Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton gets heckled for a really long time at San Jose rally.

I sort of went to this thing to prove a point. You see I haven't been worried about Hillary because I think no one has ever liked her the whole time I've been alive. Mr S. and I have been having this discussion for like a year. Sure, there was a two year halo period in the beginning of the Obama administration. But for the most part it didn't go on long enough to make me change my mind. Take this example.

Last year, maybe around summer, there was this dumb ass women's conference in Santa Clara where Hillary was speaking. The conference was on like a Monday or Tuesday, and I could still get a ticket the Friday before. I didn't wind up going because these women's conferences kinda piss me off.

When you are a woman.... you have all the advantages in the world just by being a women. You have chromosome privilege! It's their fault they don't recognize that.  Silicon Valley would have always loved to have more women if they knew their shit. You don't need a women's conference for this. Just learn a skill.

Anyway, I digress. I figured if I could stroll up to the Hillary Clinton Rally and get in - she is decidedly toast. And what do you know.....they didn't even fill up the conference hall at 3000 capacity. In SAN JOSE! I live tweeted it over on my twitter stream.

Also, this guy who I think was further left than Bernie started heckling the hell out of her. I couldn't make out all the stuff he was saying. But he heckled her for a super long time. Starts at 1:36 in, and really gets good around 3:15.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

And nobody died.

You knew this day was coming. I'm not sure why the vid doesn't have any sound.

Conversations with Mr S.

Me - I'm thinking about going to a Hillary Clinton "thing" this week.

Him - How much does it cost?

Me - Just your soul.

Him - Oh, you should be fine then.

Me - Are you saying my soul has turned to dust?

Him - Well, I'm saying it's factory new in the box.

Me - So, your saying I've never had a soul?

He hesitates for reaction..

Me - Yeah. That's about right.

Ikea Hacks.

I finally got the counter top over at my rental finished and installed yesterday. I've never bought anything from Ikea before, but they were the only ones that sold wood in the size I needed. 26 inches x 6 and a half feet.

I had to chop of a couple of feet because it wouldn't be a hack if I could just stroll up and the counter top exactly fit. So I chopped of two feet, and put three coats of varnish on it. And now it looks current. When I stuck this in, no one was really using wood for counter tops. But since it was an island I took a chance. I didn't put a finish on the last try and it didn't age as well as I would have liked. Hopefully the varnish will make that better this time.

I think I'm more of an angry woodworker. I used to think guys did woodworking to get away from their wives. Because it's always old guys who are into that. But after this project - I think there are tons more fun ways to get away of your wife. If this is all you've got... that sucks. Wood is very unforgiving. I think the whole process is bullshit. But wood has it's own rules. I think woodworking would make me insane. There isn't enough tack cloth in the world to save me.

Forget the watch.

When I saw this prototype I was sure I'd seen this company before. It took me a while to figure it out, but I saw them last year with a e-ink proto. I thought it was interesting, but sometimes you can't make a story out of something. Plus, e-ink  - I can't believe they still exist. A few years ago I thought this is where the market would go. But, every time I see them now it looks like they are barely holding on. Flexible displays have gotten so much better, now e-ink is limited. We like color!

Anyway, while the footprint was much larger - it was a working proto. (technically both were working) And you could actually read Google maps. Which I think that is sort of ridiculous on a watch. While it's much larger, I'm not sure it's so large that people wouldn't wear it. You can find a lot more pictures here. Company home here.

Curved enough for you?

How else are you going to get yours 65 inch TV into your tiny house after all.

For the love of transparent displays.

For the past three years (solidly), every single time I have walked up to a transparent display I've asked the following question - Is this projected? Until yesterday the answer has always been yes. Which always made the sad trombone sound in my head. I was super excited about this technology a long time ago, but I just don't believe in projection. For some reason it never catches on. It' doesn't mean it won't. I've just yet to see it.

So when I walked up to this thing I naturally thought I'd get the same answer. They'd just found a slimmer way to hide a projector. And projectors *are* getting super tiny these days. But to my shock, this time the answer was no. I asked it like 5 times. Apparently the OLED's allow this to happen. The box at the back is just normal display electronics.

For being transparent the colors were remarkably rich. And the reflection was surprisingly minimal. In the last picture if you look hard you can barely see my image under the word vista.

So.... excitement back on I guess.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not your grandfathers pinball.

Do you think kids in the future will have the same nostalgia about playing pinball on a curved monitor as we do about real pin ball? Or old stand up games? I mean, I've been dragged kicking and screaming into touch screens. I liked the old tactile qwerty cell phone keyboards in the early days. But I've adjusted. Still I thought this was a pretty clever use of a curved monitor.

