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January 1, 2017

MacBook Pro 2016

Tags: Everyday Life — 5:47 am Comments (0)

When they released the updated MacBook in 2015, I posted that I was going to wait to upgrade from a 2009 MacBook Pro to something a little more powerful. Quite a long wait but I think it was worth it.

I’m pretty happy with the non-touchbar version of the MacBook Pro. Looking down at a keyboard to find buttons doesn’t make sense to me thus the non-touchbar model. While I could complain about the price and battery life, the specs and design are pretty solid. There seems to be quite a few lukewarm reviews out there but that always happens and people need pageviews. This laptop is still the best on the market by a wide margin from a quality, design, and spec perspective. Dell XPS laptops and Razer Blade laptops (stealth version) are also ones I’d consider.


  • 2.4GHz Intel Core i7
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 2k display, although I’m hooking up to a Dell P2415Q 4k external display
  • weighs 3 lbs. and effectively has a 4 hour battery life (this does need to be way better)
  • USB C and the headphone port are great as the only ports

The only sad thing about the MacBook Pro is that it’s pretty close to complete as a product. The only thing to improve on is the internal guts — can’t really get any thinner, lighter, louder, or brighter and no ports to remove. Of course a laptop can always get faster but this thing is already pretty fast.

So yet again, this particular MacBook Pro defines laptop because there’s really very little left to do to make this an even better product. That said, I’m curious to see how Chromebooks continue to evolve (especially versus tablet improvements) since a browser based OS or just a web based experience is what most folks use and need, and a significantly cheaper price point gets the Web out there to more people.


August 22, 2016

asset accumulation

Tags: Everyday Life — 2:40 pm Comments (0)

A couple of nice, pretty mid-life crisis things to possibly purchase at age 40 or 50 but mostly to look at and pine for considering it ain’t ever gonna happen :-) These two things and that boat (ok, yacht) I posted last time.


Baum Corretto


Porsche Cayman S


October 12, 2015

Beneteau Oceanis 38

Tags: Everyday Life — 10:11 am Comments (1)



I want a boat — Beneteau Oceanis 38. I don’t really want one but since I already have a waffle maker…




June 5, 2015

if you like Meyers lemons you’ll also like…

Tags: Everyday Life — 9:23 am Comments (0)


Specific varietals of fruits and vegetables to seek out especially in good grocery stores and farmer’s markets in the Bay Area/Northern California:

  • lemons: Meyer
  • strawberries: Chandler, Seascape, Albion
  • tomatoes: Early Girl
  • lettuce: Little Gems
  • carrots: Nantes
  • oranges: mandarins (Kishu, Golden Pixie, Murcott)
  • apricot: Royal Blenheim

May 15, 2015

stepping out of the razor/razor blade model

Tags: Everyday Life — 9:44 am Comments (0)


Several years back, I got really tired of buying way too expensive Gillette razor blades, $35 for 8 cartridges of $4.38 per blade. The actual razor that you can buy from Gillette is cheap, $11.50 or less. This is of course the razor, razor blade model of pricing.

I got really sick of it so I flipped the model and I went and bought a $30 razor (the one pictured above) and nice razor blades that cost $0.32 each or 30 blades for $9.00. Yup, $0.32 per razor blade versus $4.38 per cartridge. That’s kind of a big difference.

There is slightly more work since I need to use shave soap, 3 for $14. You can get away with not using shaving cream/soap with a Gillette razor/cartridge. Shaving cream or gel are fine too but shave soap is cheaper and lasts a really long time. With shave soap, I can rock out with a $12 badger shave brush to lather up the soap which is kind of a pleasant experience making it and applying the lather to my face. There’s some cost savings down the road here but it’s negligible.

I finish up my shave with a splash of Osage Rub, it’s inexpensive and makes our bathroom smell like a barbershop for a hot second. I do get nicked sometimes and I’ll use a styptic pencil to fix it when that happens.

So finally tally:

  • before
    • $11.50 for razor, $4.38 per cartridge
  • after
    • $30 for razor, $0.32 per blade

All those commercials for Dollar Shave Club had been bugging me. I don’t get why you need to join a club to buy expensive razor blades at a slight discount. Get a decent razor and buy the old school razor blades for $0.32 and you won’t need to join a club for shaving. I’ve already been priced gouged by Gillette for over 20 years, I don’t need to be slightly less gouged by some startup.

End rant.

