the price you pay Facebook

For the ability to connect with friends and family and things that interest you, the price you pay Facebook is the opportunity for companies and groups to influence you (to buy or do something).

That's it.

What it seems like is that folks are surprised that Facebook is really good at figuring how to influence people. The price for the opportunity to influence you is explicit to advertisers. It's implicit and hard to quantify from a user perspective because it's attention and time and the conversion isn't always immediate. If it was easy to price out, FB would be a subscription service. And, some users are more valuable than others.

Further, people do not care about their privacy. People definitely care about losing money and time dealing with identity theft, definitely care about fraud, anything to do with actually losing real money. But privacy, people don't really care (or know enough to care) about it.

FB has an altruistic view of wanting to connect everybody and those connections are supposed to make your life better and the world a better place. And there's nothing wrong with trying to work towards that goal.

$1MM house rule

Noe Valley, SF Home
Victorian in Noe Valley SF, sold for $2.5MM, photo by Open Home photography

Here's the new rule. If you buy or own a house that's worth $1MM, it *must* have a toilet with a washlet (aka bidet).

$1,000,000 has to mean something. Used to be a house had a $1MM view and those houses exist and those houses are probably worth $1MM because of that view/size/architecture/finishes.

Now, $1MM homes, especially in the Bay Area, are just houses — maybe 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, maybe in a generally ok neighborhood, maybe recently renovated, maybe near BART. None of those things combined or separate are enough to justify a $1MM price tag – ever. So install a toilet/washlet where you can at least say for your $1MM house, you have a toilet that washes your ass for you.

Don't even need to buy the most expensive toilet/washlet combo out there, a cheap $250 washlet will suffice. You don't even have to use it. It's the idea that matters.

See here/below for a decent toilet/washlet #lifegoals, #iwantone

toilet/washlet pic
Carlyle® II 1G Connect+™ S350e One-Piece Toilet – 1.0 GPF

hibiscus tea

hibiscus tea photo

The new to me hotness -> hibiscus tea and the best is supposed to come from the Sudan.

Benefits of drinking hibiscus tea include weight loss, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent types of cancer and depression, and pro-liver; not at high doses.

Every tea seller has hibiscus tea but a lot are in blend form w/ black tea or berries, e.g Imperial Red from Imperial Tea. Luckily Berkeley Bowl has some just plain old hibiscus tea.

I'm not going to link to bad Google results for Karkade recipes which is a sweet hibiscus drink (there are 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 the red and tart drink 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.

iPhone X etc.

Major phones in the market for 2017 (for posterity):

I'd probably get the Google Pixel 2 if not the Apple iPhone SE for $350 if I were shopping for a new phone.

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. Good place to be.

 

 

thoughts on solar panels (again)

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.

Tesla 3 vs Chevy Bolt etc

Tesla Model 3 is *THE* car that's changing the world and saving our environmental future. The long range 310 mile version will cost about $57,000 while the base car is $35,000 (but no one is getting that version). How Tesla will do with mass production is going to be interesting, in the long run they'll do fine.

$57k is not bad, given 5.1 0-60 seconds (BMW 340i is 4.6 seconds and $60k), all electric, no emissions, likely less maintenance, plus the cool factor.

The true competitors of Tesla Model 3 are the BMW 3 series, Audi S4, Lexus IS and ES. The competition isn't Prius or Bolt or Leaf or even the BMWi series. Fit and finish aren't in the same league. Teslas are head turners.

I do like the Chevy Bolt a lot (but not enough to consider buying one). You're looking at $44k for the souped up version. 0-60 is 6.5 seconds which isn't bad with a 238 mile range.

The Chevy Bolt looks great. Other cars in its style genre are the Chevy Spark and Sonic, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa Note, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Prius C, Ford Fiesta, and you could probably also include Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. So price is the issue, the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris are in the $15k-$17k range and the Prius C starts at $20k.

When the Chevy Bolt drops down to $20k and all these other vehicles become fully electrified (which will happen), then we've got a ball game. It is nice to see all the Chevy Bolts on the road from folks upgrading from what I presume their Toyota Prius. At the end of the day, the Chevy Bolt is just a good looking and seemingly useful car.