12/28/20

Getting back to running has been fantastic. When it’s chilly or late at night, I just get on the treadmill in the solarium. I am working on getting back to running half marathons. I used to run a bunch of these each year. Maybe 2021 is the year to run a full — even if it is by myself.

The room heats up decently with a gas wall mount heater that I had installed last year. This 30k BTU vent free heater works fantastic to quickly take the chill out of the air in the spacious (otherwise) non-heated room.

Bitcoin/USD crossed $28k over the weekend in one of the wildest bullruns this year. I have been fascinated with cryptofinance since around 2012 when all of this was developing. The global BTC market is now over $500B in market cap, which sets up a bunch of interesting dynamics, including the potential to be used for massively large transfers of wealth. Everyday there is nearly $50B in volume. I think we are still looking at inflows of cash into BTC as money is pulled from other areas including equities, gold, and real estate.

As far as real estate goes — I speculate that commercial real estate still has a significant bear market approaching and REITs that cover commercial/urban residential will be greatly affected by the pullback. Basically, I would stay out of high yield investments in real estate that have historically been doing great. They won’t for much longer.

I was looking into different types of materials in clothing design. There are some wild things on the market, including a Solar Charged Puffer jacket from Vollebak. Looks freaking awesome. I do wonder about the long term effectiveness of the charge and the material fading over time. I think we will see more items like this in the future. If there was a more cost effective production of light emitting clothing, I think we would see more of this in industrial applications. Construction and seaworking crews could be fully illuminated at night. Really neat stuff. I went down this rabbit hole while looking into Dyneema and Graphene.

Image of Graphene

Graphene is insanely tough. Apparently it has been around for a long time, but only recently started to have applications. There is apparently a market of about ~$150M for graphene for the application of batteries and semi-conductors. I have read some interesting discussions on how the graphene battery works. Tesla Lithium Polymer Graphene Composite battery cells manufactured by Panasonic have about 20% energy density than older models. It appears that graphene allow safer charging at lower temperatures, due to the strength of the graphene composite.

12/21/20

On the weekend I repaired the Ariens Sno-Tek Snow Blower. The gas had went bad over the season, and it required a full flush. While I was at it, I replaced the spark plug. While I was at it, I cleaned the carb with Gumout.

There is something therapeutic with taking things apart and putting them back together, especially when you have the right tools. That is always the way — when you have the time and the tools, pretty much any task is accomplishable. I was really happy when the snow blower started right up after nearly three hours of repair and cleaning.

  • Started using Todoist for task management. Pretty easy natural language processing of recurring dates and tasks. I have used a lot of task software over the years, and the hardest part for me is investing the time to see how to really work with it. I have usually given up and switched back to Outlook tasks and Calendar. Todoist is really smart and I see a lot of potential.
  • There is so much happening in the SPAC equity market space. I just keep seeing M and A activity creating huge market opportunities. Think about it, cash is plentiful in private capital, and there are plenty of ways to create mega companies by merging a few in a given sector.
  • Bitcoin had a huge breakout last week and into the weekend. It has take time, but BTC, ETH, and alt-coins are powering many transactions beyond just speculation. I have been a long time Bitcoin proponent and have been buying weekly since 2012. At some point BTC will stabilize. On the other hand – we have yet to see this happen.
  • Curious – will there ever be competition to LinkedIn? It’s interesting how they found their niche and brand loyalty. I suppose there are others for recruiting, but I hardly think folks will update their pages on multiple sites — à la Myspace / Friendster / Orkut. Ok I took it there. Found this interesting article on the subject.
  • While I am on the topic of business — passive aggressive emails from biz dev or inside sales folks is just wrong. Writing a message like, “you probably don’t want to hear from me, or why are you ignoring me” will only get a small fraction of folks. I find it unprofessional and would not hesitate to block instead of delete.
  • Had our Mercedes GL repaired at the local shop. On the last oil change from a different tech, they put a self tapping screw into the oil plug. No idea why, but a $3 screw nearly killed the car. The oil drained into the pan the engine had nearly no lubrication. Luckily I knew something was wrong and the local guy fixed it.
  • Starting to plan some sails next year. Thinking of a few:

Week Recap – Dec 18

The snowfall was decent in NY and NJ. Unfortunately, I didn’t do the preseason checks of my Ariens slow blower. I had bad gas in the tank and lots of gunk in the carb. Started to clean in; and while doing that we had some kids pop by looking to shovel. Gave them the job of digging out the driveway.

