Aumnia scheduled maintenance: June 28, 9PM – 11PM

We will be performing a quick maintenance on the Aumnia’s mobile internet platform tonight between the hours of 9PM and 11PM (pacific time). This is a minor upgrade to our miniListings product. During the upgrade period, your mobileSite or mobile webApp may not work properly or be inaccessible. Please notify us immediately if you notice any issues or changes in your mobilesite or mobile webApp after we complete our maintenance.

We apologize for any inconvenience this maintenance may cause you. Thank your for your understanding.

 

We’re proud to take Michael Saunders & Company mobile

Today Michael Saunder’s and Company launched their new mobilesite. To see it on your phone, simply visit their main URL at http://michaelsaunders.com and you’ll be automatically redirected.

We’re proud to have worked on the site with their team as well as 1000 Watt Consulting. To meet the specifications from the Michael Saunders’ team, we added new technology to our platform that really pushes the envelope for “app-like” solutions that runs in the phone’s browser across multiple platforms including iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. This was a fun project for us as it challenged us technically and we got to work with a great team. Below is a copy of the official press release…

 

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Michael Saunders & Company
Launches New Mobile Web Site

Empowers Consumers To Browse For Properties
On The Go From Any Web-Enabled Phone

 

SARASOTA, Florida—(May 3, 2011)—With the official launch today of its new mobile web site Michael Saunders & Company just made it easier and more efficient for buyers to actively search for properties on the go throughout Southwest Florida.

People arriving at michaelsaunders.com using the latest generation of hand-held mobile devices— an iPhone, Android, Blackberry or almost any other current make or model of  web-enabled phone—will now enjoy an online experience that makes it easy to search for properties anywhere, at any time, right from the palm of their hand.  No downloads are necessary to begin using the new mobile version of the Gulf Coast’s most-frequented real estate web site.  Consequently, getting there is fast—and free.

Consumers need only go to michaelsaunders.com from their smart phone to preview any property in Southwest Florida, provided it is listed on the MLS.  Their phone will automatically convert the site into the hand-held mobile version.  The site is people friendly, specifically enhanced to be viewed on a small screen and is completely free of advertising.  Buyers can search for properties anywhere; or zero-in on properties nearest their location.  They can also find open houses by neighborhood, location; and save properties of interest for future reference.

“It’s no secret that mobile Internet usage is growing,” says company founder and CEO, Michael Saunders in announcing the new service.  “But what you may not be aware of is the breathtaking speed at which this is occurring.  Within 18 months, more people will access the Internet through hand-held mobile devices than more traditional desktop or laptop computers.  That’s a massive shift in how buyers search for properties; and why we are proud to offer this new technology tool as yet another service to our buyers and sellers.”

In creating the new mobile web site, Michael Saunders & Company partnered with 1000 Watt Consulting, the California-based interactive marketing communications and design agency whose dedicated focus on the real estate industry makes it one of the most sought-after firms of its kind in the business.  1000 Watt Consulting was also instrumental in creating the new michaelsaunders.com, which debuted in August, 2010.

Also partnering in the creation of the new mobile web site was Aumnia, one of the nation’s premier mobile web companies, also headquartered in California.  Aumnia’s software platform enables businesses to “go mobile” by extending their existing web presence onto web-enabled mobile phones and mobile internet devices.

“We invest in the most innovative web technologies as a duty to our buyers and sellers; and indeed to our agents,”  Ms. Saunders explained.  “As such, we studied mobile web sites produced by other real estate companies around the country throughout our research and development.  After carefully weighing the options, we decided that a mobile web site was the most practical way to deliver the best experience to the largest number of consumers in our market.  It is available to any web-enabled mobile phone, not just some of them, and we can update it instantly.  We are very proud of our collaboration with Aumnia and 1000 Watt Consulting and what it has yielded for our clients, customers and agents.”

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About Michael Saunders & Company:

Now in its fourth decade of service to Southwest Florida, Michael Saunders & Company has grown from a single small office into a network of 24 full-service offices—with more than 500 professionally trained associates and 150 staff members.  Powerful world-wide affiliations—including Christie’s International Real Estate, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Portfolio International, Mayfair International Realty and the European Real Estate Network (EREN)—extend the company’s message to qualified buyers globally, ensuring the broadest possible exposure for our properties.   

Michael Saunders & Company is ranked as the 52nd largest brokerage in dollar volume in the latest Real Trends 500 Survey of the 500 largest brokerages in the U.S. for 2011; and is included among the 35 most influential Realtors in luxury real estate.

For more information about Michael Saunders & Company, please call 1-888-552-5228 or visit us on the Web at MichaelSaunders.com.

