Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jott is my personal dictation assistant...

Liz Caraway introduced me to Jott with this post, and I haven't stopped since.

How often have you received a text message asking you a question while driving and not able to respond without risking life and limb? Now, I can call Jott's toll free number (1-866-JOTT-123) from my registered cell phone number, speak the person's name I want to text, and then say up to a paragraph of words and Jott will transcribe it to an SMS message to them.

Adding my friends to my contact list was easy, Jott provides a field for me to type the phonetic spelling of their name. I can use Jott to post updates to my Twitter and even my blogger blog.

The most amazing thing about this service is the amazing accuracy of the transcription. Here is an example one that I sent to a friend tonight:

"Hey Jay, I left the office before I got your text about the 360(?). Do you want me to pick one up at Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. Just call me otherwise."

Jott heard "three sixty" and converted it to 360 (added the ? to indicate it wasn't sure). Notice how my friend's name is capitalized, and Jott recognized the proper names of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club... very cool. Plus, I didn't say "stop" or "period"... it interpreted the inflection in my voice. It didn't catch that I asked a question, but I can live with that.

Now the best part of all.... its free....


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Calling all to the RETS workgroups...

I know, sounds exciting eh? But seriously, if you (or someone you know) could participate, it would be great. I am sure many of you now know that NAR has a new rule “Realtor owned MLSs must comply with the current version of the RETS specification by June, 2009”. I bet that sounds as vague to you as it does to me. So, the RESO Board is calling all interested parties to participate and help make sure that the way we put this new rule into practice is best for all.

Workgroup membership does not necessitate any travel. Periodic conference calls and online discussions is where most of the activity will take place. At a minimum, I recommend giving it a try, and if it doesn’t work for you, have your name removed, no harm done.

So, everyone is now saying “Where do I sign up?” right? And here it is:

Check off the one (or ones) you wish to participate in. If you have questions about the workgroups, comment on this post and I will get them answered for you. Some groups are brand new, so part of the first activities will be to better define their “charter”

Thanks in advance,
David Harris
RESO Board Member

Friday, December 7, 2007

RESO Board - humbled and excited...

We just finished up the December 2007 RETS Conference. The RESO Board spent most of the first day discussing our plans and priorities. Michael Wurzer was elected the Chairman and Gregg Petch the Vice Chairman. Michael presented our initial structure and goals at the start of the second day. The board is committed to addressing the issues that surround the RETS specification effort as it stands today.

One thing we want to make perfectly clear, we want your input! Everyone's opinion is valuable. Historically, Agent and Broker participation in RETS has been nearly absent. As a quick first step, we have set up BOD[a] to allow anyone to send a note to the entire board of directors.

We are in the process of reviewing and evaluating everything including version naming, workgroup structures, and compliance testing and procedures. With the new NAR Policy concerning MLS and RETS, we want to reach out to as many affected MLSs as possible. If you are involved with any MLS, I invite you to list your RETS offering on the RETS Wiki (don't forget "None" is an extremely valuable response).

With the weight of the real estate technology community resting upon our shoulders, we will strive to be as thorough and deliberate with every decision we make.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Kiva - The gift that gives to many...

We all have those friends and relatives who are tough to buy for. They always get the things they want when they want them, leaving you to have to find some lame substitute or gift card.

Along come, a great option for people who say "don't get me anything, just donate in my name". But it is definition of a hand up.... not a hand out.

Kiva is a microloan service to 3rd world entrepreneurs. Kiva works with local "field partners" that take applications, evaluate business plans, select ventures to fund, and monitors their performance.

In my opinion, no one is more dedicated to helping people in a community, than those that live in that community. To seek out and find those driven individuals who wish to better themselves and make their communities more self sufficient, is finding the most valuable resource. And the field partners have to report periodically on a journal about each projects progress, which is emailed to you if you are a lender. You can participate in many projects for as little as $25.

Some examples are:

Narciso Chincay - A furniture maker in Ecuador
Patricio - A general store owner in Mozambique
Mukaddas Dadaboeva - A bakery owner in Tajikistan

This is just 3 of over 3000 entrepreneurs Kiva has helped.