Gus G. Sentementes, tech guru at The Baltimore Sun, has on the efforts of the Greater Baltimore Committee (with the help of ) to lure Google to bring its one-gigabyte-per-second network to Charm City. We reported on Google’s announcement and Request for Proposals about six weeks ago, and our fair city is now in the hunt. The MKCREATIVE blog reported on the many pluses of the project, though one of limited population scope. But here’s hoping… The faster network could help home shoppers find the houses of their dreams that nanosecond as well. If they are savvy about how to search…
Sometimes more digitized information is not much help, unless we are aware of the real-world context of that information. Will Morton at Thehas a great article about searching for a home in Baltimore (or anywhere, really) and how to combine the best of on-line resources with the best of your intuition and budget realities. He interviews a number of people who have great advice on searching for a house, and his report is chock-full of links to neighborhood associations and school/property-tax/crime-stat databases.
Yet Mr. Morton’s article points to where the house-buyer must also be ready to pound pavement, talk with folks, and just ‘get a sense’ of the place. Here is how one of his interviewees put it:
“Databases have their place, but we can also get far too carried away with ‘sophisticated tools,’ when the old tried-and-true measures probably work as well or better,” notes Sandra J. Newman, a housing policy professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Policy Studies, in an e-mail. (Her old-school advice: Walk the streets to get a feel for the neighborhood.) What online research can do is hand buyers powerful tools that can help them find that great neighborhood in the first place.
So we would love to see Google turn Charm City into Gigabit City, but networks of real people are part of the Charm of Baltimore that we don’t want to see sacrificed for the sake of technology. Even a much desired one.