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What We’re Reading: Sept. 8 – Sept. 14

Value-killing remodeling, new iPhone, testing Bing vs. Google

As more and more housing markets improve, homeowners are beginning to consider pulling up stakes to head to a new home. But before you place your home on the MLS, consider those recent renovations. How are they going to impact your final price? Koi pond, garden gnomes, new pool, man cave, or whatever. All could potentially turn off prospective buyers or give them an area to haggle over price. Beware of these and other value-killing remodeling ideas if you hope for top dollar.

Using an iPad right before bedtime can wreck your sleep, according to the Lighting Research Centre, at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The screen’s blue light suppresses melatonin, which helps us fall asleep.  The study found that if viewers wore orange goggles that cut out the blue light, melatonin was at normal levels. Don’t want to look like a dork though? The study also suggests using a dimmer display or just avoiding using the iPad right before bed.

Apple launched it’s latest iPhone iteration this week. The iPhone 5 features a larger screen, new processor, and a host of other features, though some are claiming it’s a boring upgrade. New iPhone sales, however, could increase the GDP by 0.5% , adding $3.2 billion to the economy.  J.P. Morgan’s analysts expect Apple to sell around 8 million iPhone 5s in the fourth quarter. They expect the sales price to be about $600. With about $200 in discounted import component costs, the government can factor in $400 per phone into its measure of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter.

Most of us are guilty of blindly searching the Internet—we open what is convenient, fast, and comfortable. Much of the time the result is using Google to search. However, Microsoft’s Bing is contending for a piece of the search engine market with their head-to-head comparison game. Google still beat out Bing for our searches, but the results were mostly a draw. How about for you? Bing gives you ‘helpful’ search suggestions but do you think those might be skewed a bit? Anyway, try your own and see what happens.

Email deluge can overwhelm the best of us. An extension for Google’s Gmail allows users to ‘pause‘ their inbox. All messages will wait to be delivered once the pause button is turned off. You can even set up a auto-response letting people know that you’re taking a break and if it’s urgent please contact you some other way. Really though, why not just close your email? It’s the same thing really….

Google added new functionality to its ubiquitous search engine. Now you can find how far your favorite star is from Kevin Bacon with one quick search. Based on the popular ‘Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ type ‘bacon number’ (without the quotes) and a star’s name. Hence a search of bacon number lana turner reveals the actress has a bacon number of 2. Rin Tin Tin? 3 The furthest out I can find is much more current: Justin Bieber is a 4. The result also gives you a the path of how they are connected.

Instead of old Beanie Babies and 8-track tapes, a woman in West Virginia bought a painting with a pretty frame. The pretty painting turned out to be a Renoir. After holding on to the painting for two years, she had it evaluated at the Potomack Co. auction has, where it was verified by experts to be a genuine Renoir painting. The anonymous (and lucky) owner is expected to get at least $75,000 at auction. At that next garage sale down your block, look carefully and you might strike it rich!

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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Comments
  1. Jim

    I have mixed feelings about Google and their technology solution to the Kevin Bacon game. While it is interesting from a technology perspective, providing an immediate answer kind of kills the entertainment value of thinking through the degrees of separation.

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