Friday, November 17, 2017

I don't really get it.

I walked up to this thing, took a picture and immediately texted Mr S the follow - Here is your stupid flying car. He responded - NO - that is a driving plane.

I don't really understand why men have this compulsive need to make one product do two tasks marginally well. Instead of having two products that do one thing really great. Especially when we all know that personal drones are going to be where the market goes. 

Hell, in the future I'm going to paint a giant X on my deck and I'm going to market this house as having a drone pad.

Still meh.

A couple of days ago I was going to make a post saying I was tired of rolling up to robotic conferences only to find cameras and robotic arms. I almost never find fully formed robots now. It's stupid.

Then on the last day I rolled up to a show that had some actual bots. Pepper is probably the most advanced, but really I haven't seen anything new out of it in at least a year. It seems with the computing power we have these days you could have a fully formed conversation with it. Just put an Alexa in there. Problem solved.

They are still showing off these toy robots.... for like the last 10 years. The one with the arrow seemed to be acting like it was trying to get out of a field sobriety test. For some reason it was just slightly rocking back and forth. But maybe he was just afraid that is he didn't perform well he'd wind up in the heap.

Pepper is a good robot though. I just can't believe they haven't really made any recognizable speech improvements.


A couple of days ago I got to see Henrik Fisker speak. He was releasing some new battery technology called solid state batteries which probably many of you have read about by now.

I've been shitting on electric cars since the beginning,. They take too long to charge. How are batteries better for the environment than oil were some of the reasons. Having said that - I believe there is a market for almost everything. Including electric cars. Are there old people who only need to get around the city they live in, and are willing to plug their car in every night? Sure. If they want to pay for a product like that, why not let them?

However, I start to get really resentful when guys like this start going to the government trying to limit the choices we get to make in favor of their technology. For example, Robert Honda a California politician showed up in the audience out of nowhere. He wasn't a speaker on the docket, so I imagine they were trying to find ways to ban traditional cars. They explicitly state this mission. So, it's not too far of a stretch to think that's what they were doing. Or maybe they are just lunch buddies. Said in the most sarcastic way.

I told myself that I would never had had a problem with electric cars if they hadn't forced us all to pay for them. There's a market for almost anything I said. But the more I thought about it - Fisker is kind of the prime example that this is just lies we tell ourselves in the rear view mirror. Is there a a market for electric cars? Sure? Is it a big enough market to sustain a company? Doubt it. Obvi.

I mean, this guy had access to the some of the richest people around. I saw his cars at the Monterrey Concurs for three years running. If rich people can't sustain you - not much else can.

I found it funny that Zero Hedge penned the following article: Is this the Tesla killer?

ZH gets the answer right. Which is no. But not for the right reasons. Tesla would not exist at all if it weren't for government force and intervention. And to think that Fisker who only sold 2000 cars is somehow going to take over Tesla is the most laughable. But..... Robert Honda was there... so maybe I'm wrong. And at any rate, while the battery tech seems promising - why wouldn't Musk just license the new battery tech like very other company in Silicon Valley does and call it a day?

As sort of a side story - I was talking to another guy about a totally unrelated newish battery technology and he said the following to me - I have a friend who owns a battery company. He told me - NEVER OWN A BATTERY COMPANY. This was at a completely different unrelated conference than the one Fisker spoke at. So, I'm going to take a wait and see approach for right now. All I know is that car history is a deep graveyard of companies. I'm still betting on history.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I was in three conferences today. I tried to give you a post but I just couldn't get the words out.  I'd say things might be better tomorrow, but I have another 2 or three conferences. Soooooo maybe Friday.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fall Good Guys.

Fall in da hood.

We just got our first cold weather only about a week ago, so fall is getting a late start. And since we are well into the rainy season now, you don't know if you are going to capture the peak. Plus I'm going to be in 6 conferences in the next two days, so this may be gone before I get another chance. This may be the best it gets.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The art of triangles.

I got to tour the new Nvidia building that is made of triangles. It's a really beautiful building. Very minimal.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

This is a cool car.

This was a pretty cool project. This guy Gary Apple, created this whole car. It's based on an Alfa Romeo roadster that only two were ever made. He shaped the whole body with an English Wheel.
And modified the passenger compartment to fit larger people.

You can watch more about it at the youtube link below. I guess his jam is creating car bodies. Which is super cool. I should have taken his cell because I run into a lot of car guys in Silicon Valley. If he ever sees this post email me.

The dash was wood that was etched with a wood CNC machine.

I'm hunkering down,

Your lack of posts this weekend was brought to you by me having a cord of wood delivered yesterday. Since we didn't think we would get the whole thing done in one day, Mr S. bought some tiny cones.

Over Halloween we found out that LED tea lights will last for three days. So we popped the lights under the cones so they would glow at night and people wouldn't run into the wood we left in the road..

Friday, November 10, 2017

How NOT to release a product.

I've been a TIVO supporter ...... well, almost since the beginning. We've owned a series 2, series 3, XL4, and 2 Roamio's. The only reason we don't own the BOLT is because why bother? The only real difference is it gets 4K, and at this point I'm starting to think 4K content is vaporware. I've owned a 4k TV for almost three years now, and I got it because it seemed like 4K content was right around the corner. Where the hell is it? But I digress.

