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Old October 3rd, 2014, 09:02 PM   #27761
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they are. just find settings button down at the right side (looks like gear wheel). there you can find option "turn back to old google maps". you will get 1000 questions "are you sure", but just press yes
and don't forget when you turn back to the old view, at the upper part of map you will have yellow bar with option to remember your choice for next time - press yes of course.
I found it. Thanks!
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Old October 3rd, 2014, 11:14 PM   #27762
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It probably varies by country. I looked up a major internet retailer in the Netherlands and they quote € 119 for a license.
Some people who use MS Office at work are allowed to buy a very cheap copy for use at home

http://www.microsofthup.com/hupuk/ch...?culture=en-GB

You have to type in your work email address to see if you are eligible. I am eligible so I could buy it for £8.95. But I still refuse to have it as I don't want the latest 2013 version which is so bloated it will fill up my hard drive.
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Old October 4th, 2014, 02:12 AM   #27763
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I'm sorry but Open Office is crap. I tried it for a while but the usability is still at MS Office 2003 levels. Office 2007 was a huge improvement once you got used to it and that's still my main office program. I use it at home and most workplaces also use it so it's easy to get things done.
Well I should recommend Google Docs, It saves all your work and let you access it from anywhere. And you can export the documents to your preferences.
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Old October 4th, 2014, 02:29 AM   #27764
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No! No, no, no!

Not to be rude, but I've had so much trouble with it when my work was trying to make us use it - one year, we had to use it for our annual reviews; the next year they went back. I'm sorry, but the only reason I see for switching from Microsoft to GoogleDocs is to save money.

In theory, it lets you save your work. In fact, however....

Also, they DID switch us from Outlook to GMail some years back and I still haven't forgiven them. Professionally-formatted e-mails (press releases are part of my job) are a pain in the ass, if not simply impossible.
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Old October 4th, 2014, 10:51 PM   #27765
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I found this interesting... Many people in eastern EU live in a house they own, and do not pay rent or mortgage for. This is an interesting perspective, because in western EU you spend a lot of your income on either rent or mortgage. I spend about 30% of my net income on rent.

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Old October 4th, 2014, 10:55 PM   #27766
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Maybe because housing is cheaper or often inherited?
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Old October 4th, 2014, 11:04 PM   #27767
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Perhaps inherited, or maybe given by the former communist governments, maybe somebody from the former communist countries can shine a light on how housing was done before 1990.
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Old October 4th, 2014, 11:28 PM   #27768
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well it was just an normal habbit to build a house on your own here. there were probably very cheap credits to do it.
flats were given by the state, very often to people who worked in army or police. after 1990 those flats were mostly bought by people who lived there for some silly prices.

nowadays it is still very normal to buy a flat or build a house on your own, but it is not that easy nor cheap anymore.
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Old October 4th, 2014, 11:32 PM   #27769
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forgot to mention that people living with their families in rented flat were considered, hm, poor.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 12:12 AM   #27770
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In Hungary the situatin is complex :-)

- Urbanization has a much lower level than in Western Europe. The country is much sparser inhabitated than e.g. the Netherlands, there are large areas (especially in the less developed Eastern part of Hungary) where you can not find any town, or only small towns. In these regions many people live in one flat houses, many of them quite old and having a bad state of repair. In the countryside you can see lots of old one flat houses, which should be destroyed and a new house should be built there but the owner has no money for that.
- In the 70's and 80's the salaries in Hungary were low, however there was nothing in the shops you could buy for that money, so many families had an income which was significantly higher as their living costs. And for a middle class family the goal of the life was clear: having an own house. In a country where you have a passport only for 5 Easter European countries and the best place you can travel to is the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria, where you had to wait several years for a new car, etc., it was the only way to show for your friends and for yourself that you are not poor. Large neighbourhoods of one flat houses were built that time everywhere in Hungary. Those houses are now 30-40 years old, most of them has a good state and usually the original owners or their chlidren live there.
- In the communist times town houses of multiple flats were owned by the state itself and the inhabitants could rent them. Monthly rents were very very low and since the late 70's there were enough houses in the towns so everyone could rent a flat. After 1990 those flats were sold for the people lived in for artificially low prices so all the people there, even the ones that had a small income, could have an own flat. This situation had serious results:
-- A large town house that has 120 flats has now 120 owners. There are so called 'common costs' (e.g. if the elavator breaks and must be repaired, or simply the cleaning costs if the stairway, etc.) which shall be paid by everyone but there are always flat owners that can not or do not want to pay, so the rest must pay more, and of course there are heavy discusses about it.
-- Since almost every people, even the ones that you could call as 'poor' had an own flat so if you are above 35 and have no flat, you seem extremely poor and people will think (and even you yourself will think) that you ****ed up your life. So you will save every single forint (currency of Hungary) you can save, in order to have money for an own flat. You eat less, you wear old clothes, etc., but having at least an own flat is something you must reach.
-- There are actually no flats to rent. What is very common in Germany, that a person has a mulitple flat house and rents the flats out does not exist in Hungary. If you have no own flat the only chance you have is that someone has more then one flats in the town and rents out one of them that you can rent. However, these rents are in most cases illegal (in order not to pay tax) so the tenant has not any legal protection because on paper s/he does not even live there.
- In 2005-10 there were cheap credits available based on Swiss Franc (Forint had interests of 30-35% that time and Franc had 2-3%). Several hundreds of thousands of people built a house or bought a flat using those credits. However, Forint exchange rate collapsed and Franc became stronger, 1 Franc was 150-160 forints that time, today the exchange rate is 255, so monthly mortgages increased dramatically and lots of people are not able to pay them which created a serious social crisis.

