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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Finally Completed The CE Courses For Real Estate License Renewal

Over the weekend, I finally completed all of the continuing education requirements to renew my Maryland Real Estate Salesperson's license.

As noted in the graphics for this post, I completed most of the courses between January 26 - 28, 2024, however came down with a stuffy nose and cold on January 30, 2024. I did very little for a whole week.

Finally, Saturday, February 10, 2024 I took the last course- (Legislative-A) DL/Maryland Legal Update.

These courses renewed my interest in doing more with real estate, however, the last course especially, renewed my concerns with the many legal actions that can be brought against licensees working in this area.

See this related post.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Continuing Education Real Estate Courses This Weekend (Jan. 26, 2024)

On Friday, January 26, 2024 I began taking the remaining continuing education courses I need to renew my real estate license. Refer to the earlier post on this topic.

The first course, Fair Housing- DL/Diversity: Your Kaleidoscope of Clients- that I began working on Friday morning and continued into the evening. There was a lot of material offered and I checked almost every link.

This was my first time taking a course with The CE Shop, so I am going to admit there was a bit more overhead associated with this course.

The other issue I ran into- dealt with research into gender labels and their exact meanings. Unfortunately one of the questions I missed was because I still do not understand how everything is being defined.

In my defense, I would like to suggest that not all definitions on gender labels appear to be the same.

The following graphic shows my Certificate of Completion for the Fair Housing- DL/Diversity: Your Kaleidoscope of Clients and the score I received on the final exam.

When I began taking the final, I noticed I had 1000 chances to pass the final exam. I passed the first time with the 85 score, however, had no opportunity to up the score with subsequent retries. I was also a little surprised about how long it took me to complete the course and final exam.

The second course taken this weekend (all day Saturday), Ethics-D DL/Maryland Real Estate Code of Ethics was a long course. A lot of emphasis was put on the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of The National Association of Realtors®. I had the NAR PDF link in one of my browsers all day and probably should credit a correct answer on the final exam to this fact.

The following graphic shows my certificate of completion and the passing score of 95 for the ethics course.

The following illustration shows the remaining courses I will take hopefully this week to satisfy my continuing education requirements.

If you are like me and your first real estate license renewal is approaching, and you also need continuing education course credits, I would not wait until the last minute. Those who have renewed their licenses at least once, probably know this.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Upcoming WiredPages Employment Page Outages

I power the applications and tools I develop for online consumption using a myriad of different Application Program Interfaces (APIs) from different sources.

One of the more popular pages on the WiredPages News Service is the Employment Guide.

Listed below are the APIs and XML feeds used on the WiredPages Employment Guide.

  • CareerOneStop APIs
    • Jobs Board
    • Occupation Wage Data
    • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rate
    • U.S. Employment and Training Administration, Initial Claims
  • FRED Per Capita Personal Income By State
  • FRED Military Employment Stats Graph
  • Google Career News Info
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -JOLTS XML Feed

On January 27 & 28, 2024 the CareerOneStop API site will be down for maintenance so the two applications (Jobs Board, Occupation Wage Data) on the Employment page that use the corresponding CareerOneStop APIs will also be unavailable.

What does FRED stand for? Federal Reserve Economic Data.

In addition, certain areas of the FRED site will be down for maintenance on Friday, January 26, 2024 which will affect different graphs on not only the Employment page, but several other WiredPages that use FRED graphs and/or the FRED API. The WiredPages Business & Markets page also relies heavily on FRED data.

Upcoming downtime notices from different resources used on WiredPages.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

All Ready To Complete Continuing Education For Real Estate License Renewal

In February, it will be two years since I took the Maryland and National real estate exams- which were required to obtain my Maryland Real Estate Salespersons License.

As noted in the image above- showing my license pocket card, my license expires on April 21, 2024.

I plan on renewing the license even though I signed up as a referral agent (also means a fully licensed real estate salesperson) and have never had any sales.

In Maryland, licensed real estate salespersons must complete continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.

