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Clouds Can Bring Some Damage



With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

I love cloud computing. I use various aspects all day every day. Just like I’ve trusted my banks and utilities with my financial information, I trust Software as a Service (Saas) providers with much of my data. However, there are always a few concerns that should be addressed.

Data Protection

I am a firm believer that if I can trust my bank with my financial information (which I’ve done for years), I can trust Google with my documents, Flickr with my images and Mint with my financial account information. I pay all of my bills online and I file my taxes electronically. I can’t justify drawing a line all of a sudden. My biggest concern is that if my laptop is lost or stolen, I am in big trouble. Like many others, I tell my browsers to store my passwords to make it easier for me to login. However, now anyone can do so. A measure I have taken is to use TrueCrypt to encrypt my entire hard drive. Every time my computer powers on, it asks for my password. If it’s entered wrong, the drive is wiped. Someone may have my hardware, but they don’t have my login information or important documents.

I’m a Name-Brand Junkie

Not typically, but when it comes to the cloud, I trust the big names more. I saw the dot-com boom and bust. I’ve seen many companies come and go. I’d really rather not trust my data with too many small, unknown operations. Google (Docs, Gmail, Calendar), Yahoo (Flickr) and Adobe (Photoshop Express) are big names. Whether I’m justified or not, I have a greater sense of trust with them than someone I’ve never heard of. I poured over’s privacy and security policies whereas I didn’t even read Flickr or any Google product’s. Is that wise of me? No, probably not, but when I started writing these articles, Id id read them, and I still feel safe. Just like real estate consumers still see value in names like RE/MAX, Keller Williams or Century 21, we all tend to trust big brands we know better than unknowns.

Are you an employer or IT manager?

If so, I feel sorry for you. I’ve had to lock people out on the days they’ve been given their pink slip. We do it so they can’t email their important documents or other files to their new employer. If your employees are storing their data online, you need to be prepared that when they leave (or are let go), all of their data is going with them and there’s not much you can do to stop it. Yes, you can have contracts signed at the point of hire, but it’s still a tricky path to walk.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you now know more about what cloud computing is, how to use it as part of your work flow and some of the potential issues. Like email, cell phones, the internet, blogging, social networking and so many other technologies, cloud computing is here to stay and will only continue to grow. Learning how to harness the advantages while protecting yourself from some of the potential problems will allow you to become more mobile, spend less on computing hardware and require smaller investments up front on your software.

(Photo credit)

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  1. Todd

    November 7, 2008 at 9:13 am

    You can have your own personal place in the cloud using Amazon’s S3 for just pennies a month.

    Amazon’s ToS for S3 is very clear, it’s your data, you own it, they do not make any external use of it.

    I have been using it for my person storage and back-ups for a year now, never had an issues and I have spent all of about 30 bucks for it in the past 18 months.

    I use a simple, non geek, browser interface to manage it, so I don’t have to deal with nerdy FTP command lines.

  2. Matthew Hardy

    November 7, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Good article (at least someone is talking about the problems inherent to vendor-hosted software). My suggestion: just get in the cloud yourself. You can get a virtual dedicated server from Godaddy for $30-40 a month, run your own software on it and access it from anywhere in the world. You don’t have to worry about someone stealing your data and if you lose your laptop, just access your server from another computer. For the vendor-hosted services you do use, just make sure that they are not real estate specific; whereas Google, Apple and others aren’t blatantly trying to hold you hostage, most real estate specific vendors will not allow you to take all your data with you should you decide to cancel the service.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers



The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)



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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS



I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)


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My secret office organization tip – Sharpies and tape

If you’re still practicing to be OCD, here is a secret I don’t typically share with anyone, but I’m willing to share with you today…



Keeping organized

I used to be obsessed with the P-touch machine. I labeled everything. Drawers, shelves, folders, canisters, and anything that I could think of putting a label on.

But the label makers weren’t as pretty as my own handwriting and didn’t come in every color a Sharpie does, so I got the brilliant idea one day to write in light blue sharpie in my beautiful handwriting on clear tape, placed neatly on the shelves in the pantry. Visitors thought I had written on the cabinets, “what if you have to move things?” they asked. “It’s just tape, look!” I said as if I was performing a complicated magic trick.

Not just shelves!

It’s great to use this tip on files and folders so you can reuse them (especially if you have custom files or designer files), on drawers at the bottom of each section where pens and tape goes, and especially in the break room.

No more label maker, no more refill cartridges and no more mess, especially someone else’s mess! Trust me, this is an OCD person’s dream organizing tip!

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