Lowest FHA Mortgage Rates

Over the last several years many Americans have looked to save money by locking into today’s lowest FHA mortgage rates. It is very important to understand that FHA mortgage rates are very close to all-time lows but it is the case that an FHA mortgage comes with insurance obligations. Some of the largest mortgage lenders in the country that are offering low FHA rates include Bank of America and Countrywide as well as Wachovia and Wells Fargo.

It is important to note that Wells Fargo gobbled up Wachovia during the credit crisis and Bank of America did the same thing with Countrywide. With that being said two of the largest financial institutions in the nation are now Bank of America and Wells Fargo but remember they are not the only options when it comes to locking in low rates.

As we get deeper into 2011 many analysts have predicted that interest rates are likely to move up due to the fact that the 10 year treasury rate yield will increase with an improved economy. The 10 year treasury rate yield and 30 year fixed mortgage have had a very strong correlation since 1971 and this is not likely to change in the near future as the 10 year yield often dictates interest rates.

With this in mind it may be a very wise decision to take advantage of the low interest rates while they are available. But doing research online most will find that there are local, regional and national mortgage lenders that can help when it comes to refinancing home loan.

By accessing the HUD website Americans will better understand what options are available when it comes to reducing costs and fees on a home loan. Remember that these costs and fees can often be negotiated much lower so it is always advisable to understand each and every step of the mortgage refinance process.

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Apple’s iPad 2

The iPad wasn’t slow before. Now it’s faster. It wasn’t bulky before. Now it’s thinner. Now it’s lighter.

Additional features are couple of new cameras, sums up the difference between Apple Inc.’s first tablet and the iPad 2, which went on sale in the United States last Friday. Taken together, the changes are unremarkable. What’s remarkable is that Apple didn’t really need to do more to maintain its position as the class of the field.

Apple,s Ipad 2 Features:

The iPad is the value-price leader in the market. Trust me, it isn’t often you can say that about an Apple product.

Which is available in black or white, maintains the same 9.7-inch diagonal touchscreen display and 1024*768 pixels resolution as its predecessor. It’s when you pick it up that you notice the changes. The iPad 2 is more slim than the first model, 8.8 millimeters, which is a third less and even thinner than Apple’s iPhone 4.

The weight has been shaved as well, to 1.33 pounds (601 grams) from 1.5 for the Wi-Fi-only editions, and 1.35 pounds from 1.6 for models that add 3G service from either AT&T Inc. or Verizon Wireless. If you go the 3G route, by the way, you’ll have to select your carrier at the outset; as with the iPhone 4, you can’t switch from one to the other on the same device. On the other hand, both Verizon and AT&T will offer service on a no-contract, month-to-month basis.

Under the hood, the principal change is a new, custom Apple designed processor, called the A5, and graphics that the company says are up to nine times faster. That seems like a lot, and it is, but the differences only become evident upon a direct comparison with the older model. Yes, the new one renders Web pages faster and launches apps more smoothly, but the previous edition was good enough that the improvements feel more incremental than transformative.

If you’re looking to do something on the iPad you couldn’t do before, you’ll gravitate toward the two cameras, front and rear, which make it possible to send and receive video calls over Wi-Fi with other iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Macintosh computer users with Apple’s Face- Time service. You can also use the cameras to shoot still photos, and video that you can edit using a new, $4.99 iPad version of iMovie, the editing software that comes preloaded on Macs.

Making video calls is fun, and the iMovie app is flexible and easy to use. At the same time, the cameras are no great shakes. Apple won’t discuss their specifications except to say that the rear one will shoot 720p highdefinition video, while the front one offers VGA quality. While I found the video to be acceptable, still photos were grainy and barely adequate; if you’ve got an iPhone, you’ll be much better off using it for snapshots.

It’s also worth noting that the iPad 2’s new, tapered case makes it harder to hook up its docking and other cables, including the one that now connects it to a high-definition port on your big-screen TV. And pay attention if you spend the extra $39 or $69 for Apple’s new “smart cover,” which attaches to the iPad magnetically and automatically puts it to sleep when closed. Tossing the iPad into my computer bag, or even onto the seat of my car, jostled the cover enough to wake it back up by accident.

The most important things about the iPad 2 may be what haven’t changed much. Battery life, for instance, remains very good. As part of my testing, I wanted to run the battery down to zero through routine use; I finally gave up the effort because it wasn’t draining quickly enough. Instead, I ran back-to-back videos with both Wi-Fi and 3G turned on and the screen brightness and audio cranked up – until it finally conked out after almost nine hours of continuous use.

That isn’t quite as good as what I achieved on the original iPad, but it suggests that the new version should be able to attain Apple’s promised 10 hours of playback time when it’s used under normal conditions.

The most important thing that hasn’t changed with the iPad 2 is the price. Like its predecessor, it starts at $499 for a Wi-Fi-only model with 16 gigabytes of storage, with 32 gigabytes for $599 and $699 for 64 gigabytes; the 3G-and-Wi-Fi-equipped versions each cost $130 more.

