CKS Financial Credit Repair

CKS Financial asked me to help get the message out about easy to follow credit repair steps. Some of us were never really taught just how important a credit score can be.

I remember my father always talking about intelligent financial decisions when I was younger but I never really cared.

It is a different story when you are ready to have a family and finally get into a house. Here is a video created for CKS Financial LLC that shows the 3 easy steps you can take to be on the road to an amazing credit score.

Always try to make sure you utilize less than 30% of your total credit cards limits. Less than 10% is the best but less than 30% can seriously increase your credit score.

I had a lot of fun with this video, it is my first semi-pro video. I got to use a greenscreen, two Olympus EPL micro 4/3 cameras, shotgun mic with xoom recorder all tied together with adobe After Effects and Premiere.

 

Samsung Galaxy S4 ZOOM VS Galaxy S4 – Photo samples

Are you wondering if this phone would be a good choice for you?

For me, it really comes down to only a view small factors:

  • Size of the phone
  • Zoom ability

I will explain:

This thing may say S4 and it seems as fast (even though the processor is slower) but its not an S4. It does not have the screen size, resolution on the LCD, the small form factor or SPEED. So why would you even consider the Galaxy S4 ZOOM???

Well, the phone does one thing and it does it well. IT TAKES EXCELLENT PHOTOS. Are the photos so much better that you should drop your S4 and replace it today. NO. The photos are pretty comparable in all instances except when you need to zoom in on your child riding a ride at the park, or anything that interests you outside of 5 feet basically.  Why is this? Well as the marketing of the phone probably already gave away, it has a HUGE Optical ZOOM lens getting you 10 times closer to anything you point at.

Galaxy-S4Zoom--Comparison-shots

Zoom abilities are not good for group photos, but it does give you some creativeness with portraits or far away objects.  The Macro ability is also alot cleaner than the regular S4. Strikingly so when you look at the details at pixel level.

Galaxy-S4-comparison-shots

Overall the larger camera sensor allows slightly better macro and low light level photos. But it is nothing to write home about.  Where this camera really shines is the ability to ZOOM without any degradation. Digital zoom will never be as good as optical zoom for obvious reasons. If you find yourself wanting to take photos at a distance quite a bit, or wish you could get closer quite a bit, then this phone is worth it.

GalxyS4Zoom-Macro

Otherwise for day to day photos, the Galaxy S4 works just fine while coming in a smaller package with a faster processor and bigger screen.

GalaxyS4-upclose

One thing I did not show here is the video capabilities of the ZOOM. It does take amazing videos and allows you to use the zoom during the whole video. Unfortunately you can hear the lens zooming in and out in the video so post processing will be required.

s4-zoom-size

I am slightly sad that this phone is not as popular because I am a big fan of improving camera technology to the point it is easy to carry around. This thing is just too big. I am going to keep the ZOOM for now but am frankly tired of explaining the pros and cons to everyone that asks ‘WHAT THE !?!?! IS THAT”

Galaxy-S4-Zoom-next-to-the-S4

I would much rather see an even LARGER SENSOR and an expensive prime lens instead of a zoom lens.

Beginner Basics of Corporate Video Interviews in Adobe Premiere

So, I wanted to start performing interviews to make our company’s goals more apparent as well as adding a personal touch.

A great way to get professional video on a budget:

  • Find a quiet closed off room with no air ducts or constant buzzing sounds
  • Use a DSLR for video
  • Make your own lights (use the same color of bulb and 3 point lighting techniques)
  • Purchase green felt for behind the subject, Premiere and after effects makes it super easy to change their setting
  • Take crisp photos of interesting place in the office (and outside the office) you could have conducted the interview for backgrounds and intro/fillers.
  • Set up multiple (2-3) angles even if you use a phone camera as an extra, it makes for a much more interesting video when you can switch views throughout the video.
  • Practice interviewing someone before the real interview(s) This is one of the most important steps because you want to answer a question that interests your viewers, not subject them to a long drawn out ‘look how smart the CEO is’ video.
  • Apply translucent powder to the interviewees face, even guys. This will remove glares and shines from the nose forehead and cheeks.
  • Use a video host like Wistia so you don’t have to worry about your video loading properly on different mediums. (Yes I use Wistia, not trying to advertise them but look at their learning section!)

