What We’re Reading: Oct. 20 – Oct. 26

Zillow mines public data for pre-sale foreclosures, new Apple goodies, the worst passwords, and best blogs

Using publicly available data, Zillow plans to list properties in foreclosure before they are even listed for sale.

Remember your tiny dorm room from college with the bathroom down the hall?  Or perhaps you shared a decrepit rental with 5 of your best buddies, with an old couch on the front porch. Dorms have evolved into cottage-style housing, reports The Wall Street Journal. “At the Cottages of Columbia near the University of Missouri, the units include 9-foot ceilings, stainless-steel appliances, hardwood floors and marble bathroom countertops. Other developers include walk-in closets, steam rooms, indoor golf simulators, basketball courts and yoga studios. “My parents told me to not get used to living like this,” said Avery Bond, a Louisiana State University senior who has lived at the Cottages of Baton Rouge for three years and pays $630 a month.”

Apple releases a flood of updates (Mac mini, iMac, Macbook Pro with Retina, iPad) and a new, smaller iPad this week. How does the new iPad Mini stack up against the competition? Engadget has a handy chart. Update: within hours of pre-ordering opening on Friday, the white version of the mini appears to be already sold out.

And if you are one of those who needs to keep up with the latest and greatest, Mashable via CNN gives some suggestions on where you can sell your iPad 3.

Just in time for Halloween, Splashdata lits the scariest (ie worst) passwords for 2012. Unchanged from last year: #1 ‘password’ #2 ‘123456’ #3 ‘12345678’. #18 was a surprise to me: ‘shadow’.

During this presidential campaign, housing has been ignored. Why? Housing hasn’t been a feature in the debates or on the campaign trail. Seattle Bubble speculates that “Here’s one possible explanation: Neither wants to have a serious discussion about housing because they would have to talk about the mortgage interest deduction, which more and more is looking like it will need to be severely limited or possibliy even eliminated no matter who gets elected.”

The United States will be outpacing Saudi oil production, says the Energy Department. Production of crude and liquid hydrocarbons next year should reach a 40-year high.  Increasing U.S. oil production will cut the need for foreign imports, helping our economy.  The oil boom in such states as North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming has decrease unemployment and helped companies that support the oil boom, like pipe suppliers and railroads.

This week Tina Brown, editor at Newsweek, discussed the venerable print magazine’s transformation into a digital-only publication next year on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Time rounds up the best blogs for 2012, covering everything from the economics of gadgets to the Civil War to Kate Middleton’s fashions.


Senior Information Specialist

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