Friday, December 11, 2009

A good deli can be hard to find - Cheerz Deli Durham NC

Having grown up in the North East I'm accustomed to Dunkin and Delis. Here in North Carolina there are a few Dunkin locations, but even fewer good delis. Sure one can go to firehouse, subway, and the like. But a good deli has a very different feel and is definitely not a chain. A good deli has crazy sandwich names, is family owned, and has great sides and of course yummy pickles.

Cheerz deli is just such a deli. Very good subs on recently baked rolls because as everyone knows, it is the bread that makes or breaks a sub.

Here is an example, the Hammer:

Turkey, salami, roast beef, cheese and bacon - its a great "club" sub. For $6.50 you can't beat it.

Check out the menu for yourself. See you at Cheerz.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Don't pave in Bolin Forest

Here is an email to the Mayor and Board of Alderman in Carrboro. There is, aparently, a plan to do some paving in Bolin Forest. This is 300 acres or so of forest, streams, and trails in Carrboro. I don't like pavement in forests. What do you think? Put your opinion in the comments.

The email:


I'm a new resident of Carborro. I moved here from Cary this past June. I moved here for the trees and the smaller neighborhood feel of the town as well as schools within 5 minutes of our house. So far I like it a lot. Just the lack of horrible chain restaurants is enough to please me!

I'm writing today to let you know my dislike of the idea of paving trails in Bolin Creek Forest. My first reaction on hearing the news was "if you want that, move to Cary". Most of the trails there are neat and trimmed and perfectly paved. One may as well walk down the street as walk through the "woods" in Cary.

Though paving may seem like a good idea, I think it is detrimental to the spirit of the woodlands of Bolin Forest. The consequences of paving are degraded ecology and reduction of natural spaces available to residents.

Although this study from involves roads, not smaller trails, some of the findings are relevant and can be applied at a smaller scale to a trail system.

Page 4 : "Transportation planning can involve many private and public entities and disciplines. Rarely does it involve natural sciences" (emphasis mine)

From Page 5:

  • 10-100mRoad construction & roadside management, weeds, local pollution, road-kill, light and noise
  • 100-1000m Downstream pollution, erosion, stream habitat alteration, noise aversion, habitat fragmentation
  • >1,000m Landscape fragmentation, local & regional extinction, weed invasions, large mammal movement, air pollution, climate change
Let me address that last point. In particular the climate change. One thing I noticed as soon as my commute changed from all Wake to Durham County to/from Brier Creek Parkway in Raliegh is the noticeable temperate drop just west of Fayetteville Rd (after South Points Mall). I did some searching and found average temperatures for the last 30 years:

It seems that our area is generally 1-3 degrees cooler! I believe the answer is as simple as looking at at sattelite view of the area on google maps (link). Notice how much more green there is where we are compared to just east of us. Pavement absorbs and holds heat and is at least partially responsible for the greater heat in Wake county.

I hope that another solution to the perceived problems with the unpaved trails can be found. If erosion is the issue - re-worked drainage and grading can help a lot without paving.

Thank you for your time.

Friday, December 04, 2009

That wave came out of no where

This guy hit that wave on purpose. Imagine a surprise wave.

This guy is lucky to be alive.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

things I don't know

I do a lot of "programming" and I think I know a thing or two about what I'm doing. Well maybe programming isn't the right term - so I put it in quotes there. What I do is hack around, a script here, a script there.

Today, I stumbled on a real programmmer's blog, Bartosz Milewski. I read (skimmed really) a couple posts. Amazing the level of detail in these. Then I went and checked out his business, peer-to-peer version control tool.

Wait, I thought, peer-to-peer is just for pirates and other scoundrals - right? But it really clicked with me. At my company we develop SoCs using many sites. I wondered how would this work for us? Can it handle zillions of gigs of data? I don't have time to investigate - plus its not my job - but some day, if I have the time, I'll read up on it.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Patriots lose - again

We are missing those key defensive guys that made the plays that win games. Remember when we'd sack the qb? Interceptions at the line of scrimmage? Stuff the run? Hit guys like we got hit last night?

