Monday, November 13, 2006

Finding the perfect house - Step By Step

You'd think that this would be an easy process, right? You've saved up some money - or maybe you hit the lotto and you've got cash to burn! A house will most likely be one of the largest and best investments that you'll make in your lifetime. What an exciting time!

Step 1 - Find a realtor

Believe it or not, these guys can come in quite handy for getting you in-depth information regarding the house you are researching that won't list. When dealing with a realtor - if you are just buying a house, not selling, then you'll have to sign a "Buyer Agreement" with said Realtor, which basically just allows this realtor to work on your behalf during negotiations and such. The Realtor in this case would be known as the "Buyer's Agent". This is the situation I went with as I am currently living in an apartment.

Step 2 - Tell your realtor what type of house you want

Give as much detail to your realtor as possible about the type of house you want. Notice I did not say need, you should basically give the description of your dream house to your realtor. An example might be - brick ranch, with basement and two car attached garage, at least 1500 sq ft in size, on 2 acres of land, three bedrooms, two baths, fireplace and a pool! The more info that you give them, the more they'll be able to find.

Step 3 - Prepare to be flexible

Not all the listings that you're realtor will send you will meet your dream house criteria. At some point you'll have to prioritize what is "really" important to you and then you'll come up with the list of "needs"

NOTE: A good realtor will be sending you listings everyday - or at very least every two days.

Step 4 - Driving it home!

Once a realtor sends you a listing, you may want to do a drive by of the house to take a look at the outside condition as well as finding out what the neighborhood is like - there were quite a few listings that looked great on the web and looked like hell when I drove by them. A good rule of thumb for the neighborhood is to ask yourself these questions...

Would I feel good about having my parents come to see me in this place?
Would I feel safe about having my kids play outside in this area?

Living next to the liquor store my be a sure sign that this is NOT the place for you!

Step 5 - The Walkthrough

Ah, what a wonderful time this can be... the homeowner and the selling agent have hyped up this house as much as possible, so be ready!

Interesting points that I've learned;

1) Full basement doesn't mean finished or even mean that it is a basement you can live in. I walked through a house that listed "Full Basement" and found that it was 5 feet tall, no good for a guy who is 6'3" tall.

2) TLC usually means Tender Loving Care, but might as well mean Take Lotsa Cash or Total Loss Case because unless you are a contractor; the skill / money it will take to fix these houses up will break you faster than Drago broke Apollo Creed.

3) "Minor" is a MAJOR word. Minor damage should equate to "replace". I walked through a house that had "minor foundation work needed" which turned out to be a fifteen foot crack in the block foundation, about an inch thick.

4) Ignore descriptive words like "spacious" or "open concept" until you really see the place. Spacious apparently means something different to each person - I walked through "spacious" kitchens that were smaller than a walk-in closet.

5) "Water view" could mean that you have to be holding binoculars to "view" the water.

6) "All appliances included" usually means that the appliances are so old that the seller is buying new ones, or they can't physically get them out of the house.

There are many more - but I'll let you discover them on your own and I think you're getting my point.

Be sure to ask your realtor to have the house empty when you walk through - and by that I mean asking the current owners to not be present. The reason is simple, you don't want them to influence your decision about the overall feel or condition of the house. I walked through a house where the owner was present and he basically had a bit of a nervous breakdown while showing us the place, talking about why he loved the house so much and why he didn't want to leave but was "f-ing" forced to... and let me say it was not a comfortable situation.

There will be a time when you walk through a house and you just fall in love. It's perfect and you can see yourself living there! The picture below is the one that I found.

The next post will talk about what comes after you've found that perfect house... and how you just might find out how imperfect it really is...


Adventures in Home Buying

Sorry I haven't posted in quite a while - the reason is simple, my work permit has changed and I decided that it was time that I made a more permanent move to the US of A and bought a house.

Let me be the first to tell you that the home purchasing experience has been by far one of the worst events of my life. It has caused me more stress, loss of sleep and general anxiety than I ever thought it would.

I'm going to post about my experiences here and hopefully document my process / experience so that you never have to go through the same craziness that I have been through. I'll even give some tips on how much money you should really have "on hand" and some traps to avoid.

As it stands right now - I'm supposed to be closing on my first house this Thursday afternoon at 3:00pm. First - we need to start with what it's taken to get to this point.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Balboa is BACK

This christmas, while you're opening up your new gifts - you'll have a chance to see another Rocky movie! Aw yeah. I thought it was going to be possibly a match against his son, but nope - the overall premise of the movie is around a computer simulation that is broadcast on the news one day that can choose any two fighters at their prime and simulate the result. Pitching the current champion against Balboa the computer says that Rocky would win. This, of course, damages the ego of the current champ, gets Rocky reminscing and sets the perfect scene for a comeback of let's say a hmm... 60 year oldish fighter? Interesting. It's been done by younger. Look at George Foreman!

