Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Tale of Two Honeymoons

Did you hear the one about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg while he was on his about one for the ages.

Anyway, Mark and his new bride,Priscilla Chan have been honeymooning in the Eternal City, Rome for the past week or so.
Me? When I got married I went to Canobie Lake in New Hampshire for my honeymoon.

Anyway, the newly weds decided to have a romantic lunch in a restaurant in the historic center of the city.
Me? I hit Zac's Greasy Spoon with the new wife on my way home from Canobie.

Anyway, Zuckerberg and Chan feasted on deep-fried artichokes, fried pumpkin flowers and ravioli stuffed with sea bass and artichokes. They satisfied the palate with designer water and tea.
Me? We split one of Zac's Sloppy Joe Specials, with fries (nothing stuffed with anything) and washed it down with a jumbo diet Coke.

Anyway, Zuckerberg's bill was 32 euros or about $44.00.
Me? My eats set me back about $9.00 (for two).

Anyway, when Zuckerberg was asked how he liked the delicacies he said "very good".
Me? Zac is not big on people criticizing his cooking so I ate what was in front of me and kept me mouth shut.

Anyway, Zuckerberg's shares in Facebook are estimated to be worth $20 billion.
Me? I don't own any shares in anything.

Anyway, at the end of the meal the zillionaire, Mark Zuckerberg paid the bill but left no tip, zero, nada.
Me? I took out my knife sharpened pencil, figure out 20% of the bill and left the standard tip for Zac.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A coming surge in foreclosures?

Today's Globe cites a report by the Warren Group that says foreclosure petition filings - the very first step of the foreclosure process which occurs a month or more before anything arrives at the registry of deeds - were up substantially in April when compared to a year ago.  This from the Globe article:

The number of petitions — the first step in the foreclosure process — rose to 1,750 in April, a 47 percent increase from the same month in 2011, and the highest level in nearly two years, Warren Group said. Since January, 6,098 petitions have been filed statewide, a 64 percent increase compared with the first four months of last year. Foreclosure deeds — the last step in the home seizure process — ­also rose last month to 714, 19 percent more than April 2011. Between January and April, 2,968 homeowners lost their properties to foreclosure, a 30.5 percent increase compared with the same period in 2011, Warren Group said.
While this report seems to be counting new filings in Land Court, there has been no sign thus far of an uptick in foreclosure activity.  Quite the opposite.  In April 2012, for instance, we recorded 44 orders of notice and 37 foreclosure deeds compared to the April 2011 numbers of 115 orders of notice and 37 foreclosure deeds.  The May numbers to date show the same trend.  From May 1, 2012 to May 29, 2012, there were 53 orders of notice and 26 foreclosure deeds recorded.  For the same period in 2011 there were 61 orders of notice and 40 foreclosure deeds.

Today's been a busy one at the registry; we expect tomorrow, as the last day of the month, to be even busier.  Check back on Friday for our end of May statistics.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Will There Be Ink?

     Did you ever have an experience when a non-related sight, sound, event changed or clarified a concept you'd been kicking around in your head?
       It happened to me over the Memorial Day weekend. I was taking a walk with my wife (she wants me to lose weight) in an area located across from a beach. I passed a small cottage with three people sitting on a street level deck very close to the sidewalk, so close I could have touch them. I saw two young girls and one young man. I speculated all three were in their early twenties.
      Now here is the thing that struck me....the first girl was reading an electronic book on a Kindle, the young man was reading the news on his laptop computer and it looked like the second girl was scanning a magazine on her iPad.
     Something about this scene hit me...ten years ago these three would have been reading a paperback book, a printed newspaper, and a paper magazines...but not today. Today their information was all being delivered by an electronic device. I thought to myself... this is the next generation. Sand or no sand, they "want" to get there information electronically.
      I wondered... can ink and paper survive the new generation?  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Two Hundred and Nine years ago today, May 25 Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston Massachusetts.At the young age of 14 Emerson began his studies at Harvard University. At of thirty-one he moved to Concord, Mass leaving his mother's home in Newton.