Gone, all gone. 

Bill, I think, finally has either let too many go (Seymour, Vrabel), or guys just retired (Bruschi and Harrison) to have a high impact defense. The kind of defense that wins games...

The offense didn't help too much either. Gotta hand it to NO defense - stifling Tom and co all night.

Looks like they may need a miracle to get to the playoffs...certainly to do well if they get there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dumping Adobe Acrobat

I’ve made a clean break from Adobe’s acrobat. Now using cutePDF for printing to PDF and foxit for reading.
I had some trouble getting foxit to open inside Google Chrome. This thread fixed me up.
So far, much faster response time with these two tools. Also, no more annoying tool bar buttons that won’t go away no matter how many times I un-check them.
Bonus, my company doesn’t have to pay for an Acrobat Pro license.

Friday, November 20, 2009

This is partly why we left Cary

Though this women does not live in Cary, we had a HOA rules that prohibited cloths lines. We installed ours inside the house.

People are so spoiled with clothes dryers and have the strangest reactions to clothes lines. Looking at old photos of cities I think it is really cool to see them strung up between buildings.

Clothes lines saves energy too. That helps everyone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chrome OS anounced as open source

Google took the wraps of Chrome OS today. As Google puts it, 90% of what you do on your computer is already in the web browser. In the video below there is a bit where they explain why your “modern” computer is so slow to start up and get you on the internet. Its the stuff that loads before you can click on and launch the browser:

  • BIOS
  • OS Primatives
  • Hardware Detection
  • Load and Start Kernel
  • Random Stuff
  • Login
  • Splash Screen
  • Invisible Startup Apps
  • Anti Virus Software

    It is amusing how those parts of the computer are made to crumble as time goes by. Just like in most computers today.
    If successful, Chrome OS looks like a great way to power most computers today. Weeee, everything is in the Cloud. Of course Qualcomm is right there as a technology partner.
    What do you think? Do you want to try it? Can you believe they’ll give it away on the Hardware? That the hole thing is open source?
    It just blows my mind. Especially when I think about how much I’ve spend on wintel computers and my last purchase.
    Chrome OS will be on Snapdragon powered Smartbooks soon - think middle to end of  next year. We have guys working on it right now.
    You can get a taste of Chome OS right now on your Windows PC. Download the browser and give it a try. I use it almost exclusively.

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    Looking at google wave

    UPDATE: the link below to the “10 Persistent…” is a slide show. I prefer the text version and the accompanying writeup. I think you will too. Here is a sample:
    In your average corporate environment, though, this happens all the time. People work on documents, presentations, etc. They have lengthy discussions over email. Pieces of work bounce back and forth across one or multiple organisations for weeks before they’re finalised. People are brought on to the conversation late in the day. Attachments get lost. Inboxes fill up and emails bounce. It’s a major pain.
    So what are the problems with email in a corporate environment, and what does Wave do to address them?
    Looking at wave? I am.
    I’d like to try this on a project or part of a project. What about you?

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    News and Observer talks up Lenovo Smartbook

    The News and Observer right here in Raliegh reports about Lenovo's big bet on Smartbooks. The report includes a mention of Lenovo's site in Morrisville:

    Although the Chinese computer maker is at the forefront of this new category, a flurry of competition is expected to emerge next year because of the market potential. Lenovo has a headquarters in Morrisville, where it employs 1,500.

    However, they do not mention that we developed the Scorpion CPU and the Snapdragon chip going inside that Lenovo smartbook right here in Raliegh.

    I was disappointed!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Plenty of electricity in North Carolina

    I think in places like California where they sometimes have rolling black outs they also have peak and off peak hours. My washer/drier has a feature that you can use to turn them on some number of hours in the future. Thus you can set it, and it will turn on when "off peak" hours are in play. Doing so would reduce my electric bill.

    Too bad Duke Energy doesn't off peak and off peak rates to residential customers in my area (pdf).

