I'm buying a house and looking for help

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Update August 31 @ 2:24 p.m.: I was pre-approved but for far less than expected, just $100,000, though I do have some savings that I could put to a larger down-payment. That said, some of my priorities have to be changed. Broadly speaking, I’m looking for a home that is selling at or not far beyond $100,000, is livable but could use real work. Some of my specific interests, though, are below.

Sometime next week, I’m told, I’ll be pre-approved for an FHA-backed mortgage through PNC Bank.

I hope to write about the process here a bit, particularly from the take of a self-employed young person, so it has relevance.

But to start,I’m beginning a more serious hunt for real estate in Philadelphia — a likely, but not certain decision to buy my first home in the 215.

I don’t have an agent. On the advice of a friend who plans to take the real estate exam next month, I’m starting by sharing what I want in that purchase and looking a bit on my own using powerful Web searches.

If I pick a neighborhood on which I am certain and come across an agent I trust who has some experience in that ‘hood, perhaps that’s someone who could represent me.

I’m a young, pre-approved first-time home buyer who is currently renting month-to-month and serious about for what I’m looking. I’m told I’m someone an agent might like to work with. While my pre-approval limit hasn’t yet been fed my way, it will likely be below $200,000, though I’ll be bargain hunting for something well below that.

Below, I share just what it is I want and will take any help or advice I can get.

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Number of Views:2144

CityPaper: Million Little Stories on Popporn adult film

Tonight I’ll be in attendance at something of a unique event: an adult film world premiere.

I briefed the event for the Philadelphia CityPaper in today’s edition [third item down].

The porn was written by two Philadelphia marketing executives who also lead POPPORN.com, which describes itself as “an adult entertainment blog. We are not a news site as we typically get the news and the details about the news factually wrong on purpose to amuse ourselves. With that being said, do you have some news?”

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Number of Views:1876

Closing @Domelights: Of course squelching racist police babble is wrong

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I seem to recall seeing some petty ugly things written on Domeights, the online forum for the Philadelphia police community that was shut down by its owner after the threat of legal action.

Of course, I also remember a lot of mundane content, jokes, commentary and other arcane back-and-forth that is the staple of most Web message boards. But that’s not going to be the subject.

The site, which is operated by city police sergeant but is unaffiliated with the department, caught heat following another public display of racial infighting in one of the country’s largest municipal law enforcement agencies. The Guardian Civic League, an organized group of black police officers, is calling for the removal of the site and has named a host of individuals, in addition to the police force and the city in a law suit.

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Number of Views:1354

Traffic plunges from WordPress.com site to my self-hosted version

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One of the very obvious and very frustrating results of transitioning from my WordPress.com hosted professional site to this beauty is the loss of all that Google juice.

While it is certainly nothing for the record books, the old version of this site was very steadily growing its traffic, at a healthy 7,259 page views in May (as seen above), the last full month I operated that version.

Once I directed my ChristopherWink.com domain to my own servers, the archives that I migrated from my old WordPress.com version to here are without any links. Instead, their WordPress.com cousins continue to have the priority in search engines and in incoming links (which, because I didn’t use domain mapping, almost surely directed to christopherwink.wordpress.com, instead of just christopherwink.com).

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Number of Views:3610

Introducing @MyPICCLine: a patient's account of the healthcare industry

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Finding an audience, a focus and a voice involves place, time and circumstances.

So, I knew what I’d talk about when I arrived at Hackensack University Medical Center the first week of July to see Matthew C. Sheehan, my best friend from growing up in northwest New Jersey who had long been looking for something meaningful to write about and had just been diagnosed with a rare blood disease.

Let’s get you to write about enduring the often-maligned U.S. healthcare industry at a time of great national interest. Of course, Matt, who graduated in May 2008 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with dual biology and journalism degrees, already had it in mind.

With graciously offered hosting space from my Philadelphia partner in media obsession Sean Blanda, a WordPress template and a few hours of my tinkering and Matt’s first couple weeks writing, I present MyPICCLine.com, his personal journey through the healthcare industry.

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Number of Views:1766

Introducing @MyPICCLine: a patient’s account of the healthcare industry

mypiccline

Finding an audience, a focus and a voice involves place, time and circumstances.

So, I knew what I’d talk about when I arrived at Hackensack University Medical Center the first week of July to see Matthew C. Sheehan, my best friend from growing up in northwest New Jersey who had long been looking for something meaningful to write about and had just been diagnosed with a rare blood disease.