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App Review: Renewing Your Fitness Resolutions


This is a repost of an article Gregg published on our miniListings blog that I want to share with all of you.


Did you decide that 2011 was the year you were going to focus on getting fit? Now that we are four months into the year, how are you doing?

For a lot of people, this is around the time when those New Year’s resolutions start to fade. How do I know? I see it at my local gym. It starts filling up during January, reaches a peak in February, and then fades through March and April. In fact, when I was at the gym this morning, it was about half as full as it was in mid-February.

If you’ve fallen behind in your fitness goals, or just want to keep better track of them, your smartphone can help – a lot! Devesh and I have been using a few fitness apps this year, and for this month’s app review, I wanted to highlight the apps we’ve found particularly useful.

My Tracks

I got a Golden Retriever last summer and somehow got appointed as the official dog walker for the family (long story, don’t ask). As I went on my various walks, I became curious how far I was going and thought it would be neat to track it. Enter an app called My Tracks.

My Tracks uses the GPS in your phone to track how far you walk and where. It also keeps stats for your walk such as time of walk, speed, elevation, average speed and max speed. I particularly like that I can upload each walk to a Google spreadsheet. Then, at the end of the month, I can tally up my results and see how far I walked.

In addition to walks, you can use My Tracks to track any outdoor activity – running, hiking and biking. So if you’re trying to set goals for yourself, this app is a must. For example, my walking goal started at 50 miles per month at the beginning of the year, and I’ve since moved it to 70 miles. Once you can track your progress, it’s fun trying to beat it.

My Tracks is a free Android-only app, but the iPhone has an equivalent call RunKeeper that Devesh uses.

MyFitnessPal

I use MyFitnessPal on my iPhone and obsess about it daily. It’s a really easy way to track your workouts and food intake on a daily basis, so you can make sure your meeting caloric goals. The keys to MyFitnessPal are its easy-to-use interface and large database of crowd-sourced foods which make tracking my daily caloric ins & outs simple… basically eliminating all excuses not to use it.

MyFitnessPal let’s you create a public or private profile with your fitness targets, basic things like height, gender, current weight, target weight, activity level, etc. It then sets your Net Calorie Goal based on the amount of weight you want to lose (if that’s your goal… it’s mine) and the amount you plan to workout every week. It takes only 5 mins to download and setup. Then you simply start entering whatever you do or eat. Simple (I’ve used that word a few times because it really is).

Using MyFitnessPal, I also monitor my daily nutrient breakdown so I know what type of foods to eat so I can stay on target. It’s obviously an honor system thing, but to see what you are eating in writing definitely guilts you to stay true. The app also lets you see your weekly performance and has a social media component built in that pushes messages to your “friends” on your positive AND negative progress. The best message is “Devesh has not logged in for 3 days”… oops.

MyFitnessPal is a free app available for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. You can get more details on the MyFitnessPal website.
 

Daily Burn

Daily Burn is very similar to MyFitnessPal. It helps users track workouts, calorie intake, and review progress. I used this app first for about 6 months before switching to MyFitnessPal. The best feature of Daily Burn is it’s workout tracker – I could setup workout routines and the interface walked me through each exercise easily. When I was using it, the interface for food entry was too slow and complex so I wasn’t motivated to keep using it… basically gave me excuses to cheat.

Daily Burn has a free version and then paid versions that unlock more sophisticated tracking features. I have a feeling the paid version fixes some of the issues I mentioned, but I didn’t want to pay since I found a free app that works – MyFitnessPal.

It’s possible that you could have different findings than me, so if you want to give Daily Burn a try, visit their website.
 

The Habit Factor®

At a recent networking event, someone told me about The Habit Factor®. I just got around to loading it on my phone and am anxious to start using it.

In a nutshell, The Habit Factor® encourages you to set goals that you want to reach, and then track the habits to reach those goals. It is based on the book The Habit Factor® written by Martin Grunburg.

For example, you might have a goal to lose 10 pounds or to run a 5K. You set your goal and then create the habits to reach it. To lose 10 pounds, your habits could be walk two miles per day, eat 2 pieces of fruit, consume less than 2,500 calories, use MyFitneesPal, etc. The app tracks your progress and provides reminders.

One of the best parts is that you can use it for more than fitness. If you have other personal or business goals, you can track them and their associated habits. You can also just track habits that you want to establish, even if you don’t have a goal associated with them.

I like the concept of the app and hope to incorporate it into my daily routine (hey – my first goal!). The opening screen has great quotes about setting habits. Here’s a couple samples:

  • “We first make out habits, and then our habits make us.” – Charles C. Noble
  • “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn
  • “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombardi

There is a “lite” (free) version for Android and iPhone, and a premium version that you can upgrade to once you get more serious.
 

