Friday, April 29, 2016

Silicon Valley works in mysterious ways.

Today I was at another one of those VR conferences because I'm pretty much obsessed with trying to find out when the graphics will be good enough so you don't see the screen door effect. I'm not sure anyone really knows, to be honest. Some people said it didn't bother them at all. But I bet it will eventually. I mean, everyone wants better graphics. Right? After you get past the "amazing" stage, you start picking it apart.

Anyway, I walked into that show and saw I guy I recognized from the long, long ago, at a booth. Right away I had to text Mr S. that this guy was there. You remember I said Mr S. worked on a VR project early in his career? Well, we all worked there. Though I didn't work on that project. I was only the company sysadmin. It was a very small start up.

Every once in a while Mr S. runs into one of them, but this is the first time I have. And I've been to a million of these shows. For a while I thought the new crew were just kinda of ripping it off, but maybe they are building on top of the stuff that didn't work instead. It was nice to see some of the old team still plugging away at it. Usually people migrate to other specialties. I mean, VR has only recently has another run.

It really makes me smile how small world the Valley is sometimes. It's really why I keep my blog so anonymized.

Anyway -I tried a ton of the headsets today. Even waiting 45 mins to try Oculus again. 45 minutes!  Some of the games were pretty fun. They all have the screen door though. It will be interesting to see how much improvement they can make. All failures are building blocks in Silicon Valley.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

That's how I roll.

Today I was up at the Samsung developers conf. They were demo'ing 4k Gear VR and I had to see it. Of course they were using a roller coaster demo. Which I was not happy about. I've never loved coasters, and the last time I used VR I got motion sickness. But I decided to suck it up and go through the demo anyway.

4K apparently doesn't get rid of the screen door effect.  I was really distracted by that. Plus it didn't totally feel like a coaster ride. So I was actually fine this time. And really the graphics are just okay. But full disclosure, I'm super jaded. You read this blog, right?

I started out at a graphics company, so I've mostly gravitated to that side of Silicon Valley. Mr S. worked on a project like this early in his career. So, honestly it's marvel that they've managed to make the whole VR thing so small. It can't be said enough. That used to take up a lot of room. Now it's on a phone on your face. Having said that - the game industry is busy making regular games so rich with graphics it's weird to go to the VR world and it's not that beautiful yet. Hopefully it will come.

I don't really know how this VR thing is going to turn out. I mostly feel like people don't like to wear stuff on their faces. On the other hand, there will be applications where it might work. Like automotive. If the graphics got better, amusements rides would be an obvious. There is so much potential, I'm just not sure it's going to end up in this footprint.

And when the headsets get old, they are going to be the grodiest game system you've ever had. I tried one on in Best Buy this weekend and it smelled like dirty gym socks. I'm pretty germaphobic about trying them out because most likely some sweaty dude has been wearing it before me. It's like you are touching faces with strangers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cruz's campaign slogan should be - lets make America Slow Again.

He over ..........enunciates .........everything.

You know when you are in a building boom when....

I don't get out to East Palo Alto much. EPA is basically Silicon Valley fly over territory. Most people only drive through there to get to the San Mateo Bridge. EPA was basically a dead zone until they put an Ikea in there. Which is why I found myself in EPA this weekend.  I needed to see if I could Ikea hack something and I didn't want to deal with the Emeryville traffic.

To my surprise - they are even putting new buildings up there. Which means the Valley is fully in a building boom. From tip to stern.

I grew up in the Valley, and literally I can remember only two times when EPA has had any new construction in that whole time. The Ikea shopping complex in 2003. And the rent controlled apartments I used to live in were taken over and rebuilt sometime during the start of the recession. So I'm gonna call it maybe 2007.

Yes. I used to live in a rent controlled building when I  started out. Millenials think they discovered everything. The internet, rent controlled buildings. Seriously... I think everyone in the Valley travels this road. I sort of feel like Obama has created a whole bunch of latent conservatives. They just don't know it yet. Live in a rent controlled building in a shitty neighborhood, lets see your attitude later in life.

