Property Management Going Mobile: Mobile Websites and Apps “Must-Haves” Now?

I was out to dinner the other night in Uptown Charlotte and saw the typical 21st century young, urban couple. They were dressed stylishly, moved with grace, were good-looking, and barely talked or looked at each other the entire time I saw them at the restaurant. Were they:

A. In a fight?
B. Shy mutes?
C. Engrossed with their mobile phones?

Of course, and sadly, the most probable answer in today’s world is C. I have a difficult time with this! I want to say, “Buddy, wake up! You’re with a good-looking woman; I can’t believe I have to tell you to look up and talk to her, instead of texting your friend, Chuck! What’s wrong with you?”

So, being a grown man, I had to decide whether to cry about this newer phenomenon or accept it. After some internal wrangling, I’m happy to report that my righteous indignation has passed and I’ve accepted this digitally-inspired apathy towards fellow humans as the “new normal”. So what does this consumer love affair with mobile phones mean to property managers?

It means we better get in the game in the mobile realm. Regular websites have worked really well for a while, but change has come again. New renters are going to want to use their smart phones to search for rentals near them (aided by GPS), fill out rental applications, pay application fees, and put down deposits. They want the whole rental process available from their mobile phones.

What specifically does this mean? It means we better have mobile websites that allow them to do this; the mobile websites need to include only succinct information potential renters would want when on the go. It also means we need a mobile application (a custom company “app”) that customers can put on their devices so we own some real estate on their phones. Trends show that home internet connections are on the way of landline phones; the new battleground is the mobile phone. We need to be on as many as possible.

A mobile website is critical when consumers search for property management companies from their smart phones. Will yours come up? If it does, can consumers easily find rental homes, contact you (even text you!), and do everything you want them to do (like they can when you see them in your office or when they are in front of their home computer?)

An app is critical to sealing the relationship with customers. How can they remember you when they are on their mobile phones? Your app (with your company logo) sitting with the rest of the apps they use everyday is a good start. This is a good way to build mindshare and also to make it easy for your customers to contact you and refer you to their friends. Not an apps believer? Apps are set to be a $36B business by 2015- a lot of people use them and will be using them!

Change is hard, but the mobile revolution is not going away. If making a property management company last long term is the goal, mobile websites and apps are now “must-haves”!

Computer Hardware and Simulation Gaming for Aviation Safety Considered

Modern day computer hardware is getting quite robust, and there is about 10 times the computing power in a smart phone as was used to fly the first Space Shuttle, maybe more. Still, when it comes to operating today’s aircraft simulators the computer hardware is intense, and these simulators can cost a ton of money. Because they cost so much the time to use them becomes very valuable, therefore most airlines only use them as required to check out their pilots, or train them for certification on the next aircraft that pilot needs to fly so he or she can get their type rating and satisfactorily prove they are safe.

The other day, I was speaking with an expert in computer online gaming communities, Troy Laclaire, about the use of simulators in aviation, and how great these tools were for complying with safety standards and preventing mistakes in the real world, carrying real passengers, when it really mattered most. One question we pondered was should airline pilots, commercial pilots, charter pilots, and fractional jet pilots be required to fly with another pilot to an airport first prior to going there as the pilot in command for the first time.

If such an onerous rule were to be made by the FAA, what about simulators, couldn’t a pilot merely fly the last 5-10 minutes on approach and take-off to each airport that the airline generally went too? Maybe, but in the case of a charter jet, that might mean they’d spend 100s of hours in a simulator and that costs a lot of money right? Okay so is there a solution to all this? Troy has come up with one potential solution, so lets’ talk about this shall we. First, Troy notes:

The only problem with this is that simulators are not exactly cheap to run and each simulation takes a fair amount of time, and far as I understand simulators are mostly used to get pilots comfortable with flying a particular plane type. However, since the pilots are generally already familiar with flying their planes (at least I should hope so) and nearly everyone has computers these days, it is possible that you could have a DVD series created to cover the routes, based around actual flights, and then have the pilots use their computers to run these so that they can get some familiarity with the airports.

Now then, this is a good idea, and it makes sense, a perfect solution, plus it also stands to reason that a gaming expert would come up with this concept. Okay so, Troy also suggests that we “provide the pilots with a take home DVD, basic flight-sim gaming controls, and they can use these to get some muscle memory.” This too makes sense, keeping it simple, and perfect for a last-minute booking for a fractional jet, or charter flight, as the pilot can merely practice a couple of ILS approaches, missed approach, take-off, and navigating the taxi ways, etc.

Troy, being a computer hardware engineer, and quite the prudent safety advisor also states; “Alternatively, have a “pilots room” setup where a pilot can run through a video/basic simulator of a previous flight that has already flown that route, letting them get a rough idea of what to expect when going to an airport they are not yet familiar with.”

Okay so that’s pretty easy, it can be set up in the break room of the local Jet Center, or at an FBO etc. Perhaps, for $10-20 they can shoot a couple of landings at the desired future airport that they will be flying too? Perhaps, it might also be available to ALL general aviation pilots, the DVDs and a flight simulator room at the local FBO, etc. May as well keep the system busy and paying for itself, perhaps it might also spit out certificates of completion and aviation insurance companies may consider lowering rates too? Indeed, I hope you will consider all this and think on it.

Enjoy Free Online Games All Over The Web

The video game market continues to get bigger everyday and while the new releases you find in shops may be quite expensive, even the people who made those games had to start somewhere. Many rising gaming developers have started with free online games before moving onto bigger things and although in most cases they are small games, you can find a few really good titles out there.

Of course it is not only new developers posting free titles, many established companies are now re-releasing their old titles to the public domain. These include many classic titles from the eighties and nineties. For some of these you many need to find an emulator that can run them, as our systems have become very different since those early days of computers.

While there are literally millions of freeware titles out there, you can also find a great deal of shareware titles on the internet. This normally means you get a trial period to play the game, however with many a game, it just means you may need to pay if you want to upgrade the game or download new levels.

If you are looking for quick games that can distract you for a few minutes, there are plenty. Many of these games are familiar or adaptations of familiar ones like Scrabble, Chess, Pool, Cards or Backgammon. They are as popular as the originals and you can normally find dozens of different versions of these sorts of titles.

Of course puzzle games in many forms are extremely popular, and there are many free online games that will get you addicted very quickly as you battle to solve the problems. To this day, despite games coming out with ultra-realistic graphics, and open-ended never ending worlds, a game like Tetris remains one of the most popular.

If you are one of those people who enjoy the newspaper puzzles, the internet is going to get you really excited. You can find hundreds of different Sudoku and Crossword puzzles online. In many cases they are linked to newspapers or magazines, and are also updated regularly meaning you never run out of puzzles to do.

Hidden-object games can be great fun as you search a room or scene for a list of things. Many of these games come with stories or quests to fulfill, and can be a great way to the pass the time.

For adventure lovers, there are many fans who have tried their hand at this genre, including re-making classic old titles. Fans of the old point-and-click adventures can find a number of classics that have been re-released or made free to download, including some of the best games ever made from that period.

If you enjoy playing games on your cell phone, you should look for those titles for your PC too. Many evolved from free online games and you may find a bigger version for your computer.

But whatever you enjoy, there is something on the net for you. So get looking for some free online games until you can afford to buy a new title or two, you may even find yourself buying less in the shops too.