Posts Tagged ‘central vermont real estate’

Apple iPad mini

Small Grows Up

Rating: 9/10 Nearly flawless

  • The iPad mini with Retina display is roughly the same size as the original. It’s ever-so-slightly thicker, and has a little bit more heft, weighing in at .75 pounds for the LTE model and .73 for Wi-Fi only.

Gorgeous 2048 x 1536 pixel display. 10-plus hour battery life will more than serve your cross-country plane flight, or close to a week of casual daily use. A7 processor (with M7 co-processor) offers more power than you may ever need on a 7-inch tablet. Tons of Retina-optimized apps to choose from.


Pricey — similar sized and specced tablets go for closer to $200. Stereo speakers both located on one end of the device. Would be nice if it had TouchID like the iPhone 5s, but with the problems cropping up related to that feature lately, we’re wondering if not including it was a smart move after all.

This is the iPad mini we’ve all been waiting for.

When the first generation iPad mini debuted last year, it was a terrific product. Apple’s first stab at a smaller tablet looked more far more elegant than the competition, managed to squeeze a larger 7.9-inch display in a traditionally 7-inch tablet form factor, and featured remarkable battery life. But its 1024 x 768 resolution display was a major let down compared to the Retina displays on the iPhone and full size iPad, as well as the growing number of HD screen-sporting Android tablets. And inside, a two-generations-old A5 chip powered the tablet — nothing too shabby, but not really impressive, either.

Apple stepped up its game for this year’s iPad mini. The new mini is essentially the same tablet as the 9.7-inch iPad Air, right down to its 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina display. It’s just packed into a smaller package. A new A7 processor meshes with iOS 7 to create a super-powerful slate that gets all-day battery life. The only real difference between the two is the pared-down size, and the $100 cheaper starting price.

The iPad mini with Retina display is roughly the same size as the original. It’s ever-so-slightly thicker, and has a little bit more heft, weighing in at .75 pounds for the LTE model and .73 for Wi-Fi only. Last year’s model weighed .68 pounds.

Compared to Google’s flagship 7-incher, the Nexus 7, the mini is about a tenth of a pound heavier, but marginally thinner, while squeezing in a larger 7.9 inch display. It’s comfortable to wield one-handed, but I feel less confident waving it around than I would a tablet with a slightly rubberized back. The aluminum is more attractive visually, but “soft touch”-type materials like you see on the Nexus 7 are, well, handy.

While the Nexus 7 sports an excellent 1920 x 1200 resolution display, the screen on the new mini looks even better. Side by side, there’s just no comparison. And the old iPad mini might as well be 8-bit compared to the pixel-packed Retina screen. It’s obvious in graphics — the icons in Safari, app icons on the homescreen — as well as in text, which doesn’t render nearly as well on the old iPad mini. On the Retina mini, text maintains crystal clarity even when zoomed in to a ridiculous level. In an HD Planet Earth video, the definition of pebbles on a beach and leaves on trees are razor sharp, creating a greater sense of depth than the old mini’s display.

At 100 percent brightness, I only lost about 10 percent battery life per hour while watching Netflix over Wi-Fi. Streaming a 1080p HD YouTube video over Wi-Fi ate up even less — more like 8 percent per hour. Streaming Rdio and other lower intensity tasks like reading and web surfing made a minimal dent in battery life. Apple’s 10-hour promise seems right on target, if not at the low end of what its 23.8 Watt-hour battery can deliver.

“The old iPad mini might as well be 8-bit compared to the new pixel-packed Retina screen.”

The device can get noticeably warm during CPU intensive activities like heavy gaming or HD playback, but not alarmingly so. And it handles those activities swimmingly. Situations where I noticed ever-so-slight stuttering on last year’s model, the 2013 iPad mini handled with aplomb. Again, it’s basically an iPad Air but packed into a smaller package, which is kind of mind blowing.

For a 7.9-inch tablet, the stereo speakers are exceptionally powerful, but they still don’t have the depth and bass you’d get from a pair of dedicated speakers — no surprises there. While stereo (each speaker is positioned on either side of the lightning port at the bottom of the device) they’re still located on the same end of the device, so if you’re watching a film in landscape mode, you only get sound from one end. I find this a bit irksome.

