Friday, March 03, 2023
Yesterday, I was working on a project which required the installation of a licensed copy of Microsoft Office 365, on the new HP Windows 11 laptop acquired over the holidays.
One of the subtasks involved creating an Excel spreadsheet, which once completed, I wanted to print to an older Brother Monochrome Fax/Laser printer.
I plugged in the USB cable from the printer to the new Windows 11 system and noticed it recognized the printer, however the print driver was unavailable.
Plug & Play was not available for either of my older printers while connected to the new Windows 11 system. My older printers include a Brother 2820 Monochrome Fax/Laser Printer and one of two- Konica Minolta Magicolor 1600W Laser Printers.
How did I resolve this dilemma?
I used the CD disc that came with the Konica Minolta Magicolor 1600W Laser Printer to install the driver and for the Brother 2820 Monochrome Fax/Laser Printer, I downloaded the driver for the Windows 7 platform.
The manufacturer, Brother claimed the Windows 10 operating system came with a built in driver for the fax/laser printer, the reason I had no option but to download the Windows 7 version. Windows 11 is so new (and probably the printer is so old), Brother did not offer a Windows 11 download version for the printer.
Both drivers installed correctly on the Windows 11 laptop.
Why not purchase a color wireless laser printer? Do not use hardcopy print enough to warrant a new printer, however did consider this printer.
Friday, February 24, 2023
Yesterday, I installed a more robust version of the new site, MarylandBloggers.com.
This evening as I was finishing up, I decided to make a short video of the major update (first element listed below), I added today.
- Added a JQuery Hamburger Menu to the top left area of the site.
- Several minor issues with design and spacing.
- Researching promotion avenues.
- Created one or two new graphics.
Why is the Jquery Hamburger element a big deal? Well it took most of the day for me to customize it, and have it work with my custom site design.
You may have noticed my real estate site, uses a hamburger menu and yes, I installed the site.
That said, the menu for that site came with the template I decided to incorporate, and though I did not have to rework the hamburger menu, I did have to rework several other areas on the real estate template I found.
Initially, I planned to develop a new online MySQL database for marylandbloggers.com, however decided some of the feedback suggested I needed a more secure way of storing data for the site.
Thingamablog has a robust database that for the time being- will suit my security issues. I like Thingamablog because the entire master copy of the database sits on my hard drive along with external backup drives.
Friday, February 10, 2023
Recently, when the admin for the Facebook group, MarylandBloggers polled members about blogging and other content creation activities, I noted of the 15 or so respondents- only 23% were still blogging.
That said, most indicated they were using Instagram more (29%), while a smaller percentage were creating content for TikTok and Youtube.
I have been researching Youtube bloggers, which are also known as vloggers. I have to say, that my research provides if you do not have a paid sponsor for each video, the Adsense revenue alone is probably not going to offset the cost of the equipment, software used for editing, and time required for this content creation activity.
So why did I register a new domain, marylandbloggers.com? Mainly because it was only $10.74 a year and I wanted to see if I could come up with a business plan.
I am actually looking to promote both bloggers and vloggers from Maryland. I feel effective use of promotional tools can help with other business areas, and I would like to assist other small business owners in this area.
The morning (February 8, 2023), I registered the new domain (actually renewing my real estate site when I checked to see if "marylandbloggers.com" was available), and roughed out the database schema, using MS Excel. The final version will be used for the online database which will provide a directory of Maryland content creators.
Also playing around with graphics and slogans for the new site.
This project is not a high priority for me, however I do feel that with the current state of employment issues, anything anyone can do to help the communities they are a part of, might be useful.
Tuesday, February 07, 2023
Yesterday, Maryland updated their records reflecting the change of address for my business (QiSoftware). See this Business Blog Remix post for how to search Maryland's records for current business related information.
The comptroller's office updated the records in November 2022, however, the Trade Name Program with the Maryland State Department of Assessments & Taxation took a little longer.
Though the old address will be available for a limited time, on
Monday, January 30, 2023 I stopped by the post office to submit the permanent
I have held the same business address since 2004 when I setup shop. The
many updates I have to make reflecting the new address is staggering. Shown
below, just some of the updates I have started to make.
I started the update process in November 2022, and continue to find services affiliated with my business that I need to update.
