Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Venta de inmuebles en Estados Unidos cae a su nivel más bajo en seis meses (Mercado de Dinero)

Menos americanos compraron casa durante el mes de noviembre, haciendo caer la tasa de venta de inmuebles a su nivel más bajo en seis meses.

La Asociación Nacional de Corredores Inmobiliarios publicó el lunes los indicadores mostrando una caída de 6.1 por ciento en la compra de casas llegando a un promedio anual de 4.93 millones. Esto representa una disminución de ritmo anual de ventas que en octubre se estimó en 5.26  millones en octubre. Durante el último año la tendencia fue diferente, las ventas habían subido en 2.1 porciento.

La combinación de altos precios de las casas y el estancamiento de los ingresos de los norteamericanos, ha reducido la oferta y restringido la capacidad de compra de inmuebles. La reciente caída de las tasas de hipotecas debería llamar a más compradores al mercado y al mismo tiempo, las propiedades reducidas de precio y en oferta, factores que tienen a atraer a los inversionistas, están volviendo al mercado.

Los corredores inmobiliarios estiman que el año 2014 cerrará por debajo de los niveles de ventas del 2013, llegando a 4.94 millones de casas, tres por ciento menos que el año pasado que llegaron a 5.09 millones de unidades.

El promedio del precio de los inmuebles fue de US$ 205,300 en el último año, algo positivo para los propietarios que buscan vender sus casas, pero un reto para quienes quieren comprar.

Con información de AP y Fox News.

Monday, December 22, 2014

En mi Opinión: La ultima esperanza

por: Ricardo Tribin Acosta

La esperanza es aquello que deja un destello de posibilidad cuando los caminos se tornan muy difíciles. Ella ve lo invisible, siente lo que no es tangible, y logra alcanzar lo que para otros es un imposible. Es pues una actitud mental que implica un definitivo cambio en el pensamiento y en la acción.

Por lo anterior creer que algo no es viable siembra el manto de la duda y conduce al encuentro con la adversidad. De otra parte, cuando se piensa distinto, las situaciones pueden verse bajo perspectivas totalmente diferentes, lo cual conducirá a la apertura de opciones que, el analizarse negativamente, no se pueden visualizar.

Entonces la última esperanza será aquella que nos puede abrir la puerta a otras diferentes, siempre y cuando estemos dispuestos a vivenciar los parámetros a los que nos enfrentamos a diario de una forma positiva. Es, en resumen, una invitación a una mejor calidad de vida.

Para todos mis queridos amigos : FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

LG Tips WebOS 2.0 TVs Ahead of CES (TechRepublic)

WebOS 2.0 sets boast reduced boot time, faster switching between content, and a new My Channels feature.
LG webOS 2.0
LG Electronics has big plans for the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show—big-screen plans, that is. The company said today that it will unveil new TVs featuring its newest webOS 2.0 Smart TV platform at the show.
With webOS 2.0, LG promised "outstanding user experience unmatched" by competing systems. What does that mean? Reduced boot time, improved loading time when switching between content, and a new My Channels feature, according to the company.
Users will also be able to customize their favorite live TV or set-top box channels on the Launcher Bar, while the Quick Settings and Input Picker functions make adjustments and syncing even easier.
The sets will support 4K streams, and viewers can tap into 4K content from partners like Netflix and Amazon, which recently rolled out 4K streaming.
"With the newest features introduced in webOS 2.0, the overall user experience has become even simpler, easier, and more intuitive," In-kyu Lee, head of LG's TV and monitor division, said in a statement.
LG bought the webOS operating system from HP in February 2013, with grand plans for adding the all-HTML5, Web-centric operating system into TVs, commercial display, and potentially cars.
With TVs, the plan was to address frustration with overly complex smart television sets. "The webOS platform is a great example of our commitment to taking a leadership role in the next generation TV market with a truly innovative Smart TV solution," Lee said.
LG sold more than 1 million webOS sets in the first two months after their introduction, LG said today; that number has since jumped to 5 million.
Visitors to January's CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center can stop by the LG booth for a look at the full range of new webOS 2.0 TV products.
For more, see PCMag's roundup of the 10 Best HDTVs and What Is 4K (Ultra HD)?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sprint Sued Over Bogus Phone Charges (PCMagazine)

Sprint Logo

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today also sued Sprint for illegally billing wireless customers.

