Friday, September 30, 2005

FRIDAY FREEBIE A free alternative to GoToMyPC

The technology used for GoToMyPC is built into windows XP Professional, you just need to know how to access it.

Windows XP Professional has a component built into it called "Remote Desktop." Though not quite as easy to use, and though you can't access computers that aren't XP Professional (you CAN access an XP Professional computer from a Windows 98 desktop though), if all the stars align for you, why pay $30/mos for GoToMyPC?

Here is how you get started!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

REAL ESTATE AGENTS: The assault on Real Estate Agent's Take

I've mentioned this before. We've already seen a decrease in margins in the Mortgage business, but I sense the Real Estate Agent is going to start feeling it too...

Read this article from the Wall Street Journal. Good food for thought here. I think a good RE Agent adds tremendous value. But, in the tech age, how has the consumer felt benefit? I have a good friend who owns a Help-U-Sell. Could this be a model more agents will be forced into? It's all up to the consumer and how they experience the value and how they decide to gravitate toward better value.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MISHMOSH: Technology for technology sake

Every once in awhile it's just about what seems interesting...

Yahoo is upgrading it's mail program. The bloggers at PC World give you a run down of what seems like a runaway hit. I have a yahoo mail account... but nobody invited me to the beta party.

A Treo that does Windows Mobile. Yawn... next.

Infusionsoft came out with a slew of updates for their MortgagePro CRM product. But, the Dan Kennedy style marketing website doesn't give any info, so, no reason to link. Maybe someday this company will realize that people who shop for software are generally in search of info, not info marketing.

My co-worker has 2500 songs on his iPod. He leaves it in the office so I can listen to it, mainly because he can't listen to it in his card. I found some solutions for car/ipod integration. I'm not going to tell him though ;-)

Finally, I've been dialed into USB drives lately. Simple, portable storage. If you have a workstation at work and one at home, here' s an easy way to move them back and forth. Read more about some particular models.

Monday, September 26, 2005

CRM IN THE NEWS: Allied chooses Entellium

In today's news, Allied Mortgage, the largest Mortgage Broker in the nation, has chosen Entellium to provide its CRM solutions. I did a quick 100,000 foot fly over of this company and though they aren't mortgage specific, it's worth watching to see if they leverage this opportunity to enter the quickly expanding universe of CRM options available for Loan Originators. At $70/mos for an individual user, this is a compelling price point compared to Salesforce.com and Mortgage Specific products like BnTouchMortgage.com.

Friday, September 23, 2005

FRIDAY FREEBIE: Stuff for ACT!

Here are some Freebies that will help make ACT! a better tool for you to use. CAUTION - I have not tested all of these, but have tried to made sure they all work with ACT! 5/6.

If you don't like the lookup function, here is a serious improvement. Northwoods has some great tools.

Personal CRM has a great tool that makes it very simple to send emails via Outlook w/out going through the ACT! email client. Look at the bar on the right side of the screen for some other freebies.

While it's cool that ACT! Allows you to browse the web within the main window, wouldn't it be nice if the browser was a different tab? Well your wish just came true.

I've always disliked that ACT! Is a flat file database (it doesn't relate records to each other). To ease the pain, ACECrm has a utility that allows you to apply a note to a given Lookup.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

FREE TOOL: The IRS helps your borrowers adjust witholding


I found out about this tool on a message board on LoanToolbox.

First off, if you are not a member of LoanToolbox, you need to be. LoanToolbox is an originator's dream come true. There are more marketing tools, ideas, systems, content, strategies, business building tools than can be used in a lifetime. Go there now to check it out!

If you are a Mortgage Planner by choice, you know that borrowers can often under or over do it when it comes to whitholding. This can result in a borrower making a bad decision (too much/too little) when it comes to how much house they can afford. Believe it or not, the IRS has an online calculator you can refer your clients towards. Impressively easy to use, I give it 4 out of 5 debit cards ;-)

Credit goes to Chuck B, a LTB member for identifying this resource.

Monday, September 19, 2005

QUICKIES

A lot going on in my mortgage practice and family life, so, postings are going to be slim this week.

For your radar screen... I've been slow to adopt instant messaging on cell phones. However, it is "here" and it is "now." I am working to collect Cell Phone info from my clients (number, carrier) and gain messaging permission from them. Think about it... you can text message "Your Loan Has Been Approved. Congrats! :-), MJB from XYZ Mortgage" as a way to increase your service levels. Or, you have the ability to "Alert" clients when rates are changing. Many possibilities.

