Sunday, July 15, 2012

Alviso Refuge

Pack32 cub scouts spent this Saturday morning at the Alviso Refuge. Through an informative program the guides at the refuge explained about the endangered California Clapper Rail, the Salt Marsh Harvest mouse and pickle weed. It was an interesting and fun morning. Who knew the near Alviso, in the middle of the marshland, you will also find the ghost town of Drawbridge. A couple of impressions:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Awaiting Apple TV

As I visited MicroCenter for a pair of earphones, I made a detour through the TV aisle. Wow! Flat panels have taken a dive in price. I am not talking about the HD LED magnificent flat panels. Rather the simple flat panel TVs which previously would run close to a $1000, and now are only a fistful of dollars.

In my living room, I still have a CRT, next to my VHS player. Sadly, I am not kidding about that. The CRT I got for a couple of beers from a friend. Because it lacks some of the input/outputs, I route the Wii, Digital TV and DVD signal through the VHS player. I am not proud of it, but we just don't watch much television. And the little we do is typically a DVD from Netflix or streaming Netflix from the Wii. It is however next on the replacement list, but I am planning to wait. I am holding out for the Apple TV All Unicorn Channel.

It has to be simpler than the Sony receiver a colleague recently posted for sale. 
The previous picture not withstanding, the problem with TV is not the hook up. It is the type of content and what you pay for. I recently took a look at the AT&T Uverse TV offering. What struck me is that part of their business model is still rent you a set-top box. If you wanted the wireless set-top box, so you can hook up your TV without much running of cable in your house, it is $7/month. No thank you. 

The future of TV is likely an easy to set up screen, which streams your content (Netflix, Hulu, Youtube) on-demand with rates for "I want it as soon as it comes up" and "free if you have patience". At the same time your iPad glued to your hand knows what's streaming and can show you relevant information. If it is a baseball game it shows you stats. If it is the Tour de France, a map of where they are in France. All with a sideline of related adds. And if I wanted to comment on the show on Facebook or Twitter, it is right there with the hash-tag of the show. It will not be about the actual TV-set, not about selling the devices as a service, but about related applications on our handheld device and cellphone. 

Now, Apple, in the interim, just ship me a great TV, can you?  

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Recycle - take two

After another trip with stinky bottles, cans and plastic bottles to the recycling yard, I am rethinking this effort. What's really only relevant are the clear plastic bottles, the aluminum beer and soda cans, and the beer bottles. Wine bottles do not count for $ (the majority of our glass - sorry wifey), nor does any other plastic container or can. My latest haul to the recycler only brought in $4.36 for the kids: $1.5 in class 1 PET segregated and $2.84 in co-mingled CRV glass at $0.066/lbs. So rather than separate things out, it will all just go into our big recycling bin for San Jose waste management to haul.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Mission Peak

After writing about the mountains we conquer at work, I decided to wake up early on the 4th of July and climb Mission Peak in Fremont, about 20 minutes from our house. The path starts almost at sea level and takes you to 2517ft or 767m for a magnificent view of the Bay Area. You can see from San Jose, to Mountain View, to Mt Tamalpais. I was also great to watch a few of the old timer planes fly over for the 4th of July parades. The trail is pretty much up hill all the time with very few flat parts. There is almost no shade cover, thus lather up with sunscreen. Some of my friends prefer to start the hike at 5:30am, or late in the evening. Bring plenty (a camel pack full) of water and some replenishments and this is not your average stroll in the hills. After 1.5 hours uphill I made to the top.

Along the way, I did run into some in-shape lean meat cows, and a rattlesnake, which is very common up here. Round trip: 3:45hrs.