Where To Find One Of Comcast’s 300,000 NE Hotspot

by Categorized: Cable TV, Telecom Date:

COMCAST POWERS 300,000 XFINITY WIFI HOTSPOTS IN NEW ENGLAND

Comcast has reached 300,000 Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots in New England.
Xfinity is the fastest and has more hotspots than any other WiFi network in the region, nation
Xfinity customers, as part of their monthly services, can access this service by selecting “xfinitywifi” from the available networks on their mobile device or laptop. You will need a Comcast ID or email and password for the initial connection.

To find the nearest hotspot, download the Xfinity Wi-Fi App (iOS and Android) or use the finder map here.

Mortgage Rates Down: 30-Year At 4.32 Percent

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates dipped in the past week, with 30-year fixed rates averaging 4.32 nationally and 15-year rates at 3.32 percent, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
A week ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.37 percent, 15-year rates 3.38 percent.

The numbers in New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.32 percent
15-year: 3.32 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.36 percent
15-year: 3.37 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 3.57 percent
15-year: 2.75 percent

Software Deactivates, But Staples, Microsoft Won’t Help

by Categorized: Consumer Electronics (TV, Privacy, Technology Date:

hc-Microsoft-Office-Home-2013
Today’s Bottom Line column:

Welcome to “Password,” the new reality show that follows people who forget user names and log-ins to important accounts, then become increasingly annoyed, frustrated and baffled when they cannot recover them.

Our first contestant, Paul Drury of Glastonbury, locked himself out of Microsoft Office Home & Business 2013 and Microsoft Access 2013 in February after trying to fix an ongoing issue with Outlook.

“This resulted in all of my office applications converted to Office 365 and deactivated,” Drury says.

More . . .

How Do Electricity Suppliers Get Away With It?

by Categorized: Consumer Complaints Date:
(Courant File Photo)

(Courant File Photo)

This weekend’s Bottom Line column:

If you can name the company that supplies your home’s electricity, the monthly rate, whether it’s fixed or variable, the contract length and possible cancellation fees, maybe you’re not among the hundreds of people who have complained this year about rate spikes or lined up to speak at one of five public hearings about the state’s alternate electricity suppliers.

To everyone else: Have you checked your electric bill lately?

More . . .

Mortgage Rates Up Slightly: 30-Year At 4.37 Percent

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates increased slightly in the past week as 30-year fixed rates averaged 4.37 percent nationally and 15-year rates averaged 3.38 percent, according to data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.
A week ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.28 percent and 15-year rates averaged 3.32.

The numbers from New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.36 percent
15-year: 3.37 percent

Last week
30-year: 4.26 percent
15-year: 3.32 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 3.64 percent
15-year: 2.83 percent

Spring Is Calling: Free Bluebird Boxes

by Categorized: Green Date:

Bluebirds are returning to Connecticut, ready to nest. The Bluebird Guardians at Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield, who have bluebird boxes throughout the facility’s 87 acres, have some tips — and free bluebird boxes — for the rest of us:

>> Select good habitat. Put the boxes in an open space with low or sparse ground cover and scattered trees. “Here at Duncaster seven boxes have been moved over the years in order to try to develop better location,” he says.
>> Avoid brushy and heavily wooded areas. These are the places that other invasive species like to nest. These birds drive out the bluebirds and take over their nesting boxes.
>> Avoid areas where house sparrows are abundant. These birds especially like to nest building so stay away from them when choosing a spot for your bluebird box. House sparrows will kill bluebirds and destroy eggs and young.
>> Avoid areas where pesticides are being used.
>> Face boxes toward open areas with some foliage nearby. Ideally, the entrance hole of a bluebird box should face away from prevailing winds for protection. In addition, a good spot also has a tree or suitable perch 40 to 100 feet from the box. These are good spots for hatchlings to stop on their first flight.
>> Keep boxes at least 50 yards apart. This allows the bluebirds to establish a territory around the nest box.
>> Protect boxes against predators. Snakes, raccoons, housecats, and other predators will raid nest boxes. If they do it often enough, the bluebirds will abandon them. The Duncaster boxes are mounted on metal poles to prevent these predators from accessing them.
>> Monitor the boxes. Like the Duncaster volunteers, make sure to check the boxes at least once a week during the nesting season to record progress of the nestlings and to control house sparrows.
>> Always remove unused or foreign birds’ nests. To encourage second or third broods, remove bluebird and other nests as soon as young birds leave home.
>> Inspect boxes in early fall and late winter; clean and repair if necessary. Bluebirds are less likely to nest in a box that has an old nest in them, so make sure to remove them. In addition, old nests increase the numbers of parasites in the box which can cause future nests to fail.

Duncaster has bluebird boxes available for anyone who would like to try their hand at attracting them for their second nesting of this season. There is still time to put them up this year since bluebirds have more than one brood a year.

To set a time to pick up your free bluebird box at Duncaster, contact Fran Kent at fKent@duncaster.org or call her at 860-380-5006. The boxes are free and available for anyone who would like them.

How To Choose A Real Estate Agent

by Categorized: Real Estate, Uncategorized Date:

What to ask when choosing a real estate agent? Here are 12 questions from Brett Furman, a broker in St. Davids, Pa.

1. How long have you been marketing real estate?
2. Do you have a Broker’s license?
3. What do you know about the market in my area?
4. How many people did you help buy and sell houses over the past two years?
5. Am I locked into a contract with you, and, if so, how long?
6. What is your average sale price to list price? (Should be 90% or higher)
7. What is your past average number of days on the market? (Should be 94 days or less)
8. Will you produce a movie/slide show of my home?
9. Do you recommend a pre-sale inspection? (Eliminates need for backend negotiations)
10. Do you recommend a pre-sale appraisal? (Helps set price correctly)
11. Can I speak to some of your previous clients? (Check Angie’s List for reviews)
12. What do you recommend to your clients about social media? (Stay out during house hunting & selling)

Study: Credit Card Debt Increased $38.2 Billion In 2013

by Categorized: Credit Cards Date:

A sure sign that people are less concerned about the economy: They took out their credit cards again in 2013. Outstanding credit card increased $38.2 billion in 2013, according to CardHub’s 2013 Credit Card Debt Study released Monday.

That’s 8 percent more than the previous year. CardHub projects a $41.2 billion increase this year.

“One could easily come to the conclusion that 2013 was a healthy year for consumer spending given the fact that outstanding credit card debt increased only $10.4 billion while defaults fell 16.7 percnet,” says CardHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. “But that would fail to take into account the $27.7 billion that we defaulted on, yet still owe. As has been the case in recent years, the first quarter of 2013 was the only one in which we paid down debt.”

Other numbers:

>> $42 Billion: The amount of credit card debt that U.S. consumers accumulated in Q4 2013 alone. This represents a 5 percent increase relative to Q4 2012.
>> $6,971:The average household’s credit card balance.

>> $267 Billion: The amount of credit card debt that consumers have defaulted on in the past five years – a boon for collection agencies, to say the least.
>> 16.7 percent: The credit card default rate declined 16.7 percent in 2013 and is now approaching historical lows. A reversal in this trend could lead to a significant credit crunch.