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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Summer 2021: Menus, Gardens

It has been hot in our area with lots of moisture. I have been sticking with easy meals and desserts to prepare.

Shown below, some of the plantings in my gardens. I added a new hosta plant to the front porch and filled the deck planters with marigolds, however have done little more in the way of gardening this year.

The plantings in my gardens include:

  • Marigolds, most flying insects do not like marigolds so these were a great addition, especially with the cicadas this year.
  • Variegated Day Lilies (Pink & Yellow)
  • Back deck
  • Crocosmia Lucifer Spectacular Red Perennial
  • Shasta Daisies
  • Black Eyed Susans (Maryland's State Flower)
  • Hydrangea bush
  • Hosta on back deck

Most of the statewide pandemic restrictions in place over the last year have been lifted, and my area is becoming busier everyday.

Live Casino & Hotel along with Arundel Mills probably attracting most of the crowd. Friday, I had an appointment in the area, and was surprised by how many visitors I noted (based on automobiles in the parking lots and coming off major exists to the mall and casino). Seems as though people are trying to get back to normal.

Hope you are having a great summer. Have to say, I am ready for the cooler weather of autumn.



Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Recent Hardware Upgrades

Ever since receiving my Guzila Windows 10 Pro Mini PC, I have wanted to install a second hard drive. You may recall, I purchased the unit in November 2020 for an online Real Estate course, and found I could also use it as a business asset for Zoom meetings.

I was so pleased with the performance of the MinisForum Windows 10 Pro PC (dedicated to software development projects), after installing an additional internal hard drive, I knew it would be worth the effort to do the same for the newer Guzila.

Last week, I ordered several items to upgrade the Guzila PC, including a wireless keyboard and mouse combo, and a Seagate 500GB internal hard drive.

This morning, just after nine, the postman delivered my new internal hard drive and I completed the installation shortly after. Because the PC was already sitting on the breakfast tray in my bedroom, the installation photos were taken from the same location.

The keyboard and mouse arrived Saturday, so I had a chance to test these new devices. I am pretty impressed with the functions and feel of each. So far the new hard drive is performing as expected, however I have done very little with the PC other than to upload photos from my Canon M50 to the new drive for this blog post.

Yesterday morning, I received a new Point Of Sale (POS) reader for use with my PayPal business account for merchant services.

The differences between my old PayPal Here Chip & Swipe and the new PayPal Zettle Reader 2, include:

  • Zettle Reader 2 features the contactless Tap function.
  • Card pins can be entered via the Zettle reader's keypad.
  • Zettle reader displays prompt and status messages.

Yesterday, while testing the new card reader, I found a program called BlueStacks which allows a Windows 7, 8, or 10 system to emulate an Android device.

I installed the program on the Guzila PC and logged into the Google Play Store to install the PayPal Zettle app under the BlueStacks program. I did not know a program like BlueStacks existed and wanted to mention the interesting prospects a program like this offers. Installed several of my Google Store Play apps for testing on the Guzila system.



Monday, July 05, 2021

Syncing AJAX and JDBC- Too Powerful to Ignore

Several weeks ago, I completed work on a process that pulls comment counts for this blog from the QiSoftware.com installation of Commentics.

The first step in this project was to replicate the qisoftware.com Commentics database in my local development environment.

I then developed the inner join SQL call I needed for efficient retrieval of the counters. Initially, I developed a php program using the SQL call, however later decided I wanted a less open program for the online version, so opted to use Java Servlet/JDBC technology. I also believe, Java JDBC/Servlet technology is more efficient than php.

The following diagram, illustrates the AJAX/JavaScript used to call the Java JDBC/Servlet and the XML data response returned from the AJAX call.

This project is notable, because it utilizes AJAX which I have not wanted to incorporate into my programs.

Why? AJAX data prep is open source for one, but the other big problem- older browsers did not support AJAX. Though, I have done very little with AJAX in the past, I found this to be one of the easiest parts of this project and I am glad I had the opportunity to work with this very powerful resource.

So you want to know why I have not installed the counters on this blog? Initially, I felt I was providing a lot of open source technology using AJAX, however after I setup everything, decided that because only one blog post had comments (my test comments), the earlier work to install comments on this blog was enough for now.