Check out some great tips for non-techies on how to be more efficient with Microsoft Office. Mike Lasky did a great job on highlighting a few high impact helpers.

One way to network is, well, on an online network. Great intro article on Online Networks. We're talking about "People" networks, not "Wired" ones. I belong to LinkedIn, so, if you do too, add me to your network. The real jewel in these services is the potential you have to help others find people who can meet their needs. More on this later.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

FRIDAY FREEBIE: A free utility that adds shortcuts to your start menu - A Must Have!

Ok, I'm a little behind from last week, but here is a Friday Freebie for you...

A lot of time it is the small things in life that make the difference. Take 2 minutes to download and install this utility and you'll gain all that back in the form of productivity probably in the first day of use. This free sweetheart of a utility, SnapFolders 2005 for Windows (works with '98,2000 and XP) is something I'd pay for. One of my biggest frustrations as a Windows user is the lack of assistance built into the OS to help you navigate quickly. This utility adds a small amount of functionality to the Start Menu that makes a massive difference. Here's a peak at what it looks like.

From PCWorld here is their description:

Of course you know how to make shortcuts to folders, but the shortcut function has changed little since the days of Windows 95. SnapFolders helps you create faster, more powerful shortcuts. Instead of forcing all shortcuts to open the target folder in a folder window, SnapFolders gives you the choice of having shortcuts open Explorer windows with the target folder either selected or as the root folder. SnapFolders' shortcuts automatically appear on the Start Menu; from there, you can copy, move, rename, or delete them.


You can download the software from PCWorld by clicking here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

PERSONAL TECH: Online resources to help you buy a new machine

When you need a new laptop and/or desktop, how do you decide what to get?

If you don't work for a big company, or you manage your own company and/or practice, you probably don't have an IT department and thus someone to help you purchase new computers. Fear not my fellow LO, there are ONLINE resources to quickly help you.

Over the past 10 years I've purchased around 7 laptops and desktop computers for my personal and/or business use. My personal brand favorite is Dell. I know the company, I know the system, and I've always enjoyed, for the most part, great support (the support from India seems to be a higher quality than that from the US). The only negative... stay away from their financing operation. I've never had a trouble free financing arrangement with Dell. Each time it has been error prone and hassle laden.

Far from a comprehensive expert on systems, I do always check two sources before laying down my hard cash. PC Magazine has very thoughtful, in-depth articles, such as shopping for a notebook, that help you to make your own decision beyond a specific set of products they review. PC World has a monthly ranking of Top Rated Products that helps distill the choices down for you to a set group of products they favor.

While the source is rarely objective, it never hurts to ask your peers what they use. Its just that I've never heard someone admit to me they made a bad choice.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

MARKETING IDEA: Serve your client's needs with free home inventory software




Helping your clients be prepared for the next disaster shows you care.

Hurricane Katrina has created disaster awareness for your clients. Many of your clients are thinking about what would happen if a disaster struck them or their friends and/or family. Now is a good time to serve your clients by giving them free software for taking a Home Inventory.

I've downloaded, installed, and entered a few items into this software. It reminds me of the early versions of Quicken's home inventory tool. It's simple and functional and should serve 90% of your client's needs.

IDEA: Since this software's license allows you to distribute the software free of charge, you could download this software, press it on CD, and send it to all your past clients. Additionally, you could partner with an insurance professional to send this out to a farm area. Finally, you could offer it for download from your website to help build traffic.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

DISASTER TECH: Helping others to find information and people

As confusion reigns, resources and resourceful people can help...

As I was talking with my wife this morning, we were discussing how people like us, many miles away (we live in Colorado) would help friends or family who were victims of a distant disaster. A lot of times the biggest need that people have is assistance in finding and cross referencing information. When you have a baby crying and you are trying to find a way to get fresh water or a place to sleep, outside of your cell phone (if it works) you don't have access to information (like how to contact FEMA). So, if you know someone impacted and you want to help, maybe offering to be their offsite information analyst could be the biggest help.

Steve Bass from PC World identifies some local resources available over the web that may point to the information needed to find people and access information.

The Central Florida Hurricane Center has a lot of links to Emergency Management Agencies and other local resources that might be helpful.

If your time is short but your pockets padded, Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) has a link to a list of links for giving to specific agencies and organizations.

1:32pm mst - Just saw another good resource linking site on MSNBC's website.