    I guess this means we have plenty of electricity.

    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Google's Navigation app blows away your GPS NAV system

    I had no idea that Google would use street view photos in there NAV software for Android 2.0. I like the dock and the way it automatically enters NAV mode.
    But what really blows away other NAV systems is the voice recognition. Sure its staged, but if they get close to what is in the video - I’m at a loss for words. Google did some very amazing thigns with one text box interface in search. Looks like they are doing the same thing for NAV devices. Really unbelievable feature set.
    He also searches for an "event" at a museum, not knowing which museum it's at. Because Android does the search in the back end at it finds it. Check out the video.

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    Verizon store very excited about Android

    A colleague of mine posted to our shared internal blog his experience at a Verizon store:
    I visited a local Verizon store last night to look at phones for one of my kids. People were coming in with hopes of seeing a demo of the Droid and Android. The sales rep was very excited about Android products. He said he had six hours of training on the Droid and Android. He loves the new Android OS, “Its really fun to use!  I prefer it to WinMobile.  I believe its going to take over the market.”
    Verizon will also be offering the new HTC Eris Android (MSM7600) phone for sale tomorrow. For $99 I just read!
    Verizon will launch to Android phones tomorrow.  The HTC Droid Eris and the Motorla Droid. Turns out Droid on Verizon is a series of phones - not just a phone from Motorola.
    Both phones feature a 528 MHz processor. The Eris’ CPU is reported to be from Qualcomm. Both will have a 5 M camera, Eris does not have a flash. Also missing from the Eris is a physical keyboard. Finally since Eris will run Andriod 1.5 it will not have 2.0’s Navigation features. What Eris does bring to the table is the HTC’s own sense UI.
    Engadget has posted an un-boxing of DROID ERIS.

    I gotta say, I'm excited too.

    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    Storm 2 vs iPhone spelling suggestions

    I was just in the Verizon store to try out the Storm 2. As I said before, Verizon has suggested to me that the storm is just like the iPhone. I don't agree but I wanted to see Storm 2 for myself.

    I played with the phone for 10 minutes and found it to be a good unit. Seems solid. Its touch screen functions well - it selects what I think my finger is on very well. I'm not a fan of the "screen is a button" touch screen model. I suppose some will like having to push the screen in each time an on-screen item is clicked - but I'm not one of them.

    However, in playing with sending a sample SMS I found that the spelling suggestions were very weak. Typing therr, the Storm suggested therr and thert. The iPhone however made one seggestion: there. Neither phone suggested their.

    For the record, Merriam-Webster does the not think thert is a word. Why in the world would the phone suggest that?

    Which suggestion software do you think is better?

    Monday, November 02, 2009

    Android is coming everywhere - Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, everywhere!

    Perhaps the most plausible contenders against iPhone are Google’s Android and Palm’s webOS.
    Pause for a minute here - the top most talked about smart phone operating systems did not exist (as something I could buy) 3 years ago. Amazing.
    What are people using these for? Take the top of the three, the iPhone. People use that for many many things - but it can be boiled down (excluding the phone feature) to, in no particular order: web, apps, music, and email/sms.
    As a new contender, PC World’s David Worthington says that Droid Faces Uphill Battle Against iPhone. They don’t talk much about the phone’s hardware. They talk about the software. Telling is the discussion of iTunes:
    “However, that would involve switching carriers, and would leave much of my iTunes music library orphaned. My music, video and phone are all-in-one now, and I do not want to have to carry around a separate iPod.”
    Verizon’s ad campaign for Droid says “Driod does“. This means that Android does - since the HW does nothing without the SW stack on top of it.  Android does offer features in web, apps, music and email/sms. PC world is correct however, the biggest electronic seller of music is Apples iTunes and there are 30 million iPhones (or so) out there. Perhaps Qualcomm or some other group should make a seamless way to get iTunes data on their phone.
    One could go the route that palm took and spoof the iPhone. Or you could champion any of the many open source projects aiming to unlock iTunes data for other devices.  Without a path from iTunes to your music playing smartphone it will be difficult to convince people to switch from iPhone.
    But does any of that matter? David Worthington says:
    The question is, does the average user care about things such as open development? I’m an iPhone owner, and Apple’s draconian policies don’t really affect my overall experience. There are still plenty of apps to choose from. I haven’t met too many disaffected iPhone users, probably because the user experience-while imperfect-is pretty great.
    Maybe, maybe not.
    Regardless of the outcome here, Android phones are exploding onto the market place. Sprint launched the Samsung Momenttoday. Also today, T-mobile brings out the Motorola CLIQ. Rachael may be officially revealed this week.
    One thing is for sure, these are exciting times to be working on smartphones.
    Update: HTC’s Eris will also come out this week.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    reocities saves geocities

