What to do with your home when relocating?

In my experience, when relocating, my employer and the contracted relocation company was very flexible based on my needs, but clear communication is crucial to a smooth transition.

Here are a few options to consider if you’re relocating:

  1. Consider renting the house out. This might take some additional time to find and vet a property management company, but if you still want to have your home for later in life, this could be an option. Of course, you would have to float the mortgage until you find renters and there might be additional items that need to get fixed — a challenging time just before you relocate across the country.
  2. Sell your home directly. When you’re relocating, time is of the essence so you can move out exactly when you need to so the movers can pick your belongings up. Selling a house on the market (typically with a real estate agent) can take several weeks or months. By selling your home directly to a direct buyer like OfferPad, you usually get more flexibility in the sale and you can take advantage of special perks for going with them to make the sale and the move easier. Note that their purchase price will be a little less than “full market price” but often with traditional selling, fees and commissions can result in approximately the same price as if you sold directly.
  3. Hire a real estate agent. If you desire a more relationship-oriented representative to sell your home on your behalf, you can likely ask friends and family for referrals. Not all agents are the same, so you’ll need to do plenty of homework to evaluate them and select the one you want. If you have time on your side and you are very flexible, an agent could be a good option. From my experience, corporate relocations aren’t typically very flexible as you’ll be working and getting situated in your new destination. Keep in mind that the agent works for you and should be guiding you on all the many steps and decisions that you have to make.

I hope these tips help. I’ve been through a corporate relocation before and it was a great learning experience. Get comfortable with conceding on some aspects of the move and live happier in the process. Losing sleep over a few dollars isn’t worth it and can negatively affect you in your transition. If you do a Google search for “sell my home fast” and real estate investors will usually appear. The benefit of the larger, trusted home buyers is that they can provide homeowners a better price, provide additional services, and make it simple to move forward because they operate on a larger scale than most individual agents.

[Answered on Quora]

How to view all posts by a Facebook user

First, you need to know the Facebook User ID (or Page ID) and you can get that easily by going to FindMyFBID.com. This will take your Facebook address and display its ID number to Facebook.

Second, replace the “000000000” with the Facebook ID you acquired above. Use this URL to see the content published by that user or page easily.

https://www.facebook.com/search/000000000/stories-by

Once you do that, you’ll see all that stories that have been published by a user on Facebook unless they marked them as private or only shared among certain friend groups. You don’t need to be friends with them to see their public posts.

[Answered on Quora]

Employee Spotlight: David ‘Nemo’ Neal

At the heart of our Forth co-creation platform are designers, engineers and industry experts who work together to comprise our diverse community. David ‘Nemo’ Neal is a transportation designer at Local Motors who is deeply rooted in this community, and his experience shows. Nemo is a linchpin in our automotive community, which involves supporting a global network of designers who share their designs openly across a wide variety of co-creation projects.

Before he joined Local Motors, Nemo was an active member of our automotive design community dating back to 2008. Inspired by all the talent and great work shared by everyone else, he contributed actively in the comments and developed relationships with many members of the community. He eventually joined LM in early 2014 as a designer and has been active in the community to this day.

The community benefits immensely from Nemo since he is often the conduit between product development and project management — ensuring that the vehicles we build are successful. If you have a clarification about a project’s requirement or want to get a second opinion on your design, he’s always there with a friendly and straightforward response.

His diverse background has helped him appreciate all that LM has to offer. From DJing and selling insurance, to growing up in several different states, to having a deep admiration for all things related to automotive design, Nemo blends his talents and passions together for us.

Now, let’s hear from him. And don’t forget to add your own questions for him in the comments below.

Where were you born and raised?
This is always a tricky question for me. I was born in San Antonio, Texas. Throughout my childhood, I lived in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, Anaheim, California, a few places in Iowa and also Colorado — but not necessarily in that order.

If people ask where I’m from, I say Austin. I love that city.

Where did you get the nickname Nemo?
When I was scheduling a DJ gig in the late 1990s, I told the promoter my name was Scott Neal. Later, we both began promoting the event with the headliner “Nemo,” and the promoter and I didn’t even know who that DJ was. I went ahead and played my set in what was supposed to be Nemo’s spot. It was only then that the promoter seemed confused — he thought my stage name was “Nemo” when it was spoken to him in the past at a loud venue. Thrilled with his set, he told me, “Well, I guess you’re Nemo now…” and the name stuck around beyond DJing.

What’s your favorite food?
Do I have to pick one? I’m kidding; I would have to say authentic Texas BBQ is where my heart is.

