unsteady operating environment makes it even harder to use an app, which good design can overcome.

    [ Apps with a deathwish: How to ruin a perfectly good mobile app. | InfoWorld picks the best office apps for the iPad. | Keep up on key mobile developmen[...] Read More...

  • Finance

    Posted on October 3rd, 2013

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    Exclusive: Every Time the Government Shut Down, S&P 500 Was Higher Two Years Later

    Exclusive: Every Time the Government Shut Down, S&P 500 Was Higher Two Years Later


    The U.S. government shutdown has highlighted two unavoidable and predictable events. The first is pretty obvious, the other maybe not so much.

    For starters, the U.S. government shutdown means as many as 800,000 of the country’s 2.1 million federal workers could end up being furloughed (temporary, non-duty, non-pay status). Not surprisingly, members of Congress—those paid by taxpayers to determine their fate—will continue to pull in a hefty salary.

    Thanks to their unpopularity, U.S. government shutdowns don’t last very long. The last U.S. government shutdown took place between December 15, 1995 and January 6, 1996—a span of 21 days, the longest on record.

    The first U.S. government shutdown occurred back in 1976, during the Ford administration, and lasted 10 days. During the Carter years, U.S. government shutdowns averaged 11 days. And the six shutdowns that occurred during President Regan’s two-term tenure averaged about two days.

    No matter how long it lasts, it’s more than a simple economic and financial inconvenience. Aside from the 800,000 federal workers who unfortunately take an immediate and direct h[...] Read More...

  • Gold Bullion on the World Stage: What to Do Next

    Gold Bullion on the World Stage: What to Do Next

    It’s always interesting to see how different market participants react to price movements, as every investment strategy has different goals based on various factors, including time horizon and risk profile.

    The volatility in gold bullion is an excellent example of the variety by market participants in their investment strategy. For most of the summer, I said that the selling pressure in gold bullion would continue until the short-term investors completed their liquidation.

    It appears that most of the selling by these short-term investors has subsided. However, during these months we have seen the investment strategy by very long-term investors, especially in China and India among other Asian nations, continuing to accumulate gold bullion.

    This is what investors need to consider: that globally, the actions of different economies and different market segments can have a huge impact on one’s investment strategy—especially when it comes to gold. Just consider the following factors.

    For businesses involved in physical gold bullion, their investment strategy over the past two months [...] Read More...

  • The Benefits of Bundling IT Services

    The Benefits of Bundling IT Services

    Juggling three or more business services from several companies can add up to one unnecessary headache to manage. The solution to this problem may be as easy as getting all your services from the same company where possible.

    Bundling IT services is an option offered by some service providers that will allow you to combine different services into one bill. It frequently includes Internet, TV and phone services. Some offer additional complementary services such as online security software, a basic web hosting package and even email addresses. Beyond that, you get into networking service, dedicated Ethernet and more.

    Will I Currently and in the Future Have the Right Levels of Each Service?

    The first thing you need to consider is what you need — not only right now, but in the future as you grow.

    Can your service provider deliver the essential services you need now, affordably?

    What about growth? Will you able to grow with the service provider? As your company grows from, say, a small business with a couple of employees, to one with 25, 50, 100 or more – will your service provider be able to provide enterprise-grade services that scale seamlessly, yet at prices a smaller organization can afford?

    For phone service, consider what you need,[...]

  • How to Profit from Gold’s Current Price Instability

    How to Profit from Gold’s Current Price Instability

    Gold prices hit one-week highs after the Federal Reserve did exactly what it said it would do (not what the market feared it would do)—continue it’s $85.0-billion-per-month bond buying program until unemployment numbers decrease and inflation increases.

    Gold, often seen as a safe haven investment and hedge against inflation, had lost more than 20% of its value since the beginning of the year after the Federal Reserve hinted it would start to taper quantitative easing, which would put an end to its loose monetary policy.

    More recently, gold prices had been on the decline since the beginning of September on encouraging U.S. economic data and suggestions that a war in Syria would be averted. Between September 3 and 17, gold lost approximately six percent of its value.

    But in spite of gold’s year-long tumble, it’s important to remember that gold prices are still roughly 60% higher than they were in late 2008, before the Fed[...] Read More...

  • Technology

    Posted on September 23rd, 2013

    Written by

    BlackBerry Agrees To Go Private For $4.7 Billion

    BlackBerry Agrees To Go Private For $4.7 Billion

    BlackBerry just received an offer to go private from Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited for $9 per share, or $4.7 billion.

    Fairfax signed a letter of intent for the offer. To be clear, this is not a done deal. BlackBerry’s board has agreed to the terms in the letter, but BlackBerry can still seek other offers.

    Fairfax already owns about 10% of BlackBerry. BlackBerry is currently trading at about $8.20 per share.

    BlackBerry and Fairfax are now entering a “diligence period” where a number of conditions must be met. This diligence period should last about six weeks. We’ll get more details on November 4.

    Last week, BlackBerry announced that it plans to cut 4,500 jobs. It also said it lost nearly $1 billion last quarter.

    Here’s the statement from BlackBerry:

    WATERLOO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Sept. 23, 2013) - BlackBerry Limited (BBRY)(BB.TO) today announced it has signed a letter of intent agreement (“LOI“) under which a consortium to be led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (“Fairfax“) has offered to acquire the company subject to due diligence.

    The letter of intent contemplates a transaction in which BlackBerry sh[...] Read More...

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