    Geocities lives on. It was terminated by Yahoo last week.

    Geocities hosted my first ever web site. I thought it was gone forever from the web. Of course I have this gem on my computer at home - but what good does that do????????? None I say.

    Lucky reocities saved it. Enjoy!


    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Public Option - the Insurance companies don't like competition

    In case it has escaped you, there is a debate going on about the public option. Depending on who you listen to, a public insurance option will either kill you or solve all our problems. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

    The insurance companies, or at least Blue Cross Blue Shield have not been shy voicing their opinion. They don't like it. Which means, in part, that they don't like competion. To make their point they are spend lots of money. One small expense incurred by BCBS has been brought to my attention by a friend. He received a note card to sign along with a pre-paid envelope to send this note to his senator. He altered it a bit before sending it:

    Nice going!

    What about you, how are you voicing your opinion? Let me know in the comments.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Verizon Android Devices Look Good

    A while ago I said that Verizon did not have the iPhone but I'd be tempted by an Andriod phone. I'm also most interested if the phone has a chip in it that I worked on.

    Recently news broke that I'm likely to get my hands on just such a phone. The HTC Passion. Looking at video of the HTC Hero vs. the iPhone 3Gs (for the OS review), I'm getting very excited about seeing the Passion in person. I really like the contact centric and back-ground app capable Android OS vs the iPhone's app centric approach.

    Seeing this mini intro to Android 2.0, which the Passion will have, really gets me excited. It looks fantastic.

    Judging by Apple's market share, it seems these Andriod phones can't come a soon enough. I don't mind Apple cleaning everyone else's clocks - but choice is good too. Better is a choice between two good phones - rather than settling for a bad phone because you want the good network (Verizon).

    Looks like HTC also gets it.

    I'm looking forward to giving up my Chocolate, finally. What about you?

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Tradition of independent press

    Quoting Jacob Weisberg

    "What's most distinctive about the American press is not its freedom but its century-old tradition of independence—that it serves the public interest rather than those of parties, persuasions, or pressure groups. Media independence is a 20th-century innovation that has never fully taken root in many other countries that do have a free press."

    I concur. I find all the cable news disheartening. None seem to do any investigative jurnalism - where are Woodward and Bernsteins of today? Hmm, maybe Micheal Moore? Though none could say he doesn't have a liberal agenda.

    So, where to get news? How about digg or Comedy Central? It's just too hard to say.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Verizon Android

    As I said a couple days ago, Verizon called to remind me about my new every two promotion. I told them I wanted an iPhone.

    But that's not 100% true. I'd also be temped by an Android phone.

    I didn't need Verizon's There's a Map for That ads to know that ATT might not work for me. My friends iPhone gets no service in my home.

    So I wait - stuck on the "best network" - without a smart phone that I actually want.

    That might change with Verizon announcing support for Android phones. I'm pretty excited that they might come this year!

    But what are the phones? All this year there have been rumors that one will be the Motorola Sholes. At a recent press conference it seemed the two phones were revealed. Today I see that an update to customer support software at Verizon stores has been updated - it shows two Android phones. The phones are the Motorola Sholes and Calgary. The HTC phone shown at the press conference is not there. That's a shame.

