Wednesday, January 12, 2011

IBM Thinkpad PC to MacBook Air Migration

3 years ago I tried to move from a PC to a Macbook and I struggled to the point of utter frustration. Folks know me as a pretty loyal PC user especially towards IBM Thinkpads. It was easy to fallback on the comfort of what I've been using since I was a child (yes DOS CLI and Windows 3.1 onward). It seems that it is harder on folks who are used to Windows than someone that starts fresh.

This time around I requested a Mac expert to give me a 15 minute quick start and I have to say that was invaluable. He showed me the equivalents on Mac; Explorer = Finder, System Preferences = Control Panel and the Applications folder. Also more importantly all the shortcut keys fn F8 - F12, etc. Another useful one is the Ctrl right bottom corner of the mousepad to right click. Figuring out the 2 finger scrolling and and 3 home and end scrolling really sped up my user experience. Then of course Mail, Calendaring, IM and VMware access.

With this quick start, the ease of us of the Mac took itself away. Right off the bat as I had my PC and Mac side by side, the Mac's multi-tasking ability (thanks to the good old Unix backend) is superior to the PC. On multiple occasions my PC was frozen and rebooting, the Mac continued to run seamlessly. We'll see in the long run if it can sustain this level of performance but so far so good. Since more and more applications run on the web/cloud/saas, there is less of a need for me to have windows specific software, though the ones I need all have a Mac installation.

MacBook Air Wins

- Sleek design and weight hands down excellent
- Stabilility - Thus far much more stable then a PC
- Faster Performance - Though lags occasionally still superior at this juncture
- Printer Setups - Very easy on any printer on the network including home!
- Mail Setups - Easy on every client, Entourage (bit slow on updating mailboxes), I am using Apple Mail now which performs well
- Calendaring - Took a little getting used to but decent on iCal
- Adium - Is an awesome IM tool, much better than Pidgin for IM's and Trillian for IRC on the PC. It's simple to setup and seamless to chat on this interface
- VMWare Fusion - I almost defaulted back to Outlook on the VM but found that iCal and Apple mail perform sufficiently so that I don't need to use calendaring or fallback to Outlook. Remember it's fn + control + alt/option + delete to unlock the desktop to login. I have not had a need to use the VM. But the VM provides a very nice native feel to using Microsoft application if a need ever arised. You could also allocate one of your workspaces for your Windows applications if so desired.

MacBook Air Shortcomings

- Disk space 128GB is a bit on the low side. I moved my documents and critical files over and I only have 40GB left (Did not migrate my Outlook pst file). I hoard e-mail beyond what the Outlook server allows and I move it locally to store in case I need it for the future. If I migrated these mailboxes, space would be chewed up very quickly. My concern is if folks need native applications to do their jobs there may not be enough space as well.- Does not allow me to dual screen on my 2-24 inch monitors- Lack of some kind of dock as I dock frequently at work and at home (no home solution yet)- Battery Life - It's not bad for the size of the computer but I've managed to get as much as 5 hours or as little as 4 hours if I am constantly working on the machine- I've heard complaints on the Network jack extension needed, I haven't had a need for it but with spotty wireless or need for faster download/upload times I understand the possible need for this

The Bottom Line

I will be keeping the MacBook Air and saying goodbye to my PC, I don't think that I can ever go back. It's a whole new world!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Real Estate 2010 Year in Review

Real Estate 2010 Year in Review

I wanted to wish you and your families a Happy New Year! I first and foremost wanted to thank each and every one of you for your trust in your own transactions as well as your referrals. It is because of you that I am able to sustain this business through very difficult economical times.

The first question I am typically asked is the status of the Bay Area real estate market. Most people expect a pessimistic answer but they are often surprised by my reply. I continue to see 2 markets; areas with good school districts and areas without. Many of my clients have been competing for homes in Los Altos, Cupertino and Mountain View and each time I have been met with 5 to 10 offers on these homes extending beyond the list price. Even homes with high API elementary schools have been competitive, with low overall inventory levels for these locations. On the other hand homes not supported by schools have generally seen less activity especially town homes and condominiums.

Interest Rates

Interest rates saw some lows down to 4.5% for conforming jumbo loans, but have now increased in the last 2 weeks closer to 5%. It will be interesting to see what interest rates will do in the New Year but still very attractive interest rates nonetheless. It is unclear why the mortgage rates are on the rise, some are tying this to the recent action by the feds that Ben Bernake calls "Quantitative Easing" which was supposed to help the economy but maybe having the opposite effect on rates. We will look towards 2011 to see what the rates do.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that if you are living in one of these locations supported by a great school district it is a sell opportunity. If you are looking to buy in one of these locations, don't expect a deal, come in strong on terms, price and be able to close fast. If you are living in a location that is not supported by schools or in a condominium or townhome, I would generally say hold for now, unless you have a ton of equity we can evaluate your situation. If you are a Buyer that is looking to purchase in a non-school supported area or a townhome or condominium, this is a great buy opportunity. These are general trends I am seeing, be sure to meet with me to analyze your particular home situation.

2011 Outlook

Buyer's will continue to pursue homes in good school districts as they always had, however most recently my Buyers of the second market have began to inquire on homes. I expect that in 2011 both markets will continue to purchase real estate and lead the Bay Area market through a slow recovery.

Home Sales

2649 Media Way in San Jose - Multiple offers sold to my Buyers
1104 Castleton Way in Sunnyvale - Sold $50,000 under list price to my Buyers
608 Angus Drive in Milpitas - Listing sold with multiple offers
3436 Chemin de Riviere in San Jose - Multiple offers sold to my Buyers
20211 Merida Drive in Saratoga - Listing sold with multiple offers
309 Homewood Lane in Menlo Park - Negotiated a low price for my Buyers
593 Angus Drive in Milpitas - Listing sold pre-market to my Buyers
Marilyn Drive in Mountain View - Negotiated a great price and package for my Buyers

Here's to 2011!

If you, your family or friends have any real estate needs please don't hesitate to contact me. I am always ready to assist you in any way possible. I wish you a prosperous 2011!

Happy New Year!