Zestimates & Seasons Change

[photopress:weather.jpg,thumb,alignright]Well, I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on Real Property Associates and Preferred Real Estate (registration required and in beta) websites. I’m looking forward to taking some time off from consulting/coding and combining the best aspects of both sites in my next iteration of RCG’s Zearch. (so many cool ideas to implement, so little time). Anyway, if your RSS feeds start to break or things start to appear in Spanish, it’s all my fault. At any rate, if I implement something interesting, I’ll blog about it.

Anyway, it’s been an eventful month while I’ve been too busy to blog. Here’s the month’s highlights for me.

Zillow makes the big time
You know you’ve made it when somebody complains to the government about you or otherwise starts a legal action against you. Greg on the BloodhoundBlog and Joel on the Future of Real Estate Marketing has all the gory details and the play by play action on the NCRC complaint to the FTC regarding Zillow. Frankly, I prefer it when Zestimates are too low. It’s keeps downward pressure on the county assessor’s desire to collect all the property taxes he thinks he’s entitled to. I only want a high Zestimate when I sell the house, when I’m living in it (which the typical case), I want it to be low! Hopefully this will blow over like a winter storm. Besides, nobody complains when the local weather report is 10% off (which has a bigger day to day impact on me than an inaccurate zestimate does). Speaking of which, has anybody else started building their ark yet?

I’ll never trust an integrated NIC again
This past month, marked the 3rd time in the past 2 years that a machine with an integrated NIC (that’s just fancy way of saying the machine’s motherboard that has a built-in network adapter) died or otherwise corrupted Window’s network stack on me. When it happens on a personal machine, it’s very annoying and when it happens on a server with paying customers it’s much worse. Maybe having FIOS at home or running a server is much harder on a NIC, than a cable/DSL is. Whatever the cause, I’m tired of dealing with poorly debugged network cards & drivers. From now on, I’m paying the extra $20-$40 bucks for a stand-alone Intel or 3com network card and I’m only trusting NICs that MS includes drivers for on the Windows CD. (For what’s its worth, it’s seems Linux folks are having similar issues w/ nVidia chip set NICs too, so I know it’s not a case of Windows sucking since every Intel or 3Com NIC I used in the past 6 years hasn’t given me a single minute of grief). Oh well, I just had to vent since that mishap cost me a day of my life, I won’t get back.

Changing of the leaves and the tile servers
John L Scott’s PR folks informed me that their site now has Bird’s Eye images for Portland, OR. The more interesting thing is that MS appears to have updated a lot of their aerial imagery on Virtual Earth recently. If you visit a site that uses the newer Virtual Earth control (such as local.live.com), you notice that Seattle’s images appear to be have been updated with photography from a fall evening (with better resolution) while the Eastside’s images still appear to be photographed during a summer afternoon.

Perhaps future versions of Microsoft’s & Google’s map offerings will have night/day and seasonal maps/aerial photography? Either way, it’s interesting to see the changing of the map tile servers coincide the changing of the leaves. (regardless if it was intentional or accidental). Speaking of the mapping wars, it’s going to get a lot more interesting tomorrow since MS is releasing a new Virtual Earth control tomorrow.