I have had plenty of issues starting what I thought would be easy. Here are a few things I wish I would have known before starting this project:

  • Phones like the Nokia Lumia or the Iphone or even the Galaxy S4 can be used for different angles, but it is a major PITA to get all of the video aligned when stopping every 5 minutes because of the 2GB Fat32 limitations. (Multi-Camera editing) So you might want to ask if anyone has a video camera you could use, even if it is consumer level.
  • Make a loud clapping sound at the end of every take you found amazingly interesting so it is easy to find when editing. (look for the audio wave form that goes all the way to the top)
  • Don’t be afraid to re-ask the same question to get more insight. (If you felt there was a weird eye twitch or it just did not feel right, then you are probably right, get more video!)
  • Assure every camera is properly recording sound, without sound you have to match all of the videos by hand, the new Adobe Premiere CC has the ability to align videos by their sound tracks, saving hours if not days of time.

Ducati Diavel 1 year Review

So I have had this Italian muscle machine for a little over a year now, and I am pleased to announce that I am still absolutely in love with it.

Why? Well I grew up riding dirt bikes which is hands down the most intimate you can get with a motorcycle in my opinion. On the road you are very limited in terms of ‘having fun’. The Bugati Veyron, touted as one of the fastest production cars in the world knows the same rush from 0-60 as this machine, yet the Diavel costs less than installing a new set of rubber on the Veyron. So……

1 year later the things I like most about my Ducati Diavel:

  • The twisting power at the rear wheel makes my heart flutter every ride.
  • With after market exhaust it has a DEEP rumble that says I am the big boy on the block (at least in sport bike gatherings)
  • The attention,  a guy rubber necking me totaled a car 10 feet from me. No lie.
  • It is respected in the sportbike community as having an almost comical acceleration factor
  • Comfort, no wrist issues like I get on sportbikes, but its no couch like a typical cruiser either.

1 year later things I don’t like about it:

  • POWER – I cannot contain myself, I only have 1 reckless ticket so far, good luck trying to contain yourself. (just as all superbike owners know)
  • Key Fob, it is nice not to have to fumble for your keys but it could use better range, I found it works better in my jacket pocket than in my pants.
  • I still wish it looked better at night, I purchased the accent leds but it will never sparkle at night like a chromed out cruiser does.
  • I spend about $500 every 3k miles for new rubber, so if you ride as much as I do (10k miles in a year) you need to add around $2300 to your annual motorcycle budget. ($approx $800 every 7500 for valve maintenance)

Again if you are either A: A motorcycle nut like myself or B: have some money and want the very best.. this is your choice HANDS DOWN.  It sounds DEEP and muscle like, and it rips faster than 99% of the cruisers on the market.

To each their own, some people love this bike, I mean absolutely LOVE this bike, and then some people are like ‘EWW that thing is ugly’. You will get a lot of attention, mostly from sport bike riders and non-American cruiser riders , Harley riders only respect Harley riders, I have a feeling even the V-Rod with same big ass 240 rear tire isn’t that commonly accepted even though its blood. Id say 1 percent of the Harley community has stopped to ask about my bike, and about 40% of sport bikers are goo goo over it.  This bike is race bred, its not a lead sled, it is a powerful lightweight land missile and should be respected as such.

Out of my 20 plus bikes I have owned this one keeps me smiling! I look back every time I get off it. It does not stop getting looks EVERY SINGLE PLACE I GO. Just like Ferrari owners, you will get a little jealousy, but its worth it baby! I get the ‘male nod’ every single time I ride whether its from a cage passing me or fellow rider. Be prepared to know how much it weighs and how much power it puts out at the rear fatty if you buy one, because I guarantee you will get a lot of questions. :) Big Grin
 

*Diavel Photo Credit belongs to none other than William – Yeah Somehow I made it look pro by using ‘light painting’

Ducati Diavel Review by WIlliam

What was Ducati thinking??? Ducati is known for their superbikes, right? Well that is what attracted me to this so-called cruiser. I am now 35 and too old to keep hugging a gas tank, plus my wrists start killing me and I want to be able to go on longer rides with a passenger.