If I leave everything as is and fail to get more feedback in the way of comments, most of the main pages will appear as they do now, a comment png image with the word Comments, with a link to the entry post. I only update the Comments link text if there is a comment count greater than zero. If there is only one comment, the update also changes the word from Comments to Comment.

I only wanted to make one call to the database (per page visit) even though there are several entries on each page. The counts are on the pages with category, archive or main page entries. Any page with multiple entries. Individual entry post pages have the comment area rather than the link.

Setting up HTML <div>s and syncing innerHTML updates were the main efforts for this project. I am happy with how this project turned out and will probably install the program online if I begin to get more comments.

Most of my projects use Java Servlets to do the "heavy lifting". In this case, JavaScript is doing a lot of the work. The inner join SQL call is hidden along with the generation of the XML data response within the servlet.

I feel as if I am entering a new phase and have to get used to providing so much in the open area. AJAX and JQuery are too powerful for me to ignore and these days- most browsers support these two powerful resources.



Thursday, July 01, 2021

Virtual Classroom - Hardware Equipment

Earlier this year, I went back to the classroom for my real estate course via a virtual link-up. Since I had the opportunity to experience first hand, classroom interaction via the internet, most of the updates made to the "Back to School" products category, reflect my experiences.

My exact "Zoom" hardware configuration is provided below.

    

I liked the camera selection with this configuration because of the "beautiful face" setting option. I included a more standard video camera in the "Back To School" products listing.

Below, photos of part of the setup as discussed in this post.

I also felt, the bluetooth audio speaker used with this configuration enhanced the experience and was worth the expense.

Are you going back to school? Do you use Zoom or Microsoft Teams for online meetings? I like the lighting, sound, voice output, and high resolution display this configuration offered and very pleased with how my online classroom and business meetings are experienced.



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Commentics & Thingamablog

Recently, I added comments and the option to shorten initial posts with a "read more" teaser to this blog and my business blog. I discuss this project in this post on my business blog.

To minimize legal issues, I use the Thingamablog content management system (CMS) to publish my off-line blog posts to my sites. This insures that I maintain the master copies of my blogs off-line on computers and as backups on external storage devices.

One of the problems with using a CMS hosted locally, and not popular online services like Blogger and WordPress, are issues with comments. Most users who go this route, use services like DISQUS to host the comments associated with their blogs.

The illustration below, shows the script added to the Thingamablog entry.template file for each blog (this and Remix), to handle comments and the read more teaser.

To date, though I have added the feature to this blog, I have not used the "read more" teaser, so I used an illustration from Remix, where I have used the new feature.

I also want to note, if you are a Thingamablog user, and want to try the "read more" teaser solution I discuss in the Remix post, you have to insure the HTML inserted into the Extra 1 field is clean. No double quotes, carriage returns, line feeds, etc. Why? My implementation uses Javascript which has an issue while reading the remaining post text- stored in the Extra 1 field. I only needed to check if the field was not null and believe it or not, that check was not easy.

Initially, I installed DISQUS on each blog, however, by late last week interesting ads began to appear on this blog, so I decided to install a self-hosted comment script. After a bit of research, I decided to use Commentics.

Several issues installing the new script. The first, I use Apache Tomcat so any time I add a PHP driven feature I have issues. One of the workarounds I have found, install the new feature on a sub-domain and make sure to update the underlying Tomcat XML files to handle the new sub-domain.

The second, I did not realize Commentics was a cPanel offering through Softaculous. I downloaded the script and prepared to SSH the files to my server when I found I could no longer use the SCP command I illustrated in this post. In 2017, when I first setup ssh access on qisoftware.com it took me a morning or so to get it setup correctly. I love being able to copy directory trees with a single line of code. Not sure why this is blocked, however I used FileZilla to copy the files. Then I discovered Commentics is a script offered by my web host.

To enable Commentics on this blog, I added the lines of code indicated, to the header and lower areas of the entry.template file of this blog's template.

The following illustration shows the last blog post entry with the Commentics script for comments in the lower area.

