Archive for: September, 2006

A Housing Price Correction

Sep 30 2006 Published by under Ramblings

My buddy Jason posted an interesting entry on what he’s seeing in the California real-estate market.

Its a good read… the comments are also worth noting as well.

Los Angeles housing market reaches the tipping point

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Being Rich… Then poor.

Sep 29 2006 Published by under Ramblings

A friend of mine sent this to me, and its a pretty good read…

The trajectory of George Foreman’s finances once had him headed into a gilded pantheon of big buckaroos who have squandered often-unimaginable sums of money.

Fortune’s Fools: Why the Rich Go Broke

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Hospital Overcharges

Sep 28 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Its just crazy that a hospital will charge $129 for a box of tissues!

Profit-hungry hospitals are overcharging consumers an estimated $10 billion a year. Some deliberately work to keep bills indecipherable. Here’s how to fight back.

10 ways to avoid outrageous hospital overcharges

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Linux Eye-Candy

Sep 27 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I saw a demo of all the XGL stuff a few years back and was told it wasn’t quite ready for production yet… fast forward to present time, and now you can run it on Ubuntu!

You can download a free livecd to try out XGL here.

I tested it on a basic $300 Dell PC with a standard-PCI Nvidia FX5200 and it ran smoothly and perfectly without a hitch… most impressive… believe it or not, it may be more attractive than Apple’s Mac OS X…. Really! πŸ˜€

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Evolution

Sep 26 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Hmm…

Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals: true or false? This simple question is splitting America apart, with a growing proportion thinking that we did not descend from an ancestral ape. A survey of 32 European countries, the US and Japan has revealed that only Turkey is less willing than the US to accept evolution as fact.Why doesn’t America believe in evolution?

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Cranberry Juice

Sep 25 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Drink more cranberry juice! πŸ™‚

A group of tannins found primarily in cranberries can transform E. coli bacteria, a class of microorganisms responsible for a host of human illnesses, including urinary tract infections, in ways that render them unable to initiate an infection.

Compounds in cranberry juice show promise as alternatives to antibiotics

   

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Where the Internet Lives

Sep 24 2006 Published by under Ramblings

For those of you who have not gone on a tour with me, here’s a interesting view of what a facility would look like… πŸ™‚

Equinix is responsible for holding massive amounts of data, including storage for popular sites like MySpace.com. Take a tour of the facilities, and see how much energy it takes to keep the Web alive. CNET News.com’s Neha Tiwari reports. Video: See where the Internet lives

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HDTV Viewing Distance

Sep 23 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I’ve collected some data for you regarding HDTV and viewing distance…

Basically, for HDTV you need to sit about 2x the diaganol size of your TV… And 5x or greater for Standard Def…. So for a 50-inch TV you need to sit 50*3/12 = 12.5 feet close-in to notice the detail on HD. Sitting further away means you’re just paying for pixels you can’t see.

What this also means is you can’t take a room designed for Standard Def viewing, replace the TV and expect it to be ok for HDTV… So once you configure your seating and HDTV correctly you’ll find that you “feel” like you’re sitting too close to the TV – but in actuality you need to be sitting that close to preceive the details in the image at HD resolutions.

So most folks with HDTV aren’t really getting much benefit from their HDTV set because they’re sitting too far away.

While the following clips don’t all say the same thing, they are all essentially saying that you need to sit pretty close to the set… With an outer max of 4x if you have really-really good vision (hence my rule of thumb of 2 to 3x)

furniture.com – “For high-definition, wide-screens … sit at a distance 1.5 to 3 times the diagonal width of the screen.”

ezinearticles.com – “five times the screen width as the maximum view distance, while more than adequate for a standard analog TV picture, is a bit too far away for a person to see the fine detail supported by a HDTV picture – a three to four times the screen width represents a more practical limit for the maximum viewing distance in the case of HDTV.”