I suppose it is significantl more than what you wanted to know but I was not able to write it shorter :-)
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Old October 5th, 2014, 01:27 AM   #27771
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Quote:
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I don't know what you do at home with Office, but I only use it for simple things, so Open Office is fine for that. At least better than dishing out € 119 for 1 Microsoft Office 2013 license.
I use it for schoolwork. Sure, mostly it's just for papers but I also have to do some data analysis and Excel is simply the best tool for that. I have a legal copy of MS Office 2007 Home and Student and I've used it for 6 years now - it was definitely worth the money. I wouldn't be ready to pay a large sum of money for a yearly license, though.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 10:07 AM   #27772
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Meanwhile in Bucharest...
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Old October 5th, 2014, 10:27 AM   #27773
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@Attus: exactly the same in HR (and probably ex-YU). i was just too lazy to describe it in details
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Old October 5th, 2014, 11:03 AM   #27774
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In Czechoslovakia, lame urbanization had been occurring since 1945. Lots of villages or parts of small tows were demolished and replaced by apartment houses.

The situation was as follows:
When someone needed a dwelling, he or she just wrote a request, his family were checked if it is not against socialism and then was given a living (in 3 years from the request).

Sometimes you were given a choice (3 rooms, 4 rooms, floor, orientation), sometimes you were recommend to move to another city. Building of own houses was restricted, you were allowed only in special cases or in so called central municipalities - 4 or 5 of all in district.

Both my grandgrandparents were given flats as well as my parents were. My parents were given a choice to live on 4th, 5th or 7th floor, but since 5th and 7th were orientated to playground, they had chosen the 4th one.

The parents of my grandma decided to build a small house in 1965 in Bratislava-Petrzalka on they own (it costed them 100 000 korunas, which had according to today's salary value of 200 000 Eur). The construction was allowed. In 1975 the goverment decided, there would be a new 12 storey apartment house. The house were demolished and the parents of my grandma were given a 2 rooms apartment. You could't do anything against it. Last of her parents died in 16th November of 1989 a day before velvet revolution. My mum was still obliged to return the keys of the apartment, because there were no adult in our family to occupy it.

During '90s a possibility of private ownership has emerged. Everyone who had such apartment were able to buy it. The price was not definitely worth the property.

E.g. I live in flat inherited after my grandma who died in 2006 and she paid 600 Eur! The apartment is in the centre of Bratislava with the market value of 150 000 Eur.

As an owner, I pay only for facility management. We have chosen a company for that and they take care of our apartment house.

Monthly I pay for gas, electricity, water, repair fund and facility management. Facility management costs 6 Eur/monthly, repair fund were raised from 0,06 eur to 2,05 per square meter of apartment in April due to upcoming renovation.

The repair fund is maintained by the company, but it is our decision what to do with that money. For such purpose, we have a owners meeting at least once a year where we vote about some issues.

Common issues require more than 1/2 of votes to approve, serious issues need 3/4 of votes.

The maintenance of common parts in house is paid from repair fund.
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Last edited by volodaaaa; October 5th, 2014 at 11:12 AM.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 11:22 AM   #27775
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Quite similar in Poland with only two exceptions: there were no middle class in communist times in Poland and people had had not their houses built to show off. There is also something interesting what happened on the beginning of nighties - extreme devaluation of Polish Zloty, which led to the sitiation in which many mortgage takers could repay their long term loan (20, 30 years) within several months.

There is lots of other interesting factors such as inherited flats, flats for 1 zloty and inherited land. For example, my sister inherited quite a piece of land, which she divided into 4 parts. She has retained two shares for herself and sold two other shares. Sold bits let her rise money to build her own house in one year time.

If it comes to me I own several possessions (a flat, a house and lands in two nice locations) and pay not a penny to any kind of lender. Some of them are bought by myself, some were given by parents.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 11:52 AM   #27776
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If it comes to me I own several possessions (a flat, a house and lands in two nice locations) and pay not a penny to any kind of lender.
That kind of wealth is unknown in western Europe except for the 1% richest or so.