Ah well... either way - it's a Rocky movie. I'd be there if it was Rocky vs. Godzilla, Rocky vs. Bush, Rocky vs. SpongeBob ... I'll certainly be there to check this one out. Do I have high hopes of it being a fantastic movie that could compete with Rocky I - IV, no - I'm not an idiot.

Watch the trailer -

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A good laugh

From The Daily WTF? website.


Last night I decided to take in the new Jack Black movie, "Nacho Libre" from the Director of Napoleon Dynamite and I must say - I liked it.

Jack plays a Padre who believes that he was made to wrestle, which is looked upon as a sinful sport because of its fans following their favorite wrestler is similar to the worship of a false idol. He finds a way to make his dream come true by wrestling to win money for the orphan children who live with the

Jack's antics are in the style that you would expect, a little over the top and there are also quite a few jokes that you'll need to be paying attention to understand.

As with most movies that I watch - you must be in the right mood to enjoy this flick. If you go in with your expectations set to high, you might be disappointed. I arrived at the theater just hoping to have something take my mind off everything else that's been going on lately and this movie delivered. There were lulls where the story was slow - but then there would be parts that would keep you laughing for a while.

I must say that my favorite parts came when Jack would break into tune, Tenacious D style.

Overall - 3.5/5

Monday, June 19, 2006

Installing ColdFusion w/ Windows Remote Desktop

If you're installing ColdFusion over a remote connection on Windows 2003 and the installer package seems to start but then just stop - it could be because you have SP1 loaded to the server and DEP is now blocking you from running the executable.

Find out more info about the feature here:

The workaround that I found was to log off and then remote back in, you should then be prompted with a popup window that will allow you some configuration options to allow the Installer package to run correctly.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

In Search of the Right Road

I ran across this while looking at the Digital Photography School blog that I recently was introduced to by Garrett, one of my co-workers.

I found it very moving and thought I'd share it out. I think of myself as a compassionate person, but lately I've found myself being less caring and these pictures and audio made me appreciate what I have.

Vongo = No Go

This is my experience with the service Vongo, and why you should think twice about signing up for the service.

Last Thursday evening I decided to give Vongo a try. If you're unfamiliar with Vongo, it's a service that allows you to download "DVD Quality" movies to your computer to enjoy at your own leisure. The service cost is $9.99 per month and you can select movies from their extensive library of second rate movies.

I installed the software, there is a client install that is needed for this to work. Signed up for my account, gave my credit card info and was all set to go. They charged my card immediately for the service, there was no "FREE" trial.

I took a look at their movie listings and noticed right away that they had older, crappy movies available for the service price - but then had newer DVD release movies as a "pay per view" option. Oh and then I noticed that they were part of Starz and even offered a "view live feed" of Starz Network movies.


So - I decided that I'd try and grab one of their older movies to at least check out the quality. Added a movie to my download manager, and BAM - nothing. It acted like it was trying to connect and then just dropped the movie out of queue. I tried this several more times with the same result. I tried the live feed option - and BAM - nothing!

At this point it was about 1am, so I decided to contact tech support, emailed through their contact form in the client software and was greeted with a message that said my issue was sent and that a representative would get back to me in 24 hours.

As of last night - I had heard nothing. No email, no call... nothing! That's 5 days - with no contact.

I decided that this was a big waste of time and effort, so I tried to cancel my account through the client software - which just tells you to call Customer Service to cancel your account.

I waited on the phone for 35 minutes, which was filled with an annoying "your call is important to us, please wait" - every 20 seconds! No information like what number I was in the queue or my approximate wait time.

Finally someone answered - and I was able to cancel the account.

This was by far the most unprofessional experience I've had with any company, next to Comcast.

Take my advice and steer very clear from this company and it's services, stick with reputable companies like NetFlix for your movie needs.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Tasting Model-Glue

No, this is the not the same model-glue that I used to eat in grade school, this is the framework for ColdFusion!

After watching Joe Rinehart's video tutorial that he did in preparation for Adobe Developer Week, I decided that it was really time to take a look at a framework to assist with my development projects.

To get started with this framework visit the website and grab the files.

Next - take a look at the QuickStart Guide - this is a sure way to get you up and running with Model-Glue in no time.

This is where I started.

I copied the application template directory and pasted it into my web root. Renamed the folder to my application name and made the changes as in the QuickStart Guide. I should make mention that I had to add these lines into the ModelGlue.xml file as they weren't there in the files that I had downloaded.