I continue to tweak the Commentics template for this blog. I really like this service because it offers a lot of features. Because I am concerned with load issues, DISQUS continues to be the service used on Remix. That said, other than my test comments, I have no comments so I am not sure why I am concerned with this issue.



Friday, June 11, 2021

WiredPages Weather: Why Am I Seeing This?

In September 2018, I developed a new world weather interface for WiredPages. I discuss the new tool (September 2018) in this blog post.

The following illustration is the same graphic used in the post referenced above, to show in September 2018 I was still doing most of my software development work using my MacBook. You can tell by the standalone application shots running in the Mac version of Firefox.

In January 2019, the original Yahoo! API was retired so I had to come up with another source of real time weather data.

Luckily, Yahoo! had another offering, although more complicated to integrate than the original, I worked out the issues and reinstalled a revised WeatherTool in late January 2019.

In late April 2021, I was notified that the Yahoo! Weather API was being retired and thanked for my interest in the resource. I wanted to believe the notification referred to the resource retired in January 2019 and not the feed I was currently using for the weather interface used on WiredPages.

That said, just in case my Yahoo! powered tool would become inoperable on June 1, 2021, as the email indicated, I developed another interface using a new data source. I wrote about the new interface on Mother's Day of this year, in this post.

The illustration below is from the May 9, 2021 (Mother's Day) post. It shows the then current Yahoo! WeatherTool side by side with the new interface using WeatherAPI data, running in my standalone development environment.

So why are you seeing a Weather Widget from WeatherWidget.io on the main page of WiredPages, as illustrated in the screen grab below and not the new WeatherAPI powered interface?

Too many security issues. As I have already indicated, the Yahoo! Weather interface developed in January 2019 was difficult, and should have been the tool I would not want installed on a less secure server. I like the new WeatherAPI tool, and it is ready for installation, however there is just something about the many issues I am having of late, that I do not like and so I am going to hold off on installing my new interface.



Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day Week 2021

It has been a busy week, and I am almost happy the national holiday is about to come to a close.

My activities included:

  • An assortment of visitors including relatives from out of town.
  • Meal preparations
  • Eating
  • Shopping (new espresso machine, groceries, household staples), stores included: Costco, Safeway, Food Lion and Walmart online
  • Gathered items for the dump, brother helped with delivery
  • Plants, housekeeping chores...
  • Article on patch.com about my high school alumni group
  • Header bidding updates and maintenance, Google AdManager and Unified Ad Marketplace
  • Website updates
  • Season finale of "Mare of Easttown"

Other photos taken over the last week, first set (below) - meal preparation.


Some of the meals prepared...


Last week, my espresso machine decided to call it quits, so I ordered a new one. In addition, I hit almost every market in the area in preparation for the week's meals.


One relative stopped by on Thursday. Photos of me taken after the visit.


I have been meaning to get to my hair, simply cannot find the time. Hope you are having a nice holiday. Are you planning to catch the concert on PBS?



Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Interesting Stat: U.S. Personal Income & Savings Over the Last Year

While researching data tables (FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), I thought would be useful for different areas of WiredPages, I noticed an interesting statistic about nationwide personal income and savings over the period March 2020 through March 2021.

This period of course, encompasses the upheaval to business, employment, and life in general across the U.S., and the world, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

What is interesting? According to the numbers, U.S. personal income rose and so did the percentage of disposable income that was held in savings.

The graphs shown above were charted using data from the partial spreadsheet shown below (click on the illustration for the entire data set):

My personal financial situation over the same time period? My personal income was slightly higher along with the amount I held in savings.



Tuesday, May 18, 2021

I Can Afford FRED...

In late 2004, I converted my local news service, MarylandWired to WiredPages which offered more in the way of national/international news and services.

I wanted to showcase my custom software solutions and felt a news service would be the perfect vehicle to highlight what could be done with software to enhance any online presence.

Recently, because of security and cost issues related to the online installation of new tools and interfaces for WiredPages, I have sought less costly development avenues using economic data provided through the Federal Reserve FRED resource.

Two of the latest FRED interfaces will be showcased on the WiredPages Business & Markets page and are illustrated below.

A potential client of QiSoftware may inquire- if you cannot afford to install your software online, why can I? Reference the following link while going through the list below.