When weather permits I will fix up the snow blower. It really does make sense to winterize (or summer-ize) the gear when it’s not running.

  • Google News on the web now has dark mode.
  • Made it over to the boat to clear the snow and run the Diesel engine.
  • Our swimming pool cover pump is frozen or the hose is. I wonder if there is a way to keep the hose from freezing. If the pump was able to blow air through the hose to drain it — that would work.
Snow at the helm.

The Week – Dec 14 2020

Had the Tesla Model S repaired. The rear passenger window failed, as the cable that connects to the motor snapped. Apparently, it’s a thing. I chatted with the mobile tech that came out to fix it. He informed me that he was fixing a few today. While my car is no longer until full warranty, and the cost is not cheap to fix most Tesla issues, I still find this car to be great value. Plus, getting the repair performed in my driveway vs. going to the service center is such a service.

I used to have a Bloomberg Terminal for years ( I worked there ), and they are amazing. Since moving on, I have struggled to find decent investment analytics sites or applications. Lately, I started using Koyfin. It’s pretty amazing and the features and richness of data is more than most of the free and paid charting sites out there.

There is snow predicted for this week. Hoping to get over to the boat before the storm rolls in to ensure everything looks right.

  • I heard good things about WakeOut – and app for doing exercises.
  • Watched an interesting video from David Zhang about using a 4k TV monitor with a main workstation. Interesting. I use a AOG 49″ ultra wide monitor connected to my Mac Book Pro. I keep the laptop closed and use the Magic Trackpad 2 with a Vulcan keyboard. It’s a lot of space for chrome windows.
  • Looks like iOS 14.3 is out. Will try this out on my iPhone X Max. One of these days I need to pickup the 12.
  • The weather has been chilly and wet. Ended up setting up my old treadmill. It was great to get a good mile or two in this morning.

Long range e-bike trips

I have an e-bike (Juiced Bikes Rip Current S) which is simply amazing. The range, the speed, the quality of the bike are all super impressive. With a 1000w peak power to the motor, this thing hauls!

The range around towns for decent distance is there. It supports 70+ mile range assuming not too steep climbs, and some pedal assist. But what if I wanted to ride even further, and have an adventure?

I started thinking of ways to do this, and initially it involved looking around for places with AC outlets (libraries, public parks or buildings, cafe’s). The trouble is that it’s not that easy to plug a big battery inside a Starbucks. And even if you do, it means leaving your bike.

What I have always wanted was a way to get access to public level 1 and 2 chargers around the country. I charge my Tesla Model S mostly at Super Chargers, but on occasion I use public or private chargers with either J1772 or CHAdeMO plugs.

I saw some DIY boxes to support J1772 plugs for an ebike, but those looked pretty messy. Finally I found this J1772 to NEMA 5-15 EV Plug.

The opportunity is that I should be able to carry my auto switching 110/220v charger with XLR 2amp output, and then plug that into this 1772 to NEMA 5-15, and that should give me decent AC power on the go. Later, it might be possible to explore higher amp charging, since the battery itself supports 8amp. But picture if you will, you are riding from town to town, you find a public EV spot, you hook your bike up to it, eat a meal, stretch out, and come back with some more energy in your bike’s battery.

Water Futures

Interesting that CME is now supporting trading of California Water Index futures.