To be fair, I lived right on the border if EPA, and Palo Alto. So it could have been worse. But seriously, they never build in EPA. That's what happens under rent control. No one wants to build. If they are tapping that territory, land must be hard to find.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dream Machines 2016.

This is why you go to dream machines. You will see stuff that you can't see anywhere else in the Valley. I've seen this car before, but I still love it. I think the guy who owns it is out of Santa Cruz.

It looks so cartoonishly large I provided a video at the end. No sound though, unless you like the sound of wind.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Unimotorcycle racing.

I'd gotten burned out on Half Moon Bay. Last year I took a break. The traffic had gotten so bad that it just wasn't worth it to me. So, I kinda expected to be miserable this year especially because it was suppose to be super windy at the coast today. On my best day the wind makes me miserable. If you have long hair, or any hair - you spend all of your time trying to get it out of your eyes and just adds a layer of suckage to everything.

I guess setting your expectations to rock bottom makes everything awesome, because the Dream Machines was the best year I think - ever.  Traffic was amazing all around the Valley. The show was big again. They'd been splitting it into two days, and it just changed it.

I literally took every single shot blind because the wind was pretty epic. And my hair was in my eyes the whole time. I basically just pointed the camera in a direction and took a bunch and shots and hoped some turned out.

Normally the crowds for unimotorcycles racing is so deep I'm not willing to wait it out, but I didn't expect to get any shots anyway. So, it all worked out. These things are beasts. I was pretty impressed with the chick because to get these things turned around was not easy. She rocked.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Body by Chair.

Today I guess I'm just going to be a dick. Normally I'm not a fat-shamer, but at least a handful of years ago I started seeing people where their backfat was larger than their front fat. I couldn't figure out how they were getting this way. If it was a girl, her back-boobs were bigger than her front boobs, and for men, just a lot of back-boob.

Now I've figured out that if you look at them from the side - they are in the perfect shape of a chair. All that back-boob fits right into the contour of a chair back.

It's just an observation. I'm not judging them. Mostly. Okay..... I guess I think it's okay to be fat, just not shaped like a chair. And my pictures are blurry. That is a feature. Not a bug. I'm already being an asshole - I just don't want it to be blatant I'm being an asshole in the store. Obvi!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The never ending groundhog year.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — A reading of manufacturing sentiment sank in April to its lowest level in six-and-a-half years, according to data released Friday.

The flash manufacturing purchasing managers index from Markit fell to a reading of 50.8 in April from 51.5 in March. That is the lowest level since September 2009.


It's never going to stop being 2009.

That was earlier than expected.

Tesla Model X owners finding car doors won't shut, windows won't close.

I think Mr S. and I both lost the over/under when it comes to those falcon wing doors on the Teslas. His bet was there would be a recall in a year. My bet was two. I talked about it here in the comments. At the end.

I think there must be a reason more companies haven't done those types of doors, because they look super cool. And it's the kind of thing you'd see on super expensive cars. I think the only model I remember having them is an old Mercedes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Soooooo. Cruz holds a presser to talk about Trump? When the competition won't stop talking about you - I think you are winning.
This morning Mr S. and I commuted. As he was stopping behind a car, there was a small dog on the ledge between the backseat and window in there. And as we made a full stop the dog kinda shot us a don't get too close look. I'll bite you.

So I started doing monster hands and going arr arr arr (like a pirate) while I was waving my monster hands around.

That dog started barking and jumping around like we were playing. It must have lasted a minute or two, and I bet the owner was like - what the hell. I'm sure she was watching me in her rear view mirror because the dog was barking the whole time. But with his tail wagging.

It was just funny because this dog and I were playing together in separate cars. I think it's also funny that monster hands are the universal dog sign for lets play.


No wildflower season this year. we got too much rain and the grass is too tall.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Intel is the new IBM. Google it.