That said, I am happy the Maryland update is now official, in that my business bank required the state to update their records before they (the bank) would update theirs. I will set up an in person appointment for the bank update.
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Every morning, I check my sites, various site analytics, and my current financial picture.
As I have discussed in recent posts; CD Shopping Update and mid December 2022 post, I have been tracking annual percentage yields (APYs) for 5 year CDs offered by two of my banks hoping to take advantage of rates in the 4.2-4.5% range.
Tomorrow, February 1, 2023- no matter where the rates, I planned to open the
new CD. This morning I was a little more than surprised to learn that APY rates
were down with American Express, the bank I wanted to use. I am not sure
exactly when the rate dropped, but it went from 4.25% to 3.75%.
I was so busy Monday (January 30, 2023) morning, three trips to different area markets, Columbia, MD to my business address, and then the post office to submit a permanent forwarding address for my business- that I may have missed an update on APY rates later in the day.
In addition, in the afternoon (Monday), I had several calls to Maryland taxing agencies concerning business mail I picked up earlier in the day.
On Friday (January 27, 2023), the van I use to do most of the chores would not start. Yes, I do have other vehicles available, however I allowed the van that would not start to annoy me.
Lucky for me, I noticed a charger my brother used once and I purchased something similar not long after. I used the charger to start the van, and then reconditioned the battery (button on the charger), however did not do any of the shopping I planned for Friday. I waited until Monday. I was so happy I could get to all of my shopping and Columbia that I was not going to do anything but handle issues that came up.
Translated, the (AMEX) bank CD rates going down did not jump up and scream like all of the mail from my business address.
This morning, wide awake and happy most of my business issues were resolved, I got back on track and discovered I missed the CD American Express bank rate change that was lower.
Before eight this morning, I opened the new CD with Synchrony for 5 years at 4.30% and directly set up an external transfer from the American Express savings account to the new Synchrony CD account.
I decided not to bore you with some of the details, however to change a business address in Maryland seems so hard I believe they want me to ask an attorney to do it. I set up the business, I am not sure why I need an attorney to change the address. That said the Comptroller of Maryland (taxing authority) had no problem updating the address when I sent Form 109-B MARYLAND CHANGE OF ADDRESS FOR BUSINESSES in October 2022. One of my calls on today- spoke with Brittany. I also registered with bFile the interactive business tax filing service even though I have had no sales since setting up my ecommerce shop. I file something known as a ZERO Return each quarter.
When I check the APY rates tomorrow morning, I am not going to scream if Synchrony's rates are higher.
By the way, I think all girls with vehicles should have automotive accessories in their garage similar to these in my garage.
Saturday, January 28, 2023
First of all let's define ROI. Return On Investment.
In August 2020, I received my EMV Chip & Swipe Card Reader, so I count that as my first ecommerce business tool. Since then I have added quite a few devices to my collection at what I consider to be substantial savings.
Most of you realize that I have been online for quite a number of years, so you maybe asking yourselves, why the acquisition of that first device was that recent?
First of all, I am a software developer and a business owner. So in my case- other than an online method to send invoices and accept payments, I really did not need anything other than a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone to conduct business.
Though my business bank offers payment solutions, I have always used my PayPal business account to handle all of my business payment needs. The reason for this? It is simply not cost effective for me to have recurring monthly fees to maintain a business payment solution.
In 2012 or so, PayPal and others began contacting me about free card readers for point of sale payment solutions, however, I routinely passed on these offers.
In 2020, I finally decided to accept PayPal's offer of a free EMV Chip & Swipe Card Reader. I began reading about pop-up shops and wanted to learn more. I began thinking of things I could do with a free card reader. Yard sales, business meetings where I could accept development consultation fees on the spot, etc.
Then in 2021, after taking my real estate course, I was kind of concerned about the logistics of taking the state and national exams for the real estate license. I contacted the testing authority about my concerns and they would not respond. So I continued to push the test date back hoping to hear from them.
In the meantime, I decided to play with the OpenCart software offered by cpanel via my web host and then setup my own ecommerce shop- for what is now WiredShops.
I worked quite a bit setting up the shop, researching products, learning about digital commerce laws, drop shipping, registering for a Maryland State Tax Number, etc. however never had any sales.