    In any case, whatever the phones are, I can't wait to read reviews and see these for myself. Who knows, maybe I'll get one. Here's to choices!

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Verizon iPhone

    My contract is up with Verizon. Actually it has been up for 6 months or so. Last week they called me and reminded me that I have new every 2 deal with them. "We just want to make sure you know you are eligible for a new phone Mr. B." This of course I already know. I also know I would have to sign up for a new 2 year agreement to get it.

    I've been holding out for an iPhone I say. OH, we have phones that are just like the iPhone she says. Which ones I ask? The Blackberry Storm she says.

    I say: look, I don't agree. Call me when you have something that is either an iPhone or is just a smooth.

    I've used both and I continue go to the Verizon store and try every new smart phone they get. None has been great. They suck really. Slow to respond, slow to do anything. Hard to configure and understand. No app store (with apps in it).

    Who do they think they are kidding?

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    site stats

    I signed up for sitemeter a couple weeks ago. I never knew if anyone sees this blog or not till now. Now I know that very few people see it. I'm still impressed with myself somehow.

    Sitemeter is very cool. It can show me which pages were looked at, what search terms led to my site, where in the world the visitor was from, and so much more.

    One of my favorite stats is the page rank:


    Very interesting. If you have a site of any kind - get yourself a sitemeter account and prepare to be surprised.

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Make XP faster

    Got CCleaner ? If your pc seems to be slowing down you might try CCleaner. It cleans out caches from your browsers and from windows. It also has a windows startup manager - to get rid of items that launch when windows boots. Finally it has a registery cleaner. Go and get it. There are many reviews that say it doesn't suck.

    The same people make Defraggler - better than windows own disk defragmenter.

    Again, I ask, what is wrong with MS? Shouldn't they be making the best tools for thier own OS?

    BTW, what about smartbooks? No windows 7 for those. Is that such a bad thing? If I have to run Linux or Chrome, I'm ok with that. The headache that is windoz should be banished somehow.....hopefully, for my company's sake, smartbooks will help with that.

    Monday, August 31, 2009


    After finishing MOH - Vangard, I tried Metoid. I liked it well enough at first. But had to stop playing after finishing the second level. I don't know, having to do more and more of the same thing to get through seems kinda boring.

    Am I missing something? Is it because I started with the 3rd installment?

    I wonder what genre of games I would find interesting? We have Mario Galaxy - maybe I'll try that next.

    Monday, July 27, 2009

    windows 7 - what is wrong with MS?

    We have a macbook pro. We've had it for almost a year. It functions the same as when we first got it. It has spotlight which instantly searches everything the machine has.

    At work I have an XP image on a laptop and use google desktop for search of my files. I've been hoping for a while that Windows 7 (Vista's replacement) will be a great OS - since I"m tired of how XP gets slower and slower as time goes by.

    A couple of things lead me to believe that I'm going to be disapointed. First was the fact that the registry - the most horrible system bottleneck ever invented - will remain.

    The second is this from Tom's guide:

    "Another option to help improve performance is to revert back to XP-class system searching, meaning taking Microsoft’s new indexing engine offline. Vista is notorious for excessive drive activity that integrated search indexing causes. If you happen to be gifted with your file and folder organization and don’t need indexing, then go into AllControl Panel Items > Performance Information and Tools > Adjust indexing options > Modify button. Make sure that all locations are unchecked, thus giving the indexer nothing to do or maintain."

    I wonder if/when windows won't stink. The above linked Tom's guide post is about XPM - thats XP mode for Windows 7. What is going on!?!?

    Friday, May 01, 2009

    Stop listening to Michael Savage

    Every time I get a few seconds of the "Savage Nation" on my radio I shake my head in disbelief.  How can someone be so racist and successful in modern America. Unbelievable. 

    “No contact anywhere with an illegal alien!” conservative talk show host Michael Savage advised his U.S. listeners this week on how to avoid the swine flu. “And that starts in the restaurants" where he said, you “don’t know if they wipe their behinds with their hands!”