In 1836 he met and became friends with Henry David Thoreau. Together they became major leaders of the Transcendental Movement, a philosophy that stressed self-reliance, individualism and a connection with Nature.

Often Emerson is given undeserved criticism when compared to Thoreau. Some label him a talker not a doer. This is unfair. Ralph Waldo Emerson was unquestionable a genius. No, he didn't send two years living in the woods, like Thoreau, but he lectured and wrote extensively. During the 1850's he gave as many as 80 lectures a year.

When Emerson died in 1882 he was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord in an area known as Author's Ridge. Renowned authors Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau are also buried on Author's Ridge.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finding "Our" Southern Middlesex Plans on the Internet

Over the past couple of days I've had several people ask me how to find "our" Southern Middlesex Plans on the Internet. First, let me explain why I called these plans "our" Southern Middlesex Plans. The Middlesex North Registry of Deeds didn't opened until July of 1855. All plans for any of our ten towns before that day were recorded at the Middlesex South Registry of Deeds in Cambridge...hence, we called them "our" Southern Middlesex Plans.

Anyway... here is how to find "our" Southern Middlesex Plans on the Internet:

Log into, select "Search Criteria", under the "Plan" section select "Unindexed Property", enter the book and page of the plan you want to view. OK, here comes a curve ball, all of "our" Southern Middlesex plan books are labeled with a prefix of "90". This means if you want to see Southern Middlesex Plan Book "2" you enter 902 for the plan book number.  After you enter the appropriate information hit "Search" and the indexing information will pop up, select "View Image"...that's it.
Here are some pictures to help...yes, I know they are kind of small, but click on them and they will enlarge.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Talking Car

Back in the olden days when I was a kid, there was a TV show called My Mother the Car. The plot of the show revolved around Attorney David Crabtree who purchased a unique 1928 Porter touring car. The car was unique because it just happened to be the reincarnation of  Crabtree's mother. And of course, the car talked to its son, the esquire, through the radio. It was without doubt one of the stupidest shows I've ever watched, "once".

Call me a little strange, but for some reason that stupid show popped into my head yesterday. "How ridiculous", I thought, "a car that talks to you.Foolish!"
Call me strange, again...but I check Google News every morning and especially enjoy the technology section. Can you believe this morning,  I read this headline in the Los Angeles Times "New Service Turns Your Car Into A Talking Personal Assistant".

Come on, are you kidding!

Hey, this time I'll call myself strange. Think about it, the day after I had some stupid, 45 year old, TV show that featured a talking car, terrorizing my brain...a headline appears in a major newspaper stating... talking-cars are just on the horizon.

It's true...

The smart technology behind the innovation was developed by Dragon, the voice recognition software. The company calls it...Dragon Drive. Truthfully, I've already seen some of the features of Dragon Drive operational in newer cars, but some I've never seen, and they look pretty cool...check them out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let's Play... "What's His Invention"

 Let's play a game. I call it "What's His Invention". Here is how it works...I'll give you ten facts about either the invention or the inventor and you see if you can guess the invention.

Sounds like fun.

First, a little introduction...Yesterday, Eugene Polley passed away at the age of 96. Polley was an engineer by trade. Before his death he lived "in a junk-cluttered house, played pool for pocket change and liked a smooth gin and tonic (Chicago Tribune). For one of the most widely used invention in the world Polley received a meager $1,000. 

Now back to the game...Are you ready to play "What's His Invention"?

OK, here we go:

1. Eugene Polley invented a device that changed the world.

2. Polley's invention forever changed the relationship between between men and women.

3. The sale of AAA batteries increased hugely because of Polley's invention.

4. Polley's invention is often lost under couch pillows.

5.  The advertising world is still in havoc because of Polley's device.

6. Polley's invention gave a new meaning to the word "surfing".

7. What Polley gave to the world might be responsible for more weight gain than most fast-food restaurants.

8. Many people call Polley's device "the clicker".

9. Eugene Polley began his career working for Zenith Corporation.

10.  In 1997 the National Academy of Television honored Eugene Polley with an Emmy Award .

So...We know the inventor is Eugene Polley but, the question is... "What's His Invention?"

