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July 16, 2008

Oakland developments

Tags: Oakland — 7:27 am Comments (0)

Five Oakland Construction Projects that are really interesting.  I check out the progress during my long runs.  More info on other Oakland developments here.

1.  1100 Broadway – The green building plans for this building are great: solar panels, efficient lighting, efficient HVAC, rain water recapture and reuse.  It would be cool to actually own this building.  This one hasn’t gotten started yet so not sure when it’s going to go up.

2.  The Cathedral of Christ the Light – the new Catholic Cathredral in Oakland.  I wouldn’t mind being buried here, there’s a mausoleum down there.  Should be completed by Fall 2008.  It’s an interesting/modern design for a Catholic Cathedral…and boy does the Catholic Church have money, this one is expensive.

3.  Fox Theatre renovation – “Uptown” Oakland is going to be crazy with Fox Theatre, UpTown apartments, all those new condos e.g. Broadway/Grand, and it’s a stones through from Oaksterdam :-)   This one has another 100 days until completion if they’re on schedule.

4.  Jack London Square Market – This one is supposed to be a Pike’s Market maybe Faneuil Hall knock-off.  The bones are up, probably another two years before it’s completed.

5.  The Ellington -  New condos in Jack London Square right across the way from Everett & Jones barbecue.  This one is just another massive condo complex that’s in the luxury range.  The supporting neighborhood might not appeal to the clientele yet so that business area needs to pick it up.  Downtown Oakland needs more companies to locate there too.  We need more tech companies in Oakland.



July 7, 2008

kitchen remodel update

Tags: Home Improvement — 10:58 am Comments (0)

Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances…Not exactly.  More like paper countertop and black appliances.

We got the backsplash installed this weekend.  It’s an Oceanside recycled glass tile (creme brulee).  We’re getting cork floors from WeCork installed later this month, we need to install some hardware on the cabinets, paint the refrigerator, update the lighting and maybe paint.  And then we’re all done.  Maybe, possibly.  Earlier this year I said we’d be done by end of March.  Oops.

Almost after (once we install the floors and cabinet hardware)

This is a Blue Star range with convection oven and 22,000 BTU burners upfront.  The hood is a Vent-A-Hood.  The countertop is Paperstone.  Our cabinets were in the house when we bought it.  It’s Timberlake from American Woodmark, the Tahoe Oak Honey via Home Depot.

Before



July 4, 2008

cost of an iPhone

Tags: Everyday Life — 1:39 pm Comments (1)

I was considering getting an iPhone to replace a Treo and a Sprint account at $65/month.  But then it’s AT&T with a $30 data plan, a $39.99 voice plan 450 minutes, and $5.00 200 text plan which totals $75 a month without taxes.

Realistically, the $59.99 voice plan w/ 900 minutes looks better which takes us out to $95 a month without taxes probably $110 a month with taxes.

Then there’s the iPhone itself at $199 or $299 with a $69 2 year protection plan and a $36 activation fee.

Am I off on this calculation?  Are people paying more or less for their iPhone service?

1000 minutes, unlimited nights/weekends, data plan, unlimited text messaging for $75 a month would still be ridiculous but somewhat reasonable.  $50 a month would be more reasonable.  $110 a month is ludicrous.

For comparison, our one Sprint account is $65 (1100 minutes) a month, one T-Mobile account is $65 a month (1000 minutes), and AT&T landline/dsl is $52 a month, so $185 a month in wireless, landline, Internet.

I’m thinking that $185 a month is low to average for being in the web industry, but higher than what most folks are paying.  $100 to $125 would be about right but I don’t think I can get it down to that without losing minutes, speed, or functionality.

I think it’s a maybe a next year or 2012 type of thing to go to an iPhone.



July 2, 2008

solar panel calculation – small home

Tags: Home Improvement — 1:43 am Comments (3)

Summary: Solar panels for a small home needs to get down to a $4,500 to $7,000 price point for it to make economic sense for home owners — a 7 to 10 year break even.  It may get to that price point eventually due to demand, decrease in prices of solar panels, improvements in technology (like solar roof shingles), group/community price breaks, and continued tax breaks and rebates.

Details: For 2 to 3kWh systems, current price point is estimated to be about $20,000 for installation.  With State rebates and Federal Income Tax credits totaling $5,000 to 6,000 you’re looking at $14,000 – $15,000 for the system.  You’re getting about 300 to 450 kWh a month.  If you are currently using 400 kWh a month, that’s about $50 a month or $600 a year.  This means your break even point is about 25 years.  This doesn’t include the home value appreciation due to your solar panel investment.

We average 325kWh a month, about $35/month.  Other info:

Borrego Solar seems like a good company.  I’ve seen Solar City around the area as well.



July 1, 2008

web apps

Tags: Everyday Life — 11:34 am Comments (0)

For my reference:

To try:

  • Pownce, Twitter – (not too interested though, network effect/usefulness?)

Backend

  • Bugzilla (bug system)
  • MediaWiki (Wiki system)
  • OpenX (ad system)
  • Plone (CMS)
  • Simple Machines Forum (forums)
  • WordPress (blog software)
  • ZenCart (shopping cart)

Frontend

  • Search, Gmail, Groups, Calendar, Maps, Docs

Fat clients (while I’m here…)

  • Firefox
  • Thunderbird
  • iTunes, iPhoto
  • iChat
  • CyberDuck
  • Photoshop, Fireworks
  • Numbers, Keynote
  • TextEdit, Grab, Flickr Uploader
  • Mac OS X 10.5.x, Windows Vista xx


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