What’s your dream vacation?
I’d love to grab the kids and wife, strap into a decked-out RV and experience the ridiculous tapestry that makes up this country, which makes it so special. In particular, I would avoid the usual amusement parks and such, and instead find the real gems all over. I’d also like to try regional foods I have never had before. Go where the locals go.

Alternatively, a European vacation with a focus on historic vehicles and manufacturers would be awesome. However, this would only happen if I went with my designer friends. My wife and kids would be bored.

What do you do for Local Motors?
Officially, I’m a transportation designer, but that’s a faint shadow of what I do. My favorite part of my job is working deeply with the Local Motors online community to foster co-creation on all the amazing vehicles we make. Related to that, I help shape the face of co-creation with the Forth team. Day to day, I enjoy helping our project management and product management teams across many different types of projects.

It’s fascinating to learn about all the aspects of what it takes to make a vehicle come to life. From the initial challenge to the planning stages, marketing, and of course the design and engineering. I enjoy being involved and learning all along the way.

What did you do before Local Motors?
While I’ve been involved in design since a very young age, I have also been DJing since the late 1990s as a side hustle experiencing just about everything in the DJ world.

Before I came to work here, I was an insurance broker for seven years. It was lucrative but ultimately unfulfilling. I’ve had many other positions in sales, food, and management positions. I even did auto body repair and restoration for a couple of years. I have had at least two jobs at a time ever since I was 18. I felt trying different positions helps me stay relevant as a person, ultimately making me more useful. I guess that’s why I like to be involved with so much here at Local Motors as well.

What projects are you working on now?
Recently, a couple of projects that I’ve been involved with include exploring new vehicle concepts and developing some useful internal documentation on co-creation processes and community engagement for the Forth platform.

What do you love about Local Motors?
The short answer is the culture and the shared passion for changing the world. Everyone here at LM aspires to make an impact and celebrate that impact as a team. The atmosphere of Local Motors is unique to any other place that I have ever worked. It’s a great environment that fosters creativity and solutions-based thinking.

I used to hate going to work every morning, but not since I’ve come to Local Motors.

What advice do you have for future employees?
If you work here, free your mind of the expectations of industrial design. Whatever you assume it to be like, Local Motors isn’t that. It’s probably much better. Be ready to play your part in creating awesome things. It isn’t always easy, but the work is undoubtedly worth it. Most of all, stay humble.

3 reasons I’m skeptical vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications would make us safer drivers

3 reasons I’m skeptical vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications would make us safer drivers

Imagine a world where your car listens to what other cars are saying about road conditions and tells the cars behind you what’s happening up ahead.

This technology might sound a little far-fetched right now, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to know your input on it. Manufacturers might be required to implement vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) crash avoidance technology on new vehicles as soon as 2020.

The problem that V2V aims to solve is the No. 1 cause of accidents: driver error. I recently wrote about the many stats that indicate that we (humans) tend to be dangerous drivers. In 2014, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents alone, not to mention tens of thousands more in alcohol-related crashes. The premise behind V2V is that no matter what mechanical safety systems we use, drivers will still cause accidents if they fail to slam on the brakes quickly enough. Anti-lock brakes won’t help if someone is about to t-bone you and you can’t see them coming.

Practically speaking, with V2V, cars can listen to other cars to determine if there is a potential hazard and warn the driver to take immediate action. Of note, V2V communications is a separate technology than highly-automated vehicles (fully autonomous vehicles). The former notifies human drivers to take action and the latter wholly operates the vehicle.

NHTSA has published a four-page summary, along with 327 pages of research on V2V communications. It’s packed with plenty of analysis into the technology, its costs, its adoption, various studies, and the anticipated reduction in automotive-related injuries and fatalities.

There is great promise with V2V communications, but also several areas of concern. First is the efficacy of it, second is the lack of infrastructure, and third is the overall cost. Let’s take a look at each.

Efficacy

On a non-technical level, would a V2V system be effective? Drivers today already are taught to check their blind spot, keep their hands at ten and two on the steering wheel, and always signal before changing lanes. Despite legally proving that we understand the rules of the road (passing your driver’s test), we still tend to make errors intentionally or not, resulting in more than 900,000 collisions on U.S. roads in 2014 alone.

The V2V communications system will potentially create pathways to expand into autonomous driving capabilities, but the NHTSA proposal doesn’t say so explicitly. The stated outcome of this crash-avoidance technology is to notify the driver to take immediate action. Frankly, I don’t believe one more beep, tone, flashing light, or vibration in the steering wheel will compel drivers to make the correct, split-second decision. I’m proof.

