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Comment Re:Big surprise (for me) (Score 1) 582

Yes, we're total idiots over here, spending about half of what the mortgage payment would be in order to allow the long-term problems of the house remain someone else's financial nightmare :)

My (German) husband and I were seriously considering buying a house soon after we married. However, we noticed something funny about our small city: the same sorts of houses that we felt we had a sufficient downpayment for (under 250,000 EUR) were renting for well under 1,000 EUR/month. The half of a big duplex (with good-sized back yard) we ended up renting is 700 EUR/mo - similar ones with smaller lots are on the market for over 200,000 EUR.

200,000 / 8400 = 23.8 years, and that would take talking the sellers down about 10-15%.

This is part of why even well-off Germans sometimes rent for years. The other factors are how sluggish the real estate market is even in good times and traditionally, very high down-payment requirements. I, an American, thought I was cautious wanting to put in at least 20% - he wouldn't consider anything less than 40% to be safe. I still can't work out why this is a good deal for my landlady as opposed to selling the house for 170,000 EUR, but if it works for her, wonderful - it's sure working great for us!

Note to my fellow Americans: tenants in Germany have far stronger occupancy rights than do ones in the US. My landlady would have to give us 3 months' notice if she wanted the house back, and "I want to charge higher rent" is not sufficient grounds. It's an even longer notice period if we're in for at least five years.

Our food:shelter ratio is about 1:3, because although we don't go out to eat much (too time-consuming!), we like to cook with really nice ingredients.


Christmas Tree Made From 70 SCSI Hard Drives 248

Trigger writes "At our work we were decomissioning six old HP/Compaq servers to clear up space for new servers and, naturally, each server had a fairly large raid array. Instead of formatting every hard drive (would have taken weeks performing a DoD level wipe) and disposing them all together with the servers, I decided to disassemble the hard drives and recycle them into something neat. With a lot (a lot) of patience, I made this shiny Xmas tree. In total there are around 70 old SCSI hard drives, between 9gb and 18gb in size each. They were nice and chunky, oldschool style. There were quite a few different hard drive models, which is good because they each had different bits which I could use. The Xmas tree is made with parts from hard drives only except for one nut which I had to purchase for $0.39." It's good to see that this guy has plenty to do at work.

Submission + - Generalist vs. Niche Job Boards

JamesBruni writes: "There's a big battle brewing in the World of online Classifieds.
Who is winning the war between Generalist and Niche Online Job Boards?
In a word, Niche.

Niche sites controlled about 64% of the online job-search market in 2006, up from 39% in 2004, according to Gordon Borrell, chief executive officer of consultancy Borrell Associates. The rivalry will only accelerate this year, as demand for online recruitment surges. A recent survey indicates 40% of workers plan to look for a different job in 2007. Much of that searching will happen online.

The Big Three have the most to lose. In the past six months, visits to Monster, HotJobs, and CareerBuilder dropped by 23.7%, 18.4%, and 7.1%, respectively, according to Hitwise. "The generalist site is falling away to that very strong niche," says Borrell.

Who's gaining from the Niche Victory?
New York-based JobThread and other fast-growing startups with "job board in a box" products/services. JobThread dominates the market with thousands of customers, including major Web publishers such as Gawker,, Gizmodo, and others.

Eric Yoon, founder and CEO of JobThread, predicts that 2007 will be the "Year of the Niche Job Board Network". Many associations and groups of industry-related companies are pooling their job boards into centralized sites. The Open Source Software Association is a great example. It maintains a centralized job board with "separate silos" for its member companies."

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