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December 26, 2006

2006 time capsule

Tags: Everyday Life — 9:58 am Comments (0)
my favorite photo from this year, top of Haleakala in Maui

General Happenings

  • Sadly, we’re still in Iraq. One of the longest wars the US has been in.
  • Dems become majority in Congress.
  • Dow hits all time high, past 1200.
  • MySpace and YouTube get bought up. Demonstrates the importance of community, the ability to build a brand quickly, and how crazy people are from the people who put up content, to the buyers of these companies.
  • Google breaks $400 nears $500.

Tech

  • Apple switches all of it’s product line to Intel chips.
  • IE 7 and Firefox 2 ship in Q4.
  • Tesla cars are launched.
  • Zune, PS III, Wii are launched.
  • Blogging, user-generated content (yuck) become more prominent.

Sports

  • Steelers win Super Bowl. Vince Young and Texas wins BCS bowl.
  • Miami Heat win NBA Finals
  • St. Louis Cardinals win World Series. Oakland A’s win a play off series.
  • Floyd Landis wins Tour de France but w/ doping controversy.
  • Agassi retires from Tennis.

Obits

  • Ed Bradley, James Kim, James Brown, Coretta Scott King, Saddam Hussein, Gerald Ford

Personal

  • Lots of vacations, Hawaii 2x, Disneyland, Kirkwood trips, Canada. :)
  • Lots of house fixing, pipes, porch, landscaping, insulation, painting, just about everything.
  • Ironman Canada number 3 complete.
  • Leave Mozilla, create Browser Garage start-up (scary).
  • Too much pretentious food talk. Did enjoy Gary Danko, Lalimes, French Laundry, that Sushi place in SF, and Kirala this year.

I didn’t like 2006 very much.  I did like the fact that I got some rest though.  That’s about it.



December 9, 2006

BMW X3 in Consumer Reports

Tags: Cars — 8:43 pm Comments (0)
my BMW X3 w/ matching snowboard

I bought the Consumer Reports copy that reviewed the BMW X3 pretty favorably (ranked #2) except for the “predicted reliability” part which was unfavorable. I’m not sure how they come up with predicted reliability, I think that’s bs. I guess they’re saying that BMWs in general are not reliable though a bunch are out on the road doing pretty well though aren’t they.

Anyway, my BMW X3 is doing fine, 30k+ miles and going strong. In the report, they highlighted handling, interior, and overall drive (and even the best gas mileage in the bunch) as some of the advantages over the others in the small SUV class.

They looked at the Toyota Rav4 (their top choice), Toyota FJ cruiser (which they didn’t like at all), the new Jeep Wrangler (the car I previously had and loved but too rough a ride), the new Acura RDX, and the Mazda CX-7. I think the Lexus 330/400H isn’t considered a small SUV and interestingly they didn’t review the Subaru Forrester. The real competition to the BMW X3 are the Audi A3 or A4 Wagon or the BMW 3 or 5 series wagons.

I like my/our BMW X3 a lot. It’s been good to us so far and it’s pretty fun to drive. Ultimate driving machine, you know it. :)



December 6, 2006

the fancy loaner – 2007 BMW 328i

Tags: Cars — 9:02 am Comments (1)
Cute right? More photos here.

One of the cool things about driving a fancy car, when you have to take it in for maintenance, they give you another fancy nice car to drive. [Life is just too hard. Whoa is me. :)] The dealership hooked me up with a 2007 BMW 328i with 1000 miles on it to play around with for the day. They call it Sparkles because the exterior color is a Sparkling Graphite Metallic.

It’s pretty freaking fun to drive. It handles unbelievably well, the acceleration is crazy, and everything works just really nicely. The car isn’t equipped with amenities like power seats or iDrive. And it is an automatic, manual would have been preferred. I do see why people love this car, the drive is pretty awesome.

So I drove this thing on a windy freeway and up and down the Oakland/Berkeley hills. Pretty bad ass. I’d get the 335i Coupe if I had a choice and could justify spending over $45k for a car (you can’t do it, unless maybe it’s for the Tesla sports car). The 335 coupe and this 328i is very much “a boy’s car” (based on the drive and the exterior styling). For the most part, the BMW series of cars (3, 5, 7, and M series) are manly except for the convertibles.



December 4, 2006

solar panels for your home

Tags: Home Improvement — 7:34 am Comments (2)

The Go Solar California program looks pretty cool and starts January 1, 2007. It’s an incentive program for people to get solar panels installed for their existing homes (but also for new homes and buildings).

California has made a bold decision… to place 3,000 megawatts of new, solar produced electricity systems on rooftops by 2017. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s goal is to put solar systems on a million California roofs.

Apparently only 0.3% of our energy comes from solar panels. It’s nice to see this incentive program.

Great article in the SF Chronicle last January about installing solar panels for your home in the Bay Area. They recommend Borrego Solar and I looked up Sky Power Systems and they looked pretty good.

We’ve noticed a lot of solar panels on homes while on vacation in Hawaii but also in our neighborhood. Most of the new complex/developments are being constructed in a “green way” with radiant heating, energy efficient windows, reclaimed wood from trail tracks in China or Brazil (that one is funny), bamboo or cork flooring, and solar panels which is great. Several houses nearby also have solar panels installed too.

Here’s another article about installing solar panels yourself in a step-by-step.

It sounds like the cost of installing a solar panel for our small house will be in the $15,000 (w/ rebate?) to $24,000. Given that our monthly electricity bills are under $50, it’s about a 25-40 year break even point. $5,000 – $10,000 total installation costs is what it would need to get down to in order for it to be in the ballpark of real consideration.



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