Still this idea was fascinating to me, however in late December 2021, I decided I wanted to take the real estate exam, and time was running out. Once you take the course and pass, you have a year to take the state and national exams. So I began studying again, and scheduled the exams for late February 2022. After passing, finding a broker, and putting up my realty studio site, I began researching ecommerce. Real estate sales were down across the board and interest rates going up. So I have continued to study real estate options however have also focused on my ecommerce efforts.
So this brings me up to date and where I stand with my business efforts.
Today, I received another device which I will use for commerce that I want to discuss. Before I provide more details about my new device, lets look at all of the
business commerce tools I have acquired since August 2020.
|eCommerce Device||Cost To Own||Retail Price||Date Acquired|
PayPal Here EMV Chip & Swipe Card Reader
Thermal Receipt Printer
PayPal Zettle Card Reader
Accuteck Gold 86Lbs Digital Shipping Postal Scale with Batteries and AC Adapter
Tordorday Bluetooth Thermal Label Printer 4×6
GlocalMe DuoTurbo 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
* Credit Card Application Approvals/Online Surveys
Ecommerce business tools I would like to own, however cannot yet justify the cost include the following...
My thought was to create my own brand using the WiredShops logo, and justifying the cost by offering sublimation products to offset the cost of the branding equipment shown above. I am going to have to find some really good deals on that equipment before I can even think about it.
Check out the following video to see how this video blogger has custom branded her line.
Today, I received my new GlocalMe DuoTurbo 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. I can now connect several mobile devices to my own vpn wherever I might be and use card readers via my payment hub for ecommerce efforts. The cost to own this device was within my limits and I love the fact I only pay when I need to use the device.
I have collected some nice tools and devices and along the way learned a lot about ecommerce. If and when I join the ecommerce game, I think I will be ready. Even if I cannot move forward with this endeavor the cost to own the devices and tools I have acquired, is a cost I can afford.
Saturday, December 24, 2022
Lately, most of my purchases are for business, necessities, or gifts. That said, in September (2022), I did purchase four pairs of shoes that can only be described as a splurge.
This post is about purchases since early November (2022), that are a mix of either business, necessity, or splurge. As in the case with the purchase of the shoes in September, I consider the price to own, the most important factor in acquiring the new items.
Let's start with my new hair pins. The hair pins were a necessity. As noted in the order information provided below, I paid $5.84 for the four hair pins that I simply love. (Mother sent the photo via her phone).
Why is this a great price? My ecommerce shop- WiredShops provides access to wholesale prices for a wide range of goods. I was able to find the wholesale price I would pay to stock the hair pins and was quite frankly a little surprised. Depending on when the Amazon seller I purchased from acquired the inventory, he may have taken a loss. I am not sure.
My new thermal label printer is categorized as a business expense. I have been researching thermal label printers since my online shop went live (October 2021). Though I really could not justify acquiring the new printer (not really shipping enough product), the price to acquire because of Amazon gift cards and the right printer went on sale- was simply to attractive to pass on.
The printer driver that came with the printer on a flash drive supports most of my desktops, mini pcs, and tablets, including an older Windows XP Desktop and my iPad Mini. For my needs, this was a good choice.
The last purchase, a pair of black velvet jeans by a brand "Well Worn" that I had previously not heard of, was a splurge.
Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, I was in Costco, picking up things like paper towels and the normal staples purchased from this club warehouse when I happened on the jeans. There were several color options, but of course I had to have black. When I arrived home I checked online and found I paid between $30-$8 less than most places selling the same item.
Today, is December 24, 2022 and I am happy I did not have to go anywhere. It has been cold and wet, and yesterday a relative called to say they lost power.
I think I am ready for tomorrow. Hope you are enjoying your holidays.
Saturday, November 26, 2022
Currently, I handle all of the advertising management efforts for QiSoftware sites:
- qisoftware.com (main business site)
- hosting-q.com (hosts many of my applications to alleviate resource burdens on qisoftware.com)
- reginadenisethomas.com (resume site)
- reginathomas.studio (real estate site)
- wired-shops.com (e-commerce site)
A brief discussion about advertising resources I use with my sites is provided in this blog post - QiSoftware Advertising & Utilization of sellers.guide.