I didn't know much about this company before today. I guess they make touch screens. Here is their home site.

Monday, May 23, 2016

I think doing woodworking is like being in a bad relationship.

The wood expects me to be perfect, but the wood has a ton of flaws.

Maker Fair 2016

Team Zachees @ Maker fair.

I don't even know how many people are watching America's Greatest Makers. I do because I go to a lot of trade shows and conferences. I see how hard it is to make products people will buy.  I'm not convinced this is a better way to find ideas. I don't even think it makes for great TV.

Anyway, one of the contestants was at Maker Fair on Sunday. His squad made it super hard to get shots.

The interesting thing about maker fair this year.

Every year maker fair is a little different. The maker movement catches on with certain groups and they form kind of a yearly theme. Steam punk had a year for example. You get the idea.

This years theme? Corporate. I noticed it almost as soon as I walked in. Every player in the Valley had at least a tiny booth. There were tons of booths that will "help you take your product to market".

When I saw someone with a Raytheon shirt walking around you could tell this place was full of scouts. You could see Intel scouts walking around. I kept asking Mr S. if it seemed super corporate to him. It's kinda the opposite of what Maker Fair started as.

When we got to this booth though - I knew my instincts were right. The whole show this year felt a little like Intels' shark tank show. Which honestly makes me feel a little depressed for the Valley. It makes me feel like we are out of ideas for right now. Understand I see a ton of vapor ware, so I think Intel is using a lot of resources for one or two possible unicorns. They are trying to buy themselves out of death. It's great kids are being exposed to this - but this might not pay off for a decade. The harsh reality is there are only a few Steve Jobs in the world. I mean, it seems like there are a million incubators in the Valley right now. Incubating a product is not the problem. Finding something people will truely buy is something more of a unicorn.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Conductive ink on Telsa @ Makefair2016

I have only seen this paint on a motorcycle fuel tank before. So I was pretty excited to see this today.

I don't know how this whole Tesla thing is going to work out, but Elon has transformed the Valley in a lot of ways. I think he will go in the history books honestly.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

At least it's something.

At my rental I have an island that has a wood top that needs to be replaced. The funny thing is when I stuck it in about seven years ago, this wood trend wasn't as popular. Now ikea stocks this stuff which is amazing because the island is a very uncommon size. I did have to lop two feet off, and I'm putting some poly on it so it weathers better.

This is wet, and I'm going to have to knock it down and put a second coat on. It will dry not shiny.  I should have spent a little more time sanding, but I don't think you can see all the places until you get one coat of poly on it. But then, I'm a little impatient for woodworking. Wood has it's own rules and it doesn't care if you want to take short cuts. It'll make you work twice as hard if you don't obey.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sweet sun rays of death went crazy.

Mirrors blamed for fire at world's largest solar plant.

Who knew mirrors started fires? Said in the most sarcastic way.

"PRIMM, Nev. (AP) — A small fire shut down a generating tower Thursday at the world's largest solar power plant, leaving the sprawling facility on the California-Nevada border operating at only a third of its capacity, authorities said."

Here are my images from the last time I drove past it on the way to Vegas.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

So it's come to this.

I've been talking about how crazy it's starting to be to find buildable land in the Bay Area for a little while now. It's really starting to get super crazy now. Okay..... this is the back story.

My favorite dive burrito place used to be right down the road from what is now Google. I used to work in the buildings that Google now owns when I first started my career. That burrito place was where everyone went. It was a dive back then, but as the years went by, even I started to be a little amazed the health department wasn't shutting them down. It wasn't the food, the food was always consistent. It was the building had really started to go into severe disrepair. The ceiling looked like it would fall down and was stained. They obviously had a roof problem. If you hadn't already been going there for a long time, your first visit would make you nervous kind of thing.

About two years ago one Saturday Mr S. and I strolled up and they were razing the building. Luckily we found out they had only moved to another spot in Mountain View. We didn't really think of that spot until today. End of back story.

Tonight I needed Mr S's help to haul something home, so we decided to have burgers in Mountain View, and on the way back to the freeway - Mr S. drove by the spot that used to be my old dive burrito place.

And wouldn't you know it... they put effing condos up there. Now let me tell you. This plot of land was basically the size of two 7/11's.  The new condos', I think, were three stories tall. My mind exploded so I'm not sure. But still. I'd be very shocked if it was even 20 units.

This is going to get very interesting from here. Said in the most sarcastic way.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Zero Hedge doesn't know what it's talking about.

Echo bubble chasers are going to be in a world of hurt. Mark my words.

It's super risky to talk about a market you know nothing about. Which is exactly was Zero Hedge did today.

