My New Phone: The Droid-X

I recently switched from a Blackberry Storm to a Droid X. It's a bit of an adjustment and so far I'm very pleased with my new phone…I am actually writing this post from the Droid X's extra large keypad using Typepad's mobile application. 

I thought I would share a few notes and favorite apps with you now that I've had this phone for a couple weeks.   Many folks ask me "why not an iPhone?"  Verizon doesn't have one yet and I wanted my new phone yesterday (actually a few weeks ago).  Honestly I'm not sure that I would like an iPhone any better than my Droid-X.  Here's a comparison by between these two popular smart phones by PC World–the operating system for Droid X has recently been upgraded to 2.2 Froyo (don't ask me what that means–I guess it's suppose to be better).

Please keep in mind that I am NOT an expert with the Droid, Google or the thousands of applications.  Some of the applications deserve a post of there own!

Droid is short for "Android" and is Google's answer to the smart phone arena.  My phone is a Droid-X.  Some of the features that drew me to this model was the larger screen (so it's easier for me to use the keyboard) and that it can act as a wireless mobile hotspot.  The Droid X has seven screens for you to organize your favorite applications.  Another feature I like about my Droid is that it does not have be teathered to my computer for updates or back ups. 

If you're considering a Droid, I suggest you start with a visit where they have videos of some of the basic apps, like your contacts and fun extra's like Google Goggles.   

If you have Gmail or use Google docs, such as the calendar (which instantly syncs with your Droid), you're one step ahead of new Driod users like me!  I've been kind of behind using Google apps before my Driod–that's changing rapidly and I'm loving convenience!  You don't have to use Gmail, I was able to set up my default email accounts quite easily.

Between importing my Facebook and Gmail contacts, my phone's database is pretty set.  Originally I also uploaded my Twitter friends, but with following over 2000, it was a bit cumbersome. I personally decided to not use Twitter–it may work just fine for you. I keep my Twitter friends handy on my Droid by using Hootsuite's free version.  (If someone out there is using the upgrade, please let me know if the few extra bucks is worth it).

Speaking of apps… oh my gosh!!  Here's a quick list of what I've downloaded so far:

You will probably want to check into Advanced Task Killer (Free).   Your Droid will run more programs than needed and the Task Killer will keep your Droid in line and free up memory when unneccessary programs are running.

I am using GoogleVoice for my voice mail.  This is a great ap that transcribes your voicemail so that you can read it — great for if you're in a meeting and cannot take a phone call.  

Voice Actions for Andriod (requires 2.2 or higher) allows me to verbally give my Driod commands, from sending a text or email to searching for a favorite song on Pandora.Photo shot with DroidX 

Dropbox is great for sharing between your computer and Droid and you can even share with friends.  Of course I have Facebook, Hootsuite (for Twitter) and Yelp.   Adobe Photoshop Express if fun, if you're into photography, with your 8meg built-in camera.   NOTE:  I (okay, my son) took this photo in Spokane, used photo-editing applications that came with my phone.  I used Dropbox to instantly upload it to my computer.

For real estate, check out Zillow's ap and The Talon Group has a mobile ready site at where you can keep track of your transactions.

I like Epicurious, a free ap which allows me to check out recipes while I'm at the grocery store and Kindle is great if I want to purchase a book to read.  My guilty pleasure, for when I'm waiting in the car at the West Seattle True Value Hardware parking lot while hubby's shopping is: Finger Bowling.

I'm still learning about my new phone–do you have a Droid?  What are your favorite applications and features?  I admit–I still have a lot to learn about this phone and I'm having fun doing so!


Just How Much of Your Info Do You Want on the Internet?

My husband jokes that he tries to stay out of "Google" where I am the opposite.  I hope folks who are need a mortgage for their home in Washington State can find me by searching various topics or my name on the internet.  However, I don't like website where they compile and provide a significant amount of personal information just by entering in your name.

My sister recently made me aware of   Yes, I'm all over Facebook, I tweet and I yelp… sometimes I even flicker or blip; but it's my choice.   Believe it or not, I do like to have some level of privacy (or at least the illusion of it) while we still can.

"Spokeo aggregates publicly available information from phone books, social networks, marketing surveys, real estate listings, business websites, and other public sources. Spokeo does not originate data or publish user-generated content like Facebook or MySpace. Rather, Spokeo indexes third-party data in ways similar to Google or Bing."

I encourage you to visit Spokeo and find your listing.  All you have to do is enter your name.  Review the information that they have posted on you and if you're okay with that data–that's totally cool.   However, if you would like to have your profile (or listing) removed, you can do so by clicking the privacy link in the bottom right corner of the website.  It's pretty easy to do. 

Ironically Spokeo says they "care about data privacy" and have partnered with a company that claims to protects your privacy and they offer you a chance to buy that service after you see what they have about you on their website.  I opted NOT to purchase this service.

A Few Minor Adjustments

I think I've somehow managed to lose my Feedburner feed, where my readers receive what ever articles I write on Mortgage Porter directly to their email.  So I'm looking at using this as an opportunity to revamp what I use for my feed and I could use your help.

Please comment below if you are a Mortgage Porter subscriber and let me know if you have received this post via:

  • Feedburner
  • Feedblitz
  • Mailchimp
  • other

Thanks so much for your help! 

