Monday, May 13, 2013


I closed on the sale of my Ossining townhouse last Monday.  The sales price was 1.59 times what I paid back in 1989 off a bit from the high point of about two times for units like mine (back around 2006). At about 2% a year appreciation this didn't keep up with inflation. Even before deducting for the 5% real estate commission and other expenses. So in one sense this wasn't a very good investment. Although it wasn't terrible compared to renting. And on the other hand I got to live there 23 years rent free and I liked the place. Which is also an important consideration. 

I might done a bit better financially if I had been less slothful and gotten the place listed 6 months earlier in the Spring instead of the Fall of last year. Spring seems like a better time to list. There are more potential buyers looking and I think the complex is more attractive at that time of year with warmer weather and more greenery. Also I would have (potentially) saved some months expenses. 

I took the picture two days before the closing when I visited the place for the last time. My unit is behind the middle tree. It faced South so it was nice and sunny and I liked the views of the pond.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Citations

I recently discovered the "My Citations" feature on Google Scholar.  It is kind of neat.  You set up a profile with a list of your papers and then Google Scholar finds, counts and lists many of papers which have cited each of your papers.  Listing my papers was easy as Google had already grouped most of them together and I just had to add the whole group and then delete a few interlopers (you would think Google would realize a paper published in the 1700s didn't belong with the others even if it was also written by James Shearer).  In order to make your profile public (so it shows up when you search Google Scholar for your name) you need a verified email address at an academic institution.  This was a bit of a problem for me as I don't have a current academic affiliation.  But then I figured out as a MIT graduate I could set up an email address at which would just forward email to my personal account.  After I did this (and waited a day for it to take effect) I was able to use it to pass Google's verification and make my profile public.

When I was at IBM I tried for a while (until I lost interest) to keep track (via Science Citation Index) of papers citing mine.  This is much easier.  And Google Scholar seems to be pretty good at tracking down free online versions of published papers.  It is interesting to see that the number of people citing my papers each year has been trending upward although I haven't been producing much in the way of new papers for a long time.  However I suspect this is mostly because the number of papers being published each year has also been steadily rising.     

In summary this seems like an interesting and worthwhile feature.  It does depend on authors setting it up for their papers.  At the moment many haven't but hopefully more will over time.