Mr S. and I have been talking about Intel a lot lately. I have literally used the Intel building as a landmark since I was a kid. I don't even have to know what road I'm on - I just look for the Intel building to navigate my way around Santa Clara. You can see it from about half the city. In the Valley, Intel has always been the source of the spring that everything comes from.

The past few weeks though I've been worrying about Intel. I go to a ton of conferences, and you know who I never see represented there? Intel. I drive by their campus and the building looks like it could use a fresh coat of paint. Mr S. and I have literally had at least a half a dozen conversations about Intel lately. They have missed a lot of product cycles now, and the layoff rumor was so not a secret, I got an email a couple of days ago speculating it would happen.

When I heard that Intel was making a shark tank reality show called America's Greatest Makers I was pretty confused because they just put out a feeler to sell their VC unit. I told Mr S. that I think Intel has run out of ideas. And the show seems like an overreaction to them missing out on product cycles. Now they are just going to throw money at anything.

After watching the show a few days ago, I felt more hopeless about Intel. It's like my worst day at a trade show.

In Silicon Valley - everyone eventually dies. One day that will be Intel. I'm sure everyone is freaked about the large layoffs. And the economy is weak. But Intel is a wounded animal. Last year they tried to hide layoffs in Oregon, so I was pretty surprised that this one made the news. Maybe because of the large size. The layoffs last year in Oregon the media couldn't even get an official layoff headcount.

Intel is going through the cycle of life.

Every time Obama runs up those stairs to Air Force One - I hope he biffs it. Just once.

Friday, April 15, 2016

It's gotta be crazy to sell Tesla's.

I thought this was funny because just last week I was at one of those self driving car conferences. One women (and there were only 5 at this conf) stood up and shared her experience of just buying a Tesla, and the preceding test drive. Her experience was basically similar to the above video. She said the salesman kept repeating - trust Tesla. Trust Tesla.

I thought the whole thing was funny because when I drive - I will try to take a car up to 100MPH. But when my husband drives, all of a sudden I turn into a granny. It drives him nuts. He's taken to saying "your still alive, right?"

When I got home from the conf I told him - if you think I'm neurotic about your driving, just wait until self driving cars. Recounting the lady's story.

If I'm selling Teslas though, you've got to get tired of all that screaming. I think it must happen a lot.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The economy is in complete stasis.

A couple of headlines stood out to me today.

Did San Francisco's housing market finally peak? and

Miami real estate is melting down.

In the case of San Fransisco at first the news wasn't that alarming. I read that San Fransisco is bringing on new units that amount to about 16% of the total inventory in the city. 16% is a lot of percent. So you expect prices to acclimate. In a very needed way. However the juicy bits of the articles were that sales in San Fransisco were down 22% in March. In the case of Miami, sales were down 21%. That almost sounds like a pattern.

Almost no IPO's, and the stock market being pretty much flat for the year.... this is going to get interesting. Money is slowing around the Valley. Most of the IPO's from last year got crushed. I guess people are going to get a second stab at learning about deflation. Honestly even I'm amazed at how long it's taken to work through the economy. Oil has been falling for something like a year and a half now. Yes, I know it's been up lately on "rumors" not reality. We will see what happens next week because I don't think there is going to be much progress. Oil companies need to pay their bills. Unfortunately some of them will have to die for others to survive.


I don't know why "natures way" keeps happening at my place. That dove that crashed into my window a few weeks ago didn't make it. The next day I went out and the whole front yard was scattered with feathers. I'm guessing some owl got him in the night.

I generally try not to intervene because why should the owls and hawks need to work so hard? I feel like I'm giving them a break. Its the cycle of life. But this squirrel made me text Mr S. because I wasn't sure I should call animal control for this one. It looks like it has rabies. Mr S's reply? Don't get too close, but take lots of zoom pictures because it looks interesting. Which made me laugh.

Does Cruz have a platform anymore? Because every time I see him speak all he talks about is Trump.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see this.

Oakland rents jumps again in April, now equal with Boston.

Oakland, yes, that Oakland - is now tied with Boston as the third most expensive rents in the nation. BOSTON, people!

