Dallas Commercial Real Estate Market Does A Rebound

Dallas City in Texas continues to experience steady growth in its real estate industry notably on the commercial side. This is not really a wonder as Dallas is a large city which accommodates several huge industries consisting of the petroleum, transportation, banking, information technology and telecommunications sectors. But despite the growing economy, Dallas remains to be among the most affordable cities in the U.S., according to Forbes.

The Dallas Texas real estate industry has also maintained its momentum since it began experiencing its booming days back in the 1980s. The Dallas commercial real estate including the big buildings and skyscrapers was a major growth factor. In addition, the Dallas metroplex accommodates numerous high-end shopping centers more than that of any other city or state in the U.S.

Experts reveal that the commercial real estate market in Dallas is in great condition compared to the residential properties. In terms of foreclosure, the percentage of Dallas office space, apartment, industrial and retail buildings is very small. This is due to the fact that commercial companies almost always have the financial resources to carry out their expansion and construction projects.

Dallas is seen to continue being a commercial real estate hub in the many years to come. Currently, new construction projects of condos and townhouses are widespread around this booming city. The other good news is that many of the office spaces previously available in Dallas have already been occupied or pre-leased. The central business district of the city has reduced its office vacancy rate to 24 percent as of end of September 2007.

The year 2007 has proved to be favorable for the Dallas commercial real estate sector. Latest reports from Cushman & Wakefield say office tenants that have been expanding and relocating have leased 1.5 million square feet more of office space in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the first half of the year. The third quarter net leasing has also soared nearly 90 percent from totals in mid-2007. A recent report by Delta Associates showed that Dallas-Fort Worth is seen to accommodate an average of 4.8 million square feet of office space each year until 2010.

As for construction, an estimated 6.9 million square feet of office space is now being built in Dallas-Fort Worth as of the middle of 2007 and this is bigger than in 2006. Of the estimated office space being constructed, more than 40 percent is already pre-leased. Rents have also risen to seven percent from the 2006 rates. Third quarter figures show that office rents averaged $19.42 per square foot while rents for medical office space rose 12 percent to $24.4 percent.

With all these positive developments going on, the future of Dallas commercial real estate is indeed looking bright. Many real estate investment firms are seeing a low vacancy rate and substantial rent gains this 2007. Developers are also projected to provide 2.6 million square feet of office space by the end of the year while building owners are expected to ask for higher rents as a result of lower vacancy. The reduction in vacancies is being attributed to the surge in employment by 3.2 percent covering more than 900,000 jobs by year end.

There Are Famous Clocks in America, Too

When anyone mentions famous clocks, they probably think of Big Ben. This is most likely because the Clock Tower of Big Ben in London is the most recognized clock in the world. The clock tower was constructed in the 1830s, and the monument still retains the title of the World’s Largest 4-Faced Chiming Clock, even though it is no longer the largest clock in the world. You may not know it, but the United States has some landmark clocks, too.

The world’s largest four-faced clock is located in Milwaukee, WI. In fact, the clock faces of the Allen-Bradley clock are around twice the diameter of Big Ben. No chimes have been added to this clock so that Big Ben can keep the title of largest chiming clock. Each hour hand on this magnificent clock is 15.8 feet long and weighs 490 pounds while the minute hands are 20 feet long and weigh 530 pounds each. In addition, the numerals on the clock faces are 4 feet high.

Another large landmark timepiece is the Colgate Clock. At 40′ in diameter, it’s the largest single clock in North America. This clock is located at the Colgate-Palmolive plant which was the Indiana Reformatory for Men prior to being bought and renovated in 1923. Therefore, the Colgate Clock has been considered to be a major southern Indiana landmark for over seven decades.

The Loew’s Jersey movie palace has another architectural clock that is renowned in American history. The builders of the facility wanted to attract attention to their building. They decided that since it’s located in an area where thousands of shoppers and commuters were always rushing by that they could best attract attention by adding a clock designed by the famous clock maker, Seth Thomas. This gorgeous timepiece includes one of the few moving figure clocks that’s you can see on the east coast. The figures depicted St. George slaying the dragon, an accomplishment which was repeated every quarter hour accompanied by bells.