The following illustration shows the continuing education requirements for Maryland agents (salespersons) and associate brokers who were licensed before October 1, 2023.

In 2022, after becoming a licensed agent I searched for online courses to ensure all of my educational requirements were taken care of by the time of my renewal date (April 21, 2024). I found some free courses and my brokerage offered a couple.

Noted below, the Maryland Real Estate Commission's (MREC) records of the coursework I completed in 2022, which counts as continuing education credits towards my license renewal.

So why did I not complete the continuing education requirements before now (or the not-to-distant future)? Busy and I found all of the free courses I was going to find.

One free course I signed up for- required in-person attendance at a site in Northern Virginia and I had to cancel at the last minute. The other courses I took in 2022 were virtual.

So on January 2, 2024, I pulled out my credit card and signed up with The CE Shop to take the remaining courses I need for license renewal.

Your question: "So today is January 20, 2024 and you still have not opened any of the courses you have paid for?" My Response: You would not believe the many things that have happened since January 2, 2024. Mostly to do with my sites and the new year, but there have been one or two other issues I have had to deal with.

I hope to complete the continuing education coursework I need for license renewal by the end of the first week in February, given no other distractions.

Monday, January 08, 2024

CIA World Factbook Quick Reference Tool, Why Now?

In November 2023, I obtained a JSON formatted data file containing the 2020 CIA World Factbook.

The World Factbook data I maintain in my local development environment is a MySQL database from 2013.

When I first downloaded the 2013 data it was stored as a MySQL compressed (GZ) database file. I did not want to maintain all of the data in my local development environment so I went through each table, only extracting and importing the data I wanted to use with my application.

Though I completed work on the JDBC Java Servlet for the World Factbook Quick Reference Tool sometime ago, the amount of work I had to do to get the data I wanted was no minor task. Therefore, I never installed the online version of the application fearing those with access to my servers would want to use the data elsewhere.

The following video, produced in August 2022 demonstrates the World Factbook Quick Reference Tool running in my local developmental environment starting about 1:21 minutes into the video.

Because the CIA World Factbook data I am using for demonstration purposes is now over 10 years old and I have more recent data in my possession, I decided to install the World Factbook Quick Reference Tool on the WiredPages Reference page.

I have some minor cleanup work on the servlet and I also need to upload the custom World Factbook database to my site, however I think I will have it up and running by the time I finish this evening. It is about 4:20 PM my time and I have one or two other minor chores to take care of before I complete work on this project.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Do you need a custom contacts database?

This holiday season will be memorable because in the week before Christmas, I was at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) center in Columbia, MD on the Wednesday and Thursday leading up to the 25th, and on Tuesday, December 26, 2023. Why? Legal issues with transferring an automobile title.

A week prior to all of that, the automobile in question had to have emergency repairs. I thought the repairs were going to be about $1000. The repairs came to $250 plus my very first Uber ride to pick up the car for about $11.00.

Needless to say, along with preparations for the holidays and other business projects, I have been very busy.

Another successful project related to the holidays- getting my mother's holiday cards out the door.

Last year, I gave my mother a new HP Laptop for Christmas. In April 2023, I installed a new version of Microsoft 365 on the laptop. The version of the software I installed on her laptop did not include Microsoft Access, so in November (2023) I installed the Microsoft Access Engine (currently a free program) which allows users to run MS Access applications without the full MS Access installation. Now her contacts database is accessible from her new laptop.

This year, I convinced her to let my program print the recipient addresses on Avery labels I keep in my business stash.

Below, photos of the Avery labels I had on hand and the holiday cards in the mail box ready for pickup.

In November 2022, I ordered 100 USPS Forever postal stamps for about $48. I used 21 of the stamps for this mailing- costing about $10 for postage. The cards were cards she had on hand from earlier years, so the cost of each card was negligible. The return address labels were also free because various charities provide them without charge.

Research provided the following estimates for sending the 21 cards my mother sent out and that of a 200 count order using an outside professional service.

In 2024, I am going to be looking into any number of ways to cut costs. I decided to get started right away.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays.

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