Scroll down for the answer...

Answer: The Wireless TV Remote Control

Monday, May 21, 2012

Instruments of Redemption from city of Lowell

Ever since the city of Lowell held it's first in recent memory tax lien auction back on April 26, 2012, it seems that quite a few home owners have arrived here at the registry of deeds with Instruments of Redemption in their hands, seeking to record them.  The Instrument of Redemption is the document generated after the back taxes have been paid.  It must be recorded to clear the record of the initial taking.  Some of the citizens who arrive here are surprised/disappointed that they have to pay a $75 recording fee to the registry of deeds after having paid substantial sums to the city for back taxes but most realize that's the way the system works.

I assumed there had been an uptick in the number of instruments of redemption from Lowell being recorded but that was not the case.  From April 1, 2012 until today, there were 41.  From April 1, 2011 until May 21, 2011 there were 41 - the exact same number.  Maybe the ones recorded last year arrived by mail or at least less noticeably than the ones from this year. 

Whatever the case, the city is planning to try the tax lien auction again during the third week in August since the first attempt yielded no bids and made no sales.  Tax takings for FY2011 are scheduled to be completed and recorded by the end of June, so those properties will also be included in the August auction.  For more information about this tax lien auction, contact the city of Lowell Tax Title Division.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Electronic Recording statistics

When we first logged on our computers this morning we had 145 electronic recording payloads waiting for us to process.  Most were assignments sent overnight by major lenders but through the day more and more sales and refinancings handled by local attorneys came in electronically.  This prompted me to look at our 2012 statistics for electronic recording.

In January, we recorded 4911 documents of which 1472 were recorded electronically (30%).  In February, there was a total of 5065 documents of which 1664 were electronic (33%).  In March there were 5297 total documents with 1551 received electronically (29%) and in April there were 5544 documents with 1964 electronic (35%).  For the first four months of 2012, there was a total of 20817 documents recorded with 6651 submitted electronically.  That means 32% of our documents for the year were recorded electronically.  This is up from 25% for 2011.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jurors and Social Media

As someone who recently served on a jury and who also is a regular user of social media, I read with great interest a report in the May 7, 2012 edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on the decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court in the case of Commonwealth v Werner (full opinion here).  After the defendant had been convicted of larceny over $250, defense counsel discovered that one of the trial jurors had posted something about the trial on Facebook during the trial.  This prompted a motion for a new trial which was denied which denial was the basis for the appeal.

The Appeals Court upheld the trial judge's denial of the motion for a new trial mostly on the grounds that there was no evidence that the Facebook postings put any extraneous information before the jury.  The Appeals Court went on, however, to urge trial judges in their instructions to juries to be much more explicit in directing jurors to refrain from any digital discussion or comment about their jury service at least until such service was completed.  "More explicit instructions about the use of social media and the Internet may therefore be required . . . Jurors must separate and insulate their jury service from their digital lives." 

From my prior career as an attorney who handled a lot of criminal matters, I'm very familiar with the problem underlying this case.  While a trial is a search for the truth, it is a search for the truth within the very strict confines of the adversarial system and the rules of evidence.  Not every piece of information should be available to jurors.  Jurors must base their verdict only on those facts that have been subject to cross examination by the opposing party and that are also allowed by the rules of evidence.  If the jury is exposed to any information that reaches it without first going through this process, a mistrial must be declared.  In the past, scenarios that resulted in new trials involved jurors conducting experiments on their own outside of court or third parties either purposefully or inadvertently passing information to jurors.  Now that everyone with a smart phone or an iPad has access to "all the world's information" at their fingertips, the chances of extraneous information reaching jurors is greatly magnified.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mid-Month Statistics

With May half over we can look at the recording statistics for the first two weeks of the month and compare them to the same period last year.  The trends are optimistic:

The number of deeds recorded was up 33%, from 163 in the first two weeks of May 2011 to 216 in the first two weeks of May 2012.

