What We’re Reading: July 19-25

Court rules on material defect, Tillow or Zulia, and WebP

by Flickr user Elliot Plack

by Flickr user Elliot Plack

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that murder suicides do not constitute a ‘material defect‘ that needs to be disclosed in real estate transactions. The ruling stems from a widely reported case where a home owner bought a property only later to find out about the previous owners’ deaths in a grisly murder-suicide.

News came this week that Zillow is seeking to purchase its competitor, Trulia. HousingWire takes a look at what this merger would mean to the market.

If you use your computer, smartphone, or tablet to search the Internet (and if not, how are you reading this?), then this story is with a read (or listen). Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross interviews a cyber crime expert. The key take-aways:

  1. Back up your files and data regularly—either using an external hard drive or cloud storage. Cyber criminals of late will hack your computer and hold your data for ransom, leaving you with few options for recourse.
  2. When a website says you need to download software to continue: don’t download it. Instead, navigate directly to the software source to get the download (i.e. if a site says you need Adobe Flash, navigate directly to the Adobe website to obtain this download.

There’s a travel app for just about everything, from making the most of an extended flight delay to tapping into local culture. Here are the best digital tools for travelers, all tested by Travel + Leisure.

Los Angeles’ George Harrison Memorial Tree was killed by….beetles.

Facebook is gaining ground on Google in terms of ad sales, but are you willing to buy directly from those ads? Facebook is going to find out when it launches its BUY button later this summer.

Baltimore is cleaning up its harbor in a clever way—a water wheel.   The water wheel collects up to 50 tons of trash a day and deposits it in a dumpster barge.  The wheel has its own Twitter account @MrTrashWheel.

Look at a web page and guess what format the images are – jpeg? gif? something else? Chances are in the near future they will be in Google’s new smaller format, WebP. Google launched the format in 2010. It’s been a buggy start but things have started to turn the corner. Facebook and Amazon are supporting it for their images, hoping to speed up load time of their pages. Browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer still don’t support the format however, so website developers still need to upload JPEG, GIF and PNG file formats to their sites, even if they also support WebP.

Cupcakes may be fading as a fad, but if you need confirmation: spray cupcakes from a can, ready in under a minute.

Estately has ranked the country’s scariest states.  I’m staying away from North Dakota—too many professional clowns!

Eyes glued to your cell phone while you walk? Worried about hitting a lamp post or walking into the street. Never fear, self-guiding shoes are on the way!


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