Last weekend we took a vacation to the Island House in Corpus Christi on North Padre Island for 4 days. While there, late one night, while checking email and logging into Facebook, I was presented with the following login message:
Your account was recently accessed from a location we’re not familiar with. For your protection, please review your recent activity to make sure no one is using your Facebook account without permission.
Reviewing your activity takes just a few moments. We’ll start by asking you a couple of questions to confirm that this is your account. (If we recognize your computer, you’ll be able to skip this step.)
I guess Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, thinks if I’m logging in from my laptop in another city (different IP address than usual), something might possibly be amiss, and I must therefore validate myself by passing a test. The “couple of questions” turned out to be a photo lineup of 7 “friends” whom I had to identify from photo arrays, selecting from 6 possible names for each individual, or choosing “I’m not sure”.
Only two selections of “I’m not sure” are allowed, and ZERO incorrect answers are allowed. Each “friend” has two photos to review, some which are indistinguishable, my favorite being when the square surrounds a tiny spec of a face within a picture hanging on a wall in the background.
But mainly, with most photos being of decent enough quality, the question remained, Who are these people?! (my “friends”). I don’t recognize any of them, let alone enough to go 5 for 5. Each failed effort requires a 1 hour waiting period before a new try. Meanwhile, my iPhone access still worked, as did the granted permissions from 3rd party tools such as Ping.fm, from which I make most of my status updates, so I wasn’t totally “gone” from the standpoint of status updates, but was unable to log in from a web browser and do anything on Facebook.
This morning I’d had enough. Somehow I would defeat this validation system and regain control of my Facebook account. I finally did. Here’s how.
Read more …
The Austin real estate market is chugging through the summer and producing some interesting stats. By that I mean that the stats shown below look better than some of the actual outcomes we are seeing in the market. Some homes are selling fast, at or close to list price, and others are not moving. In years past, I could find segments of the market or trends to point to. We still have some of those – some general rules of thumb – but we see a lot of activity, or lack thereof, with no rhyme or reason.
Lets start with the Year to Date chart through July 2010. You’ll note that almost every row shows improvement over the same period a year ago.
|Austin Sales Market YTD July 2010|
|Homes only (no condos, duplexes, etc) – Data from Austin MLS|
|Jan-Jul 10||Jan-Jul 09||Yr % Change|
|Avg $ SQFT||$115.63||$112.23||3.04%|
|Not Sold %||41.21%||42.12%||-2.17%|
Volume (number sold) is up 5%, Avg Sold price is up 3.5%, Median is up 1%, Days on market (DOM) is way down, and the number of Not Solds is down slightly. In other words, it’s all good news.
But for a lot of sellers, and buyers too, it doesn’t feel like “all good news”.
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