I knew something was up the last time I went to my favorite chicken and waffle house, and it was all gentrified. You barely even get scared to go into that city now. I used to call it murder mecca and mostly the only time I'd go up there is when I got called to jury duty. But what a difference a decade makes I guess.

Now that I think about it - They stuck an Ikea in East Palo Alto, and changed the whole city for the better.

Oakland, well Emeryville which is on the border, stuck in an Ikea and now Oakland is crazy expensive. Coincidence.......? I mean, Emeryville is barely a city. Like 11,000 people live there.

Now I'm going to pay attention to this Ikea halo effect. The city next to me is going to put in an Ikea. I was bummed the traffic was going to be hell, but Ikea's seem to make real estate go up. I guess. We will see.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I just don't get it.

Nothing flips my bitch switch quicker than this. The vette super pissed me off.  The Bernie sticker is on the back window. Basically that blue square. That car must start at 100k. Eff him! I'm still not sure we aren't going to have our Venezuela moment. Trump v Bernie. Capitalism vs communism. Okay... socialism. For now, Have you seen the shit going on in Venezuela? Crazy. Super crazy.

These people seem to think they can have both, and for that - ooooh. I have to center myself.

We've always had the Berkeley socialist, but this has filtered way down into the population. And it's irritating the fuck out of me.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Taxes, taxes, taxes.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Today I fell back in love with Silicon Valley.

It's not that I ever fell completely out of love. I just think we were having a rocky marriage the last eight years.

To be honest, I wasn't sure we were going to come out the other side of this administration. And I've been more jaded than your average jaded Silicon Valley-er. I grew up here. We used to put out less vaporware.

But driving around today just made me feel like when this economy gets going the valley is just going to fly. They are knocking down old stuff, and it really feels like the Valley is being reborn. From one end of the peninsula, to the east bay. It's been happening for probably two years now. It just finally feels like we are shedding enough of the stale old companies, that it almost feels like the old Silicon Valley. Scrappy and full of promise. And all the companies springing up to support cars, and machine learning, it just a relief.

Facebook doesn't produce anything. Well, outside of Oculus. Cars are really starting to transform the valley in all sorts of ways. It just feels like we are going to start building real things again and it can't come a moment too soon for me. But at least I think we will get there in the near future.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Economic Jenga.


I was wondering how long it would be  before the market woke up to the horrid global growth. I was going to blog this two days ago but got busy. Producer prices were down 4.2% YOY in the eurozone.  This does not bode well for earnings season which starts next week. eeek!

I thought the dollar might keep getting weaker until I heard about the Euro zone. Now I'm not sure what it's going to do. It's a good thing the US is an island (said in the most sarcastic way). The world is becoming awash in deflation.

On other news - it is becoming super easy to find an interest rate at 3.71 or 3..72%. Before the last week, it was a bit of luck.

A bridge way, way, too far.

Ramen burgers. I've sort of been obsessed with these since there was a ramen festival in San Jose last year. I didn't go. But every since I've been dying to try one of these things. I finally got the chance to last night. Red Robin is selling these for the next two months.

I felt like if I hadn't tried a bad ramen burger, I would never know a good one. I mean, they aren't really a ramen place. So I figured it might be really mediocre. To my surprise, they actually did a decent job - however, this is the dense-ist burger I've ever tried without tasting dense. I wound up only eating half because I think it expands in your stomach.

You start out thinking - huh, this is not bad. Then you go on a weird journey. Because the texture is kinda weird. Sort of like a hash brown. Then by the time you are half way through, you are floating in fullness. Mr S. only ate half of his too, and this morning he said he was still full.

Now I feel like even if I found the best ramen burger in the world, I'm sort of out. That is way too much. But you have to try it once. Right?

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

This is what happens under a 15 dollar minimum wage.

I'm always slightly unnerved when something I think is pretty bullshitty turns into a "maybe". This is Bistrobot. It makes sandwiches including boxing the final product. Which I thought was a clever twist.