Sprint may be facing a $105 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission for unauthorized charges on customers' cell phone bills. But first, a lawsuit.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today sued Sprint for illegally billing wireless customers tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party charges - like monthly subscriptions to services like horoscopes, sports scores, and ringtones.
"As the use of mobile payments grows, we will continue to hold wireless carriers accountable for illegal third-party billing," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement.
According to the CFPB, charges ranged from one-time fees of 99 cents to $4.99, up to monthly subscriptions that cost $9.99. Sprint then received a 30 to 40 percent cut of gross revenues.
The move, according to The Wall Street Journal, could result in a hefty fine fro the FCC, too. Sprint declined to comment on those reports; the FCC did not immediately responded to PCMag's request.
Rival AT&T was hit with a $105 million cramming fine in October by the Federal Trade Commission. According to the FTC, customers often did not agree to the charges, which were hidden on AT&T phone bills. AT&T was also accused of failing to stop the bogus charges in a timely manner since it received a 35 percent cut of all sales. Almost 360,000 individuals sought reimbursements from AT&T.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile this summer was also accused of failing to stop bogus charges on customers' bills; an FTC complaint said the Un-carrier made "hundreds of millions of dollars" via premium SMS subscriptions. T-Mobile has denied any wrongdoing.
AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint actually pledged last year to stop charging for spam or "premium" texts. When asked about that pledge in the wake of the AT&T fine, Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman of the FTC, said that "the carriers agreed to stop the premium text messaging services as of January 2014," but the AT&T settlement at least "applies to all forms of billing...like direct-carrier billing, so this continues to be an issue."
Complaints about cramming date back to at least 2008, when regulators started requiring carriers to refund customers who were duped into signing up for extra services they didn't want.
The FTC filed its first case in April 2013 against companies that add fraudulent charges to users' mobile phone bills.
In July, the FTC published a set of cramming-related recommendations, which includes five actions to be taken by mobile carriers, merchants who charge directly to phone bills, and billing intermediaries who facilitate charges.
The Senate Commerce Committee also joined the fight, calling on mobile providers to more vigilantly monitor evolving third-party billing practices.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014: The year Microsoft lost my loyalty (PCMagazine)

Summary: From productivity to email to operating systems to mobile to hardware, David Gewirtz is no longer actively using Microsoft products. He's not a Microsoft hater. The transition just happened organically as he adopted products that better served his needs.
By David Gewirtz for DIY-IT | 4
I am not a Microsoft hater. In fact, I have often written about why I prefer (or, I guess, preferred) using Windows for most things. But as I wrote my DIY-IT project recap over the weekend, I realized just how far from the Microsoft mothership I had drifted in 2014.
From productivity to email to operating systems to mobile to hardware, I am no longer actively using Microsoft products.

My desktop machine is now a Mac

That's not to say I don't use any Microsoft products. I have a pile of computers and many of them still run Windows 8. But it's unlikely that new computers I buy will be Windows machines.
In fact, let's talk about that first. My main PC is no longer a Windows machine. It's a maxed-out iMac. Yes, it runs Parallels and I can fire up PowerPoint, but I can go days between launching a Windows VM on that machine.
This is particularly ironic because I teach C# programming (Microsoft's version of object-oriented C) at UC Berkeley. But when I get a student assignment to grade, I sit down at my iMac, launch the Windows 7 VM I've dedicated to student submissions, grade them, and shut down the VM.
My studio computer is a Mac mini. The computer that serves as a backup server is a 2008-vintage iMac. My wife's computer is a Mac mini.
Oddly enough, I'm not much of an Apple fan. As I'll describe later, I moved off of iOS to Android. I also strongly dislike the OS X Finder, the Mac's equivalent of Windows Explorer. But the applications on the Mac and the tools are quite good. With the exception of the recent Yosemite upgrade hassle, I've found the iMac to be solid.

DIY-IT's maxed-out iMac series

I have to tell you that part of what soured me on Microsoft is its completely inconsistent level of customer service. Back when Windows 8 came out, we wanted to buy a pile of licenses so that we could move all our old XP machines to a more solid OS. Windows 8, at the time, was being offered for about forty bucks, which was a heck of a deal.
But the challenge of getting any straight answers out of Microsoft was epic. Both my wife and I tried running down all the various phone numbers, until we finally found a forum post that listed a contact number and we called that. That experience was just plain unnecessary.
I've previously written about Microsoft's support of Office 365 with a high degree of positive feeling. I kind of feel bad about writing that article, because ever since, Microsoft's support has been nothing but painful and incredibly inconsistent. I dread calling Microsoft.
But this wasn't my reason for moving off of Microsoft. Instead, I chose the iMac because I needed certain solutions and I wanted to be able to run OS X applications side-by-side with Windows applications.
At the time, I expected I'd run one or two OS X applications and the rest would be under Windows. As it turns out, my daily use is the opposite. With the exception of PowerPoint and the grading instance of Visual Studio, I don't run any Windows applications on my main desktop.