Anyway, this past weekend Mr S. wanted to go to a TIVO release for the VOX remote. I wasn't sure what the point was because while one of our TIVO's is getting cranky I don't know that I'm ready to upgrade for essentially no reason. There is a lot of UI stuff TIVO could really work on at this point - like navigating a keyboard with a remote. And since there isn't a simple way to accomplish that I was willing to try a voice controlled remote.

A solid point in TIVO's favor is they made it so you didn't have to upgrade your TIVO to use this remote. However, so far those are the only points TIVO gets. It's not like a single unenjoyable moment, but it was like a bunch of tiny bombs.

We show up to the TIVO campus and there were already several hundred people in line. No big deal. Where we stood for about two hours. We got to the front door just as the sky was unloading so I don't know if the people behind in line even stayed. We only stayed because they said that all of us would get a remote.

After waiting in line, you go to pick up your remote and all you get is this scratcher ticket. They said they'd run out. Okay fine I think. I'm not going to get to play with this thing today. Obvi. But it gets better! I'm not getting a free remote - I have to pay shipping. Which is only 10 bucks, but all of these little things are making this like getting a box of rocks for Christmas.

The TIVO remote arrives yesterday. I'm re-excited again - only to find out that I have to download an update that they will get around to in the next day or two! Oh, and they failed to mention that it completely reconfigures your TIVO UI, and you can't back-rev unless you want to lose all your saved shows. I still haven't gotten the software upgrade, so those days when you could just bring a product home and start playing with it - is so gone. They managed to make a very unexciting release, so much more unexciting. Who wants to wait TWO DAYS to use a remote? Who? tell me!

Normally I might not bitch about something I got for free, but I didn't really get this for free. So.....

Also just generally - they had a ton of employees on site for the release but only 4 stations where you could ask questions about it and with several hundred people there who waited in the rain for two hours. We had other obligations so Mr S. and I left before he could really see a demo or ask questions.

So individually, each issue was not that big of a deal. But it's really the least exciting thing I've ever gotten. I have no idea if the product is better or going to make me mad. Crazy. Right?

Why would someone actually pay full price for that?

Late, but still good.

I didn't see this until yesterday but I'm still posting it.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

It sucks to be king.

I really liked working with a commercial contractor because there was always a guy that kept everyone supplied. There was absolutely no work stoppage ever. The job Foreman/owner probably spent about 10 minutes at my place everyday.

After a couple of weeks he told me that he was planning to retire in a couple of years and that they were talking about making the company employee run, and he'd just rent back all of the equipment to them. Which is something I always love. I always want the workers to become owners and so on.

However about a week later I was talking to some of the workers and they mentioned something about the boss retiring and I said - does that mean all of you guys are going to rise up in the ranks?

He tells me - I know they are talking about making the company employee run, but we don't want it.

I was like - why?

He said - the boss is always complaining that he isn't making any money. If he can't make money doing this, how can I expect to make any money?

Yet at the very same time that exact guy was doing the most egregious poaching of future work from the company. I have another project I probably need to get done some time next year and he was trying to poach that job. Which I kinda don't have a problem with. I want everyone to break out on their own. This is the cycle of life. Everyone who works for you is imagining a better cheaper way to do what you do. I've just never had it so blatantly done like that. And I imagine if the boss knew they were going that - he'd be pissed.

So.... I don't really know how that guys retirement is going to work out because he shouldn't count on those guys taking the helm. I just felt the whole thing kinda sucked because I can't figure out why they wouldn't take an already established business.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Heard this on the radio this morning and I'd forgotten how much I loved it. Now it's in my head all day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017


The FBI has the Texas church shooter's phone, but can't get in.

Now that phones are shipping with facial recognition, if you are dead, can it still recognize your face?

I'm thinking..... probably?
I am ~so~ ready to be contractor free. They are grouting my tiles today. All I need is a pony wall cap and I'm sliding into home base. I've never seen contractors work harder.

The funny thing about those goofy pony walls is that from the street, you don't really know there is a deck up there. It looks like a flat roof from the street. I think some of my closest neighbors weren't even aware it was up there. Now it sort of feels like a secret garden without the garden. It's pretty much winter now, but this deck is going to kill it come spring.

Yeah... no pictures yet.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Vulture capitalism at it's best.

Imagine for a minute that Mark Zuckerberg was a lien holder on your house. Under the guise of philanthropy. Oh, wait.... you don't have to imagine because this is real.

This is how this system works as I can figure out. If you are a teacher, Mark Zuckerberg helps you put down 50% of a down payment for a house. You put up the other 50%.

"There are no interest rates or monthly payments for the Landed contribution, just the mortgage. Years later when the buyer refinances to buy out Landed’s stake or when they sell their home, its value is appraised. If it’s gone up, Landed shares in up to 25% of the upside, while if it’s gone down, it shoulders up to 25% of the burden.


I read this as a forced refi because how would Zuckerberg ever get his money back. And THEN he takes 25% of your equity!