Allow me to step back for a moment and discuss an old advertising management resource aptly named BlogAds. Years ago, I used BlogAds to handle advertising for the blogs I maintained on qisoftware.com.
Today, I use any number of resources to handle advertising for all areas of my sites, not just the blogs. Is this complicated? In my opinion, yes and I understand why most businesses and bloggers use advertising management services to handle their advertising needs.
Did I say complicated? Some of the advertising resources I use:
- Header bidding for all areas of qisoftware.com (the only, of my sites accepted by the service I use)
- Google Adsense all sites and areas (reginathomas.studio was initially rejected earlier this year however has since been accepted)
- Google Ad Manager (also a requirement of the header bidding service I use)
- Various affiliate marketing partnerships (I develop applications for my affiliates using their API resources, e.g. Amazon's Product Adverting API, CJ's API using GraphQL, and Best Buy's API)
- Google Analytics
- Social Media
Let's start with a less complicated advertising management effort. For years I have been an Amazon Affiliate and I purchase a lot from Amazon. That said, only recently have I started providing feedback in the form of product reviews. So I decided to provide my Amazon customer profile link.
I research quite a bit, and try to provide feedback for the cost conscious consumer. I also purchase a lot as a small business owner. It might be worth your time to follow me as an Amazon customer. Does this assist with my advertising efforts? Yes.
Another less complicated advertising management effort involves Google Adsense and something called Brand Safety. I recently researched this area, made some changes, and have noticed a slight increase in my Adsense revenue.
Now let's discuss a more complicated advertising management effort. Header bidding. I started integrating header bidding into qisoftware.com site areas in October 2018.
I continue to learn new things about online advertising management, and new features are coming online daily. In 2018, when I first started using header bidding, sellers.json and Floors were terms not used. If you decide to manage advertising for your sites, you have to stay on top of the new technologies and features. Any number of variables can affect ad revenue.
This is not meant to be a tutorial. Recently, I have been tweaking a lot of variables in all areas of my advertising game with some positive results. I have to admit, it is rather complicated. That said, it may have been the route I chose to integrate the features I wanted to experiment with for publisher advertising.
Saturday, November 12, 2022
I am always looking for cost cutting business moves, so last month when I decided to move my business address from Columbia, MD to Hanover, MD I knew I had several tasks to complete- in preparation for this change. Cost cutting? Since I reside in Hanover, MD I am making the trip to my business address much shorter.
My original attempt to notify the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation of the address change failed because I used the wrong form and did not remit a $25.00 payment to have the amendment recorded. The check was debited from my business checking account on November 10, 2022.
Another of my business cost cutting moves? In July 2016, I decided because I seldom write checks, to start printing my own for both my business and personal checking accounts. I discuss my custom check templates in this July 2016 blog post. See the image below for more on the blank checks I ordered.
Recently, I mentioned the keyboard on my Acer Windows XP Netbook is malfunctioning, so I am moving tools to other platforms. I developed the custom check templates using the Publisher version that came with Microsoft Office 2000 Professional version. Happy to report, had no problems converting the custom check templates from Office 2000 Publisher to Microsoft Office 365's Publisher version. See the illustration below.
In the above referenced blog post, I mention I use the Sunset version of Microsoft Money for Business (no longer available online for download). I used GNUCash for many years, however had too many issues so decided to use Microsoft Money for Business instead.
I mention this because I have been researching Quickbooks both as a developer and for use with my business, and believe I have the most cost effective solution for my business and personal finances.
One of the big advantages of Quickbooks over Microsoft Money for Business, is its ability to interactively communicate online with all of your banks to ensure account synchronization. I use both the Net Worth service offered by my personal primary bank (Bank of America) and my online Mint account to ensure all of my banks align with my offline copy of Microsoft Money for Business.
At this time, I do not mind I have to input some of the data to MS Money. Recurring debits, transfers, and deposits are automated, however a lot of the data is not. Bank of America and Mint use automated processes or aggregators to access real-time account balances from external account references.
I also use the non-business Sunset version of Microsoft Money to maintain financial and tax information for someone close.
I have to say, without Microsoft Money the cost to maintain these financial records would be a lot. I have cash assets that I need to be able to move quickly, especially now with the Fed's moves on interest rates. I am able to maintain this financial data effectively and efficiently with the Sunset versions of Microsoft Money.