The number of mortgages recorded was up 71%, from 327 in the first two weeks of May 2011 to 559 in the first two weeks of May 2012.

There was no percentage change in the number of foreclosure deeds - 16 for both time periods - or orders of notice - 28 in 2011 and 27 in 2012.

The big jump in mortgages is very good news.  That suggests more people are refinancing and since it's unlikely that they are doing that to extract equity from their homes, it's more likely that they are going to better rates and reduced monthly payments which is good news for the economy since any money saved by the household on mortgage payments will undoubtedly be spent on something else.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More from Registry Technology Meeting

Last night I wrote about yesterday's meeting of the Registry of Deeds Technology Advisory Committee.  Here are a few additional items that were discussed:

CERS - That stands for "Commonwealth Electronic Recording System" which is the state-created and operated electronic recording portal now in operation in Worcester.  The plan is to install it registry by registry rather than all at once.  The Suffolk Registry is the next to get it.  One of the features of this system tries to address what we see as one of the most common errors: customers sending documents to the incorrect registry.  This happens most often in counties with multiple registry districts since some customers only dig deep enough to find the correct county but not the correct district.  This new system requires the customer to select the town in which the property is located which then directs the recording to the proper registry.  Besides the underlying recording fee, this system also imposes a $5 "convenience charge" which is similar in amount to what the third party vendors like Simplifile and ACS charge their customers.  The $5 fee for the state portal goes to a company called "HP Convenience Pay Inc" which administers the system and pays the credit card fee to the issuing bank.

Abolition of Registered Land - Middlesex South Register of Deeds Gene Brune said that one of his wishes was to end Registered Land, at least on a going forward basis if not in its entirety.  His reasoning is that registered land accounts for only 15% of the land in his registry district but that the Middlesex South Registered Land Department is staffed with 50% of his employees.  The representative from the Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts (REBA) who is a member of the Technology Committee said that REBA fully agrees that registered land should be reduced, starting most likely with commercial properties, but that the organizations efforts to date to do this have met with "tremendous push back" from the Land Court and so there is little hope of it happening any time soon.

Online Information - The representative of the Mass Association of Realtors (also a tech committee member) explained that 90% of home buyers begin the purchasing process online and for that reason the more information we can put on registry of deeds websites, the better.  He said that good Q&A pages are especially helpful and that some brokers print what is already on registry websites and distribute the information as handouts to customers.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Registry of Deeds Technology Fund

Back in 2003, the state legislature created a Technology Fund to be used by the state's registries of deeds to fund new technological initiatives.  The Fund is financed through a $5 surcharge on documents recorded at each registry.  Today most of the state's registers of deeds met at the Secretary of State's office to discuss how the money is being used at the registries.

The biggest single expenditure - about one-third of the total - pays for the hardware and software of the MassLandRecords website and for the computer and communications infrastructure that connects each registry to the internet and to each other.  These costs clearly benefit each office although they would be deemed "indirect costs" since they are not directly controlled by the individual registry.

As for direct expenditures by individual registries of deeds, the most common use was for back scanning of documents and indexes.  Many offices have opted to scan their paper-based index books and to put them on MassLandRecords in an electronic book format rather than in a searchable database.  (This is the approach that we've taken at Middlesex North).  Simultaneously, the registries are also working on adding older indexes to the searchable database as well.

