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Get Tech Savvy in 20 Minutes a Week

January 1, 2007

By Carolyn Schwaar

Ever feel clueless when members talk about new Web features or gadgets? Wish you could stay on top of technology trends without spending hours on the Web?

Here, tech geeks and Internet researchers from NAR’s Center for Realtor® Technology, REALTOR.org, Realtor® Magazine, and Information Central offer their favorite user-friendly technology news and trend sites. A brief visit every week or two, will help you can keep up on the latest tech trends.

Site: Walter Mossberg’s weekly column in the Wall Street Journal

Features: Mossberg tries out the new devices and writes about their strengths and weaknesses from a user perspective in a readable way. Recently he explored some of the most interesting examples of the Internet video revolution, including video blogs and Web TV series beyond YouTube and Apple’s iTunes Store.

URL: www.wallstreetjournal.com (although access requires a subscription, AEs can access all Wall Street Journal content for free via the NAR ProQuest library on REALTOR.org)

Site: ClickZ

Features: This site offers insights from guest experts on how to effectively use online tools, mainly from an online marketer’s perspective. Its small collection of news headlines is standard fare, but the real meat can be found in the columns and features. Recently the site offered articles on “What Does the Reader Care About?: a six-point checklist for e-mail marketers;” and “Creating an Effective Home Page: what should be on your home page?: a checklist.”

URL: www.ClickZ.com

Site: PC Magazine

Features: PC Magazine offers a massive online presence that is almost overwhelming in its depth, so stick to the home page or the @Work page for quick links to easy-to-read features and reviews packed with interactive slide shows, videos, and podcasts. Recently the magazine featured “12 Ways to Boost your Business” with technology and “Business Blogging” on how companies can benefit from using blogs to raise awareness, increase customer loyalty and boost sales.

URL: http://www.gizmodo.com

Site: Wired magazine

Features: Another large magazine Web site,
Wired features much more than technology, often straying into politics and automobiles. For staying up-to-speed on gadgets and technology business news, the site’s blogs are worth an occasional visit. Wired’s GadgetLab blog recently reviewed Dell’s new Notebook PC and BlackBerry’s 8800 SmartPhone.

URL: http://www.wired.com/support/blogs.html

Site: CNET

Features: The granddaddy of all gadget and technology review sites, CNET is the place to turn for comparison charts of whatever you’re planning to buy—from digital cameras to Voice over IP phone systems. However, the most useful part of this site may be its videos, including CNET TV, where site editors demonstrate and review products. The home page always offers an enticing article, such as the recent “Top 5 Most Wanted Gadgets” and, under the Tips and Trick tab, “How Not to Get Hacked” and “Online Resources for Podcasters.”

URL: http://www.CNET.com

Sites: Yahoo, Google, MSN

Features: When it comes to technology headlines, you can rely on these three information giants to run very similar technology stories. If Apple or Microsoft releases a product, all three of these outlets will have a review.

URLs: www.yahoo.com, www.google.com, www.msn.com