When I reviewed the iPad Air after getting my hands on the iPhone 5s, I was largely struck by its lack of TouchID. But between using the Air more regularly, and seeing some inconsistencies with TouchID arise, I’m far less affected by the Retina mini’s lack of a fingerprint sensor than I was before. Although, it would be convenient.

While the Retina mini doesn’t include 802.11ac Wi-Fi like Apple’s notebook offerings, the company did addMIMO to the mini (and the Air), which means it can share or receive more data in parallel, and maintain a strong Wi-Fi signal farther away from the base station. Indeed, videos loaded faster on the Retina mini than on the first gen model, and apps downloaded noticeably quicker.

The iPad mini is exactly the type of product we expect from Apple. Stunning good looks, a display so high resolution it’d take a magnifying glass to pick out the pixels, and unparalleled performance. This is the smaller iPad that should have debuted last year, but hey, better late than never.

Photos: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 for info on technology, selling or purchasing a house, condo or land in Vermont or to get more details on local Vermont real estate market conditions.

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Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
Information Disclosure: information provided and relayed by Maple Sweet Real Estate is not represented to be accurate or free of errors. While substantial efforts are made to obtain and convey information from sources deemed dependable, Maple Sweet Real Estate does not guarantee or warranty such information is accurate or reliable. All information should be independently verified.
If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency’s listing.

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 by Carla Hill, Law Office of Fred Peet, South Burlington, Vermont

While the Federal Reserve has promised to keep rates “low” until 2013, it is clear to many experts that the current historical lows we are experiencing will not last.

According to the latest projections from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), interest rates should gradually rise out of historic lows as we move through 2012.

This isn’t the most welcome news for a housing market that has continued to falter and a credit market that already has tightened lending standards

The NAR reports that current surveys reflect the tight credit conditions. They report that recent buyers are staying well within their means, with higher incomes and higher down payments.

Richard Peach, Senior Vice President at the Federal Reserve Board of New York, who said the economy is under-performing, reports, “Nearly two-and-a-half years since the end of ‘the great recession,’ the economy continues to operate well below its potential. Among the significant structural impediments are the legacy of the housing boom and bust, and fiscal contrition at the state and local level.”

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, said home sales should be stronger. “Tight mortgage credit conditions have been holding back home buyers all year, and consumer confidence has been shaky recently,” he said. “Nonetheless, there is a sizable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon that can’t continue indefinitely. This demand could quickly stimulate the market when conditions improve.”

It is this improving jobs markets that many analysts are waiting for. Yun projects the GDP will grow 1.8 percent this year and 2.2 percent in 2012. The unemployment rate should decline, albeit modestly, to around 8.7 percent by the end of 2012.

Around this same time, experts expect that “mortgage interest rates should gradually rise from recent record lows and reach 4.5 percent by the middle of 2012.”

This is still an incredibly low rate and many experts feel that housing market, while still struggling, will improve throughout next year and after. In fact, the NAR expects new home sales to reach 372,000 next year. Existing home sales could fare just as well, rising 4 to 5 percent in 2012.

“Housing affordability conditions, based on the relationship between median home prices, mortgage interest rates, and median family income, have been at a record high this year,” Yun said. “Very favorable affordability conditions will dominate next year as well, which will probably be the second best year on record dating back to 1970. Our hope is that credit restrictions will ease and allow more home buyers to take advantage of current opportunities.”

The bottom line is that the housing market should improve over the next year and along with that improvement will come higher interest rates. Buyers interested in making a move should take heed of today’s historically low rates and high levels of affordability.

Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 to arrange for showings,  list your property,  or look further into Vermont’s real estate market.

Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency’s listing.

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Irene. A Retrospective by Waitsfield, Vermont Photographer David Garten

After the Flood, Sediment Streets

Hands On, Silt Patterns

The Green Cup's East Wall Facing the Mad River

Route 100 Submerged @ Bridge Street Shot From Garten Studio

Studio Birke Engulfed in the Rising RIver Tide

Studio Birke Swept Off Foundation

Route 100 Become River

Ravaged Pavement

Ravaged Pavement

Couples Baseball Field of Grass No More

Best Laid Plans, Architectural Misfortune

Radio Wreckage

Relief Organization Born

David Garten has photographed weddings throughout Vermont and New England, as well as New York, California, and Madrid, Spain for 23 years. From 1994 to 2004 David traveled often to Havana, Cuba where he photographed the worlds of music and dance, as well as daily life. His cuban photos have been published in the New York Times, Latin Beat Magazine, books such as “Cuban Ballet” by Octavio Roca and “My Sax Life” by Paquito D’Rivera, and on Grammy-nominated CD’s by Cuban musicians such as Chucho Valdés and Irakere. David has exhibited at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and the Jazz Gallery in New York.