So I test rode the Ducati Diavel. All I can say is OMG! It sounds like a BEAST! Have you ever heard an RC51 or any twin sport bike with no baffles and fell in love? I owned everything from growing up on a dirt bike to a basic Harley to a GSXR 1000 to a Triumph Speed Triple. Nothing compares to the overall categories this baby covers. I have to say my favorite relaxing deep sounding bike was my 03 Kawasaki Vulcan Meanstreak with no baffles. The Diavel does not have quite the tractor sound the meanstreak did but you can hear the tractor sound resonating through. Especially around a bunch of sport bikes, the Diavel makes any sport bike baffle or not, sound like a weed eater on steroids. I find myself revving the throttle with the clutch in quite a bit, just to hear the sound while I’m cruising around.

Diavel-comparisonSo is it more like a cruiser or more like a sport bike?? Coming from both worlds, the Ducati Diavel is 100% superbike bred. It may have a slight low center of gravity feel and have that deep throaty powerful sound, but it will scare the sh*t out of you if you aren’t careful. You have to respect its power 100% of the time, just like a superbike.

The bike is constantly gaining attention; so much so that I think some of my regular sport bike riding friends are tired of seeing me bask in the spotlight. It definitely gets more attention from sport bike riders than cruiser riders. In fact, at Harley events I might get 1 or 2 people asking what the hell is that.

What are my favorite things about the Ducati Diavel?

  • Its looks, it is beautifully designed, gets a lot of attention
  • Its power both torque and horsepower wise
  • It’s up-right comfortable seating position
  • Fat 240 rear tire
  • Traction control / computer air temp, avg mpg
  • Key Fob, never have to fish for the key in my pocket

What are my least favorite things about the Ducati Diavel?

  • At night it isn’t as beautiful as a typical chromed out cruiser
  • Doesn’t have heated hand grips
  •  Gas tank is a little small at 4.5 gallons and only has a dummy light
  • MPG ranges 35-45 depending on riding style, a little low compared to other bikes
  • Only 1 Ducati Dealer within an hour drive
  • Expensive to maintain from the tire, to the valve maintenance

The RPM range seems pretty tight compared to most super bikes rapping out at 10k. From 1000-4000 it has plenty of torque but feels clunky because the horsepower doesn’t really start kicking in until 5k. I know the bike pretty well now and know exactly how many gears to drop down to stomp on it whenever I want. At  0-60 in 2.6 seconds, there are very few bike or production cars that can come close to its in-town bursts.

Overall the Ducati Diavel is by far the sexiest beast I have ever ridden. I have ridden 3,000 miles in 2 months and still get a sweet smile on my face every time I ride. This bike is relaxed enough to put around town but mean enough to keep 1000 cc sport bikes in check

A VIDEO review the 1st week I had the bike

2012 Ducati DIavel- Review

Watch this video on YouTube.

 

2012 Brammo Empulse R Specifications

Wow! 54 Horsepower is pretty impressive. The torque is amazing too. Enough power for hooligans but not enough to hang with the super bikes. If you ask me, this is the perfect in town bike. I would also use it to commute to work even though my work is only 8 miles away. Plus I can only imagine the ‘What is that’ looks on riders faces at the local motorcycle meetups.

If I do get one of these bad boys I better be ready to defend its silent exhaust note and its relatively low power/range. But hey its the price we pay to advance technology, this is the beginning of what is to come. People that pay extra for less right now can justify it by the gas savings, which will hopefully push battery technology to the next level.

I honestly feel like Brammo took their time to do it right. Zero may makes a good bike too but if I had to choose it would be an Empulse all the way!

 

Brammo Empulse vs Zero S ZF9

They are decently even all the way around but the empulse has 2 fun factors the S does not have:

-6 gear transmission

-a top speed of over 100mph

The brammo also has a nice fat 180 rear wheel compared to the dinky Zero’s 130.

