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Google Motion

April 1st, 2011 by Robb Leece

Here is a video from goodle about the new Google Motion Functionality:

As I’m sure you are well aware by now, it’s April Fools day.

Sad thing is, I’ve been talking with my co-nerd friend Todd about a project just like this. Using the Kinect receiver, it would be used to control the home theatre system by using simple forward and backward commands. No more losing the remote, but also no more totalitarianistic control of the tv.

If I go this way, I also lose the 8 year long debate of Windows Media Centre being better than MythTV. Although Privately I’ve already admitted defeat, it truly pains me to admit this to Todd.

City of Calgary linking Harvest Hills and Deerfoot Trail.

March 31st, 2011 by Robb Leece

96 Ave NE Extension MapConstruction is looking good on the 96 Ave Extension Project.  This link is going to connect 6 lanes on 96th Ave. NE from Harvest Hills Link right down and directly to the Deerfoot Tr. 

Everything is looking set for the bridgework over-top the CP Rail lines and Nose Creek.  The noise barriers have been completed for Harvest Hills residents and some of the stormwater connections from for the Aurora Business Park wetlands are underway.

Along with this contruction project comes the Regional Pathway system that will be built from the Harvest Hills community east and all the way across Deerfoot Trail. 

Looks like the interchange will be completed in the fall of this year, with the Airport Trail ramps and the pathway system to get the checkered flag early 2012.

Real Estate Technology: History of Calgary MLS’

March 30th, 2011 by Robb Leece

Being brought up in a family of Real Estate agents, I’ve been involved in the business for much longer than the 9 years I’ve been licensed.  As a young child, I would spend my spring break playing with Mom and Dad’s adding machine in the office, burning through roll after roll of paper.  As I got a little bit older, I advanced from adding machine, to the one tele-typewriter in the office.  (For the geeks out there, it was Lloyds Fido BBS.)  The tele-typewriter was an amazing advancement.  No longer did the agents have to collect green-sheets and circulate them amongst each other to keep the listing data current.  All of a sudden, You could log in to a central database and get all of the current information within a half an hour.

As data became faster, it was time to send the teletype to the grave, Dad bought a new 1200 baud modem to connect to the Calgary Real Estate Boards new MLS System, Stellar.  Stellar was an amazing piece of software.  You could enter all of your search criteria, and only receive properties that matched!  Believe it or not, this was a huge time saver.

It was about this same time that I changed from a normal healthy child into a technology obsessed, reclusive, must-find-out-what-makes-it-tick pre-teen.  

It was now time for CREB to overhaul the MLS system again, this time with software called “Altaira”.  This was a Windows 3.1 Skin of the Stellar software and it worked very well.  You could now save your searches for each individual client, do some fantastic reports (some of which are still viewable from MLXchange), save the MLS database directly to your hard drive for offline searching and the  most significant upgrade was images of the front of each property.

Finally, we’ve arrived at MLXchange.  This MLS System was far beyond it’s time when it was first released (and still is by many standards.) It was the first Internet based MLS System that CREB had ever had.  Originally it was met with much skepticism because of the speed of “cloud computing” at the time, but as processor and internet speeds grew, so did the MLXchange experience.  In late April, CREB will be launching a new version of MLXchange.  Also, a new MLXchange Product called Fusion is being tested and should be available sometime later this year.

Calgary Real Estate Landscape – The Bow Tower

March 30th, 2011 by Robb Leece

The Bow Tower in CalgaryRemember Back to June 13th, 2007?  That was the day that Downtown Calgary’s Real Estate Landscaped went under the knife.  Just a couple of months later 6th Avenue was closed to allow for excavation of the six level underground parkade.  The never ending line of Cement trucks started piling in to pour the 18,000 cubic yards of concrete to fill the 30,000 sq.ft. foundation.  36 Hours of non-stop pouring and the birth of the bow was firmly set into Calgary’s roots.

Fast forward to today.  The craftsmen are in finishing the walls, installing flooring and putting the final touches on this 1.7 Million square foot crecent.  By most accounts, the project is still on time.  As far as the $1.4 Billion budget… How about that weather eh?

So we know that Encana and Cenovus will be the major tenants in the building, so it’s vacancy rates should be quite managable, but what about all of the other properties that will be vacated by Encana and Cenovus all througout downtown Calgary?

My ISP Is Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net.

February 3rd, 2011 by Robb Leece

Isn’t it nice when democracy works?  Sad that it’s only when an election is imminent.

CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein

For those of you that may have similar downloading habits to me, you may have noticed that some of the major ISP’s have started putting a cap on your bandwidth.  At ~$2/GB charges for overages, your nice conservative monthly bill can balloon up pretty quickly.

Well, Prime Minister Harper and Industry Minister Tony Clement finally flexed their muscles to the CRTC; Here is an article in all it’s glory from Ottawa’s The Star:

Richard J. Brennan Ottawa Bureau OTTAWA—A controversial CRTC decision that effectively imposed usage-based Internet billing on small service providers will be reversed, the Toronto Star has learned.

