For a lot of home users, staying protected online is complicated, especially when they have multiple computers and networking devices (and who doesn't, nowadays?). Installing and keeping security software properly updated can be a daunting task.
Cisco now makes it simpler by integrating Internet security inside its Linksys by Cisco Wireless-N routers. This means you won't even have to install a separate online security suite on each computer within the home network anymore.
The company announced Tuesday its collaboration with Trend Micro to introduce the Home Network Defender (HND), a multi-layered software security solution that helps provide network protection home-network devices including PCs, online game consoles, Wi-Fi enabled phones, and personal media players.… Read more
Last week, I looked at five real estate search sites and discussed their merits as tools for searching for a home. So now that you have that dream house picked out, it's time you get down to the business of finding a real estate agent and researching both the home itself, and the neighborhood it's in--just to make sure it's still a place you want to live.
After all, moving to a new home can't be as simple as finding a home you like and buying it immediately, right?
Find your real estate agent with DoorFly Once you've found the home you like on sites like Trulia or Realtor.com, you have to find a real estate agent to help you look at homes, secure the best deal, and get you into your new abode. But finding the best real estate agent isn't always easy.
That's where DoorFly comes in. Instead of calling different real estate firms to find the best agent, you can use DoorFly to explain your needs and watch as real estate agents bid to work with you.
When you first sign up for DoorFly, you're asked to provide the area where you'd like to live, your home-buying needs, an affordable price you're willing to pay, and desired home features. That information is then posted on the site and will be viewed by real estate agents who also signed up. Interested agents will contact you and inform you of their knowledge and experience. But here's the kicker--they will also offer an incentive rebate from their commission at closing to sweeten the pot. I found that sometimes that discount is 5 percent of their fee, but it can be up to 20 percent off, depending on the market. Either way, it's a great way to save some money.
As interesting and useful as DoorFly can be, I was disappointed with its general lack of support. Granted, it's a start-up that few people have heard about, but so far, the site only has real estate agents from Indiana, Missouri, Texas, and North Carolina using the site. That's obviously an issue for those who wish to move elsewhere in the U.S. and one that DoorFly can hopefully address at some point in the future.
DoorFly is a compelling and unique service, and you should look at if you want to buy a home in one of those locations. It's easy to use, the real estate agents offer good deals, and generally, they seem to be knowledgeable.
Research mortgages and neighborhoods with HomeThinking HomeThinking is designed quite well. When you're brought to the main page, you can quickly and easily find a real estate agent in any of the 50 U.S. states, perform research on mortgages in cities and towns across the country, or gain knowledge about different neighborhoods in major markets. It's a great resource if you're unsure whether you want to move to a specific location.
When I started evaluating HomeThinking, I first looked for a real estate agent in both big cities like New York and San Francisco, as well as small suburbs in my area. In all cases, the site returned a slew of real estate agents from companies both big and small. It was outstanding.
HomeThinking's neighborhood search is also a great feature that allows you to compare big cities, as well as mid-level markets like Akron, Ohio. When you perform a comparison, the site delivers a slew of results that examine which areas of the new city resemble your current city, as well as reviews by those who live there.
For example, HomeThinking claims that those living in the Castro-Upper Market area of San Francisco will find a similar lifestyle in New York City's West Village. It's a nice feature, but it would have been nice if more information was available. Simply telling me where to move if I like the scene I live in now won't help all that much.
But HomeThinking's best feature is its mortgage resource page, which takes an in-depth look into everything you ever wanted to know about mortgages in the location to which you're planning to move. Whether you're researching suburbs or big cities, the site will deliver the risk of a sub-prime mortgage crisis, leading lenders in the area, the average loan size, number of rejected applications, and much more. It even shows a heat map detailing where the majority of people are trying to buy homes. HomeThinking's mortgage research tool is best I've seen.… Read more
Chronicling our lives has been part of our culture for as long as we have kept personal diaries. Today, technology offers many different ways of recording our thoughts and feelings, which makes the task far easier.
Ten years ago, Gordon Bell, a principal researcher at Microsoft, set out to chronicle his life by recording everything that happened to him. Visit him in his office and you will face microphones and video cameras. As he travels, he goes "laden down with stuff."
The Microsoft-funded project is still going, and Bell sees it as "one of the most important … Read more
Back in November, I asked the question, "What's the best midpriced AV receiver?"--but had to confess that we hadn't reviewed as many as we would've liked. Since then, Senior Associate Editor Matt Moskovciak and resident Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg sequestered themselves in the CNET listening room and put several models to the test.
When the smoke cleared, the Sony STR-DG920 was at the top of the heap, with the Pioneer VSX-1018AH and Onkyo TX-SR606 impressing us as well. The Denon AVR-1909 sounded great and was packed with features, but that model's confusing remote control … Read more
The real estate market is in trouble and housing prices are plummeting. In other words, it is a great time to buy a house.
That's why we've compiled a list of real estate search sites and examined how well they can help you find your next home.
DotHomes If you're looking to find homes, but you don't know where to start, DotHomes might be it. It's not the best real estate search site in this roundup, but it does a fine job of taking listings from across the Web and getting them to you quickly.… Read more
Picking out a receiver used to be almost as easy as picking which one sounded the best, but that's hardly the case now that AV receivers are responsible for so many video duties. The Sony STR-DG920 is well-suited to its new role, offering up four HDMI inputs and 1080p analog video upconversion. In addition, the STR-DG920 is one of the only receivers in its price range to offer up a full graphical user interface, rather than the more common text-only interface.
On the downside, the STR-DG920 doesn't offer any multiroom functionality and we felt that its sound quality … Read more
After nearly five years of planning and fighting with local cable and phone companies, the Lafayette Utilities System opened its fiber-optic broadband network for business.
The utility began offering service this week, according to the Lafayette, La. local newspaper, The Daily Advertiser. A small number of customers already have phone, TV, and Internet service. And beginning Friday, LUS will begin marketing the service to customers in the first phase of the roll out. LUS plans to roll out service gradually in three phases and expects to offer a triple play service to all residents throughout the city by 2011.
The … Read more