It’s Earth Day today and all this week, we are going to be covering sustainability topics. What better way to kick off the celebration than by participating in NAR’s Green REsource Council? As CRT looks to the future, we believe that the more information that our members have about sustainable technologies, the better. The best way to kick start you on this path is by getting NAR’s Green Designation. Continue reading »
One of our new charges in CRT is to delve deeper into sustainable technologies and see how they may have practical applications in real estate. We’re constantly looking for new and exciting things that indicate where these technologies are going and could be seen as the starting point for bigger movements. There are three products I want to highlight today as possible milemarkers on this journey. A cone, a ball and a puck: these three simple shapes represent where the future of sustainable energy production is heading.
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Note: This is part 1 in a series that will be ongoing in the coming weeks. This initial article is pretty long, but there’s really no way around that, as we dive into some of the concepts and make Responsive Design what it is. I recommend using a service like Pocket or Instapaper for offline reading
In August 2011, CRT was charged with re-thinking the technology that was behind realtor.org. We were determined to implement technologies that were freely available and built on open standards. One area we were really excited to move into was the area of Responsive Web Design. We did a lot of research and review of what information and materials were available. At that time, there were not many organizations that were using these principles. The Boston Globe launched in October of 2011 and that was about it for larger organizations and Responsive Web Design.
In April 2012, a revamped version of realtor.org launched using Responsive Web Design principles. The largest factor for us moving in this direction was that we anticipated the increase of mobile usage on our sites in the very near future. We were right. In 2010, 3% of visitors to realtor.org were using mobile devices. As of today, we are seeing 25–30% of our visitors using mobile devices. That’s a huge leap. As CRT continues to work on sites at NAR, we will employ these principles on all web properties.
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A few weeks ago Google stunned many people by announcing that they would be shutting down Google Reader on July 1st, 2013. For those of us who’s information diet lives and breathes by RSS, this is a big deal. The entire Internet (or at least the RSS reading portion) scrambled for a few days to figure out what alternatives there where and where to go. Now that the initial panic has subsided, its a good time to talk about the alternatives.
Finding good alternatives was more difficult than you’d think. The free service of Google Reader quickly dominated the landscape when it was introduced in 2005. This had the side effect of killing much of the RSS development over the next few years.
I should probably admit at this point that I’m probably one of the reasons that Google killed off Reader. Much of the speculation around Readers death comes down to the fact that Google couldn’t monetize the service. I never really used the official Google Reader web UI, instead I used Google Reader as cloud storage of my feeds and article read status but used native clients such as NewsRack for my Mac and Feeddler RSS Reader Pro on my iOS devices for actual reading/interacting. There was no easy/good way for Google to toss ads in my face.
The good news it there are were some alternatives out there waiting for their moment in the sun. During my research, just a handful seemed to rise to the top as the ones with the most potential: Tiny Tiny RSS, Feedly, and NewsBlur.
tl;dr version: I ended up on NewsBlur. In the rest of the article I’ll talk about why I ended up there.
If you have seen any of my presentation over the last year, you know that I reference the Raspberry Pi as an interesting piece of technology. For a very low cost (fully loaded less than $90), you can build a media, file or web server. I spent about $70 on my rig. I should have posted a blog about the Pi earlier, but better late than never.
I received a note from David Conroy who took the Pi and merged it with another project I am working on (the RAMCO EZ-API) to build a cost effective integration device between your Association Management System and other systems. David has an excellent description of setting up a web server (yep a LAMP server) on the Pi. If you are a RAMCO customer, you will find his write-up on accessing the RAMCO EZ-API from the Pi equally well written.
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