Below, an illustration of some of the accounts and features I use with my version of the Sunset version of Microsoft Money for Business.
When will the business address change go into effect? The state has not updated the online business information, however I have begun to add the new address to some of the many areas I will need to update.
Monday, October 31, 2022
I am spending more time in online meetings and courses, so I have been trying to find affordable solutions to update the office. The last post showed some of the latest additions and included a photo of the old 13" television used to keep up with breaking news and business headlines.
I have wanted to replace the television for awhile, however could not justify the cost in that I rarely used the office before my real estate course and the onset of the pandemic.
In early October 2022, Verizon required upgrades to all of the set top boxes and the WiFi Gateway because the equipment was obsolete. There were two televisions that were not HDMI ready, so with the upgrade- HDMI channels were now accessible via the new set top boxes. One of the old televisions was in the office.
Allow me to digress for a moment. How is the cost of Verizon FiOS justified? I use FiOS for business and rarely go out for entertainment. The cost of the FiOS service is about $240.00 a month, however includes two land lines, internet, and television (6 set top boxes). There are several discounts applied because of customer loyalty and bundle selection.
Last week when I decided to get a new television for the office, I determined I could spend no more than $200.00. Initially, I selected a 24" Vizio.
After thinking about it, I decided to go with the smallest monitor I could find and use the existing RCA hookups from the set top box to the bookshelf stereo system for the audio. I thought the 24" Vizio, simply too large for the space and I did not want to mount it on the wall. There is a daybed in the room (behind the desk), however the wall is simply too close and would have made watching while sitting at the desk too awkward.
Shown below, the before and after photos of the old television versus the new monitor now being used as an HDMI television.
Below the invoice for the new monitor.
I had to adjust several settings on the monitor and the video sharpness level on the set top box to achieve optimal display results. I am pretty happy with the outcome of this project.
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Lately, I have been using my office more- mainly because I am not currently working software development projects. I seldom work in my office when developing software- instead preferring to setup my workspace in my bedroom, where I can sleep when I like.
I have several projects I am currently working, including updating my business address and contacting the proper Maryland agencies to ensure the changes are properly recorded.
I also use my office for Zoom meetings and classes. It is also where I maintain my printers and the fax machine. It is simply easier to handle "running the business" issues in the office.
That said, I have been making minor adjustments to the office ever since my real estate course. Why not a more modern look with an electric desk that lifts with the touch of a button? I like my office space, the scene from the window, and I would rather keep the smaller furniture pieces, in that the room is rather small.
Recently, I purchased a new 2K monitor (see link below) for the office, so I would not have to use the smaller 2K monitor used with my software development mini pc. If I had a meeting, I had to unplug the other system (software development platform) to use the monitor. I have a large 24 inch monitor however, it is only a 1080 HD monitor and when Zooming I like ensuring I see what others see. I needed a higher resolution monitor in my office.
I was using the mini PC boxes and a software reference manual to lift the display (shown below), however finally found a monitor stand I thought would work. I am happy with the outcome.
I have a bookshelf stereo system, an older television hooked up to a Verizon FiOs set top box, and an Alexa Echo Input to round out the perfect office environment.
I need more artwork, one of the walls has my diplomas,
certificates, and awards and the others are next on my list. The problem, I
need a good backdrop for the Zoom meetings. I am still working all of
Monday, October 17, 2022
This blog (It's Personal) has been around since December 2011 and there are about 783 posts (excluding this post). I started the blog to replace Q's Wire a Wordpress blog, that is no longer published. For added security, I decided to use the Thingamablog content management system (CMS) to maintain the blog in a local environment.
What does this mean really? The entire blog (master copy) is maintained on a PC hard drive and new posts/images/videos are SFTP/FTP'd to my online server when the application's post publish button is used.
About six months ago, I began having problems with the keyboard on my 2010 Windows XP Acer Netbook, shown below.
In addition, most online services no longer supported the browsers and email clients available for the older Windows XP system, so I knew I had to move on.
About a week ago, I decided to move this blog to the Guzila Mini PC I purchased for my real estate class. Since the completion of the class, I have added three elements to the system; a 500GB internal hard drive, a 1920x1080 24 inch monitor (doubles as a streaming device when the system is connected in my bedroom) and a 13.3 inch 2K portable monitor for my office (zoom meetings, high resolution detail video editing and other efforts).