Call for Help – “With a high definition TV the optimal viewing distance is between 2 and 3–4 times the width of the TV. Remember, if you sit too far away for the size of TV you will not realize the sharp detail of HDTV”

My-Home-Theatre.com – “For optimal viewing of high-defenition images, the distance between the viewer and the screen should equal about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 times the screen size”

So – those of you with HDTV sets… break out those tape-measures and move your sofas!

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Cooling Towers

Sep 22 2006 Published by under Ramblings

The next time you walk through the mist from a office cooling tower, you might want to go rub yourself down with rubbing-alcohol… πŸ™

Cooling towers could be evolutionary hotspots for new respiratory diseases.Cooling towers are a hotspot for evolving disease

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50 Great Ideas

Sep 21 2006 Published by under Ramblings

This is a great article… some of the most interesting things I read:

  • Get stability control on your car – On your next new car, get electronic stability control, a safety feature helps prevent skids and spins. Studies show it reduces SUV single-vehicle crashes by 67 percent. It’s standard on vehicles ranging from the Audi A3 to the BMW Z4, and a $500 option on others. For a list of ESC-equipped vehicles, go to www.esceducation.org.
  • Get rewards you will actually use – Switch your airline miles or other merchandise rewards to a credit card with rewards you’ll actually use — like cash back. Search for a no-fee card that suits you at www.cardweb.com or www.bankrate.com.
  • Donate your shares – Donate stock, not cash, to charity. Not only will you help those in need, you’ll forever avoid taxes on any gains on the stock — and you can deduct the full value of the shares on your tax return. The charity will be happy to help you with the paperwork.

Read the whole thing here:

How to earch more, save more, invest better, spend wisely and protect your family. The 50 smart money moves below are as close to sure things as you can get. Good payoff, low risk: the definition of smart.

50 Smartest things to do with your money

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Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

Sep 21 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I think I’ve finally swapped out all my regular bulbs to CFL’s…

Intresting quotes from this article:

  • The single greatest source of greenhouse gases in the United States is power plants–half our electricity comes from coal plants.
  • What that means is that if every one of 110 million American households bought just one ice-cream-cone bulb, took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. One bulb swapped out, enough electricity saved to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads.
  • Swirl bulbs don’t just work, they pay for themselves. They use so little power compared with old reliable bulbs, a $3 swirl pays for itself in lower electric bills in about five months.

How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change the World? One. And You’re Looking At It.

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Buying a House 2.0

Sep 20 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Interesting video clip about Zillow.com

Steve Chainey bought his dream home using Zillow.com, a Web 2.0 site that combines satellite mapping imagery with home valuation analysis. This site and others like it provide consumers with research tools that have been difficult to access in the past, potentially disrupting the traditional real estate paradigm. Will sites like Zillow.com shake up the real estate industry?

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Keeping An Old Number for $8/Month

Sep 19 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I’ve had the same cellular phone number for ten years. Recently, I had moved and decided that I wanted a local number but I didn’t want to lose my old number either.

The obvious answer would be to get a new local number added to my phone since its a feature that is available on the cellular network and on my phone. Unfortunately, no carrier in the US supports this feature as far as I know.

So after lots of research, I decided to port my old number to T-Mobile using their pre-paid To-Go service. You can buy an activated prepaid SIM off of Ebay that includes one month of service with about 150-minutes of credit. Not bad for about $10 including shipping. Just slide it into a GSM phone you have lying around.

You can add an additional 12-Months of service and 1,000 minutes with a $100 refill card.

Now to get your number moved over – T-Mobile will port your old number for free. Just call T-Mobile’s customer service line at 1-800-T-MOBILE.

So after spending $10 for the SIM, and $100 for the refill card we’re talking roughly $8 a month to park your old number… and you still have over 1,100 nation-wide minutes of talk time you can spend. Furthermore you also retain the ability to send and receive SMS messages. What a deal!

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Weird Al

Sep 18 2006 Published by under Ramblings

This is such a great parody!