  • I host my software on two sites, qisoftware.com and hosting-q.com. There is already a lot of software running, more than a normal personal or small business site, simply because my business is software.
  • Software security, I noticed long ago my custom databases were being hacked. The celebrity birthday database is one example. I keep a master copy of the MySQL database offline for development purposes. I also have the CIA World Factbook database. Both databases are very popular. My servers at this time, are not as secure as I would like and I cannot afford to install software that others can access and decompile. Why is DOJ/FBI not on this? I am not sure of the answer to this.
  • Cost to run tools like Alexa Site Rank, Google Places (replaces the eventful tool on the WiredPages Style & Events page), real time market data, etc., cost.
  • Tools like the Youtube Music Video Search and FatSecret were installed a long time ago, however although the software is ready for installation, are not installed. This is because, even though I believe I grandfathered in with Youtube API services, once installed online, this status may change. The old Youtube interface was rewritten to handle updates to the API service.
  • The NPR offering, was complicated to implement. I want a secure server.

Someone once advised, look into hosting your own sites and perhaps think about employing your own expensive security team. Did I think they were kidding? No. I can afford to do neither of these things.

He felt my two biggest expenses should have been, hosting my sites and a personal security team. T1 lines are very expensive. In any case, why on earth would I need personal security? What I can say, I have seen some pretty amazing things since the mid 90s. I used to ask why me. At the time, I had not developed the custom solutions, I have today. Part of the legal case, provides that my business is being interfered with. I did not start my business until 2004.

What happened to me-- insofar as a legal case, could be worth a lot. As a matter of fact, I am told my legal "worth" is considerable. My actual worth? One other factor. When I am out, people do suggest they understand that part of the equation. What do you think?

I get a lot of offshore partnership requests. In response to these requests, I provide, because of ongoing legal issues I cannot afford to partner with anyone. I have to be able to account for anything I do as related to business or my personal activities. Sometimes other business organizations do not see the problems that might happen. I can assure you, problems exist.

FBI/DOJ, problems you see and hear. I said no. I cannot afford my own security. The front door was smashed in, August 2018. I said no. Hard heads are not listening.



Sunday, May 09, 2021

Mother's Day 2021

Happy Mother's Day. I have been working different projects over the last week, in preparation for Mother's Day. I ordered online, however did stop by a garden center on Friday, for a hosta plant and marigolds for the planters on the deck.

In our area it has been a bit overcast over the last 3 or 4 days, including today. The weather? That is another project I have been working. A new interface (Java Servlet) using the WeatherAPI resource.

The illustration below shows a side by side comparison of the Yahoo Weather interface used on WiredPages and the new WeatherAPI interface.

Most of the work for the new weather interface is complete. There are minor cosmetic changes I may implement, however, since I have no plans to install the new interface online, will probably hold off.



Sunday, May 02, 2021

A year later...

In early April 2020, repairs to the main bathroom on the upper level were an important preoccupation along with the many concerns relating to COVID-19.

A trip to Lowes for fixtures and tools needed for the repair- provided the opportunity to purchase a new plant, the snake plant shown below.

The two illustrations below, show a photo of the plant, taken yesterday and the set of photos taken when I first replanted the Mother-in-Law's Tongue (Snake Plant) in April 2020.

When I left home after college, my parents gave me a snake plant for my first place. I never had a problem. I hate to admit, I almost killed the new plant, over-watering.

With all of the other plants I maintain around the house, I thought I could water as often as I did the others. Big mistake. I am pleased I realized my mistake before it was too late.

Other recent photos...


Photo Summary
  • Strawberry season, so I buy strawberries... I love strawberry shortcake.
  • Love buttermilk pancakes --recipe
  • Yellow irises in the backyard are in bloom
  • Cascading petunias for the front porch
  • Scenes from the den, including the same snake plant photo
  • Purple irises on the side of the house not yet in bloom
  • Alternanthera Purple Prince - a perennial ground cover
  • Hosta plant on the back deck

There were many changes over the past year, however we made it. So did the Dracaena Trifasciata (mother-in-law's tongue).





Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Where Was I?