To reach David Garten for weddings, portraits or other assignments: dgarten@madriver.com

4412 Main Street #2, PO Box 210, Waitsfield, VT 802.496.5516

Connect to maplesweet.com, e-mail info@maplesweet.com or call toll-free 1-800-525-7965 to list your property, arrange for showings, or look further into Vermont’s real estate market or Act 250 reform.

Thank you for visiting Maple Sweet Real Estate’s blog, Light Amber.
Vermont Required Consumer Information Disclosure: please note Vermont  real estate agencies represent Sellers directly or indirectly by default. Buyer representation can be gained for properties not already listed by Maple Sweet Real Estate. To better understand the merits of or arrange for buyer representation, please email or call for further details.
If your property is already listed for sale with another real estate agency, this is not intended as a solicitation of that agency’s listing.

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William Maclay on Net Zero Energy Buildings: Providing Stable Returns In An Unstable World

Maple Sweet Real Estate is proud to present the following blog submission on Net Zero Energy Buildings from esteemed and highly accomplished Vermont architect, William Maclay. William Maclay Architects and Planners mission is to enhance the world we inhabit through making places for people and nature to live and to flourish with dignity, spirit, and beauty.

Green design has taken on increasing importance and relevance for Vermont real estate purchasers, investors and home builders.  Bill Maclay’s team is particularly well equipped to design homes and projects on the cutting edge of the carbon footprint revolution.

Net Zero Energy Buildings: Providing Stable Returns In An Unstable World, by William Maclay

Faced with multiple challenges from environmental pressures due to climate change, energy price volatility and the economic downturn, there has never been a better time to build.

But we’re not talking about any ordinary buildings—we are talking about the design and construction of buildings that minimize the use of natural resources and energy. Such buildings protect the environment, pay for themselves through improved efficiency, lower operating costs through stable energy costs and avoid the need for outside (fossil-fuel based) energy sources.

We call these buildings Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB). There are very few standing in the United States today—many more are on the drawing boards. But simply put, Net Zero energy buildings should become the new standard in “green” building as they can provide the best long-term solution to the environmental, energy and economic problems we face.

Net zero energy buildings (NZEBs) generate as much energy as they consume on an annual basis. The energy used is usually produced on-site and comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal or biomass. Typically, the net zero building is connected to the electricity grid, using the grid as a balancing mechanism to accommodate the fluctuation of renewable energy sources.  Often, people will ask whether it’s possible to achieve NZEB in the cold climates of New England. While it’s certainly easier to achieve in warmer, southern climates, the net zero goal is very reachable, albeit more challenging, here in New England and other similar climates.

How to Get from Here to There: Efficiency First, Renewables Second

Because renewable energy sources are usually more expensive than non-renewable energy sources, the goal in any Net Zero energy building is to first reduce the energy needs of that building. Typically energy usage must be reduced by 50% or more (over current building efficiency codes). We call buildings that meet this greatly improved energy standard micro-load buildings.  After that renewables can be added cost effectively to make net-zero buildings.

Net Zero in New Construction versus Existing Buildings

Certainly, achieving micro load energy efficiency standards is easier and typically more cost-effective to do with a brand new building—essentially building it into the design plans from the outset. But it’s also possible to do when renovating existing buildings. With 300 billion square feet of existing buildings out there, bringing energy use down and improving building performance in the already built environment offers tremendous opportunities for savings.


Clearly, net zero energy buildings offer a tremendous opportunity for countering the environmental, energy and economic pressures we face today. But they will not become the standard for how we develop our buildings and communities overnight. It will take a concerted effort to educate business owners (and the public) about the potential these buildings offer and change the way we think. By taking a longer term view and seeing our buildings as the investments they truly are—investments into our energy future, the well-being of our planet and the health of our businesses—we will be moving toward a more stable, productive and sustainable way of life.