March 12, 2015

tech specs for next MacBook Pro

Tags: Everyday Life — 3:26 pm Comments (0)


The new MacBook is nice but it’s not the upgrade for my current setup. At this rate, I won’t be upgrading from a MacBook Pro until 2016, darn. I’m hoping the next MacBook Pro has at least:

  •  3GHz Skylake/Cannonlake chip or higher
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 13 inch 4K display
  • weighs ~3lbs, 10-12 hours battery life
  • USB C and the headphone port as the only ports are fine

I’m still rocking a MacBook Pro from mid-2009 and it still feels more than fast enough. There isn’t an OS upgrade or any specific apps that makes me feel like I’m slogging in mud. Minor nits are the effective 4 hour battery life and its weight of ~4.5lbs. That’s about it though, can’t really complain.

The new 13″ Dell XPS also looks pretty good. Too bad it runs Windows and it would still be better to wait for a Skylake version of it.

January 2, 2015

2015 computing environment

Tags: Everyday Life — 2:42 pm Comments (0)


Today’s (2015) computing environment sure is exciting and confusing. Lots of different innovations coming all together with processors, display, storage, batteries, “form factors”, platforms, and Internet speeds. It sure makes buying computing capabilities really tough and forces you into thinking what is it that you really need to do. Are you buying too much or too little in computing power? Here’s where I think we are and where we might go.


With hardware we’re looking at Broadwell and Skylake processors coming out this year, 128GB+ micro SDs, more and cheaper cloud storage, 4K and higher displays, alternative inputs Myo/Leap/Siri/Cortana, 2-in-1 computer/tablets, more tablets, phablets and chromebooks, smarter TVs or tv dongles, more of all sorts of “wearables”, more of connected home devices like thermostats, cameras, irrigation control, lights, and better basic computing learning tools like updates to Raspberry Pi and Arduino kits. We’ll also see more of 3D VR…and drones!!!

The most interesting to me is less emphasis on processing speed and more emphasis on different “form factors”, battery life, and capabilities. We used to care about getting the fastest computer available. In a lot of instances, a Chromebook or a tablet might be all you need these days.

So, the big marketing push seems to be the 2-in-1s and cheaper laptops like Chromebooks. It’s hard not to think that previous more powerful gen Windows laptops and MacBooks aren’t anything more than glorified Chromebooks considering all the time we spend in a web browser for most things. Anyway, going to be quite a fight and I’ll be interested to hear what China has to say.


The Web is still the platform to beat although Windows (Windows 10 in Jan), Mac OS X (10.11) Android (5.0 Lollipop), iOS (8.1) sure are pushing hard and there’s really no marketing for the Web as a platform. It’s a tough thing.

From a dev standpoint, you’re building your app for iOS and then Android both with a web backend and a web frontend as fall back. You’re no longer building a Windows or Mac OS X app unless you really have the time, money, and resources but knowing your app is accessible via Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari is enough.

HTML5 especially the video components should really start taking this year and maybe we’ll see HTML5 videos on sites like ESPN.

From an app standpoint, more of the same in terms of people trying to regurgitate already popular apps. We’ll see more ello, Strings (messaging app), more games, same stuff, same and new people, just with a little twist. It all still boils down to the quick, cheap app purchase or monetizing (via ads) of hosted content that people upload (posts, comments, videos, photos, documents, etc).

Bundling/Unbundling – the suites are the thing

The stack fight – Windows, Apple, Google, the rest continues to be fascinating. And marca and Jim Barksdale’s theory of bundling/unbundling to make gobs of money still rings true.

The original productivity bundle Word, Excel, Powerpoint vs. Pages, Numbers, Keynote vs. Doc, Sheets, Slides vs. some random startup’s app is quite the fight. You’re adding Microsoft OneDrive vs. iCloud vs. Drive (and there’s still Dropbox, Box, etc) makes you really wonder what you should use and where you should store your documents. The sleeper might be the note taking apps but I sure do love etherpads.

The creative bundle fight featuring photos, music, videos is even more fascinating (and probably more important/lucrative): iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie vs. Windows Music, Photos, Video vs. Google Play Music, Photos, YouTube vs. other web apps. This bundle seems to be more important because it’s your photos and videos and it’s personal. From a file management standpoint, it can’t really get any more confusing especially when you add camera phones and auto upload features.

The final bundle features communication so email, text, phone/Internet phone/voice, social networking. Gmail, Hangouts, Voice, Google+ vs. Outlook, Skype, Socl? vs. Mail, Messages, FaceTime vs. Facebook, Twitter. The hidden fight within this bundle is single sign-on which comes with owning an ever improving profile boost. I don’t know which among Facebook, Google, or Twitter is going to win this one.

The what’s next bundle might revolve around health and fitness. It might be a general diagnostic app with health and medical records, a fitness app, and a diet app that all major players bundle together. A lot of signs are pointing to health and fitness as becoming the next bundle and of course there’s also a lot of money available. There’s also the trend that as tech folks age (Healtheon, WebMD, Revolution Health), we eventually turn our attention to health solutions. I’m interested to see if that trend holds up.