In the summer of 1995, I decided to take the LSAT. The LSAT is like the SAT test given to high school students who wish to go on to college, however it is for people who already have at least a four year degree- and wish to go to law school. Both tests evaluate a student's potential for success, given their higher education goals.

At the time, I lived in Bowie, Maryland and I chose the US Naval Academy (Annapolis) as my testing site.

So why then? Beginning in 1994, I asked the US Government to investigate an employment issue. I thought the investigation went well, however was surprised when my employer of ten years, rather than correcting the problems, asked me to leave.

When I explained this to the government investigation service, the case supervisor said- "go shopping". I went shopping for lawyers. Should I have had a lawyer when I first asked the US Government to investigate? In hindsight, I believe the answer is yes.

That said, with 10 years, an engineering excellence award, and what appeared to be retaliation for an earlier internal complaint I filed with our corporation's office in Anaheim, the US Government found merit for my 1994 complaint.

In 1995+ (1996 1997) or so, I think, I had a meeting with every single major law firm in Washington. All interested on some level in my case. One of the smaller employment law firms recommended a large law firm which took the case, however handed it off almost immediately, to another large DC law firm. This should have raised flags immediately, however I signed a check anyway.

The US Government had run a 9+ month investigation into my allegations and found my case had merit.

My tenure (10 years) with the Fortune 100 defense contractor and an internal complaint filed about 5 years prior to my leaving the company, complicated things. Most of the small employment law firms in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia felt the defense contractor was too large for them to handle.

One or two of the large law firms in Washington- ran conflict checks, and found issues. A conflict check usually determines whether the law firm has any dealings with an entity- a potential client wants to file against.

I thought, what happened next was because the defense contractor was so large. That is when I decided I wanted to go to law school (Where Was I?).

In earlier years, I had filed suits on my own or handled most legal issues on my own. I had the car plates for a hit and run driver, a traffic ticket I felt was unfair, issues with two landlords, etc.

I mostly handled my own legal issues, and was pretty happy with the results. I fired the law firm in Washington that took my case, because the lawyers would not stop asking me to make it a contingency case. They returned my check upon request. I felt I had no choice. The last straw? I asked to see the Government case file that the law firm had pulled, and my lawyers (a partner and jr associate with a large DC firm) asked, "Why kill a tree?". Newspaper print? Not sure.

Earlier this year, I took a real estate course online with Anne Arundel Community College. I was very pleased with how much I was able to learn in this environment, especially as related to legal matters. This mostly through my own independent study, so I decided to look into other courses that would be useful in running my business.

Business law and contracts are areas I felt would be of great use. When I looked into what AACC offered, I found to take a credited course like Business Law 101, I had to have several prerequisites, i.e., math and english 101, which I have. So I had Bowie send over my transcripts.

The real estate course was a non-credited course and required no advance studies. The business course I wanted to take was part of a specific curriculum offered by the community college- Law and Jurisprudence. This curriculum is specifically setup for students who may wish to transfer credits, if they later decide to look into a JD program with a law school.

The following illustration, shows the 29 undergrad credits accepted by the AACC Law and Jurisprudence program I have selected.

Why would I provide this information? So many these days, falsify school records. I did not go to an Ivy league school, however a Maryland State Police Officer once thought I had lied to him about my work and educational background. I knew the officer socially. I did not know issues like this were still on the table.

Late last year, when I signed up for the real estate course, I was surprised by some of the noise associated with my decision to take the course. I was so hyped by being back in the school environment, I decided to take a business law course.

In addition, at the beginning of the year I began research to help with preparation of legal documents which required notary seals. I was pretty happy with the results of this effort, however I did quite a bit of research and crossed checked everything again. I think if I could have afforded a lawyer, the work may have cost well into the thousands.

Apparently, the transfer of my school transcripts, had some in the legal community asking more questions. I recently took part in a Zoom forum that involved 5 Judges and a law professor. It was promoted as a Judicial Forum based on my curriculum selection, and I was notified after my undergrad transcripts were transfered. Why were some surprised? I am not sure. I have found many have falsified their school credentials. Was it assumed mine were false? Why would I falsify something like that? I can find professors and classmates from my undergrad days. As I have indicated, I am still trying to correct my situation.