Some examples of Net Zero projects by Maclay Architects:

River House, Moretown, VT

The River House is a Net-Zero residence set on a stone dam abutment above the Mad River. It directly connects to the location through the use of site-harvested stone in both the building and the landscape. The house uses a super-insulated envelope, a 15 kW on-site photovoltaic array, and a ground source heat pump to achieve its Net-Zero energy goals. The linear structure is accented with three daylight monitors rising through a sedum-covered extensive green roof.

Dartt House, Waitsfield, VT

Renovations to this 1800’s era farmhouse, located in the historic village of Waitsfield, balanced concerns for preserving historic character and reducing energy demands. Insulating within the existing walls and roof preserved the historic quality of the building exterior, while improving efficiency. Similarly, high-performance, triple glazed windows were installed within existing frames. Energy reducing appliances, an air source heat pump, and heat recovery ventilation further reduced building loads.  These measures improve thermal comfort and indoor air quality to a micro-load building that is ready for an 8.5kW photovoltaic system to be installed in 2010 or 2011. This house is next to Maclay Architects offices which will be net-zero in 2010 with the addition of a 17.5 kW photovoltaic installation.

Putney School Field House, Putney, VT

The Putney School desired a new field house to meet their growing needs for high quality sports, wellness and social spaces, while seeking to create a model for the future that could be used as a tool for learning about the school’s core values of environmental based learning, sustainability and social consciousness.

The school also asked the design team to provide a building well-integrated into the existing campus and character of the local Putney community. With its 36.8 kW array, it is projected to be a net-zero building in 2010.

Learn more about these projects at  www.maclayarchitects.com

Special thanks to William Maclay for writing this, and to Lisa Sawin, Kevin Dennis & Eileen Hee of William Maclay Architects & Planners for their support in bringing this piece to press.

To list or look for central or northern Vermont real estate, email info@maplesweet.com,  call toll free 1-800-525-7965 or visit www.maplesweet.com

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John Lomas,  Cotswold Furniture designer & owner,  attended the London College of Furniture over two decades ago and, fortunately for Vermont, settled here to launch Costwold Furniture, today including a three story restored barn production facility in Whiting & a gallery in the heart of Stowe two minutes north of Main Street on the Mountain Road.

From lumber selection to finishing, Cotswold is striving for perfection in every detail of the furniture making process. The finest American hardwoods—American Black Cherry, Quartersawn Northern White Oak, Black Walnut, and others—are used to provide balance and symmetry in the completed piece. These are joined by time-tested techniques—Mortise and tenon, dovetail, bridle, and cross-halving joints—that guarantee integrity for many life times over.  Oils are hand-applied to create silky soft surfaces. Finally, each piece is signed and dated by one of the five craftsman, and inlaid with a pewter squirrel medallion with a motif  taken from a 1904 Ernest Gimson design for a pair of andirons.

Cotswold’s designs are inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement in the Cotswolds in England, the Shakers in America and John Lomas’ understanding of classical proportion.  Cotswold work is known as Transitional Furniture Design that combines traditional as well as contemporary elements resulting in furniture that fits well into both worlds. Cotswold strives for designs that will be as pleasing and relevant 50 or 100 years from now as they are today.

Collections include: Pinnacle with an Asian flair, decorative Fountainbrook, arts & crafts Gloucester & Chalford, robust Farmhouse & Chalford,  antique inspired Regency, & the elegant Sapperton.

The Stowe gallery features heirloom quality Cotswold Furniture and accepts special commissions including cabinet design. The gallery also includes transitional Tibetan and Arts and Crafts hand knitted wool rugs,  and home decor offerings include lighting, hand-blown glass, pottery, metal, stainless steel and fine art.

Cotswold Furniture is certifiied by Smartwood to use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) lumber and support responsible forest management worldwide.
To purchase furniture or order a commission, visit www.cotswoldfurniture.com, call 888 253-3738, email: stowe@cotswoldfurniture.com or visit the Cotswold Furniture gallery in Stowe.
To list or search for Stowe or any central or northern Vermont property, visit www.maplesweet.com, email info@maplesweet.com or call 800-525-7965.

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