My laptop is now a Chromebook

My out-and-about laptop isn't a Windows machine either. It's a Chromebook. It's actually my third Chromebook because I hand-me-downed my previous two Chromebooks to family members.
The fact is, the Chromebook is maintenance free. It's also incredibly easy to transfer to someone else. It's a five-minute process. I find the Chromebook so convenient that I'm now recommending Chromebooks over Windows notebooks to just about anyone other than those with specific power-computing needs.
The reason the Chromebook works for me is that I work in two modes: daily communications and coordination mode and project mode. When I'm working on projects, I need a lot of power. That's why I have four screens on my iMac, along with something over a tenth of a petabyte in local storage.
I really can't do a lot of the work I do easily without a bunch of screens and a lot of RAM, so most laptops won't meet my project needs anyway.
But when I'm not working on a project, I can do just about everything in a Web browser. That makes the Chromebook ideal. Yes, I'd prefer a slightly faster machine than my HP 11-inch machine. But it was cheap and I won't cry if it's dropped or lost. It's functional and hassle-free.
That said, if I do decide I need to buy a powerful notebook for out-of-the-home-office work, I'm now convinced I'd buy a Mac, not a Windows PC. The software environment I've got going on the Mac is so optimal that I just don't see getting another Windows laptop anytime soon (unless I decide to splurge on one of the super-cheapo $200 machines for "off label" use as a server monitor or scanner driver).

My phone is Android

And then, there's my phone. Back before I made the switch to Gmail, I decided I'd give the Microsoft ecosystem one last try. I wanted -- really, really wanted -- to have a tightly integrated, well-oiled environment and I reasoned that perhaps the gotcha was that I wasn't using Windows Phone.

More on Windows Phone

After all, you'd have to assume Windows Phone worked perfectly with the Microsoft ecosystem. So, with the help of a kindly Microsoft evangelist (who has since been laid off), I got my hands on a Lumia Icon and set about doing my best to learn about Windows Phone.
To be honest, I found it was better supported than expected, but there were still some of the oddities Microsoft is famous for. For example, the Office 365 icon doesn't open email. It wasn't a big deal, but it was clear that Windows Phone was not the perfect ecosystem complement I had hoped it would be.
And, as Ed Bott wrote recently, carrier support is terrible. I also use Verizon.
Now, by contrast to the Windows Phone, which I tried to love but found lacking, I have adopted Android whole-heartedly. I really enjoy my Android phone.

My productivity suite is no longer Office

Back in March, I wrote about my first year with Office 365 and declared it to be a good value. Now, I'm just waiting out my contract and I intend to cancel it.
First, I no longer use Outlook. Once I realized that the Windows Phone wasn't going to provide the perfect platform integration I wanted, it made sense to look towards Google. Android is beautifully integrated with Gmail. My wife and I have been running on Gmail now for about five months, and I have to say, it's been a pleasure to use. I don't miss Outlook at all.
I don't write in Word anymore. I write articles in Evernote and I do my academic writing in Scrivener, a great tool for organizing complex writing.
My calendar is Google Calendar, my to-do product is Todoist, and Evernote handles just about everything else I need. I use Trello for project planning. In fact, I don't use any Microsoft products anymore in my daily productivity tasks.
As I mentioned earlier, the only Office product I still use is PowerPoint. That's not because I prefer PowerPoint. Rather, it's because the webcasting software I work with for CBSi webcasts requires PowerPoint files.

2014: The year I moved away from Microsoft

I am certainly not an anti-Microsoft radical. I have a number of very good friends who work for the company and I've always found the company pleasant, if sometimes pig-headed to deal with.

More on Gmail & Productivity

I'm also not going completely cold-turkey on Microsoft. I still use PowerPoint for client work and grade student programming assignments in Visual Studio. But I run them in a VM, and I load them occasionally.
When 2013 ended, I still lived in Microsoft products. If I was using a computer (which I do for about 16 hours a day), I was constantly using one Microsoft product or another, even if it was only Outlook or the Windows desktop. It was rare that 5 minutes would pass without my using one Microsoft product or another.
Now, at the end of 2014, Microsoft is no longer central to my daily work. I can go days or even weeks without touching a Microsoft product.
I didn't plan for this. It just organically evolved as I searched for the best solutions to my daily needs.
How about you? Have you made any changes in your use of Microsoft products over the past year? TalkBack below.

By the way, I'm doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

Friday, December 12, 2014

From Public Knowledge: Stop Mega Comcast Coalition

Comcast is seeking permission from the Federal Communications Commission to merge with Time Warner Cable. This would result in a giant corporation on the path to dominate the high-speed broadband market

If the merger is approved, Comcast-Time Warner Cable would control the wires in about half of U.S. households that subscribe to high-speed broadband. Its control over broadband connections, cable TV lineups, and the devices people increasingly use to access video content would give it make-or-break power over much of the content ecosystem. 