Have you checked my finances and asked why? Here are my latest FICO scores for both personal and business related activities.

I said no to everything except DOJ. I want them to come in with the explanations and resolutions. Why would a community college and a request that my undergrad transcripts be sent to another school, cause any noise whatsoever? What am I missing?

I have not had the opportunity to post as much lately. I added statistical graphs to WiredPages, and have been researching a lot of legal issues. I was going to research the legal issues anyway. Something I have known I had to do for some time. I was surprised by the noise that resulted from some of this. I should be easy to check and verify. In the past, I have claimed I have many well known relatives. I do. This is not important to my rights and the rest of my life. I believe many are aware of this. Too many I have known over the years were asked to provide any negatives, in hopes of justifying what was done. I work hard. There was no justification. No one officially said I did anything illegal. I told every employer since high school about limited marijuana use in high school. That is the only illegal substance I have ever tried. I thought I suffered with migraines most of my life. The actual problem, my eyes are offset. This caused dizziness which made it unlikly I would want to use anything that would affect my head. I do not even drink.

The relatives? Should not have been a problem. I did not know most of my life.

I now believe HIV is a factor. Not because my status has changed, but more because I did not know it was an issue for some of the people I have known. I am HIV negative. This should not have caused the issues I have had. When I showed my tests results in a blog post in 2004 or so, I thought I put to rest any questions on this issue. I thought, I was simply answering any questions that may have been on the table. I did not understand everything I should have understood.

That said, where are my hospital bills. I was a heavy smoker (as I hit 30 more for weight control) starting my junior year in college until December 1998. HIV patients cannot smoke the way I smoked and not have medical issues. Where are my medical and prescription bills. I take nothing but Advil. I wear contacts.

Fraud? Does anyone think, I would put all of these ads on my sites and risk a fraud charge because I claimed education I did not have? Do you know what fraud is? If you put up an ad, then claim a law degree you do not have, it is fraud. Those in the know, would suggest- if there was a legitimate charge that could be brought, it would have been done. There should be no question about my undergraduate degree, employment history, or conservative background. DOJ/FBI, I repeat- I said no.

I am not going to go into a lot of detail as to why, I seem a bit upset of late. I am in the public. I zoom, school, business forums. I have to do the shopping because of the health crisis. People are ill and I am worried. Maybe this is why I am feeling a little pressed at this time.



Sunday, April 18, 2021

Business Filings Online, Moving Forward

Online registration and renewal services for small business owners are more prevalent than in years past.

For example, in 2004 when I first registered my sole proprietorship (QiSoftware) with the state of Maryland, everything was done- mostly via US mail with limited services for facsimiles (faxes). You can search for my Maryland business entity here use "qisoftware" for the search name.

In 2019 or so, when I registered online with the newly created Maryland Business Express site (came online March 26, 2018), I could not link my existing business records (since September 2004) with my new Maryland Business Express registration.

This meant, in 2019 when I had to renew (every 5 years) my business registration, it was all done via US mail.

Earlier this year, I found I could link the existing business records with my Business Express registration, so now, I can renew and update business registration information online.

Are you doing business in Maryland? No, is your state online insofar as business filings, renewals, etc.? I am so pleased Maryland is coming online with all of these new features.



Friday, April 02, 2021

Course Grades...

The final for the real estate course was Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

I misread one or two questions and totally missed an easy math problem associated with straight-lined depreciation and appraisals. Why? Because, I assumed the structure, when built ten years earlier- was a lot cheaper.

Really wanted an "A" (90% or better) for this course, however happy I passed (B 83.87%). Needed a C (70%-79%) to pass.



Sunday, March 21, 2021

Capitalization Rate, Intimidating?

The final for the real estate course is Tuesday, March 30, 2021. I will be studying for most of the week, however feel ready to take the exam.

Was this an easy course? In my opinion, if you do not have time to study, you will probably find it is not as easy as you may think. That said, I have learned a lot and happy I had the opportunity to do this.