“The CRTC should be under no illusion — the Prime Minister and minister of Industry will reverse this decision unless the CRTC does it itself,” a senior Conservative government official said Wednesday.

“If they don’t reconsider we will reverse their decision.”

The promise to reverse the ruling comes as CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein is scheduled to explain the decision Thursday before the House of Commons industry committee.

While the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is an independent agency, its decision can be overturned by cabinet. The Star was told that could happen as early as next week.

The CRTC decision has sparked outrage across the country with Canadians rushing to sign petitions asking the Conservative government to reverse it. Industry Minister Tony Clement has received tens of thousands of emails requesting that it be struck down.

“Frankly, a decision like this is clearly not in the best interest of consumers,” the senior official said.

“This is a bread-and-butter issue.”

The CRTC’s ruling affects the wholesale business of the major Internet service providers, who sell capacity to smaller resellers. To encourage competition, major telecom operators that have spent heavily on infrastructure are required to lease bandwidth on their networks to small providers.

Major providers charge customers extra if they download more than the monthly limits they set, typically between 20 and 60 gigabytes. Small providers, however, offer plans with 200 gigabyte ceilings and even unlimited use.

The issue came to a head last week, when the CRTC denied independent service providers the right to continue offering unlimited Internet plans.

Although critics say the CRTC ruling will lead to lower download limits and higher rates, major Internet service providers say usage-based billing based is fair because it means heavy users pay more than those who just surf the web and use email.

As it invests billions in new broadband capacity, Bell says old pricing structures need to be brought in line with the huge amount of growth in Internet usage. Businesses and consumers are increasingly relying on the Internet to download videos, documents and even software. Rogers says its customers are using about 40 per cent more data each year.

Consumers’ Association of Canada president Bruce Cran said the CRTC decision is nothing but corporate gouging by Canada’s monopolistic communications companies.

John Reid, president of CATA Alliance, a group that advocates for innovation in Canada, said, “This has to be a decision that Canada makes — that it wants to be the best in the world in the provision of high-speed Internet.”

He added, however, that usage-based billing is not the answer. “You don’t want to stifle the sort of richness that comes from using high-speed Internet,” says Reid.

Sounds great, but if you think this means Shaw or Telus won’t be charging you for overages, don’t hold your breath.  It is likely only removing the restrictions on third party resellers that are leasing communication infrastructure from the big ISPs. 

I remember back in 2006-ish, the CRTC had ruled that the major ISPs had anti-competitive practises, because the small ISP with no infrastructure couldn’t enter competitivley into the market.  All of a sudden, all it took was a ~$20 registration fee to the CRTC and anyone could be a licensed ISP.  Shaw and Telus had no choice but to wholesale their internet at a reduced rate. 

Looks like I’ll be switching my internet services over to Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net. (Yes it actually exists)  I don’t think the owner is actually interested in becoming a real service provider.  Hopefully he is interested in taking on a couple of friends though.

Is it just me, or is this the second major public outting of a decision by the CRTC this year?  I wonder who Mark Knopfler uses for his ISP?

Hey, it’s a blog!

January 21st, 2010 by Robb Leece

Hi Everyone, (well mostly just me so far, because no one else is reading this yet, but you may eventually scroll way down here.)

I guess I should write a little bit about myself here.  I’m a nerd… Yes I admit it.  Some people try and substitute the word geek thinking that geeks are above nerds, but geeks are just nerds with self esteem issues.  I love “Technology” even though I think people use it as a buzz word too often.  I’m in year number 8 of this Real Estate gig and while it doesn’t have the rockstar lifestyle I imagined when I started, it sure is a lot of fun.  My other professional passtime is as an auctioneer.  It is another “job” that doesn’t usually feel like work. 

I spent the day yesterday at a Real Estate Conference and Tradeshow listening to people speak about technology.  Those of you who know me understand that I’m typically more interested in “Bleeding Edge” technology than stuff that is just on the brink.  So I decided to step out and barge into a session already in progress.  It was all about Social Media and how it’s going to change the world of Real Estate.  I can see the advantages of prospecting new clients from social media, but I don’t really see the value to the client in it.  Then again, I’ve decided to finally start a blog (like everyone else) for much of the same monetary reasons.  Go ahead, say it…. HYPOCRITE.

What else….  Maybe a little bit of Caveat Emptor on my writing “style”.  Believe it or not, I’m not a classically trained writer.  I still refuse to use a spell checker even though it’s right up there.  I’ll often be deep in thought during my writing and and include various words twice.  I still don’t understand the difference between an “an” and an “a” even though I seem to use them properly while speaking.  At least I can offer you a money back guarantee.

Go ahead, comment.  I dare you.  Let me know you were here.

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