Electronic recording was another common expenditure.  The Worcester Registry finally has the "state portal" operational for electronic recording.  Rather than use intermediary companies such as Simplifile and ERX to provide electronic recording services between customers and registries, the "state portal" allows customers to file directly with the registry.  Now that this system is functional in Worcester, the Suffolk Registry of Deeds should be the next to try it.  Other registries that have implemented (either recently or as in the case of Lowell, quite a few years ago) electronic recording using the third party system include Fall River, Middlesex South, Taunton, Fitchburg, Norfolk, Plymouth, Springfield and Lowell.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Globe Op-Ed on Foreclosures

Attorney General Martha Coakley has an op-ed in today's Globe about new moves intended to curtail the ongoing foreclosure crisis.  Coakley writes of a statutorily mandated loan modification procedure now under consideration in the legislature and of HomeCorps, and initiative in her office, financed in part by the proceeds of the mortgage industry settlement.  HomeCoprs, according to the Op-Ed and the AG's own webpage, will provide borrowers in financial difficulty with a state-employed advocate who will help represent their interests in the loan modification process.

As Attorney General Coakley correctly observes in her Globe column, the piecemeal approach to loan modification used during the past five years has only served to prolong the foreclosure crisis.  Until there is a more comprehensive, enforceable approach that provides for principal reduction in place, there is little hope for a rapid end to the foreclosure-driven real estate slump that continues to this today.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jury Duty in Concord

We'll take a detour from real estate and technology today to mention my experience yesterday when I was called for jury duty at the Concord District Court.  Before becoming register of deeds I used to make frequent trips to that court to represent clients in probate proceedings, usually divorces.  It was always a busy session with no lack of cases which made it all the more surprising when I learned yesterday that the probate session had been closed for some time due to an insufficient number of employees left at the registry of probate after budget cuts to staff a full time satellite session like the one that had existed in Concord.

The District Court is open for business and the court when compared to the much older facilities in Lowell still seemed to be in good shape.  The loudspeaker system in the courtroom was broken, however, which made it difficult to hear some of the witnesses.  Everyone on the courthouse staff - security guards, court officers, clerks and the judge - all were professional and prompt in all their interactions with jurors.

I ended up in seat three on the jury and remained there through empanelment.  The case involved possession of illegal drugs but while there was some evidence of drugs (residue of cocaine) there wasn't any evidence linking the defendant to the drugs and so the judge granted the defense attorney's motion for a required finding of not guilty at the close of the prosecution's case.  That brought the trial to an immediate conclusion and our services as jurors were no longer needed.

In the orientation video that everyone watches (which is new since I last was called for jury duty three years ago), the narrator quotes John Adams as saying that voting and serving on juries are the heart and lungs of a democracy.  As inconvenient as it may be to drop out of your daily routine to participate in jury duty, it is an important service.  After my experience yesterday, I can also attest that it is a rewarding experience as well. 

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Next Big Thing...Maybe

I am just finishing up a book titled "The New New Thing" by Michael Lewis. One of its major themes is that once something hits big in the technology world there is another thing that quickly follows behind. That is "the new new thing".
     Last week the New York Times listed technology starts up that might become "the next Big Thing".

Here is a list of four:

Square: Square was developed by one of the founders of Twitter. It is an App with an attachment that allows vendors to turn a cell phone into a credit card reader.

Airtime: Actually, I was a little hesitant to write about Airtime since little is known about it right now except that it is being developed by the two guys that started Napster the music sharing site...this time Sean Parker and Sean Fanning are developing a movie sharing site.

Quora: Got a question...Quora's got the answer. It is kind of a wiki. A member asks a question and other members answer it. Behind this start up are Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheevers two of the original Facebook employees. 

Dropbox: Dropbox has been around for a while now, but it is still a start up. Dropbox is a kind of cloud storage for files, photos and music. Can you believe it already has 50 million users.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

MassLandRecords "basket" function

The MassLandRecords website which contains all of our digital document images permits users to view images, to print them and to download them.  The earlier version of MLR downloaded the documents as single page TIF images.  The downloads on the new version, done through the "basket" function, came to your computer as PDF files. While PDFs are probably more portable and are certainly easier to view for many people.  However, TIF images offered customers more flexibility - some would paste them into Word documents, for example - than was the case with PDFs.  To accommodate such innovations, we recently modified the website to permit downloads in either PDF or TIF format.  Once you open your basket after adding a document to it, you now click on either PDF or TIF to begin the download with the file coming to you in whichever format you chose.