Financial terms I may have looked up in the past, simply because they were mentioned in a news story, now have new meaning as applied to real estate finance. Some of these terms include:

  • Capitalization Rate (also known as Cap Rate). Example: a property in Maryland has a ground rent of $2160 annually. If a buyer is looking to obtain both land improvements and the land, the ground rent in this example would be capitalized by dividing $2160 ÷ 6% = $36,000 (the price the buyer would pay for the land). Six percent is the rate the State of Maryland sets for most redemption cases of this type.
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI), the State of Maryland uses this factor to determine the filing, delivery, etc. fees for some of the services it provides.
  • Loan To Value ratio (LTV). Principle Loan Amount ÷ Sales Price (or Appraised Value). A conforming mortgage loan normally requires an 80% LTV. A mortgage lender considers a lower LTV more attractive, i.e., 80% is better than 90% to a loan officer.

I purchased real estate years ago. At the time, some of these terms may have been mentioned in the loan and settlement processes, however probably forgotten. I appreciated this refresher course, in that the definitions now have broader meaning across a wide spectrum of uses.

New features, recently added to WiredPages, provide a myriad of statistics for everyday use. Below, illustration of new resources added to the WiredPages Real Estate page.


I consider myself well versed in consumer news, however if I never looked up uses for the CPI, I was not overly concerned. I thought, if needed, I could easily look up anything. I say this to say, some of the new features may seem a little intimidating, however in real life (& business), these numbers may be useful and easy to lookup.



Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Real Estate Course Midterm

Last evening, I took the midterm for the real estate course. In preparation, Friday, March 5, 2021, I opened my books (something I have been doing since the course started <February 2, 2021>) and began studying.

I stayed in the entire weekend (+Monday and Tuesday), re-reading and taking practice exams.1   The midterm grade...

On Sunday, I began taking the sample exams in the back of the book. I started with the Math quiz. There were not as many math questions on the midterm as I thought there might have been. That said, I felt fully prepared for those types of questions.

I feel all of the study time paid off, and I know a lot more about real estate, associated laws, the process of buying, selling, conveying, and leasing real property than I did before.

Below some of the exam questions...

Any surprises? The amount of legal knowledge required to become a real estate professional.

1Over the weekend, I also added one or two new graphs to the WiredPages Employment page in case you happened to notice.



Friday, February 19, 2021

eForms

The real estate industry is heavily regulated by both State and Federal (to a lesser degree) guidelines and laws.

To assist with understanding the procedures and processes used by real estate brokers (coursework), I began delving into the many forms, agreements, statements, and contracts used by these professionals. Shown below, a directory listing of some of the forms I have collected to date.

While researching for my (real estate) course, I found other legal forms and agreements I wanted to add to my Microsoft Word template sets. The lower image in the diagram above, shows some of the other forms.

For some reason, I feel smarter having done this research, and wanted to provide a great resource for DIY research and creation of legal forms.

eForms

Should you retain a lawyer if you have questions? Yes. That said, some agreements are pretty straightforward and most services like eForms.com probably use lawyers and/or legal staff to help with the creation of the documents and services they offer.

In my case, I always want a lawyer to fax a copy of an agreement so I can study and research (without interruption) the document before further discussion or signatures- are added.



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Trying New Things...

Let me just say, "I love Red Baron Pepperoni Pizza with the Classic Crust". I am funny about frozen pizza, and will not try most. That said, last week I tried a DiGiorno Pepperoni Pizza with a Croissant Crust, and have decided I can do this one too.

Other things I have tried lately, include this LandOFrost Honey Ham lunch meat. It was on sale around the holidays and I am happy I decided to try it. I added diced slices of the ham to the Red Baron Pizza before baking and it turned out great.

We do not often have food delivered, however over the weekend relatives sent a "Well Wishes" gift...

This is a great gift idea.



Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How is my class?

I have been busy, but feel I am keeping up with my coursework. Mainly, because I stay ahead with the reading.

Other things going on...

  • Filed my taxes.
  • Preparing paperwork for course completion related efforts
  • Renewed several of my domains (yes, tend to do this yearly rather than longer periods of time)
  • Site issues, sports scores (WiredPages), etc.
  • Researching problems with header bidding ads used on several areas of my sites
  • Updating online résumés to reflect current coursework for real estate license
  • Paying business bills... addresses, hosting, etc.