Are they really needed? Not sure, I've only been messing with this for a little over 10 minutes. I'll get back to you on that.

So - after making those changes and the change to the Application.cfm in the root of new application folder, I figured I was ready to go.

Launch browser... point to new application directory... BAM - Error.

For some reason it couldn't find the /ModelGlue/ModelGlue.cfm template.

Weird. Tried changing some things around and still couldn't get it to work.

Thought about it a bit more and thought I'd double check my mappings in my CF Administrator just to make sure that there wasn't some hokey mapping causing all my frustration. Well - there was!

I had a mapping for "/" set to my CFMX root instead of CFMX7 root.

Once I deleted that mapping, it worked like a charm!

Now it's time to turn one of my older applications into a lean, mean, Model-Glue fighting machine! I'll post about my experiences along the way.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Music Sharing and a Different Look

Steven Page from BNL (one of my favorite musical groups of all time) speaks out about music sharing and how it's been around for a long time, just the technology in which the sharing happens has changed. He also speaks about the formation of the CMCC (Canadian Music Creators Coalition) and how they are taking back some of the control over their music. Overall a very nice breath of fresh air.

Page on Canada AM

Friday, March 24, 2006

AjaxLaunch / AjaxWrite - thinkFlex!

Ajax is the craze, we all know this... it was the buzz word for 2005 and will continue to bring buzz in '06. The reason is because it allows and encourages the building of full blown web applications that act more like desktop software. No page refreshes, direct server connection for data refreshes in real time. Usually a short initial load time and then you're good to go!

Reading Slashdot today I read a post about creating web based applications that will compete with the office suites. They mention M$ - but in reality - it is designed to compete just as much with OpenOffice. They plan to launch a new application each week through this website - so keep it bookmarked and keep checking back often.

The first application that they've launched is called AjaxWrite and is a web based competitor for Word. Over a broadband connection it took about 15 seconds to load the application and delivered an application feel that was very similar to Wordpad. Toolbars were there and looked just like the Office toolbars, core functionality was already there and they've promised to keep building on it to add in the more advanced features. I was able to open up my M$ Word documents with a bit of formatting issues, make changes and then resave the file back down to my machine. Overall it just seems like another HTML editor - but there are HTML editors with more features out there already. I guess the selling feature is that it works with *.doc files - but since it doesn't have some of the more advanced features - it sometimes messes with your original documents.

With Office 2007 being delayed and planning to ship in 2007, that gives AjaxLaunch a great head start to get something up and running that may actually have people using it - although they have lots to do to get it up to something people will see real value in.

You know who this is really cool for? Adobe! What I don't feel has happened yet is that people haven't realized the powerful applications that you can create with Adobe Flex. However with Adobe announcing that Flex Data Services and the Flex SDK will be free when released out of beta it should get some attention. It's the fastest way to create applications that can tie in to your existing web application architecture and deliver a rich experience to your web customers.

If anything - Ajax will prove to web users that RIA's are not only the future but are definitely the way to go. Sooner or later web developers will also see that the fastest way to get up to speed with delivering RIA's that enhance the user's experience even more and take RIA's to the next level is the Adobe Flash Platform.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Party in the Potty

Do you feel the need to jam in the shower? Do you wish that you had some tunes kickin' while you "downed what you got!"...

Check out this great review at Alan Williamson's site.

When I get my first house - I'm SO getting one of these!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being Single

With Valentine's Day just passing, I couldn't help but notice the extra stress it put on my friends. I also couldn't help but notice how I could have cared less about the day - to me, it was Tuesday, end of story. This got me thinking though, about how much I enjoy being single, and without further adieu, here are the top ten reasons (in no specific order) why I LOVE being single!

10. If I want a PSP - I get a PSP.
9. The tempature in my apartment is set to MY comfort level
8. If I sleep in / am late for work / take a day off - it affects only me.
7. I don't get told when to "come to bed"
6. When I do go to bed, I get just as many blankets as I'd like, no more - no less
5. If I'd like to go see a movie, guess which one I'll go and see? Yup - the one I want to...
4. I don't have to ask permission to play a video game
3. I don't have to feel guilt about hanging out with the boys
2. I don't get in trouble when I forget "certain dates"
1. If I want quiet time, I'm able to have it without being pestered with questions like "whatcha thinking about" - which, by the way ladies, when you're guy answers "nothing" - that's what he really means, so stop analyzing the crap out of everything.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hometown Lovin'

Well - my hometown got some great press on ESPN today.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

IE Public Beta

Read about the public beta announcement.

Take the tour of the new features of the beta and wonder why it took so long to copy Firefox.

Download the new beta version and put it through the paces.