    What can a thinking person say to this? Nothing. Only a person full of blind hate would say such things.

    I can say that I worked in restaurants in 3 states over nine years during my high school and college years. In that time I worked with many different people from all over the world - I did not see a marked difference in cleanlyness among these people. Mexican Americans were no worse or better than the high paid chefs who ran the kitchens.

    Too bad my text will be read by maybe 1 or 2 people while Mr. Savage's radio program is listened to by millions.

    Wednesday, April 08, 2009

    Finished Medal of Honor: Vanguard

    I finished Medal of Honor. I'm not a gamer - so this is the first game I've ever completed. I kinda gave up on finishing games after Descent stopped me with a very difficult 8th level.

    Medal of Honor gets a 5.5 on gamespot. Not having much experience with games I did not notice how horrible this game is.

    I have a friend who will let me borrow Metroid. That rates and 8.0. Can't wait to see what is better about it.

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    You can't buy this kind of advertising

    No amount of advertising on radio, tv, newspapers etc can get you this:

    Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 9:57 AM
    Subject: Good Mechanic in the area

    Can anyone recommend a good honest mechanic close to [work]. Thanks in advance


    Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 10:07 AM
    To: Pagans, Bobby; RALLiving
    Subject: RE: Good Mechanic in the area

    I’m a big fan of Frantz automotive in downtown Cary. After taking my wife’s car to 4 places including the dealership over 3 years and multiple expensive parts replacements, it took them less than an hour to determine the real problem and fix it relatively cheaply.


    Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 10:38 AM
    Subject: RE: Good Mechanic in the area

    I strongly second Ryan’s recommendation of Franz. They are thorough, friendly, timely and competent. Oh, and trustworthy!


    Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 10:42 AM
    Subject: RE: Good Mechanic in the area

    While I haven’t personally used Frantz (though I intend to), I can recommend them based on a friend and former coworker’s experience. His Corolla was throwing an OBDC code that had something to do with the Evaporative Emission system. He took it National Tire and Battery several times (on my original recommendation of them for basic maintenance, unfortunately) and they charged him for several parts and repairs, but the car continued to throw error codes. He asked around here for a recommendation, as I recall, and Frantz was recommended. He took it to them and they found the problem on the first go: a misconnected hose, of all things. No pricey part replacements. Just a correct diagnosis and fix for the problem.


    Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 10:44 AM
    Subject: RE: Good Mechanic in the area

    I’ve been to Frantz and Apex Autoworks. Both very good.

    Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 10:57 AM
    Subject: RE: Good Mechanic in the area

    I’ve been happily using Frantz since I moved here in ’93 (used to be called something else in the beginning)

    Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 11:09 AM
    Subject: RE: Good Mechanic in the area

    Thanks for all the recommendations, looks like Frantz and Apex Autoworks is the place to go.


    I bet Bobby called them up already! If I were in business I'd be 100% focused on customer satisfaction. The word of mouth dividends (or penalties) must be huge.

    Tuesday, March 03, 2009

    You had me at /\s*,\s*/

    Do you regexp? I do. Recently I received this in email:

    While testing, I discovered that my code to read the PARAMETER line from the ADDRESS_FILE was too limiting. I was assuming that the parameters themselves would only be separated with /,/ and not /\s*,\s*/

    Leaving aside the relative correctness of the first vs. the latter regexp - I think it is so cool that this wizard developer has faith that I'll know what he is talking about. Keep in mind, I'm a hardware engineer.

    Sometimes my job makes me feel pretty good. Little things you know?

    Friday, February 20, 2009

    What is the correct value for the DOW today?

    The DOW closed at a 6 year low today. I wonder, what is the "proper" value for the dow.

    Look at the full history:

    I drew a green line representing the average value over the years. It seems that 10000 is right.

    Wait, that is a logarithmic scale. What about a linear scale? Here it is with the same green line.

    Looking at this the "right" value today is only just over 2000. That is a scary number.