Just really, busy...



Thursday, January 28, 2021

Continuing Preparations for Online Real Estate Course...

My real estate course starts next week, and I have been busy with continuing preparation efforts.

Recent preparations:

  • Joined the Microsoft Teams for the class
  • Setup student calendars
  • Digitizing Maryland laws and regulations as related to real estate for easy search.
  • Coming up to speed with a newer version of Microsoft Office (365)
  • Zoom (online) classroom attendance- continuing preparations
  • Research as related to the real estate market, jobs, and online forums
  • Studying

Researching Microsoft offerings as related to real estate.


I have also been trying to plan my days for the next two months, in that I will continue to do most of the shopping. In addition, I have several business related tasks coming up, so I am hoping I can accomplish everything as efficiently as possible.



Tuesday, January 26, 2021

I Could Be Jealous of This Mobile System...

On two occasions over the last week, I had the opportunity to witness the use of a Verizon MiFi 6620L Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot unit used with an HP laptop. Thought this was pretty impressive.

I own several computing platforms, however most are not true mobile systems, in that I am tethered to both my dedicated wifi service and electrical current. These days, I prefer working in this more secure environment, however if I needed to be truly mobile- would definitely look into the acquisition of similar hardware. My choices shown below:

I also checked into current pricing options for mobile hotspot plans and found an interesting article on the Android Authority.



Thursday, January 21, 2021

Put In Some Study Time, Too...

Over the years, I have avoided using facetime and capturing videos of myself. I am not photogenic. This was never really a problem until now.

I worked in a male dominated field and found I liked conservative suits for daily office wear. Though I wear little in the way of jewelry, hair and makeup always important.

Today, when out, I tend to choose the same types of styles. With online video conferencing about to become more important in my life, I am researching options. I am concerned about mistaken identity issues, so want the same look for all public appearances, even video conferencing (sans the mask).

The real problem? I wear black- a lot. I am going through my closets for more colorful options that will project a better contrast for video conferencing, however I am not coming up with a wide selection.

So why all of the previews? Still thinking about all of this. Happy the online course is business related.



Friday, January 08, 2021

Real Estate Class Update

I received notification on January 6th, 2021, the real estate class start date has been postponed until February.

Several plans based on the original class start date- have also been postponed. Still very excited about this project.



Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Real Estate 101

For years, I have thought about obtaining a real estate license and in November (2020), I finally decided to sign up for an online course with the local community college.

Yesterday, the textbooks for the course arrived via UPS.

In a post from late November, I discussed an upcoming project which required acquisition of a new pc to allow access to the Zoom service. This online Real Estate Course is the reason for my new mini pc.

Since November, I have been preparing for the course. This included:

  • Understanding Maryland Real Estate Law and the requirements for a real estate license
  • Researching Real Estate Terms
  • Understanding the Zoom classroom environment, video, audio, settings, etc.
  • Installation of all sorts of student resources, including Microsoft 365 Professional.
  • Creating student profiles... (which really look like my business profiles)
  • Experimenting with lighting, camera resolution, makeup and style options for the online class.

Below, screen shots of the Zoom camera using a monitor with 2560x1600 resolution.

I am making adjustments based on these tests, including the elimination of gray from my hair. I wear contacts, so there is not much I can do about the glare of my inexpensive reading glasses. My prescription glasses only correct for nearsightedness, and I prefer contacts and readers while working on a computer.

The course starts next week and goes through the first week in March. I am not sure if I will sit for the license exam right after the completion of the course. I am excited about learning more about this area of commerce.



Monday, December 14, 2020

Windows 10 Screen Capture Utility

Today, while searching for a Windows 10 utility for screen video capture, I discovered Windows 10 comes with a screen recording utility called "Capture" "Game Bar".

To activate the program, on your keyboard use the Windows key in combination with the "G" key.

I recorded the following video using the capture program. The video discusses a new Java servlet I started work on today, which uses the Share This API.

The resolution on the monitor I used for the screen capture was 2560x1600. The original output file was over 34MB. Since I am not using Youtube for this demonstration, I converted the file to a smaller format.





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