Zero does not claim any horsepower that I can find, but I am guessing the Brammo Empulse has it easily beat in the power department. I will see if I can scrap up some more info on this. Comparatively I think I am biased on Brammo Empulse’s side because is it so close to an actual streetfighter that could be accepted in the motorcycle community. By looking at the specs, the Zero S seems more like a big toy to me. But once again this is speculation, without seeing them and riding both of them side by side.

What I do know is that the power and low end torque delivery is close to my friends Kawasaki ER-6N that is an absolute BLAST to ride around town even though it gets snickered at on the track. I am not a track rider personally, but I do enjoy ripping up the pavement and this bike has no problem fitting the streetfighter profile. Big Grin.

 

 

Official 2012 Brammo Empulse R Specifications
Empulse Motor
Motor Type: Permanent Magnet AC (PMAC) – Water Cooled
Motor Controller: Sevcon Gen 4
Peak Motor Power: 40kW, @ 8,200 rpm (54 hp)
Peak Continuous Current: 270 amps
Final Drive: Direct Chain Drive (14/48) 520 O-ring chain
Transmission: IET 6 speed gearbox with multi-plate, hydraulic activated wet clutch
Max Motor Torque: 63Nm (46.5 foot pounds)
Battery Pack
Battery Type Brammo Power™ BPM15/90 Lithium-Ion ( NCM Chemistry)
Battery Pack Capacity: 9.31 kWh (nominal), 10.2 kWh (max)
Battery Pack Voltage: 103.6 V (nominal)
Battery Life: 1,500 cycles to 80% capacity (100% DOD)
Recharge Time: Level I maximum charging time: 8 Hours. (0 – 99% SOC, no cell imbalances)
Level II maximum charging time: 3.5 Hours. (0 – 99% SOC, no cell imbalances)Every 10 minutes of Level II charging adds up to 5 miles of range
Empulse R Performance
Empulse R Performance: 100 + mph (160 + km/h)
Driving Range: City: 121 miles* (195 km)
Highway: 56 miles** (90 km)
Combined: 77 miles*** (124 km)*SAE City Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles (variable speed, 19 mph / 30km/h average)
**SAE Highway / Constant Speed Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles (70 mph / 113 km/h sustained)
*** SAE Highway Commuting Cycle (.5 City weighting, .5 Highway weighting)
Operating Modes: 2 Operating Modes selectable through the handlebar switch:
1. “Normal” – limits acceleration by reducing maximum current delivered to the motor through the motor controller in order to maximize driving range.
2. “Sport” – provides maximum performance in both acceleration and top speed.
Regenerative Braking: Under deceleration, energy is returned to the battery system to both extend driving range and provide familiar rider feedback.
Operating Cost: Assuming 13 cents /kWh for electricity:1 cent per mile around town
2 cents per mile on the highway
Data Collection: Brammo DDC™ (Dynamic Data Collection) records key motorcycle parameters at 1Hz (1 sample/second) for analysis and service support.
Empulse R Dimensions
Weight: 440lbs. / 200kg
Seat Height: 31.5” 80.0 cm
Width: 31.8” (bar end-to-bar end) 80.77 cm
Height: 42.6” (highest portion of the dash) 108.2 cm
Length: 81.3” 206.5 cm
Ground Clearance: 7.3” 18.54 cm
Storage Capacity: Optional Brammo hard saddle bags and top trunk.
Fuel Economy: 485 mpg-e 206 km/L-e
Carrying Capacity: Cargo Capacity 365 lbs. / 165.6 kg (805 lbs. / 365.1 kg total combined motorcycle, rider, passenger and cargo)
Wheelbase: 58.0” 147.32 cm
Warranty: 2 Years (Limited Factory Warranty) 1 year Fender-to-Fender Limited Warranty, 2 year Limited Powertrain Warranty (Batteries and Motor)
Colors: True Blood Red, Eclipsed Black, White Noise
Empulse R Key Components
Frame: Brammo E-Beam™ Aluminum, Fabricated by Accossato in Italy
Suspension Front: Fully Adjustable 43mm Marzocchi Forks
Suspension – Rear: Fully Adjustable Sachs Shock
Brakes – Front: Dual 310mm Brembo floating disk with twin four piston Hydraulic Brembo Brake Calipers, Radial Mount.
Brakes – Rear: Brembo single disk with dual piston Hydraulic Brembo Brake Caliper
Wheels (Front/Back): 17”x 3.5” Marchesini / 17” x 5.5” Marchesini
Tires (Front/Back): 120/70-17 AVON AV79 / 180/55-17 AVON AV80
Instrumentation: LCD display; speed, tach, odometer, gear position, energy consumption, battery status, estimated range and system status

