Site admin

Administrative announcements.

Vaya Con Monos

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 2, 2008 - 7:19pm

This Wednesday I will be embarking on a two-week trip out of the country. (To Uruguay, for those curious, where my father grew up and where his extended family still resides). I am going to update some long-term charts before I go, and once down there I will try to put up the occasional article, but posting will likely be light for a while.

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Bloggers vs. MSM Credibility Survey Deathmatch

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 9, 2008 - 12:15pm

Update: The researchers have already closed the survey due to the “overwhelming response” they apparently got – thanks to all who participated.
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USC is performing a study on the credibility of blogs vs. the mainstream media when it comes to the Southern California real estate market. If you have an opinion on the topic, please help out the folks performing the study by taking their very brief survey. Thanks!

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Brief Technical Note

Submitted by Rich Toscano on February 7, 2008 - 12:40pm

I installed a new caching mechanism yesterday to improve site performance. As a result, some authenticated users keep being shown the "anonymous" pages as if they were not logged in. If this is happening to you, please log out by clicking this link and then log back in again. That should address the problem.

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Fire Info

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 22, 2007 - 3:05pm

Hi everyone -- if anyone is looking for info on the fires, there are a couple active forum threads on the topic:

Jim the Realtor is posting updates, and on his site I learned of another good source with lots of photos and maps. The UT has been blogging about it but their server seems to be having trouble with the loads.

Finally, I'm not sure how up to date or accurate they are, but many people have been tracking fires and evacuations at Google Maps -- here is a really good example as of 3PM (click the image to jump to the map itself):

Good luck to everyone.

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Site Content and the Potentially Increased Frequency Thereof

Submitted by Rich Toscano on September 10, 2007 - 11:06am

Good news, everyone!

(The above should be read in the voice of Professor Farnsworth -- a tutorial video is available if you need help).

Longtime Piggs or those who've read the FAQ list know that due to my affiliation with the securities industry, all site content had to undergo a compliance review before I could post it. This made frequent postings and especially forum participation fairly impractical.

Now, however, we've streamlined the process in a way that should allow me to post more frequently and even to participate in the forums. I still need to steer clear of discussing securities or investing (which are subject to the older, more painful review process), but for real estate, mortgage, and economic topics, I will have a lot more flexibility.

Stand by for more alleged content.

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Media Appearance: “These Days”

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 28, 2007 - 8:15am

I will be appearing on NPR’s These Days at 10AM. The segment will likely be archived here.

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"The Forum" -- NPR San Francisco

Submitted by Rich Toscano on August 2, 2007 - 11:44am

Last week I was on a Bay Area NPR show called The Forum with a few other panelists, including DataQuick's John Karevoll, to discuss the surge in California foreclosures. An archive is available here if anyone wants to listen. I don't say a whole lot until about 25 or 26 minutes in, but I recall going off on a pretty long rant at that point and then getting a lot more airtime in the latter half of the program.

Hopefully I won't visit upon The Forum the same fate that I apparently did Full Focus...

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Snippet in the LA Times

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 25, 2007 - 3:17pm

I make a brief appearance in a recent LA Times article about the skyrocketing rate of California foreclosures.

The author of the article, David Streitfeld, is IMHO the best mainstream journalist on the housing beat. He understood what was happening early on and wasn't afraid to write candidly about it. (I'm not just saying that because he quoted me, though it sure doesn't hurt -- ha!). I recommend reading the entire piece if you get a chance.

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Media Appearance

Submitted by Rich Toscano on July 20, 2007 - 4:33pm

I will be appearing on KPBS' Full Focus on Monday the 23rd at 6:30 PM and 11:00 PM. The segments are usually posted on the Full Focus website as well.

The topic this time is "an update on the real estate market" -- that's all I know for now!

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It's a Comparitive Media Frenzy

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 10, 2007 - 8:22am

Amazingly enough, they are letting me back into the KPBS building to appear on "Full Focus" tonight. The subject will be the San Diego job market.

Full Focus is on KPBS-TV at 6:30 PM and again at 11:00 PM. The Full Focus website appears to contain some archived videos, but I'm not sure whether my segment will make it onto the website.

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Media Appearance -- These Days

Submitted by Rich Toscano on May 2, 2007 - 12:21pm

I will be "appearing" (in the radio sense of the term) on KPBS radio's "These Days" tomorrow at some point between 10:00 and 10:40AM. The topic will be the Anderson Forecast's take on the San Diego housing market and maybe some other stuff -- that's all I know for now!

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Fight the Power

Submitted by Rich Toscano on January 2, 2007 - 10:40am

It's time to rise up against your oppressors and make your voice heard!

Ok, on second thought, that sounds pretty hard.

Instead, why don't you make your voice heard by casting a vote in the first annual Real Estate Blogging Awards, for which the Econo-Almanac has been nominated in the "Brain Power" category. (Thanks to user bub for posting this in the forums.)

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Wonders of the Industrial Age

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 28, 2006 - 10:01am

I have installed a filter to automatically encode URLs into clickable links, so commenters will no longer have to do so manually. I am tremendously relieved to report that the filter also truncates those overly long, layout-destroying URLs we (at least those of us who use Firefox) have all come to know so well. So something like this:

...will now look like this:

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Site Performance

Submitted by Rich Toscano on December 13, 2006 - 10:13am

This website's speed and reliability have not been great in recent months, but they really went to hell over the past week.

As a result, I've spent the past couple of days learning far more than I ever wanted to know about optimizing the PHP/Apache/MySQL stack and tweaking the server configuration accordingly.

I also substantially increased the capacity of the server. This of course substantially increased cost. Whereas I used to easily serve this site off a standard $5/month shared hosting setup, I am now up to $75/month and counting. The housing bubble has certainly gone mainstream.

Anyway, I wanted to bring everyone into the loop on why the server has been acting squirrely of late, why my tweaking caused it to be extra-squirrely yesterday, and why I hope that performance should substantially improve going forward.

Now, if all goes well, I may actually start generating some content. Thanks for bearing with me...

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A Word from Our Sponsor

Submitted by Rich Toscano on October 6, 2006 - 9:31am

Some readers wanted to know more about my semi-cryptic reference to "the new gig," so I thought I'd provide a little more detail here.  Don’t worry, I'm not going to start incessantly shilling for the new business. However, I may occasionally shill for the new business. Like now, for instance.

I have joined an existing firm called Pacific Capital Associates*. The firm offers "comprehensive financial planning" -- investment management, estate planning, insurance, and the like.  They also offer real estate services and home loans, although they are firmly in the real estate bear camp and have routinely talked people out of buying. (And I’m proud to say that they have never put a single client into an Option ARM).

What I do is talk to people about their finances, make recommendations, and directly manage their investment portfolios.  This investment management is the primary focus of what I do, and I employ the same analytical approach to global investment markets -- independent, fundamentally-based, and forward-looking -- that I have taken with San Diego real estate.

I'd be happy to meet with any Econo-Almanac readers who would like to get my thoughts on their financial situations or on investing in general. It doesn't cost anything, and there will be absolutely no pressure – I may be the least salesy guy on Earth.  I simply talk to people and help them make informed financial decisions.  After that, if it is appropriate and desired, I can help implement a plan or manage investments (and it is only at this point that any cost is incurred).  If you're interested, please e-mail me at rtoscano [at] pcasd [dot] com and we can set up an appointment.

While on the topic of scheduling, I am leaving town next week so the site will probably be devoid of content during that time.

Okay, we now return you to your regularly scheduled doom-mongering.

* - Pacific Capital Associates offers securities and investment advisory services through Girard Securities, NASD/SIPC

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