    How low do you think it will get?

    From Aug. 1929 to July 1932, the DOW went from 377 to 41, down about 9 times. In Oct. 2007 the DOW was at 14093, 9 times lower puts the DOW at 1566.

    Could it go that low?

    I don't know. What do you think?

    Friday, January 30, 2009

    Google's MLS listings

    Firstly, note that I did not do any research looking for information as to why the listings that I've seen have mostly been out of date. By out of date I mean that when I ask an agent friend about a house I see she often tells me that it is already sold, sometime MONTHS in the past. That said, read on...

    My experience with Google maps mls listings is that they are hit or miss as to whether or not the listings are really on the market. I suspect (warning: paranoid theory) RE agents don't want Google's data to be too accurate. This is one way to try and maintain relevance as technology rapidly changes underneath them. I think this, if its true, will ultimately hurt the RE industry. It could be that agents just don't remove things very quickly from mls - that coupled with any delay that Google has syncing up couild account for the perceived inaccuracy.

    I think that as more and more tech savvy buyers and sellers enter the market they are going to expect accurate data - wherever they get it. They are going to be annoyed by inaccurate data, and enter into RE agent relationships grudgingly. Better, for RE agents, to focus and adding value to the data - good services added to the data is always valuable. If you know your town and are willing to get to know the customers and are then able to show them units they'll really like long term, you'll do well.

    I wonder what your trade organizations have to say on this... Also, look to the RIAA for a bad example. They dragged their feet and ceded the market for digital music to Apple.

    If you're a RE professional, I'd be happy to talk more one-on-one... My fee is usually satisfied with lunch ;)

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Planning a move using google maps

    Check out my map:

    View Larger Map

    I created this with Google's My Maps feature. I've put on the map many of the schools and grocery stores I found (also using Google maps) in the town(s) we are interested. To the east is my office (no that is not a picture of it.)

    Though not always accurate, under My Maps, Google has a feature that displays homes for sale. Pretty cool!

    I'm sure there is lots more I can do with this. I'm just getting started.

    Have you used My Maps? What for?

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    windows 7 - a nearly non-technical review

    I downloaded a copy of Windows 7 (beta build 7000) over the weekend. It loaded onto my t40 in about 30 minutes with 2 reboots. This was pretty good - not as fast as Ubuntu Linux, but faster than XP.

    Over the weekend I found that it boots quickly, and shuts down well. It comes up from hibernate with no trouble. It had no trouble with any of my HW. Wifi worked well, but seemed to work better when I explicitly told it to connect to a network when comming out of hybernate.

    Esthetically it looks very nice. The text is clean. The colors bright - no more grey or blue everywhere. Everything is very minimilist - no extra pixels wasted on useless information. This is great news as the job of an OS is to melt into the background so you can use you APPs in the foreground.

    I like the new Taskbar. It works like OSX's dock in that your apps have a little icon on it. However, unlike the dock, it doesn't have an icon per open window. Instead open windows become available when you hover over click on the icon. I like this since your running apps don't move around making them easier to find. That is, in OSX, when I minimize a window, it goes to a different place than I launched it from.

    The new Start Menu us trimmed down significantly from XP. For one it isn't name Start - in itself a HUGE improvement. Microsoft used good color schemes to deliniate between your programs and those items that interact with the system.

    The Control Panel is very much improved over XP and even more so over Vista. As in elsewhere in the OS a minimalist aproach is used. There are "advanced" options, but the most commonly used options are righ there in front.

    There was on dark spot. Can anyone explain to me why only Apple ships an OS that plays DVDs out of the box? Linux can't, I know, because the codec's are licensed. MS windows 7 can't either???? I was pretty disapointed when I put in a DVD and it said it couldn't play it. To paraphrase the error: I can't play this DVD since your output device (the monitor) can't be copy protected. Hey DVD content providers (and Microsoft): This is STUPID.

    All in all, I liked windows 7. I'm going to keep it on this machine for a while... If you like, you can take a look without installing it.