You need to visit Seattle in order to tour its famous Clock Walk. Free standing clocks with cast iron pedestals began to be erected as an advertising medium in the 1860s and ’70s. By the 1920s there were so many street clocks in Seattle that people began to refer to it as the “City of Clocks”. Although a number of the clocks have been removed in the past three decades, Seattle is still considered to have one of the most significant collections of street clocks in the country.

Buried in the small, central plains town of Spillville, IA, you will find the home of the Bily Brothers clocks. These two farmers whiled away the long winter hours starting back in 1913 by crafting some of the most unique floor clocks you can ever hope to see. Their first clock, produced in 1916, featured appearance of the 12 apostles every hour. The brothers were adamant about keeping their collection together. Even when Henry Ford offered a small fortune for one of their clocks, the Bily Brothers refused to sell. The entire collection was bequeathed to the small, nearby town of Spillville with the provision that the collection never be sold or separated.

If you really want to feel the scope of American clock making, you can visit the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, CT. This museum houses over 1400 unique timepieces, most of which were made in the USA. The majority of the clocks are still running and chiming, so when the time comes around to 12 Noon, this is one of the louder sites you can visit.

As you can see, clock making is a favorite pastime of the American people as well as the British. By traveling throughout this great country of ours, you’ll be able to find numerous lovely timepieces that have become part of our heritage.

Care And Maintenance Of The Human Hard Drive

The human brain is very much like a hard drive. If you stop to think of it, they are both filled with billions of tiny bits of information, stored in the memory cells just waiting to be accessed. They both use electrical energy to find those bits and put them together to recreate something that we have placed there. They work on demand, and we expect them to instantly give us what we want.

And frankly, many people abuse both their hard drives and their brains! They fill them up with information and expect them to perform at top efficiency without the benefit of good maintenance. There are some basic support tasks that are essential to the well being of both. If you do not take proper care of both of them, they will fail you.

Both brains and hard drives need to be de-fragged on a regular basis! De-fragment means that you allow the machine (brain or hard drive) to rearrange the information that has been stored in it, so that it can find what you need more quickly and efficiently. When bits of information get stored all over the place, with no logical order to it, then it takes a lot longer for the machine to find and reassemble what you need quickly.

Probably, you have your hard drive set up to de-frag itself on a regular basis. It is done automatically, maybe while you sleep. Well, your brain does not have a task-scheduler to take care of this for you! It is busy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. It can not reset itself while you sleep. That is because it is still working on the things that your subconscious is trying to sort out. It is dreaming and remembering and stressing all the while.

So how do you de-frag your brain? Well, it takes three things: rest, relaxation and meditation. If you are a type A personality, then these three things may be altogether foreign territory for you! You may be in a high-stress job, or always be taking care of others but never yourself, or you may somehow think that taking care of yourself first is something that you do not deserve. Wrong! If you do not take care of this, it will force the issue. You may get sick, depressed or worse.

Meditation is an excellent way of maintaining your brain. It forces you to sit, relax and do "nothing" for a bit. You clear your poor brain of the clutter and the chatter and just let it run free. You do not have to do anything special, really, to meditate; you just find something that transports you! Music works for a lot of people. You can dance if it helps you, or do some drumming. You could get a good meditation tape or CD and listen to that. You could even sign up for a Tai Chi course, or try some yoga. Whatever you decide to do, do it regularly. At least once a week is necessary for the proper de-fragging of the average hard drive and the average brain.

At the very least you should be setting aside some time every week to just do something relaxing. Take a long bubble bath with some candles lit and some soothing music playing. Go sit outside in nature. The trick here is to just DO it, to take the time for yourself no matter what. See that you deserve it and that it is just as important as going to a doctor when you are sick. In fact, it can help keep those doctor visits to a minimum!

And while you are at it, consider getting a good anti-virus too. Your hard drive needs it to protect your information, and your body needs it to keep healthy. Anti-virus for the body means taking better care of you. Eat something healthy, go out and take a walk, and get more sleep! You can find the time to do this if you make it a priority.

If you take care of your hard drive, both the computer type and the body type, your life will improve significantly. Both will run smoothly and have a lot less crashes!

Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.