Let the web broker your time.

by Admin 26. August 2008

It seems as though there has been a plethora of sites to help with organization, and lately there has been a strong emphasis on time brokering. For people who have to schedule a lot of one-on-one meetings – either for personal or professional reasons – a site like TimeDriver could be a great help.

TimeDriver is designed to help broker meetings by allowing you to set up either one-time or recurring blocks of time, and send people links that let them grab appointment times in those blocks that remain unclaimed.

TimeDriver can link to Google or Outlook calendars if you want to make sure you’re not duplicating appointments, and the system will write appointments back into your calendar when people claim times. You can also put a link in your emails and take appointments from anyone – that could be dangerous. There are more advanced features that can prevent scheduling last-minute meetings or seeing more than a few time slots. One criticism however is the lack of buffer times between meetings, which could cause issues if you have to travel between them.

The site has a tool to send out emails to everyone on your list and will track all of their responses.

The basic TimeDriver service is free. Paid and enterprise versions will get additional features, such as calendar pooling, analytics, and custom branding options.

My recommendation, convince your dentist to use TimeDriver.

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Another meeting manager.

by Admin 26. August 2008

Earlier today I posted about TimeDriver – an automated, time broker to help schedule one-on-one meetings – only to stumble upon a similar service called TimeBridge this afternoon. I told you there are a lot of time management sites out there.

Unlike TimeDriver, TimeBridge is a meeting negotiation product allowing for multi-person meetings and allows the attendees to vote on the best time to meet.

So how does it work? The organizer sends out several proposed times for a meeting, and the site will coordinate the replies of attendees until everyone agrees on a single time, at which point it will lock in the agreed-on time for everyone and release the tentative hold it had on the alternate spots. The interesting feature is the ability of attendees to flag a specific time as the “best” time for them, which the system considers a vote when identifying the meeting time.

TimeBridge does integrate with Outlook and includes a very handy “Reply with TimeBridge” option that it adds to Outlook if you install the add-on. If someone sends you an email about a meeting, you can use this option to transfer the discussion to the TimeBridge system. All this while syncing up with your Outlook calendar so is it aware of available times.

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Frozen HELOC?

by Wade Barnes 22. August 2008

Given the current declining trend in the housing market, some lenders have chosen to not only exit the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) business but also to freeze their existing customers' lines. What does this mean for me?

If you have a HELOC with a lender who has decided to freeze their current lines, some impacts are rather blatant while others may not be so obvious. The obvious part is once your line is frozen, you are unable to make further advances. This could place you in a huge bind if in fact you had plans to use your HELOC for future home projects, a wedding, school expenses, vacation, or the like.

What's not so obvious? Well behind the scenes, when a lender decides to freeze or close your HELOC one of two things can happen. First, if you have no outstanding balance, the creditor will likely report to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) that the loan was closed by the credit grantor. Although this was closed due to no adverse action on your behalf, this is not a desirable notation on your credit report. If you have an outstanding balance, the creditor will likely reduce your credit limit to match your outstanding balance, which looks as if you have maxed out your credit line. Having a maxed out credit limit is also undesirable.

Having accounts that were closed by the credit grantor as well as having credit limits that are maxed out both impact your credit score. So, not only are you unable to use your credit line for future uses, your credit is also being tarnished by the lender's decision to exit the market.

What's next? Well, you have options. Not all lenders are exiting the market; in fact many lenders are still actively seeking this business. It would be wise to find a lender who is interested in your business. Refinancing your credit line will allow you to not only have the line of credit for future purposes but will also lessen the negative impacts of your lender's decision.

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