By way of comparison, the best iPad competitor out there, the new Xoom from Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Verizon, is heavier, thicker and costs $799 for 32 gigabytes of storage, making it $70 more expensive than the comparable Apple model.

Only a handful of applications so far take advantage of the zoom’s operating system, a new tablet optimized version of Google Inc.’s Android software, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claims more than 65,000 apps specifically for the iPad. Other Android tablets, such as the Galaxy S Tab from Samsung Electronics Co. and Dell Inc.’s Streak, trail even further behind on price, performance and capabilities.

So for anyone in the market for their first tablet, the discussion begins and for the moment probably ends with the iPad. For existing iPad users, the question is whether to upgrade.

Many of you are going to anyway. So go ahead, and pass your first-generation model to a family member. There’ll soon be a lot more happy spouses, siblings and kids in the Apple orbit.

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Making Tasteless Japan Jokes On Twitter


Gilbert Gottfried, a comedian who has been doing commercials for insurance company Aflac for over a decade has been fired after making a bunch of jokes on Twitter about the Japanese earthquake.

The Jokes Are:

  • "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'There'll be another one floating by any minute now.' "
  • "Japan called me. They said 'maybe those jokes are a hit in the US, but over here, they're all sinking.' "
  • "What do the Japanese have in common with howardstern? They're both radio active."
  • "Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them."
  • One can laugh about anything, but Gottfried shouldn't be surprised that a corporate sponsor would fire him for publicly joking about an unfolding tragedy. This is particularly true here because, as the AP notes, Aflac does 75% of its business in Japan. But what's really shocking about those jokes isn't just how offensive they are, but how bad they are.

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Meaning of The Ides of March

Falling on the 15th of March, May, July, and October, or the 13th day of any other month, the ides signified the middle of the month on the Roman calendar.

So we've culled a quick list of the various things and events that the "Ides of March" could refer to:

1. The day that Julius Caesar was betrayed and assassinated in 44 B.C. by a group of Roman senators an event that solidified the date in infamy.

2. The famous line, "Beware the ides of March," from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned of his impending death by a soothsayera warning that Caesar disastrously, but predictably, fails to heed.

3. The epistolary novel, The Ides of March, by Thornton Wilder was published in 1948 and describes the events leading up to the assassination of Caesar.

4. The Ides of March was the American rock band behind the hit 70s song 'Vehicle'.

5. And last but not least, a non-depressing reference The Ides of March is the political thriller directed by George Clooney, set to be released in late 2011. The movie is about "an idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate [who] gets a crash course on dirty politics," which admittedly does sound like a bit of a downer. But it stars Clooney and Ryan Gosling, and that is anything but depressing!

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Story of Olympics

The 2012 Olympics can be as successful as those in Beijing, but he knows they are a very hard act to follow. The Times encapsulated that after the dazzling opening ceremony of the 2008 Games in the Bird's Nest Stadium with the headline Olympic Opening Ceremony spectacular sets the bar high for London 2012.

"We can't do what China has done at the Beijing Olympics. We'll do it in a different way," he told me after receiving the Olympic flag from Beijing in August 2008.

The Beijing Games provided a stage for China to present its emergence and an occasion to shake off "a hundred years of humiliation". Although the Chinese leaders said the Olympics should not be politicised, they constantly reminded the citizens it was "a dream of a century".

A whole nation was mobilised. There were 100,000 Olympic volunteers with another one million community volunteers in Beijing. Polluting factories were either forced to close or relocated, and cars were banned from the roads each day, alternating between those with number plates ending in an odd digit and those ending in an even one.

The 17-day event was well-organised but its success came at a very high price. Unconfirmed total spending on the games amounted to $40 billion, making it the most expensive Olympics.

And residents in Beijing and other parts of China complained about the sacrifices.

Johnson vowed to make the Games a more enjoyable experience, involving more people coming out on to the streets to celebrate.

Indeed, it is quite a different approach, just like Britain's free-market economy compared to China's state capitalism. It will be interesting to observe which one performs better in the Olympic arena. Of course, there are similarities between the two Games.

Both countries were in a tough environment in the lead up. For Beijing, it was an emotional and political experience. The Sichuan earthquake three months before the opening galvanised the nation to work together. And the torch relay was disrupted by protests against China's human rights.

London was not lucky. The global financial crisis hit hard almost immediately after Johnson took over the Olympic flag. The economic slump put further strain on the 2012 Olympics budget. Luckily, the Olympic Delivery Authority did not buckle under the pressure, with the construction project nearly 80% finished.

The Beijing Olympics are a fond memory for Team GB as they finished fourth in the medals table with 19 golds, the best haul in a century. The Beijing Olympics also witnessed extraordinary sporting feats.

They were illuminated by some extraordinary sporting feats. Swimmer Michael Phelps claimed the most gold medals in one Olympics by winning eight events and Usain Bolt broke the 100m and 200m sprint world records, securing their titles as the world's fastest men "in water and on earth".

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