Your smartphone can be a powerful ally in your quest to keep your resolutions this year, and these are just a small sample of the apps available. Devesh and I would love for you to share other fitness apps that you’ve found useful – please leave them in the comments.

Good luck getting back or staying on track with those fitness goals for 2011!

(I’d like to thank Devesh for the MyFitnessPal and Daily Burn reviews)

I only want one dataplan

Dual-core/quad-core, 16GB, OS9.2, etc etc … sounds like I’m talking about my recent laptop purchase but I’m not. These are standard specs for smartphones all of us are using today. The power of mobile phones has increased so much that it’s the only device we NEED to run our daily lives, although that’s not really practical based on usability. Let’s face it, we’re accustomed to sitting at a desk with larger screens and a keyboard. Slowly we’re getting used to working away from our desks, but we still like our big screens. That’s why Apple created the iPad – give us a gadget we can use in a form factor we like. Thank you Apple! (insert exaggerated sneer). What’s wrong? Now I have to pay for a third dataplan (one for my phone, one for my home internet, one for my iPad) and the other hardware vendors are releasing similar tablets following Apple’s lead. The hardware model is broken.

In my past life, I use to work at a semiconductor company running a product line selling Ethernet controllers into the large PC manufacturers (all the typical names). These PC manufacturers would promote their platforms to IT teams using TCO, or Total Cost of Ownership. Their TCO included upfront hardware costs plus support, lifetime upgrades, maintenance, etc. This way IT teams could really understand the budgets required to change out their platforms from one vendor to the next. Using this PC example, I decided to do a rough TCO analysis on my personal mobile computing comparing 5-years ago to today. I used overlapping 5-year periods and then generated a yearly TCO cost. Here’s what I found…

My mobile computing TCO has increased over 60%

I’m a tech geek and like leading edge technologies but counter that by being somewhat cheap in my spending habits for non-essential items. 5-years ago I had a laptop that I would upgrade every 2 years, a BlackBerry I would upgrade every 2 years, and 2 dataplans (home, phone). My average yearly TCO was $1,940. Comparing that to today, I still have a laptop that I upgrade every 2 years, a smartphone I upgrade every 1.5 years, a tablet I plan to upgrade every 2 years and now 3 data plans (home, phone, tablet). My average yearly TCO has skyrocketed to $3,140. Wow!  This was eye opening… I pay how much??? It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of mobile computing but it’s clear the current hardware model is broken.

There must be a better hardware model

Recently I played with the Motorola Atrix and it’s innovative accessories like the laptop dock. I’m not the biggest fan of the Atrix itself but it really got me thinking about how mobile hardware needs to change. Is there a model that can reduce my TCO?

I only want one dataplan and one processor in my life

The phone I carry is that one device I must take everywhere. It has the processing power and internet connection I need. Why do I need something else? Oh yeah, usability like I mentioned earlier. Looking back 5-years ago, I had the same issue with my laptop. When I was at the office or at home, I would dock it to use an external keyboard and monitor. These were basic accessories I would purchase to enhance my use of the laptop that didn’t need consistent upgrades like my laptop since they had no real processing power. We need the same strategy for the phone. I want to use tablets and laptops but treat them like “monitors” to harness the processing power and internet connection of my phone. The phone would simply “dock” with the tablet or laptop for me to use as I please. I can choose different form factors as I please and won’t be tempted to consistently upgrade them since they are just passive devices. I would then upgrade my phone yearly to get the latest processing power and data speeds.

Reduce mobile computing TCO by 50%

In my proposed hardware model, I would have a top-of-the-line phone I upgrade every year, one dataplan (phone), and “docking monitors” I purchase as needed (that won’t require constant upgrades similar to my desktop monitor today). My average yearly TCO drops to $1,620. Now that makes more sense to me.

I really hope hardware vendors go back to their PC computing roots and take a hard look at TCO for mobile computing. The current model is broken and I think vendors are too busy being distracted by Apple’s marketing madness instead of defining a real strategy. It’s time for fundamentals again. Motorola is showing signs of hope encouraging me that other vendors will follow. Or at least I can dream.

If you want to see the assumptions from my analysis or more details, please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to respond.

Aumnia scheduled maintenance: April 6, 7PM – 9PM

It’s that time again. We will be performing routine maintenance on the Aumnia mobile internet platform tonight starting around 7pm that should only last for a couple of hours. During this maintenance, your mobileSite or mobile webApp may not be accessible or function properly. If you notice any issues or changes in your mobileSite or mobile webApp after we complete our maintenance tonight, please contact your support representative.

Thank you for your understanding.