It "allegedly" can make up to 300 sandwiches an hour. And takes about 30 seconds. It might be quicker, but they said they needed to turn down the speed because it was too quick for people to aww and oooh. Eventually the novelty will end and people will say - speed this up. I want my sammich.

You choose your ingredients on a pad.

It loads a box.

Then fresh ingredients are chopped via mandolins. By the time it comes out the other side. It's a boxed sandwich. See below.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Today I found an interest rate at 3.375%. 30 year fixed. No points. Since Thursday the lowest had been 3.41or2% You are starting to find more of them at 3.42. Up until recently you'd only see a rate that low for a brief time through the day. Not for a full day. It's interesting this rate has started to span days now.

It's hard to remember now but when the fed raised I thought we were around 4%.

CNBC pedals fiction.

Economy may not have grown at all in first quarter.

uh-oh. If that is true, earnings season is going to be epic. Alcoa reports on the 11th. They are typically first in line.

Monday, April 04, 2016

If you want to see how much security they have at SFint. - try taking a shot of a sticker on the escalator. I did about six rotations, and let me tell you - that draws some attention. They were nice, but for sure they watched me.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

I guess I'm a slave to the government for another week.

Man, the IRS has a way to make the simplest stuff ridiculously hard. I swear this crap takes out a month full of Sundays for me. And I thought this year was going to be a simple year. But the IRS made things that have been the same way forever, just ice pick to the brain hard this year.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Treasure Island.

One of Mr S.'s buddies from home flew into a conference in San Fransisco this week. It's sort of a nightmare to get into the city on weekdays, so he figured he'd get up super early today to go have breakfast with him and take him to the airport because his flight was in the early afternoon.

We aren't normally morning people. We keep engineer hours. Not banking hours. So, if we had to get up early I figured he could drop me off at the Treasure Island Cars and coffee get together. He could go get this buddy, and I could see if there was a  Koenigsegg on the Island. Last year I guess one showed up there. I've been chasing them for a while. Walnut Creek is suppose to be opening a dealership.

These "get togethers" aren't really shows, they are mostly people who just show up with their own cars. That means cars come and go at will. Some guys spend a little time there, other spend more - but for the most part if you aren't there when the car shows up - you won't see it. And most guys are early risers. At least car guys.

I really thought I was going to be miserable because I'd never been to this show. I'd actually never been on the Island before because when I grew up you couldn't go there, and I've never found a reason to go before today. I figured if not that many cars showed up I'd just scope out the abandoned buildings. It seems to be a really popular thing to do. By the time the show car into full swing there were probably 50 guys up on the roofs. I was nervous about trespassing, but I guess no one else is.

Anyway.... this show was just crushed. I could not believe it. I finally got out of the car at the old military gates and decided to walk. Mr S. went off to get his buddy in the City. There was a Viper five cars in front of us. By the time I'd walked down that guy was still waiting to find a place to park. It was that crowded. There must have been hundreds of cars there. I didn't have any time to explore the Island before Mr S. got back.

Even with all those cars there, I didn't find that may things that were interesting. This wild tail pipe is definitely something I'd never seen before. The guy said in Japan this is a new fad. Some of them look like stars. I haven't had time to Googlefoo that trend though.

I like big tires.

This is that Viper that was in front of us. I thought it was kinda funny because this car already comes with a wing. It's built right in. But lately I've been noticing the super big wing trend might be coming back.

This was a semi hyper color wrap. I don't think I'm crazy about the wraps these days. It doesn't have that depth of real hypercolor. And really - I think they are cheating. Wraps can be cool, but they are sort of lazy.

McLaren P1. Plus you can see how the crowd was really starting to get big. Later I found out from Mr S. that the people on the Island said the show was unusually big this time. Their words were - the police were freaking out. I really thought there were only going to be like 50 cars there.

Stay Shitty. This was also unusual because this was the front window. Not the back. You can see the windshield wiper. Since it's on the front, shouldn't this be backwards?

One of those lame Ferrari SUV's.

You can have a crazy wrap, but it doesn't look that great.