RE(mini)Barcamp Takes Place Tuesday, October 6th

Attention all real estate and mortgage professionals:MiniREBC

If you're interested in learning more about social media, come to RE(mini) Barcamp tomorrow in Bellevue at the Meydenbauer.

When:  Tuesday, October 6, 2009 from 8:30 am – noon

Where:  Meydenbauer Center

RSVP: by clicking here

Cost: FREE! 

This is a great chance to learn "peer to peer" with fellow real estate professionals who are implementing social media into their business practices.  

This event is called a "mini" because it's only a half day.  You will have the opportunity to attend three different sessions which will be determined Tuesday morning based on suggestions made by the participants.

Immediately after this event, WAMP will be holding their Annual Awards Luncheon with Spencer Rascoff of Zillow as the keynote speaker followed by the Connect Expo.  You're welcome to stay for either–rsvp here. 

By the way, Washington State Mortgage Originators, you can get 8 hours of continuing education Monday, October 5, 2009 at the Meydenbauer.  Jillayne Schlicke will be the instructor…I'm really looking forward to her classes.

I hope to see you on Tuesday!

I’m in Love with my Livescribe Pulse Pen

I love techy gadgets and it's been a while since I've had one that makes my heart pitter-patter.  Over a year ago, I saw a video of a "smart pen"  that peeked my interest.  Just last week, while I was at the Mortgage Girlfriend Mastermind event, I sat next to a mortgage originator who was using her Pulse smart pen to record the audio from the event while she was taking her notes.  

The beauty of this "smart pen" is that when she clicks back on her notes, what ever was being recorded at that time will be replayed.  Our high school kids are drooling over this seeing the potential this can be for college. 

Your notes are uploaded to a desk top application where you can search specific terms and you can even publish a note as a "live scribe"to be viewable on the internet, shared on apps like Facebook and Twitter or via email.

I'm using this pen to take notes while I'm talking to clients (obviously these notes are not published on the livescribe site) or planning social media events.  It helps me to be more organized so I can easily search a clients last name using the desktop application to quickly refer to my notes instead of flipping through a paper note book.  

The notebooks come in spiral bound college ruled and they also have smaller notepads available (I carry one in my purse).

You must see it to believe it.  I found my pen at the Target in Westwood Village (betweenWest Seattle and Burien).

A Few Adjustments to Mortgage Porter: Do Not Adjust Your Screen

I've recently made a few tweaks to Mortgage Porter…hopefully one's that will be beneficial!   The most significant change is that Mortgage Master has changed the provider of our secure on-line loan application around mid-June.  If you began a loan application prior to mid-June 2009, you may need to re-do it here (please contact me first).  Note: I am only licensed to lend on homes located in Washington State.

A few of my smaller adjustments include swapping my profile photo to an introductory video (in the upper right corner) and moving up my Facebook Fan Page–if you haven't signed up as a "fan", please do!  I've also redirected my url of www.rhondaporter.comto my Facebook page (this is different than my profile).  You can still assess my blog, The Mortgage Porter, by

I've been trying to "clean up" the look of my blog, so many links have been moved to back pages–you can assess them by the links along the top of Mortgage Porter.


Last, on my "about me" page (link found under the video in the upper right corner) there is a list of places you can find me in the "social media" world that I have recently updated.  Let's connect!

Do you have any suggestions about Mortgage Porter, or if you notice anything wonky, please let me know.

Small Tweaks to Mortgage Porter

Some links have been moved and I'm now using Video-email….check it out!

Social Media and Seattle’s Snowpocalypse

Are you feeling like you've been trapped in snow globe and you can't get out?  Do PC180006 you have images from The Shining playing in your head?  I'm a Puget Sound native and for life of me, I cannot recall so much prolonged snow!  It's beautiful and I've enjoyed taking pictures (check out my snow album) but I'm ready for some rain!

On a side note, it's been fascinating to see the level of communication that has taken place about our weather via blogs and other forms of social media, like Twitter, from the public to our local government.

I've received emails from the City of Seattle and King County over the past few days with request to post safety tips for my "community" of readers.  They are utilizing bloggers to help spread their message.   In my neighborhood, West Seattle Bloghas done a phenomenal job (as they always do) keeping everyone up to date and sharing stories about our local weather (and more).  I believe it was our big winter storm of 2006 that really catapulted WSB's readership.   If you have an neighborhood blog, this is one reason alone to subscribe.   Just this morning, I became aware of the Seattle Transit Blog.

If you're a long time reader of Mortgage Porter, you may be aware of the interest rate updates I quote.  Twitter allows you to post live updates of whatever you're doing in 140 characters or less.  Just like a blog, you can subscribe (or "follow") what the author has to say.  Local folks I'm following on Twitter who have helped with information on the storm are:

West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog)

Washington State DOT (@wsdot)

King County News (@kingcountynews)

Seattle Department of Transportation – Snow (@sdotsnow)

Seattle Times @seattletimes 

Seattle PI @seattlepi

and don't forget Mortgage Porter (@mortgageporter)

Last, but not least, you can search terms on Twitter using "Twitter Search".  Twitter-er's will use the # sign to create a short code/phrase that can be used to follow a specific event or thing.  For this storm, the code is "#seatst".  Whenever someone posts a comment (aka tweet) on Twitter about this storm, if they include #seatst.  When you enter #seatst in the search field on the Twitter search page, you'll see a list of what EVERYONE is saying right now about the storm.

Do you have a Twitter profile?