Cool idea huh? And because teachers are so smart they of course will realize how stupid this idea is. Said in the most sarcastic way.

Barn find.

You have to admit..... a Gemini VII replica and a Manta Mirage are some of your more unusual finds.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Friday, November 03, 2017

There is finally a light at the end of this deck tunnel.

The guys made a lot of progress today which was amazing because when I woke up at 7am it was sprinkling. At 7:30 the guys arrived and weren't sure they were going to be able to work. But the walls were still dry, so they went for it and the rain held off. They almost got a full wall done.

I think I lost my first contractor because of these tiles. The grout line is 1/16th of an inch. And as you can see, 1/16th of an inch over 22 feet takes a bit of skill. Everything was going great with that first contractor but he was super particular about the quote. He wanted me to chose things like the color of the floor on the deck super early. My project has been going on a month now and I just made that choice maybe a week ago. The first guy wanted that info before he even finished the quote.

I figured if he was the particular about knowing those details of the project that early, maybe I should tell him about those grout lines. Initially I'd chosen a cheaper knock off of these tiles. And he was like - oh no. I won't lay a tile out of it's tolerances.  Meaning the manufacture hadn't blessed a 1/16 inch grout line, so he wasn't doing it. So, I ran around to find a tile that the manufacturer did explicitly rate for a 1/16th inch grout line. He said he'd do it, but I don't think he really wanted to. I think that's why he gave me such a short quote period (7days) and then ignored me for 7 days.

Other than wasting two months of my time - it turned out better this way and cheaper for me. But that first contractor basically did all of the leg work for another guy to stroll in and take all of his glory. I just don't get it. I don't have a single complaint about my new crew. And I'm getting exactly what I wanted from the first guy.

As a side note - it's not often that the only child in me comes out because I wasn't spoiled at all. I was the opposite of spoiled. But when a contractor leaves his 2000 dollar tile saw and all of his tools at my place - I really get a strong impulse. I'd be like - I'm not doing that. But perhaps it's a really good sign that trust is finally coming back to the marketplace. My whole job has been a lot of risk on their part as far as the outlay of services and materials. Especially materials.

I mean, if I didn't pay they'd put a lien on my house, and I have a great view...... so.... But still.

Stop telling me what to do.

This Halloween, one of my neighbors got the bright idea to use a golf cart to do Halloween. I don't even think it was street legal but who the eff cares. But, it rolled up to your house and an army of kids flooded off it.

I should have gotten a picture, but I didn't. But it still makes me laugh because that is super ballin' Halloween. You didn't even need to walk like a sucker.

People are finally learning why socialism doesn't work - the hard way.

In light of the Gothamist I thought it would be fun to laugh at some of these douchebags that thought the Obama administration would make everything like rainbows and kitty cats. You'd think they would at least try to understand math before they tried all this stupid stuff. But it just goes to show you how virtue signaling trumps logic.

Take for instance this pizza restaurant that wanted to pay it's employees a "living wage". I know all my readers probably put out a giggle when I said that.  But predictably, they are now closing.

Pizza shop that paid ‘fair wages’ closing 2 years after it opened — not enough money to stay in biz.

Gee.... ya think?

It must have been a year or more ago that a restaurant in my city decided to force people to pay a 20% gratuity. This was deep into the we are going into socialism phase. If you wanted to be a bad tipper you just simply were not allowed. Bad service? No fucks given. 20% gratuity please. Well, they didn't even say please.

They were actually a pretty high rated restaurant on yelp before this stunt, but even I was shocked by how severe the response was. They have yet to recover their rating. Even though they stopped within weeks of their stupid experiment. Usually these things take much longer before people get the message. Luckily they stopped before it put them out of business.

But it is nice to see that people are finally having to grow the eff up.

Rain or shine.

My tile guys rolled up today with the cadillac of saws. When we hired them I figured they ~could~ do these extra big tiles, but it wasn't until I saw their saw that I was fully confident. This thing is a monster. They said it weighs like 100 pounds and I'm not sure they are exaggerating. They said it cost like 2 grand. It's gotta be at least 4 feet long!

I was actually entertaining doing the tile myself because of all the construction stuff - tile is where I get completely anal. I have tape measure eyes. I can take the time to make sure things don't catch my eye. But now I'm glad I paid someone. Plus, it's good to watch the professionals so you don't start doing stupid stuff when you are weekend warrior-ing. I need to keep my skills updated too.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

I guess that's still going on.

Oddly the anarchists tagged the next wall that said - stay in school. Maybe I'll upload the pic later. It was over a bunch of other random uninteresting stuff.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Finally - a deck update.

This is where the deck stands right now. Yesterday I got my wall fully painted, and they got the first coat of color on the deck. It's a putty color, so you don't need to read too much into it. So I'm water tight. Which is good because we are about to get five days of rain. Honestly when I lost my first contractor, I didn't think I was going to be able to get this project done this summer. And I feel like a just squeaked it in.

These are the tiles I'm having put on the pony walls. And I ~think~ they are the reason I lost my first contractor. Will explain more later. They gave Mr S. the contractor discount for these tiles. So over all I'm coming in under budget.

This was the fiberglass phase.