You can get the lyrics here and the MP3 here.

For comparison, you can find the original lyrics here and the original video here.

Oh, and here’s another classic:

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Bottled Water

Sep 18 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I think its funny that 6 of the top 10 water brands are owned by Nestle… πŸ™‚

For a natural resource that most of us have access to for minimal cost, water is doing pretty well as a revenue generator. The bottled version of the stuff is currently an $8 billion industry in the United States alone, with Americans drinking about 7 billion gallons of it in 2005. That’s compared to hundreds of billions of gallons of tap water, but for a product that can cost up to 10,000 times more than its municipal counterpart, it’s still an impressive marketshare. How Bottled Water Works
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Cyworld

Sep 16 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Hey! I was at this party! Maybe if you look closely enough you can see me in the background. πŸ™‚

Cyworld officially launched in the U.S. on Tuesday, and CNET News.com was there to speak with CEO Henry Chon about what to expect from the company. Are we going to see the wildly popular Cyworld mobile in the U.S. anytime soon? MySpace rival arrives in the States

One response so far

Is it too early?

Sep 14 2006 Published by under Ramblings

I’m sure that most everyone has seen this commercial:

And so I decided to do some searching and found this clip about Don LaFontaine:

Clearly, my two favorite quotes are “I’d like a can of peas” and “Its never to early…. for salad.” πŸ˜€

One response so far

HiDef Capturing

Sep 14 2006 Published by under Ramblings

So – are DVI/HDMI based capture coming soon? hmm…. πŸ™‚

Everyone needs a little more high-definition in their lives, don’t you think? Apparently Blackmagic Design thinks so, as it’s just released a new PCI Express card (Mac and Windows compatible) with direct HDMI-in to connect to your HDV digicam or your digital set-top box for a very high-quality capture. The company’s site says that this works by bypassing the HDV compression chip, allowing you to access raw superior-quality video, but gives no word on whether or not it supports HDCP. The Intensity, which is shipping on October 15, also supports HDMI formats at 525 NTSC, 625 PAL and 720p or 1080i — a bargain for only $250. Because after all, technologies that are sufficiently high-def are indistinguishable from black magic.Blackmagic Design announces Intensity, first HDMI PCI Express card

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Credit Cards

Sep 12 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of credit card I should carry. After tons of research I’ve decided on the following cards:

Of all the credit card sites I googled for, the only one I found any real value in was:

http://www.creditcardgoodies.com

It was on the one that focused on those people who don’t carry balances and are looking for the best reward programs.

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City Wifi

Sep 10 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Just the other night, someone asked me if city-wide Wifi would render cellular based data services obsolete… maybe:

Are the residents of Tempe, Ariz., ready to trade in their cable lines for the new citywide Wi-Fi? Hear how well (or not so well) the early stages of wireless access for all are working from the people who live there. Residents of Tempe, Ariz. talk about their new wireless city

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SnapStream Media

Sep 08 2006 Published by under Ramblings

On Thursday, I spend most of the day hanging out with Rakesh Agrawal and the rest of the crew out at SnapStream.

I really enjoyed all the conversation and seeing their office… As soon as I walked in – I was reminded of what a scrappy innovative tech company should look like. It was all business in there – no fluff. People were working among piles of hardware and wies.. sofas were scattered around to provide convesational areas… they even had the obligatory ping-pong table!

Anyone who has lost touch with what a serious business should look and act like should give Rakesh a call and hang out with him and his team… the energy and passion is intense over there. πŸ˜€

Oh, and if you’re looking for a great place to work you should definitely check out their job listings.

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The New Mall

Sep 01 2006 Published by under Ramblings

Looks the the retailers are getting smarter and smarter…

As you step in the door of a retail store — whether it sells Gucci handbags, jeans for teens or hardware — you’re being lured to shop and spend in ways so subtle you probably don’t know what’s happening to you.

Just browsing at the mall? That’s what you think

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