First he clumps together Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Atherton houses selling more slowly. I'm not sure why he didn't include Los Gatos. Maybe he doesn't know about Los Gatos. But anyway, these are the most expensive markets in the Valley.

Having said that - these markets make up an extremely small portion of Silicon Valley Real Estate. And Zero Hedge was trying to prop up his theory the bubble has bust because houses are sitting on the market in these cities 5 days more.  Causing these houses to sit on the market for 16 days! I would dance on a chair if I knew my million dollar house (that I don't own) would only sit on the market for 16 days. Shit, any house sitting on the market for only 16 days is a thrill!

16 days people! Oh for shits sakes I rolled my eyes when I read this. I guess it's always a bit of a pet peeve of mine that everyone thinks Palo Alto is all of Silicon Valley. There must be 20 cities that make up silicon Valley. The markets he talks about make up like 4.

"In Palo Alto, home to many Google and Facebook executives, homes costing more than $5 million were on the market for a median of 16 days in April, up from 11 days in the same month in 2015, and up from 10 days in April 2014. While that figure is low relative to the 67 day median time across the U.S., it's a significant increase from recent years."

He goes onto hyperventilate about the recent layoffs of companies like Yahoo. Frankly I didn't go through all the companies he listed - but a lot of those companies have been dying stars for quite a while now. They are almost meaningless at this point.

Then, the most laughable portion of his article:

"With the continued global slowdown, and the likes of Yahoo having to continue to take measures to increase shareholder value, the situation in Silicon Valley will only continue to deteriorate, and it is only a matter of time before we start to learn of developer bankruptcies, similar to those starting to occur in Manhattan and elsewhere."

I honestly can't figure out which "developer" bankruptcies he's talking about. Because Silicon Valley for the most part isn't building luxury properties right now. Silicon Valley isn't New York.

Developers are lucky if they can find a spare dead car lot to build on. And the amount of units being built is astonishingly small. You can imagine how may condos go on an old car lot. Right? Even if it's a triple decker. This is precisely why there is going to be such a problem soon.

I'm not worried about the million dollar market. If I start seeing the low end market crack, then maybe I will change my mind. And I see absolutely no evidence of that happening.  The "luxury" market is minuscule in comparison to the rest of the market.

Also when real estate starts to get super expensive in the Valley, urban sprawl starts to really ramp up. Everyone here expects to spend about an hour in traffic commuting to work. So cities an hour out are showing a lot of growth.

Are the next few months going to be shitty? Probably. No one is going IPO, and tech valuations are being crushed. But this housing thing is really starting to bear down on us now. In my grandparent's generation this Valley was nothing but orchards. In one generation we have what we have now. People are not going to stop having babies.

This ugly chart will show you why the Fed has to raise rates.


This is the chart for mortgage applications for the past few months. Most people would look at this chart and freak the hell out. It looks seriously ugly.

When I look at this chart I see nothing but inflation looming hard. Yes kids, I am no longer in the deflation camp. You see, this chart looks this way not because people don't want to buy houses. This chart looks this way because there are almost no houses to buy. There is no amount of low rates now that will fix this chart.

People keep expecting an echo housing bubble, but I can assure you - whats happening in the rental market will make this seriously unlikely. The rental market is so tight that cities all over the Bay Area are talking about rent controls. It's sort of alarming to see, because I've lived in a rent controlled building and know the real world consequences of that.

Builders are having such a hard time finding land to build on, that yesterday I noticed in the city next to me they were building condos on an old car lot. This is the second time I have seen this. They did it on a plot in my city. I don't know what they are going to do when they run out of car lots that were taken out early in the recession.

All I know is that when I read about the housing market now, almost all of the articles talk about shortages. In the next year I predict people are going to start hyperventilating about it in a serious way. And if this economy starts to move at all - this is going to be crazy.

Houses or condos can be built quickly. Finding the land....... not as much. I've always looked at land as dead money. You could wait a decade to move it. In the past two years has been amazing for people who owned vacant land. In the whole time I've lived in the Valley I've never seen it like this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This whole Bernie "thing" should concern me more - but if this is what it takes to get rid of Hillary...

Right now the whole thing is entertaining me. But I'm sure I will freak out at some point.

Excuses, excuses.

When I get stressed I sort of shut down. Most women like to talk and talk, but I'm more like a dude when it comes to stress. I deal with it at my own pace.

I had to fire my property manager and put the place under new management.  It's always super stressful when I get to see my place again. My property manager was also my renter. So there is that.

Then I have about two weeks to fix or upgrade anything I can. This all contributes to less blogging time. And there is barely anything interesting to blog about in this whole process anyway.