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November 19, 2017

hibiscus tea

Tags: Food | Restaurants — 12:23 pm Comments (0)

hibiscus tea photo

The new to me hotness -> hibiscus tea and the best is supposed to come from the Sudan (wish I knew someone who could get us some).

Supposed benefits including weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, anti-cancer, anti-depressant, and pro-liver but not at high doses.

Every tea seller has hibiscus tea but seems a lot are in blend form w/ black tea or berries, e.g Imperial Red from Imperial Tea. They can’t seem to just sell and call it plain hibiscus tea, has to be some blend with some branded name. Luckily Berkeley Bowl has some just hibiscus tea.

I’m not going to link to bad Google results for Karkade recipes which is a sweet hibiscus drink (no links to an Egyptian or Sudanese website for a recipe? really?). It’s basically dried hibiscus, sugar, and water which is also agua de jamaica.

And I had no idea that jamaica was hibiscus. I didn’t know what it was, just thought jamaica tasted good. Who knew? Anyway, it was nice to get introduced to hibiscus tea and will probably need to drink up other teas/mix it up a bit before I go overboard and get sick of it. Hasn’t happened yet though.

November 14, 2017

iPhone X etc.

Tags: Everyday Life — 10:21 pm Comments (0)

Some of the major phones fighting in 2017/2018 are:

If I was in the market for a new phone, I’d probably get the Google Pixel 2 if not the Apple iPhone SE for $350.

The R11S and Mi Mix 2 look pretty cool. The Essential phone might be doa even though the ceramic/titanium build is really nice and I hope they do well.

So iPhone X for $1,150. LOL! No. If Google had priced their Pixel phones at a lower price point, they may have significantly made a dent with market share because they’re getting book ended by the iPhone X and iPhone SE. Might not be a concern though and they don’t really do volume with their phones. Regardless, the price of the iPhone X is just too high, cost of computing goes lower not higher so their pricing is way out of whack. You’ll see next year.

Google has other manufacturers to consider to distribute their Android/Google Assistant/other apps/Google Search which is really where they make their money in this razor/razor blade model of theirs. Google is right though, the battle is with cloud apps, hardware isn’t the bottleneck when it comes to user experiences.

Anyhow, it’s nice to see that phones are getting really good and fast and phones like the iPhone 6, Pixel, earlier Nexus and Galaxy phones are starting to last longer like 4 years or so maintaining a nice level of speed and responsiveness for everyday tasks. Before, it made sense to upgrade every year or two because there was a significant speed and performance bump, but now not so much. Which is a nice place to be.



November 13, 2017

thoughts on solar panels (again)

Tags: Everyday Life — 6:20 pm Comments (0)

Sunpower and Tesla/Panasonic seem to have the best solar panels with over 300 watts and 20% efficiency. Next gen solar panels may reach 45% and even greater efficiency still after those go to market (w/ in next 5-10 years?).

The problem for us is still breakeven. We’re low in our electric consumption, about 250kWh per month on average. We’re usually under 300kWh and sometimes even under 200kWh during the summer. That usage comes out to be $500 a year on electrical (even with PG&E raising prices/price gouging after the San Bruno pipeline explosion) .

$500 a year on electrical with a 7 year breakeven point means the cost of the solar system that makes sense would have to be $3,500 total. Even extended to a 10 year breakeven, we’re looking at $5,000. The cost of a 2kW system is roughly $9,600 ($7,000 after incentives). For 2.5kW it would cost $11,500 ($8,000 after incentives). So, we are getting closer on price but we’re probably still a good 10 years away because the cost isn’t just in the solar panels, it’s mostly the labor for installation.

Cost of one panel is around $300 – $350. We need about 6-8 of them which is about $3,000. The rest of the material costs are the railings, converters, wiring so another $1,000 or less. This DIY solar system kit is about $4,300, if I was super handy, this kit could be an option.

Anyhow, won’t be surprised if we start seeing 500kWh panels at 40-50% efficiency which means all we’ll need are four panels to power up the house and that’ll probably happen within the next 5 years. It could even be 1000kWh panels and all we’ll need are two panels. That would aesthetically (to our roof line) be pretty nice.

In any case, we’re still a no go for solar panels because our breakeven just isn’t there– enough so that Tesla/Solar City and others won’t even bother to come out. But I have a feeling a 500kWh panel w/ 45% efficiency at $200 a panel isn’t too far away. Then we’ll be at $3,500 for a fully installed system sooner than later, *if* we can find someone to do the install. Rafael Ebron's Web site