I have a radar detector, and anyone who has owned one will tell you that they pick up numerous false-positives. These false-positive alerts are triggered by driving in front of a store with automated doors and certain vehicles with their proprietary collision-avoidance tech onboard. These false-positive alerts chip away one by one from the driver’s trust in the $200 device sitting on their dashboard. Eventually, the driver no longer responds favorably when a Ka-band (a popular RF wavelength used in traffic enforcement) alert triggers because of the dozens of false alerts they’ve experienced in the past. Additional research is necessary to prevent V2V-enabled vehicles from responding to false-positives that erode the trust of the operators. That is, how will people respond when the false alerts compel drivers to take evasive action that makes them vulnerable to more accidents?

I see V2V communications offering the most value to drivers who endure hazardous weather conditions such dust storms and blizzards. Regardless, the V2V proposal genuinely tests the assumption that drivers only need to be made aware before an accident occurs, but I’m not able to find convincing evidence that this technology would address the actual causes of human error in a meaningful way, because it would depend on the driver to take action.

In essence, you can’t always trust people to make the right decision even if they are warned something bad might happen.

Infrastructure

Currently, a proof-of-concept demonstrating the promise of the V2V technology doesn’t exist. We don’t yet understand the impact of dozens or hundreds of cars on the roadways all communicating with each other. Let’s dive deeper.

In the proposal, cars would need to communicate with each other over wireless signals, not unlike the wireless router in your house that delivers internet access all over your home. The problem with this medium is that it is prone to radio interference and attackers might want to compromise it for fun, profit or both. To support such a network of connected cars, we will need to equip cars with a cellular data connection. Our cell towers would all need to be upgraded to ensure there isn’t network congestion. And on top of that, we’d still have to develop and test a system for ensuring updates are delivered safely and securely for all vehicles.

If you don’t think your vehicle could be used as a proxy for other attacks, think again. Security cameras, digital video recorders (DVRs), and cloud-based thermostats were utilized to attack core services that operate the internet. On one hand, your vehicle might be able to alert you when you approach another too closely, on the other, your vehicle could be just another node in a botnet when they maintain high-speed data connectivity. It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” these vulnerabilities all come together to introduce more security risks than benefits.

As a country, we would have to be willing to invest an inordinate amount of resources to ensure vehicles maintain reliable connectivity, while still making room for additional expansions in wireless infrastructure. Ultimately, every aspect of the V2V communications interface would need to be tested and proven in real-world conditions to ensure maximum security and reliability—and when issues are identified, deliver updates and patches to fix them regularly.

Cost

The estimates are rough, but NHTSA predicts between $1.1 and $6.4 billion per year to implement this initiative and gradually decrease to an annual $1.1 billion expenditure by 2058. Over the course of 40 years, the program would cost taxpayers and manufacturers an estimated $80 billion.

That $80 billion could be a relative bargain considering that damages involving all light-vehicle crashes totals about $274 billion annually. After 40 years of investment, the NHTSA proposal predicts we’d only reduce three percent of the automotive fatalities seen in 2014. The cost is a pretty big pill to swallow over the next four decades especially given the modest improvements in vehicle safety.

Here’s the better solution

We’re at a point where 33 automotive leaders and a handful of tech startups have made significant investments in autonomous driving. I’d contend that even though a driverless car is more difficult than adding a V2V warning system, this leap in technology will be what’s needed to dramatically improve automotive safety. Ridesharing has increased in popularity, and once autonomous vehicles become readily available, vehicle sales may decrease when people no longer desire vehicle ownership — especially when they realize the cost of ownership has increased.

In essence, I believe the pursuit for driving to go completely autonomous by entrepreneurs will outpace the speed (and cost) of automotive technology enhancements required by the U.S. government.

It may be possible that V2V-inspired technology may be developed voluntarily by manufacturers because of consumer demand. I would love for my brakes to react quicker than I do during my daily commute, but I’d love it even more if I didn’t have a commute. We all should work toward advancing meaningful developments in automotive safety and mobility, instead of merely ‘checking the box’ for one more beep or light that drivers will tune out. I don’t have much confidence that these standards would be adopted anytime soon.

In the meantime, I’m holding out for the federal autonomous driving standards to be finalized so we can take a giant leap toward a safer automotive world.

Image credit: NHTSA

Originally published on the Local Motors blog.