Let’s get you to write about enduring the often-maligned U.S. healthcare industry at a time of great national interest. Of course, Matt, who graduated in May 2008 from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with dual biology and journalism degrees, already had it in mind.

With graciously offered hosting space from my Philadelphia partner in media obsession Sean Blanda, a WordPress template and a few hours of my tinkering and Matt’s first couple weeks writing, I present MyPICCLine.com, his personal journey through the healthcare industry.

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Number of Views:2217

TP Features: Interview with Chamber of Commerce chief

A big obstacle for developing a respected online news startup is access.

That’s why having a feature interview with the new president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce was another in  a continuously more consistent stream of serious, originally-reported material for Technically Philly.

Rob Wonderling is losing his office in the Harrisburg State Capitol complex.

On Aug. 1, the two-term Republican state senator from Delaware County will report to the Avenue of the Arts as the new president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, as the private, 5,000-member organization announced last month.

By taking the helm of the region’s largest business advocacy organization, he says he’s eager to rebolden the region’s new business community.

“We’ve really lost the language of entrepreneurship [in the region],” Wonderling, 47, says. “Risk taking and capital and job creation are almost scurrilous terms in some political quarters. I feel very passionately that for a free democratic society, we need all of that.” Read the rest here.

After the jump, see some quotations that didn’t make it into the story, in addition to what helped me grab the interview.

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Number of Views:1575

Brief Fox 29 appearance discussing e-waste

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That’s the beautiful twin I call home in Frankford, in lower Northeast Philadelphia, behind me, and, yes, that’s a screen shot of my ugly mug on the last night’s Fox 29 10 o’clock news.

I was interviewed by John Atwater of Fox 29 for their followup to a PBS Frontline documentary on e-waste in developing nations. To show the piles of outdated technology that are scrapped by Western nations and shipped to be dumped in places like West Africa’s Ghana, the documentary shot footage of one, and found a computer from the School District of Philadelphia.

A Technically Philly reader spotted it and sent it our way, and we ran with it. Writing the first local story on the matter and then pushing on the district to announce an investigation. That last larger story got a fair amount of buzz on Philly social media circuits, and Fox 29 picked up on it from Twitter.

Now it’s in big media’s hands — until TPhilly can begin monetization and become big media, of course… or something like that. See the take on it from running on Technically Philly.

After the jump, check the video and my take on the experience.

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Number of Views:3106

TP Features: Daniel Delaney of Vendr.TV

I realize links here to larger features I’ve written have been lessening.

It’s not because I’ve been writing less. Rather, I’ve been writing more — just more of it has gone to Technically Philly, the Web product I’m developing with two colleagues. Rather than ignore them, I hope to link out to the larger and perhaps more notable ones, just as I would for any other piece for another publication.

From back in May, I came across some notes that were left over from a feature we ran on Daniel Delaney, a University of the Arts graduate who is now running a popular food podcast.

Daniel Delaney is sorry.

He just finished a bit of a rant about how zoning laws that govern where street vendors can do business are putting a stranglehold on Philadelphia’s food cart culture, and seemed startled when I said I assumed he was now based in New York.

“I didn’t mean that as an insult,” he says. “I just look at this stuff a bit scientifically.” Read the rest here.

Like I do for others, after the jump, see the extra information that didn’t fit into the piece.

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Number of Views:1689

Recent experiences in listening to your customers

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Nobody in business will ever say he isn’t concerned with listening to the customer. Really proving it, of course, is the difference between well-loved companies and those that aren’t.

Even notoriously frustrating Comcast has gained ground with its use of social media — a powerful mechanism for communication that, despite all the attention, we still may have yet to fully grasp. But beyond the buzz, the real value is hearing from customers who experience your products, whatever they may be — from buying tires to reading news.

I had two experiences with the concept recently, one from your friends in old media.

On Friday, I was driving a car that wasn’t my own through Flemington, N.J., though I had been holding on to the keys quite a bit in the past few months and noticed no warning signs of trouble. After filling up the tank at the Quick Check — something of a North Jersey Wawa, 7-11, fill-in your moderately well-liked convenience store that makes hoagies etc. — I turned the key and.. nothing.

I got the chance to offer, as a regular customer, my thoughts but didn’t feel anyone cared — how strange a successful regional corner store chain can’t do what old media did the same week.

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Number of Views:1972