February 28, 2023

Keep debt collectors off your back

Debt collectors are those notorious entities that collect debts for others. Credit card companies and banks may sell your debt or turn over your account to a collection agency, which makes money if it manages to collect from you. Some of these collectors can be very aggressive. 

However, you don't have to put up with phone calls (including collection calls at work), emails, voicemails, text messages, or contact through social media. Learn how to control when and how debt collectors communicate with you by reading my latest article for Bills.com, available here.

February 21, 2023

Exploring AI's impact on speech technology

It’s hardly a surprise that 2022 was a pivotal year for speech technology, especially considering the continued explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in this space. Numerous noteworthy innovations, developments, and signs of progress were observed over the past year, as were old and new challenges that need to be overcome.

So, where do we stand at this point, in 2023? What’s the state of adoption of speech tech to date, what newsworthy events over the past year are worth revisiting, which shortcomings need to be addressed, and what do the experts forecast over the next year and beyond?

Read my latest article for Speech Technology Magazine for more on this topic, available here.

February 16, 2023

TCM's Ben Mankiewicz & Farran Smith Nehme join Cineversary podcast to celebrate Treasure of the Sierra Madre's 75th anniversary

Ben Mankiewicz and Farran Smith Nehme
In Cineversary podcast episode #56, host Erik Martin is joined by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz and Farran Smith Nehme, whose writings have appeared in The Village Voice, Sight & Sound, and her Self-Styled Siren Substack. Together, they sift through the sands of time to uncover the golden truths behind The Treasure of the Sierra Madre as they commemorate the film’s 75th anniversary.

To listen to this episode, click here or click the "play" button on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download, or subscribe to Cineversary wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at anchor.fm/cineversary and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

February 9, 2023

Retracing the shameful history of redlining in real estate

The days of race-based housing discrimination in the U.S. may be legally behind us, but the legacy of attitudes and practices that kept nonwhite citizens out of some neighborhoods remains pervasive. “Redlining” was one of these practices notorious in American real estate history.

What is redlining? Today, the term can refer to any form of racial discrimination related to real estate. But historically it refers to a form of government-backed bias and inequity in housing dating back to the 1930s.

America’s discriminatory past can still be seen today with nonwhite mortgage borrowers generally getting charged higher interest rates and through persistent “voluntary” neighborhood segregation.

Learn more about the history and legacy of redlining practices by reading my newest article for Bankrate, available here.

February 7, 2023

How much does it cost to add a teenager to car insurance?

You've got a son or daughter who has recently received a driver's license and is eager to get behind the wheel. But before you can hand over the keys, it's important to answer a crucial question: How much does it cost to add a teenager to car insurance?

The answer can vary depending on several factors, but you can likely expect higher premiums once your adolescent is added to your auto insurance policy. Dig for the facts and get price quotes from different insurers after inquiring about potential discounts you and your teenager may be eligible for.

To learn more, check out my newest article for CarInsurance.com, found here.

February 2, 2023

It's Groundhog Day for mortgage borrowers, too

Americans look with excitement to February 2 and the anticipated activity of Punxsutawney Phil, the world-famous climate-forecasting rodent who will signal if winter will persist longer than expected or not.

But weather isn’t the only thing we’re eager to get an expert forecast on right now. Many of us also want to know where mortgage rates will land in the second month of 2023, the predictions for which can better guide our decisions on purchasing or refinancing a home.

How will rates shake out in February? When will it become more affordable to finance a home purchase? Will the groundhog see his shadow? For answers, read my latest story for Bankrate, available here.