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What We’re Reading: May 17-23

Student debt impacting housing, keyboard shortcuts, and Facebook’s ASK = Annoy

Soaring college tuition and the resulting student loan debt impacts the broader economy in many ways including a scarcity of first-time home buyers. While the economy has picked up, the recovery hasn’t reached down to the level of recent college grads. Without strong job prospects and student loans that must be serviced, don’t look for twenty-somethings to move out of their parents’ basement any time soon.

NPR highlights a new report that says big banks continue to foreclose on homeowners who should qualify for loan modification or relief in spite of promises and regulation.

Builder Magazine surveyed local demand for new construction and housing outlooks. Their study concludes that rising prices are the primary culprit holding down new home demand, bolstering other recent studies on new construction demand:

41% of respondents said they prefer to buy a new home over resale, but of those buyers interested in new homes, only 46% were willing to pay the 20% premium that new homes typically require, and only 17% of respondents said they would pay at least 20% more for a new home.

The Bay Area, Austin, San Antonio, South Florida, Houston, and Las Vegas received the highest scores for both new home and new lot demand. The article has a nice interactive map with regions and metro area results.

You’ve probably noticed the hype surrounding the concept of “Big Data.” The trick with Big Data, is that once you’ve captured it, what do you do with it? LAC Group offers some ideas for tools that will help visualize data and make sense of it. We  particularly enjoy the “Famous Move Quotes As Charts” link.

If you thought keyboard shortcuts were just for Word documents and moving around your desktop, think again. There are shortcuts for Facebook, Gmail, you name it! Time looks at over 111 keyboard shortcuts for various sites, browsers, and machines.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.46.38 AMOK, Google“: Now people can ask their Chrome browser questions just like their Android phone.

I wonder if ‘OK Google’ works on the new Facebook “Ask” feature? For the the Gladys Kravitz‘s out there, now you can pester you friends who leave a field blank or hidden in their profile to spill the beans. What’s your relationship status? Where did you go to school? WHAT PERSON INSPIRED YOU??!! How annoying…

New to an area? Business meeting in a strange town? Want to know how far you can go for lunch and still be back in time? Isoscope shows users how far they can get by car or by walking within 10 minutes of their location. 10 minutes isn’t that far, but it’s a start…

It appears twitter is experimenting with allowing video attachments to tweets. Good or bad?

If you think gloomy weather saps your motivation, you’re not alone; more than 80% of people surveyed by researchers thought so. But the authors of a new study found out the opposite is actually true: Good weather makes us want to go do fun things, and thinking about what we’d rather be doing distracts us from what we should be doing.

Webster’s dictionary adds ‘selfie,’ ‘tweep,’ ‘turducken’.

Star Trek: The Next Generation wrapped up its 7th and final season…20 years ago (can you believe it?!). If you were a fan you might remember how great that finale was. Yahoo TV talks to the writers of the episode about what they remember from those days. It was hectic as they were trying to get the first of the Next Generation movies out at the same time.

Are you a fan of science fiction? Author Ray Bradbury’s long-time West LA residence is for sale.

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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