Monday, May 07, 2012


Last month Facebook purchased Instagram, a popular photo sharing site. The price? a staggering $1 billion! A few years ago I read an article in the New York Times about Instagram. The App sounded interesting so I downloaded it (for free naturally). Days went by, weeks went by, then months went by and I never used it, not even once, so I deleted it off my iPhone. Then I read that Facebook paid $1 billion for the App and I asked myself, "what am I missing". 

Well, Instagram is move than just another photo-sharing site. You can also manipulate color tones of pictures you and your friends have taken. The video below is a good demonstration of Instagram and what you can do with it.   

Friday, May 04, 2012

Median sales prices

I recently ran a report seeking the median sales price of deeds recorded in various communities in this registry district for 2010, 2011 and the first four months of 2012.  I limited the query to deeds with consideration greater than $75,000 but less than $750,000.  Here are the results:

Lowell – The median sales price on a deed recorded for property in Lowell during 2010 was $180,000 (N (number of deeds) = 962).  The median price of those recorded during 2011 was $170,000 (N = 904), a decline of 6%.  The median price of those recorded during the first four months of 2012 was $169,900 (N = 265) which represents no change from the 2011 median.

Billerica - The median sales price on a deed recorded for property in Billerica during 2010 was $300,000 (N = 387).  The median price of those recorded during 2011 was $285,000 (N = 334), a decline of 5%.  The median price of those recorded during the first four months of 2012 was $243,000 (N = 116) which represents a decline of 15% from the 2011 median.

Chelmsford - The median sales price on a deed recorded for property in Chelmsford during 2010 was $290,000 (N = 372).  The median price of those recorded during 2011 was $275,250 (N = 406), a decline of 5%.  The median price of those recorded during the first four months of 2012 was $279,000 (N = 98) which represents a decline of 1% from the 2011 median.

Dracut - The median sales price on a deed recorded for property in Dracut during 2010 was $237,000 (N = 345).  The median price of those recorded during 2011 was $214,800 (N = 327), a decline of 9%.  The median price of those recorded during the first four months of 2012 was $210,000 (N = 97) which represents a decline of 2% from the 2011 median.

Tewksbury - The median sales price on a deed recorded for property in Tewksbury during 2010 was $289,000 (N = 333).  The median price of those recorded during 2011 was $280,000 (N = 313), a decline of 7%.  The median price of those recorded during the first four months of 2012 was $235,000 (N = 112) which represents a decline of 16% from the 2011 median.

Tyngsborough - The median sales price on a deed recorded for property in Tyngsborough during 2010 was $262,000 (N = 152).  The median price of those recorded during 2011 was $262,000 (N = 151), representing no change.  The median price of those recorded during the first four months of 2012 was $215,000 (N = 33) each represents a decline of 18% from the 2011 median.

Westford - The median sales price on a deed recorded for property in Westford during 2010 was $338.250 (N = 358).  The median price of those recorded during 2011 was $360,000 (N = 294), a decline of 8%.  The median price of those recorded during the first four months of 2012 was $361,000 (N = 81) which represents no change from the 2011 median.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Gone! or Will Be

It is hard to think of  a part of our daily lives that has not been changed by the digital world.  Today we own devices that weren't even imagined twenty years ago...and even more interestingly there so many things we no longer need or use. 

Yesterday several local news outlets ran a story that originated in Britain on the online publication The Telegraph. The article listed "things" the digital revolution has made obsolete or will make obsolete in the near future.

Here is a sampling (BTW I added a few my own)...