Brammo Finally Announces Release Date for the Empulse

I received this email yesterday. It is about time!  I can’t wait to hear the specs on the new transmission. I’ll bet it has some serious power improvments over the Zero, but we will see.

 

Dear William xxx,

We are proud to announce that we will be revealing the production version of
the much anticipated Brammo
Empulse on May 8th, 2012. The launch event will take place in Los Angeles and
will be webcast live to all pre-order customers. Since the Empulse concept was
first revealed, a vast amount of development and testing has taken place and we
are confident that you will be delighted with the ground-breaking electric
motorcycle we are about to reveal. On April 18th we will announce full
specifications of this exciting milestone in the evolution of motorcycling,
giving you every opportunity to become familiar with the Empulse before seeing
it for the first time on May 8th.

Electric motorcycle racing is an integral part of our lives here at Brammo
and our experience and championship record on the track has played a critical
role in the evolution of the Empulse from concept to production. Professional
racers have had a hand in the development of the Empulse and they will be
sharing their Empulse riding experiences and impressions with you at the reveal
on May 8th.

Follow this link and learn more about the Empulse and its roots in
Brammo’s racing heritage
.

If you have questions about the Brammo Empulse simply email empulse@brammo.com for an answer.

The Brammo
Team

Adobe Edge Pros and Cons

Where does Adobe Edge fit? It is still in Preview phase but will be released soon. After some research, this is where I see its current state. Correct me if I missed anything.

What it is currently good for:
Creating banner ads for phone browsers.
Opening your html pages and adding sweet little animations. (HTML opens right up as a regular css webpage and you can add flash like effects to any div on your page)
Preparing for the future.

Pros:
It is compatible will all new browsers without any plugin conflicts, like apple has with Flash.
It is based on HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript so it is easy to work with other developers without them having to know Adobe Edge.

Cons:
It cannot be used in older browsers which right now is roughly 40% of the population*
Some advanced programming features are still much faster in Flash.

I would bet my savings that HTML will eventually take over Flash applications, so now is the time to start learning jquery and html5.

*css3 compatibility
*ie6-7 and 8 reach

House Foreclosed on after the Short Sale

I just received a call from my realtor saying that he wanted to let me know that the home we just purchased through foreclosure 5 days ago was sold today on the court house steps.

He knew this because the listing agent was called by the winning bidder and wanted access to the house.

Needless to say, I am a little worried even though we have all the paperwork showing we purchased the home fair and square. But we do not have the title in hand yet.

I wonder how much he paid.

I wonder if he has any right.

 

We have already invested several thousands of dollars… I am worried.

 

He is supposed to call me back and let me know what happens.

 

It sounds like Flagstar’s short sale department did not speak to Flagstars foreclosure department.

Does anyone know anything about what could happen. My brother found this article but it did not help much.
Short sale mistake

 

 

U P D A T E :

 

Start Reading here>

1/4/12 – Email from Title company to Flagstar:

” xxxx,

Please be advised, the listing agent for the above referenced transaction, xxxx, received a call earlier today from xxxx (757-xxx-xxxx) who stated he purchased this property at the court steps via foreclosure today. See attached trustees sale print that was provided to us.

However, this transaction closed 01-30 per your company’s approval of the final lender approved HUD (see email below). Due to the court’s holiday schedule the documents could not be recorded until Tuesday 01-03.  The transaction was disbursed according to the buyer’s closing agency and the documents were overnighted to you per the shortsale approval letter yesterday 01-03..

I have attached all seller executed documents (shortsale documents and final HUD) for your reference.