I can't even buy a house on one income in the Netherlands. You'll get about 4.5 times your gross income in mortgage. And most normal houses are over € 200.000, so you need an income of at least € 45.000 per year to buy a small decent house, which is well over the median single person income. Anything under € 200.000 is usually crap and can hardly be seen as an investment.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 01:14 PM   #27777
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@Attus: exactly the same in HR (and probably ex-YU). i was just too lazy to describe it in details
Yes indeed. In the year 1991 state owned flat were offered to tenants. In Ljubljana in the city center, flats were sold for 15€ / square meter. Today you can get 2500€ / square meter for the same flat without a problem.

But you had to be at the right time on the right place. All the rest got nothing.

On the countryside urban planning failed in 70's. You could build almost wherever you wanted and the authorities looked away. It was their way to maintain the social peace. Of course this meant that houses were build next to the main road resulting in poor quality of today's road network.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 01:27 PM   #27778
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In Czechoslovakia.

In the kickoff of the communism, most of the big possessions were nationalized. This included the apartment houses or big villas. Another thing was that people with really big houses (villas) were often forced to accept tenants in their property, that paid rent that did not cover the expenses. After the revolution. Those properties were returned, although often in quite a poor state.

Another thing is that you had 3 million Germans leaving the country in 1945, and those left their houses in the borderland empty. Many of those houses were given to those that just signed for going to the empty borderlands. It were often people from Slovakia or people with low social status, or people that had political problems. Even though the borderland suffered quite a lot with this loss and you got many ghost villages and settlements. Some of them ceased to exist. In any case, Czechs love their second houses. I think I read that around 40 % of the people owns a second vacation property (it doesn't have to always be really a functioning house, but it can be a summer house). It is the highest number, right after the Swedes.

There were very favorable loans (in the late 70s and 80s) to the young pairs that started a family (baby boomers in the 70s). Aside from a normal loan from the government they could get a non repayable loan to build a house and if they did, they did not have to pay it back to the government. There were no mortgages. There were almost no construction companies. People did it themselves. Only the upper class could afford having it done by a construction company. For those upper class (e.g. managers in big companies, party prominent's etc) there was often a shady construction involved. They used the workers and materials used for construction elsewhere in a big investment project in their own private house construction.

The flat construction was a priority for the socialistic government. They build some 2,2 million flats between 1950 - 1990. That is some 48 000 per year on average. The quality of the available flats was dramatically improved in the process in the 70s and 80s. In a max year 1975 some 100 000 flats were constructed. After the revolution between 1990 - 2006 some 26 000 flats per year were made.

The flats were not in personal ownership. Only the family houses. The flats were either in a ownership of the municipality, state company (e.g. huge industrial company) or a co-op (higher rents to pay out for the construction). Those organizations also build those flats. And often the construction was financed by the government. The tenants got a decree for using the flat, e.g. when they moved for work, often there was a flat decree included in the employment contract. There was some sort of black market with the decrees, and there was also bribing involved to speed things up. It was often possible to get multiple decrees on different family members and keep them. E.g. a grandchild officially moving in with a grandmother (on a paper) so that when she would die, the right of tenancy would stay with the grandchild.

After the revolution. Those flats were mostly privatized, either directly to the people that occupied them (they had a first option to buy) or they were privatized in open bidding (that were rather shady most of the time in fact). Some of the big industrial companies were privatized as well including the flats. There is e.g. a case of a big mining company that was privatized, including 50 000 flats. The company should according to the agreement offer those flats to the tenants, but it did not... finding some smart legal way of course.

Still till now, there are very small property taxes, the land is cheap and people often build their family house themselves. However, the apartments construction is quite low and there is almost no housing development financed by the government. If there is anything financed by the government it is revitalization of the old apartments buildings.

The rent was fully commercialized in the Czech republic. It should be as high as it is common at the given place and time. A court should settle disagreements between the tenant and the owner. There is zero social housing construction.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 02:00 PM   #27779
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That kind of wealth is unknown in western Europe except for
the 1% richest or so.
. I do not consider myself wealthy or even well off. Mentioned house is pretty old and in need of reconstruction, flat is small and actually only pieces of land i own make me satisfied. Their value increased about 200% in the last decade and after splitting them into several reasonable (probaly ten would be possible) pieces in futer, their value would have risen another 200% or more. However, in the area where I live it is rather avarage score.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 02:02 PM   #27780
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In Yugoslavia, all employed people were obligated to give a small percent of their wage for "social housing", to build new apartment buildings whose flats would be given to the working class. Companies would be given a number of flats for the workers who had most reasons to get one. So, people who got flats during communism bought them for 100 DEM in 1990 and they can sold them now for 50,000 EUR for example, while the others who also payed for building new buildings for decade and didn't get them can only sell some property and buy a new flat...
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