Although this was not the only task, i.e., moving this blog- I had on
tap for the week, it was the most time consuming and tedious. Why?
I have more work to do insofar as checking links across all of my sites, however, I think most of the work is done. What about my Google Juice (old links that are now dead)? I knew the risks when I decided to make this move and if I ever have to move the blog again, I will not have to update the links.
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Yesterday, my brokerage office sent over a copy of the PDF file, the Maryland Real Estate Commission (MREC) issued to my broker, providing a copy of my license and pocket card.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2022
In March 2022, I requested space at one of the Baltimore County Public Libraries to take part in their Spring pop up shop events, set for Saturday, April 30, 2022. A week ago, I was notified another vendor had dropped out and there was space at the library I requested.
I began preparing for my very first pop up shop event, and took part in the Zoom presentation offered last evening- showcasing tips on how to setup and what to expect.
The problem, I did not have enough inventory (jewelry items from WiredShops) as I explained to the organizer when the spot first opened up, however I wanted to take part to gain understanding of how it all worked.
At the end of the Zoom presentation and question and answer session, I knew there was no way I would be prepared, even if I had the inventory. I notified via chat (with a promise to email the organizer), that I would not be participating, however would be checking in as a blogger.
I hope- those in Maryland and surrounding areas who are able to attend, will come out to support local area small businesses through these Baltimore County Public Library sponsored events.
Tuesday, April 05, 2022
Over the last two weeks I have worked a number of projects, mostly related to becoming a real estate agent.
- Last Tuesday, had a job interview with a local real estate team. Having problems in that- though I apply for the non-commissioned positions, they want the commissioned sales agent. Looking into a referral agent type affiliation.
- Reviewing a number of invites to apply for positions in both the real estate and software development areas.
- On Wednesday, attended the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Real Estate Forecast Summit via Zoom.
- Last Thursday, out taking photos of area model homes to use on my new website.
- Most of the weekend, tweaking different areas of my new web site. WordPress with three real estate related plugins.
- Setting up related social media accounts for the new site, see illustration below.
- Yesterday, minor research for my online shop.
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Monday, March 21, 2022
It has been awhile since I have done any work with WordPress. Q's Wire was a WordPress blog that went online in the spring of 2005, and was retired in 2020 or so.
Over the weekend I began researching options for establishing a web presence for my real estate interests. The first major hurdle involved my current domain registrations and could any of those domains be used.
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Sunday, March 13, 2022
I attended the MCE Women's Center 7th Annual Virtual Conference on Friday, March 11, 2022. It is very convenient to be able to attend events like this from the comfort of your own (in my case, home office) space.
What I do to prepare for these Zoom virtual events?
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Tuesday, March 08, 2022
I have been reading a great deal about careers in real estate sales. I Googled "passed my real estate exam, now what?".
Main factors in my November 2020 decision to take a real estate course include:
- Always wanted to know more about real estate (also want to be a lawyer).
- Want to do more with real estate in other areas of my business. For example, I have an affiliation with a great furniture retailer. When I purchased my first place, new furniture was important.
- Create a new source of income.
- The idea that I could be part of someone else's happiness as related to a home purchase seemed very attractive.
So that is what I have been doing (researching) for the past two weeks (since passing the exam).
Ideally, I would like to team with an organization that may see unique opportunities in elements I can bring to the table, including:
- My news service, WiredPages
- Conceptional idea of Hanover Magazine & hanovermaryland.org
- Well known in the area through social media and some of my business concepts. An active alumni group (local), I started in 2008 has about 5800 members. No, I cannot directly nor do I promote my business within the group. I am known.
While taking the course in the late winter of 2021, I began to revamp the WiredPages Real Estate page.
Significant changes were integrated, including more detailed information about mortgages, options, and current Federal stats as related to the U.S. Housing market.
Recently, the Freddie Mac interface I custom developed in 2006 (or so) for the real estate page became inoperable, so as an interim fix I installed the standard widget the service offers (shown in the illustration above top-left).
The new custom tool has already been created, as shown below running in local mode.