The UPS package for the shortsale package sent from the buyers closing agent, Advance Title, with the proceeds check for Flagstar’s Proceeds was delivered as per the shortsale instructions at 10:09am today 10-04 and signed for by “xxxx” according to UPS. The tracking number for your reference is # xxxx

The call from xxxx has caused all parties to the transaction to become alarmed.  We ask that you address this matter immediately so all parties may be further assured your shortsale agreement was in good faith.  Please advise our office how you intend to proceed as soon as possible.”

 

1/4/12 – Email from Loss Mitigation /Flagstar to Title Company

“Good afternoon.  I am currently working on this with the attorney.  It appears that today when the request was made to close the file with our attorney that the request occurred minutes after the sale took place.  The reason that the sale was not place on hold sooner was that the documents for the closing package were not received prior to the sale which caused a delay in the request.

I am currently working with the attorney in determining the process to rescind the sale.

I will have an update by tomorrow morning at the latest.”

 

1/6/12 - Email from Loss Mitigation /Flagstar to Title Company

I am currently working with the foreclosure attorney in rescinding the sale.  The third party buyer has been exceptional in assisting us with this as the purchase was valid.  At this time I am working on getting the deposit made back to the other individual, and actively seeking assistance from our attorneys to determine if the process can be sped up.

Unfortunately, this has never occurred before, especially with a third party buyer so I cannot provide a time line.  Our attorney has advised me that given the cooperation of the other buyer, this will be a quick and clean process.  

Any updates I receive I will forward.”

 

 

———

Geez.

It looks like everything is going to work out just fine. That was scary for a couple days. Hard to sleep, we already have enough going on with our jobs, fixing up the house and moving without worrying about if we really own the house.

 

 

Flagstar Short Sale – The wait is over

Nov 29th > from my Realtor

“Just got a call back from the agent for xxxx.  Still no news.  She and the seller have both been calling Flagstar and are not getting calls or emails returned.  She emailed last week to point out to them the 11/30 deadline and reiterated to Flagstar that it is your intent to pull out after that date as soon as you find the property of your choice.  I reminded her that this was ratified back on 9/2 and that Flagstar has had almost 90 days to get this approved.  I also let her know that you’ve identified 7 properties that you would like to view this weekend.

She said that early part of last week that xxxx at Flagstar said he had all the info he needed and that the value was in line, so she was hopeful for approval.

My guess is that it met their guidelines and has been referred to the investor who has bought the pool of mortgages that this one is in for their approval.

I’ve asked xxxx to update me as soon as she hears something.”

 

Nov 30th > from my Realtor YES!

“Actually was just drafting email.  xxxx and I have talked & emailed this afternoon trying to get this tied down.

Seller has agreed.  Looks like we are moving forward!  She will let me know as soon as they receive the approval letter from Flagstar.  I am assuming we will receive this afternoon.

I will be going over there this afternoon to verify breakers.  Will txt you when done.  Please call VA Power after that for hookup.

Please also call City of Chesapeake Public Utilities for Water/sewer at 382-6368.  Please let me know when they will go.  Make sure you let them know it is a vacant property and that someone will need to meet there so if they can tighten up an appointment window to an hour instead of 4 hrs it would be greatly appreciated!

Finally, please call Virginia Natural gas at 877-572-3342 to set up.  Please explain vacant property as above.

Once all utilities are on, we can do the inspection.  Have you decided who you will be using?
I want to be there for all inspections.  My calendar can be switched around except for Noon to 3 on Saturday when I will be at another inspection on one of my listings.  Just let me know….”

Dec 1 – We received the Flagstar Approval Letter

Flagstar Approval Letter

 

Dec 5th – We paid for an inspection

From this point on we worked with our Mortgage Company and turned on all the utilities. The va appraisal came in at 310,000 even though the house has a zestimate of 330,000. and the property assessment is 345k. It has been a happy month. (needs new carpet, touchup paint and a few doors and overall cleanup)

Dec 12/29 – email from realtor

Congratulations!

Below is our final approval from Flagstar.(HUD settlement letter, I did not include it here) We are good for closing tomorrow.  See you at 3:00
We get the keys tomorrow!!!!!!!!  Thank goodness.
 
U P D A T E
1/4/11 - Our house was sold again! Flagstar Foreclosure