Interesting to see different takes on what this means to the world. Some folks have pointed out the potential impact on scarcity in water or traded water would create a potential scenario that implies worldwide risk to a basic resource (ie. rising price of the index means that people can’t afford water …). However another take is that this is purely a method of market transparency that reveals the aggregated rates. Market conditions could then be addressed through competition, regulation, or through technology/innovation.

I was also interested in the measurement of NQH20 being valued in US dollars per acre foot. (43,560 square feet, filled to a depth of one foot, equivalent to 325,851 gallons). Apparently, this is a standardized measurement format in the United States in relation to large-scale water resources. Water reservoir capacities are measured in TAF (thousands of acre-feet). Seems like in other locations outside the US, the measurement is simply in cubic meters or cubic kilometers.

On catching up on movies and shows

During Covid-19, friends are watching a lot of shows on netflix, prime, disney+, etc; and it has become commonplace to share recommendations on latest cool movie, documentary, or tv show.

Just based on viewing habits, I am so far behind everyone that I know. I still haven’t finished Game of Thrones, Ozark, etc. I really haven’t ever been able to focus on lengthy series of shows since HBO’s The Wire. That was my most favorite production of all time — although I haven’t watched it since it ended, and it may have been more temporal. Not sure what it would be like to watch it again.

I did notice that there is no easy way to share Amazon Prime Watchlists with friends. It would be cool if that was a native feature or if there was a good meta search site that allowed for shared content lists. I tweeted over to Prime and they assured me they would take this idea to their product team.

Last weekend I watched The Man Who Skied Down Everest.

Amazon.com: The Man Who Skied Down Everest: Yûichirô Miura, Douglas Rain,  Mitsuji Kanau, Bruce Nyznik, Lawrence Schiller, Bob Cooper, Millie Moore,  Dale Hartleben, F.R. Crawley, James Hager: Movies & TV

Pretty wild to see how involved it was to get this skier up to the mountain and the sacrifices made by the sherpas. During the course of the climb, six sherpas were killed in a collapse of ice.

Time on the shed

The shed is nearly complete. What started as a simple shed to store some tools, turned into a pool house.

If there was one specific thing that was accomplished during 2020; at least on the home front, it would be this shed. It’s a 10×12’ gabled roof wooden building that sits off the ground and on a frame.

Here is a picture of it during the summer construction
And another

At some point soon I will write up the details on construction and how I finish it.

Tesla Model S FOB Went Crazy

My Tesla Model S has been a dream to drive. Over the last two years that I have had it, I have had a few things that needed repair, (a door handle, etc); but this last issue was really annoying. It was quite simple actually — The fob must have been crushed in a pocket or was dropped.

As the plastic pushed down on the trunk area of the fob, the key would emit the signal to pop the trunk. But since the button was also depressed for longer durations, it would also open the charge port repeatedly. Sometimes I would be able to stop it by pushing it manually and then tucking the key into the glove box.

In any case, I needed a few key fob, which costs $175/each.

This issue taught me that holding the trunk button down will open the charge port. This is pretty handy.

On rebooting writing

I used to write thoughts on nearly everything. It really helped to better formulate complete thoughts on all different topics; what is fascinating is that I was able to somehow keep nearly all of the old journals that I had over the years. I have Marble notepads from highschool with random thoughts on what life was like at that time; Moleskin pads from nearly 20 years of working. For some years, I have lagged in writing because I simply forget to keep at it, or something takes me in a different direction.

I had webpages online in 1995 but the oldest page that I can find dates to 2001: https://web.archive.org/web/20010309024251/http://www.truman.net/

While I find twitter interesting to share and network with quick thoughts and commentary; complete thoughts are best positioned in longer form. I experimented with Medium, and in the past hosted my own WordPress installs. For simplicity and focus, I decided to get a paid account on WordPress and use the SaaS. So far, it’s been pretty awesome. The ease of use, and even the tech support is great. I had one issue that was resolved via a chat with support. [ Which reminds me — shouldn’t everything have instant online chat support to resolve issues? ]