That's why Public Knowledge has joined the Stop Mega Comcast Coalition to urge policymakers to reject Comcast’s attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable. The Coalition includes private companies, public interest groups, and industry associations that believe the merger would cause substantial harm to consumers. 


The Coalition believes a competitive, dynamic and diverse media and technology marketplace is essential to America's economy, consumers and democracy. The Comcast-TWC merger threatens these ideals and runs counter to our antitrust and communications laws.

Sign our petition to tell the Federal Communications Commission to Stop Comcast from Taking Over and follow @StopMegaComcast for updates.
 Tweet this: Follow @StopMegaComcast, tell the FCC to prevent Comcast from taking over! bit.ly/1BBbJtl

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five apps to open email attachments on mobile devices (TechRepublic)

By December 3, 2014

Adobe Reader
In my opinion, Adobe Reader is the single most important app for opening email attachments. The vast majority of the important attachments I receive are in PDF format. These documents range from publishing contracts to travel reservations.

Microsoft Office Mobile

Of course, the mobile version of Microsoft Office is not as full featured as the desktop version. Even so, it does a good job of allowing you to open, edit, and in some cases even compose Office documents on the go. I routinely use the mobile version of Word on my Windows Phone to view and respond to editors' comments. I also sometimes use the mobile version of PowerPoint to review presentations while on a plane on my way to deliver a speech.


Another essential app for opening email attachments is WinZip. WinZip has been around forever, starting life as a utility for opening ZIP files on Windows-based PCs.


DocuSign might not be quite as well known as the other apps I have discussed, but it is rapidly gaining popularity. DocuSign is an app for signing electronic documents. For example, one of the publishers I work with just required me to sign a publishing contract using DocuSign, and I recently signed a vendor's service contract by using DocuSign.


Hardly a week goes by without someone sending me an online meeting request based on GoToMeeting. The email message usually contains a link to a meeting rather than an attachment. However, if you try to use the link without first installing GoToMeeting, you will usually see a message prompting you to install the GoToMeeting software.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's Time to Start Paying Attention to Greece Again (BusinessWeek)

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) and current leader of the Greek Opposition, is pictured at the beginning of the protest march on Nov. 27, in Athens.
Alexis Tsipras, the leader of SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) and current leader of the Greek Opposition, is pictured at the beginning of the protest march on Nov. 27, in Athens.
It’s been awhile since Greece was front-page news, so here’s a refresher: A few years ago, it looked as though Greece might be forced to leave the euro zone, as investors lost faith in the country’s ability to pay its debts. In late 2011, 10-year Greek bonds were trading with a yield around 35 percent. The crisis began to dissipate in the summer of 2012, when the center-right New Democracy party eked out the narrowest of election victories and cobbled together a coalition that agreed to a bailout under harsh terms. Since then financial markets have eased considerably, although the economy is still in the gutter.
Anyway, you might want to start paying attention again.
Greece may see elections early next year, and a new poll just out has the radical leftist Syriza party in first place by more than 3 percent. If Syriza takes power, the relative calm of Greek financial markets could be rocked.
So the question is, will Greece in fact hold an early election? It may depend on what happens in late February and early March, when the Greek parliament is set to vote on a new president. Current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of the New Democracy party faces a massive task to keep his government together.
In an e-mail, analyst Lorcan Roche Kelly of Agenda Research explained what might go down:
“[Samaras's] coalition (of New Democracy and Pasok) controls 155 seats in the 300-seat parliament. In order to elect a president, he needs 180 votes in favour of his candidate (the president vote runs in three rounds, if 200 of the 300 MPs do not vote in favour of the candidate in the first two rounds, there is a third round where the majority is reduced to 180, there are 5 days between each round, so the whole process takes over a week. ie, it will be noisey)
“Samaras is 25 seats short of this target, and if he doesn’t get it, an election will be called.”
There are a lot of question marks about whether the current coalition can get to the 180 votes needed. It’s possible that by cajoling enough independent members of parliament, the coalition could get there and keep the government alive. But it will be extremely close, and they could come up short.
If an early election is called, and if the leftist Syriza party controls the government, watch out. Ostensibly, Syriza and its leader, Alexis Tsipras, want Greece to stay in the euro zone. But they’re dead set against the current bailout/austerity regime.
Then you’re looking at a potentially huge game of chicken. The European leaders who bailed out Greece will insist that current terms are not going to be renegotiated. The new government will insist that it wants to stay in the euro zone but that the arrangement must change. How that plays out is unpredictable, but it could easily be the major world story to watch early next spring.
Joe Weisenthal is a managing editor at Bloomberg Digital.