Handwritten letters
Music CD's
Fax Machines
The Yellow Pages
Paper Maps for directions
Book-bond encyclopedias
Printed photographs
Personal Pagers
Copy Machine

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

My visit to the Northeast Assn of Realtors

This morning I was joined by Kevin Harvey, the assistant register of deeds of Essex South as the guest speakers of the quarterly meeting of the Northeast Association of Realtors at the organization's headquarters at 6 Lyberty Way in Westford.  Kevin, who was appearing on behalf of his boss, Essex South Register of Deeds John O'Brien, who is perhaps the nation's most recognized critic of MERS which stands for Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc.  Kevin gave a detailed and very interesting account of how concerns about MERS were first brought to Register O'Brien by a constituent.  The deeper O'Brien dug, the more questions arose.  He has not stopped digging.  Along the way, he also latched onto the issue of robo-signers (the practice by employees of some major lenders signing the names of other employees to legal documents), an abusive practice that was highlighted on Sixty Minutes.

My own view of MERS and robo-signers is more nuanced.  MERS has been in existence since the mid-1990s and as long as everything was going well with real estate, no one worried about it.  Only after the market collapsed in 2007 did people start questioning the legality of MERS.  I know that MERS was involved in some shabby practices, but so was almost every national lender doing business during the housing boom.  There's nothing unique to MERS that should cause that entity to be singled out.  But that's just my opinion and as I told the realtors, if the law in this and other areas was black and white, the Supreme Court wouldn't decided cases on 5 to 4 votes.

The topic that was of greatest interest to the assembled realtors was the continuing effects of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision in the Ibanez case.  There, the SJC held that in order to foreclose a mortgage, the foreclosing entity must first have ownership of the mortgage by some type of assignment.  Without an effective assignment in existence before the foreclosure, the foreclosure would be void and all subsequent owners would have defective titles.  Since this would make such properties unmarketable until the defect is cleared, realtors have a practical reason for distinguishing between good foreclosures and defective foreclosures.  Why put a lot of effort into a sale that's likely to fall through just prior to closing because of a void foreclosure in the recent past?  Unless some curative legislation is enacted, a substantial number of properties will fall into this category.

In conclusion, it was a pleasure speaking with this assembled group of realtors.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Not MY Google

Did you hear what Google did (allegedly)? I mean, I'm having a really hard time believing this is true, but then again, I still insist on getting a chocolate bunny every Easter.

Have you ever used Google's Street View? I'll bet you have. It is great. Street View is a pictorial log of most of the United States. Believe it or not Google had cars drive up and down most streets in the US taking panoramic pictures of the buildings, trees and most everything else in their path.

Actually, Street View is available in about 50 countries throughout the world. I mainly use it when I'm looking for directions to a destination I've never gone to before.

OK, Street View is great, but did you here what Google "supposedly" did while taking these 360 degree images? Wow...I'm in semi-disbelief (is there such a mental state as semi-disbelief?). But then again, I went to the dentist last week and found $2.00 under my pillow that night.

While the "Google-mobiles" were driving around the US capturing every nook and cranny they were also collecting something else, or that's what some think anyway.

I still can't believe it...I really can't. MY Google do something like this? Never! If this is true, I'll sell you that bridge I bought last year in Brooklyn for a buck.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, at the same time as they took pictures, the Google-mobiles also collected personal information from unsecured wireless networks as it cruised the highways and byways of the America.

Come on! Are you kidding me?   

Google officials claim the "supposed" spy software was "supposedly" installed without their knowledge or authorization by an "alleged", "supposed" Google engineer, who was "acting on his own"...but the FCC doesn't agree. 

According to EPIC, "a public interest research center in Washington D.C"., the FCC's report on the personal data collection by Google "indicates that Google intentionally intercepted payload data for business purposes and that many supervisors and engineers within the company reviewed the code and the design documents associated with the project".

Yicks! Google, say it isn't so!  I just DO NOT BELIEVE IT...but then again, I think its awful that Celtics' guard Rajon Rondo was suspended because he "accidentally" tripped into that NBA referee the other night.