What We’re Reading: Sept. 24 – Sept. 30

Coldwell Banker’s tech model, the new Kindle Fire, and do iPods make us unsocial?

Most of us can’t go a full day without connecting in some way via social media – and some of us couldn’t last a full hour. That drive to connect is why Coldwell Banker has taken the lead in providing its customers with up-to-the-minute information about their future homes, from searches, to offers, to closings. In addition, Coldwell Banker uses connectivity to communicate instantly with its sales associates, arming them with market updates, sales trends and selling tips.

Economic upheaval is often a great time to try new ideas, explore assumptions, and to think about what we really want. While many blue collar and service industry workers have had to deal with change, large swaths of the white collar world are still sticking to the tried and true even as that model becomes more shaky.  Nitan Nohria, Dean of the Harvard Business School, urges the young to pursue their dreams rather than following the safe route.

The landscape for health care is ever evolving. Sometimes it seems as though insurance, doctors, and patients are pitted against one another. The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Service’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is working to change this by offering patients guidance on working with health care professionals.

Traditional mass transit is designed to haul people into city cores during the day and haul them home to the periphery at night. Tallahassee, Florida recently took a look at their bus system and realized that didn’t reflect the needs on the ground:

All of the city’s previous routes went one place: downtown. But by 2005, just 14 percent of the region’s jobs were located there. And the results of a 2009 on-board survey showed that only 6.8 percent of StarMetro’s riders were trying to get there.

This summer, the city radically re-engineered their bus routes, dropping from 24 to 12, and eliminating the hub and spoke pattern in place for the last 50 years. The Atlantic covers the transformation as part of its Cities series.

A home is robbed every 14.6 seconds and the average dollar loss per burglary is $2,119, according to statistics just released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Consumer Reports via Yahoo! presents ten things that makes your home a target for thieves, and what you should do instead.

Kindle Fire launched! While the specs aren’t killer, the price certainly is. Amazon gives Apple a run for its money with its newly launched Kindle Fire. But is it really an iPad competitor? Fast Company says Amazon wants the Kindle to be a strong #2, but it’s main goal is to sell content, not to beat Apple. That content is even more important when you realize that analysts have estimated that Amazon is selling each Fire at a $50 loss. The Seattle Times runs down what the new Kindle can and can’t do with one of its developers. Self-serving plug: And remember that the eBook Collection at realtor.org has over 800 Kindle-compatible titles.

New financial regulation that grew out of the mortgage crisis is beginning to impact consumers in ways they might not have expected. Bank of America says it is going to start charging a $5 monthly fee for debit card usage for its most basic checking accounts.

If you’re a commuter, you know the scene: a bus or train full of people listening to music over headphones. Some say the ubiquity of iPods and MP3 players has made us more anti-social. Others say it is just a reflection of the times:

…the iPod hasn’t caused this move from public to personal space, it is just reflecting the trend, Prof Bull argues. Nowadays people work out to their own playlists in the gym rather than hearing the same tunes. But that’s not to say people are becoming anti-social. “The actual presence of people next to you in the street is not recognized as social any more. We get our intimacy from nearby loved ones or people who are absent over chat sites and social media,” he says.

Are you in the market for a new smartphone, or need to upgrade your iPhone? 9TO5Mac covers the new iPhone. In the words of @NARTech, “swoon.”


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  1. Though many consider the advent of the iPod an individually isolationist move to some of us it reflects a resurgence of civility and social consideration: In the last couple decades the “Boom Box” imposed the musical taste (or lack thereof) of an individual on the people nearby, while the iPod allows the same individual the volume and genre of sound solely and severally at their discretion without imposing on others.
    Hoorah for solo sound!