Wrap-up, Looking Forward to the Most

Gigabit Internet, Skylake processors, faster/better web browsers on multiple platforms, better recommendation engines, smoother integration/flows, and overall smarter web apps that will make life more enjoyable, help us spend more time with people we care about, and help us to make money are the innovations I care about the most. An 85″ 4k, OLED, curved tv isn’t really going to get me there but it’s still nice to know they’ll be a few of those at CES.

Being healthy, getting stronger/faster, hanging out with family and friends, eating great food are more interesting to me. How computing plays into that is the question.


April 30, 2014

2014 Tech Theme -> Inclusion

Tags: Everyday Life — 10:33 am Comments (1)

Over the years, the tech industry has had some lovely tech themes: Killer Apps, the Web, Search, Portals and Vortals, Dynamic HTML, Personalization, Verticals, Everywhere, Web 2.0, Web services, mashups, Digital Divide, Mobile, Location, HTML5, the Cloud, Apps, and now we’re looking at “Wearables” and “Contextual”.

Mitch Kapor and seemingly the tech scene in Oakland are pushing for the tech theme of Inclusion and I’m right there with him.  Doesn’t have to replace our fascination with wearables or context (e.g. Siri or Google Now), but it should be one of the themes that we carry forward.

Who are we including as our customers, as part of our development team, as part of our projects, as part of our investors? Are we valuing diversity? Are we equipping minorities with the training, tools, access, opportunities, money/resources to thrive or lean in? The truth is we’re missing out on a lot when we’re not being inclusive.

(what diversity in tech should/could look like)

Look for “Inclusion” or #Inclusion or include or inclusivity, etc. Inclusion is a tech theme you can be proud to be associated with, to be thinking about, and a nice theme to move forward.

Home monitor/computer and Home storage device

Tags: Everyday Life — 1:37 am Comments (0)


In the next 5 to 10 years or so, we’ll have a “home monitor” or “home computer” and a home storage device as a part of our homes much like a thermostat, heater, A/C, etc.

Home energy storage is an easy concept — big battery is charged from the electrical grid or solar panels on the home and essentially runs the electricity for the house and helps keep the home off the grid or helps a home be more efficient by powering it up during peak hours. This is one of the reasons why Tesla seems to be more than just an electric car company. A Tesla battery in every home and business? Sounds pretty cool to me.

The home monitor/computer (needs a better name) is going to be a little bit harder to define and it can go a couple ways. The first way is as an extension of the NEST and becomes that connected device that monitors *everything* about a house, temperature, water usage, water quality, air quality, security, and electrical usage. The next is the ability to manage each (automatic turn on/off/regulate) for appliances and lighting, temperature, etc. But how great would it be to know air quality and water quality in your house at all times. I’d love that, I’m sure others would too.

We’re moving into the phase where there are connected devices doing that one thing and doing it really well like a NEST thermostat or smoke detector, or one of those smartphone door locks, or one of many connected security systems. There are devices that exist that already do some of the “smart home” functions — pricey though. And then you could even plug your car into the home monitor to make sure everything is running smoothly. Lots of possibilities.

The other way this could go is the home computer/home server where a home server manages all the computers and data for the home, all the photos, music, videos, documents, online accounts and entertainment that serves as the method to keep the main files, serve as a backup, and also as the intermediary to a cloud back up service. Some of this is available now but haven’t seen a clean Apple-like solution.

The home server feels like one of the cleaner ways to manage a household where everyone (2+ people) has a computer and a smartphone and possibly another device like a tablet and then another couple of tvs in the home and a few music devices. In a shared household environment, where’s the main file (that photo, that music file, that video, that contract) that everyone can use? Alternatively, those files could be all on Dropbox, Google Cloud, iCloud, SkyDrive, somewhere else in the sky?

Where’s the primary file? What device can I access it from? Can I cache/store it on that device? Is that file backed up? Is that file backed up to the cloud? Digital hoarding at it’s finest or just where we are these days with tech assets.

Going through the user experience is best when considering the most important files you own/store, so likely photos, music, videos, and certain documents.



November 26, 2013

cork floors

Tags: Home Improvement — 7:39 pm Comments (0)


I installed some cork floors in our condo at Kirkwood this year (kitchen last year, living room and dining room this year). We bought the panels from Ecohome Improvement. The cork floors are manufactured by Qu-Cork (Carina) and it was a lot easier to install that I thought. Didn’t turn out too badly. Now we have to see how well they’ll last given the foot traffic of snowboard boots and ski boots.

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