The new tool has the same style as the older interface, however the data source now- is the Federal Reserve as provided by their API. This means that now I have to make six separate calls to the API whereas in the past, I only made one request to the Freddie Mac page. Freddie Mac now blocks the page. This the reason I have not installed the new tool. With the existing requests already integrated on the real estate page, I might have an overload problem. Continuing to research this problem.
As with everything else, I tend to think I should save money if at all possible and do the work myself. I read just this morning, these days becoming a new real estate sales person can cost over $2000. No, I have not spent that much. One reason, I have been working to create my own head shots for real estate profiles.
The problem? I have noticed that most agents use half or whole body shots for profile photos. I have lost about 20 lbs over the last year, so a half or whole body shot is not a problem, I simply prefer the head shot. What do they know that I do not know?
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Sunday, February 20, 2022
This week, at last I will be taking my real estate salesperson licensing exam. I have scheduled, rescheduled, made calls, submitted accommodation requests, stopped by the exam center, worried, studied, purchased a larger lockable storage case, and learned to decode combination locks in preparation for this week.
As many of you know, I am a sole proprietor and work mainly in the area of software development. Over the years, I have developed many software tools that are well known. WiredPages (showcases some of my software tools), this post, and discussions on the main area of qisoftware.com provide details about my software.
Believe it not, I have security issues where my business and custom software solutions are concerned. This is such an issue, that I have not installed most of the applications developed for WiredPages, including the CIA World Factbook database and software application.
Last March (2021), as the end of my real estate course was nearing, the instructor provided details about the PSI exam & test center in the form of a PDF. I was concerned and immediately began to make plans to take the exam. The main concern, the PSI PDF provided what could and could not be taken into the test center and why they would not be responsible for any losses.
One of the first things I did was write to PSI inquiring about an accommodation request, explaining my bags and equipment. I also tried to contact the Maryland Real Estate Commission. Probably because of the business and government office shut downs (still in the throes of the pandemic), it was hard to get responses from the proper authorities.
In late November 2021, thinking after the holidays I would again begin my quest to take the exam and become a licensed real estate sales person in Maryland, I rescheduled for early January 2022. I was busier than planned with the holidays so the rescheduled date of January 11, 2022 was pushed back again to February 2022. I was supposed to take the exam last Wednesday, February 16th, however pushed it back again after stopping by the exam center. I needed a larger storage bin.
Since early January 2022, I have been studying and taking every practice exam available. I feel I am ready to take the exam, however I felt I would get an A on the final for the course in March 2021, and only achieved the "B". Here is an example of a surprise question I found on one of the preparation exams-- and how I might have to handle a similar question on the real exam.
During the course, I created an Excel spreadsheet based on one of the textbook examples of an loan amortization schedule. Download the spreadsheet here.
Finally, on Friday, I had a virtual interview with one of the large real estate firms in the area. Because of legal issues, and the number of things that can go wrong in a real estate transaction, I really want to sign up as more a support staff function (rather than independent contractor), however most firms want me to sign as the independent contractor. I want the license, however I want to be in more of a support role.
To be in real estate sales, your character must not be an issue. Mine is not, however over the years, I have had more than my share of problems with others wanting to take credit. This is where my legal issues are most apparent.
As I was taking the course, I knew real estate sales could leave too many legal doors open, if I did not cross every "t" and dot every "i". I am a detailed orientated person, however I draw too much of the wrong attention. How can a real estate transaction I might become a part of- affect my business? You would be surprised.
Some would not question whether they think I have false concerns and ask only- "why would I risk it"? Are you one who feels my concerns are unwarranted?
Sunday, November 07, 2021
Since I carry inventory for WiredShops, I needed an efficient way to handle shipping.
The first order of business, purchase a reliable postal shipping scale. I chose the Accuteck 86lb Gold Digital Scale.
The scale arrived today. The following is a short video demonstration.
I use PayPal to handle all transactions, so using their shipping service was an easy choice. The illustration below shows some of the steps involved in connecting my PayPal account to ShipStation.
I am researching thermal label/barcode printers and like a no frills option I listed on WiredShops, the XPrinter XP-460 w/Bluetooth. That said, for now any shipments that I handle will have shipping labels printed using one of several desktop printers I currently have at my disposal.