It’s been a while since my last update. It’s a new year, and overall I am optimistic about ideas and new developments.
Here are some things I have been up to / thinking about:
Doing a lot more Home Automation with Home Assistant. This is a great system for automating all the smart things in the house. It’s quite feature rich, but it also needs a bunch of work to really get it going.
I started adding more Zigbee devices into the house to complement the existing WiFi and Zwave devices. My only issue was that I needed more Zwave “routers” to help in extending the signal around the house. Lot’s of plaster and brick are blocking the RF from getting around the place. Why Zigbee? Well, it’s much simpler that WiFi and possibly more secure for outside devices.
Been looking into LoRaWan technology and devices. Which then took me on a wild ride reading up on Helium (HNT) and other similar tech. I think LoRaWan is going to really be something for IoT. I am now looking to implement this on the boat.
I ordered a Bobcat Miner for Helium. This should be pretty interesting to setup in our town, and possibly add another on the boat in Jersey City.
I am excited about the upcoming week. It is a pivotal moment, personally and professionally. The 117th World Series starts on Tuesday in Houston.
We do all this work in technology, to get to this point. The see the season reach a climactic conclusion. To have winners. To have a reason to try harder than ever to see an investment payoff.
I am traveling next week to get out to the games and to connect with some of our team and partners. Looking forward to the trip to Houston and Atlanta.
I snapped some pics of plants that are in full bloom outside our house. Brilliant colors and intricacies of their complex patterns.
For the longest I have had all different types of home automation technologies. In our old house I setup Insteon, which was a complex setup of new switches that communicated between each other in an evolved X10-like protocol. Over time, I switched to various things like Zwave and Zigbee devices that connected to a hub. Couple that with Google Assistant devices, some Amazon devices, a bunch of WiFi outlets — you get the point… it started to get messy.
I just recently started using Home Assistant (running a Raspberry Pi 4 8GB) to serve as the bridge between all the of technologies. So far, it’s really neat. There is a simple way to control nearly every switch in the house, to build scenes (ie. waking up, night, etc), and to interact with audio and sensor devices. Music can follow you where you go; lights can auto turn off; and certain events can trigger more complex automation scripts.
Other Interesting Findings
I now use a paid subscription of Koyfin. This is basically a Bloomberg Terminal for regular people. It’s amazing. You can research and chart nearly any equity with advanced queries and macros.
Manually trenched the backyard (with a shovel… ouch!) about 60 feet in length to have electricians come and install ridged metal conduit to my shed for power. A few of the electricians that came to quote the job tried to talk me out of using RMC, and instead going direct burial wire. That seemed nuts near a pool, or even if we were planting in that area, it would be a disaster to strike the underground cable.
Now that I have two circuits in the shed, I can hook up my solar panels + grid tie to an inverter/charger for a protected circuit. I have a LiPO4 battery just waiting to be hooked up.
Assembled an amazing trampoline for the kids. This thing is huge and they are going to love it.
After all this digging and work around the backyard, and jumping on the trampoline, I woke up with a painful back and felt like I was leaning in a crooked way. YouTube saved the day with this video:
I have taken a lot of different types of transit in traveling around over the last 20 years. Just found a really cool website to look at various methods of travel to get between places: https://www.rome2rio.com/
Planted a bunch of Fargesia Rufa Clumping Bamboo in the backyard to create privacy. Hopeful that this will slowly grow over time.
Most of the SPACs that I followed in 2020, have had a rough start in 2021. EV companies have also pulled back and there is certainly enough to be said that most of them are not making profits.
I continue to be a supporter of TSLA; actually ended up trading in the Model S P85 for a Model X P100D with FSD. It’s great for what I wanted — which was more space and plenty of options to carry a bike, more friends in the car, and the new tech is also pretty cool.
Went out on the boat yesterday with family — way too windy and everyone was a bit freaked out with the healing and the accidental gybe. It’s hard to single hand the boat in the choppy water with wind. Lessons learned, will only take fam out when it’s calm. If I had some more experienced folks with me on the boat, we could have had a good time. The main issue is the gusts that were blowing at 20+knts and creating instability.
BTC/ETH/and pretty much every crypto asset took a 30-50% dip. It happens. I have been through this plenty of times. New owners take over the assets as people panic sell. It’s OK. — it’s just satoshis.
My daughter was playing softball for the month. It was really great to see her have a good time hitting and fielding. She crushed some hits, and did well.
Watched some baseball with her late at night on a Met’s game going into the 10th inning. Loved hearing her questions about what was going on.
Figured out some strange electrical things that were going on after hooking up a pool heat pump. It didn’t power up the display. After grabbing a multimeter, I found the voltage was dropping way too low. Measured 170v, when it should read 220v. Turns out it was corrosion on the contacts. Cleaned them up with sandpaper, they sparkled, and then everything worked great.
Played The Last of Us Remastered and The Last of Us 2 on PS4. I rarely play games, but when I stumbled onto these games – and I had a brand new PS4 in a box for nearly a year, I knew I had something to try out. These games are incredible and have more complexity and character development than any other game that I have played. Not only that — these games rival character development in movies and tv series. It was an experience to play both of these games. Note: these are exclusive to Play Station. The content is brutal, it’s scary, but it’s also has depth and emotion. Highly recommended.
Sail Racing Tonight
Getting a chance to learn to race. I have been sailing now for a year, but have only been on a boat once that was practice racing, and I had no idea what was happening. There was so much tacking and quick changes, that I didn’t entirely understand what I needed to do, other than trim the jib. I expect to understand the details over the next month or so.
Planning on sunrise sailing during the month of May. It’s early, and might require that I spend a night on the boat in order to be there in time.
I was interested in the process of NFT purchases and how they work in DeFi transactions. Tonight I purchased The Kings of Leon, When You See Yourself NFT.
The process worked well for me, as I have some experience with Ethereum, wallets, transaction fees, gas, mp3s and all the associated understandings.
The album sounds great. If these types of online only purchases and items that are collectible in a way that NFTs offer, then this will need to be easier. Additionally the Ethereum network is far too expensive to small items. There will need to be a rethink on how to scale computational costs to users of a network. There should never be a situation where the transaction fee costs more than the item.
It’s a strange thing to wrap your head around, that you own not just the album, but a specific entity of the album. A limited digital token of the album.
As spring nearly arrives, I thought it was a good time to upgrade my desk, get some more standing time in — and treat work as a task: get it done, and get away from it. The standing desk seems to already set that in motion for me. Went all out with the Uplift desk customization — added grommets, power plugs, clamp on usb outlets, and the high-end controls.
The setup needs a lot of cleaning up of the wires, and there is a little more to do — but it feels great and the quality of the desk is excellent. It’s heavy, the motors are smooth, and the adjustability is fully flexible.
The market has had some growth this week after free falling for the last week or so. It’s good to see JBLU and XRAY see some gains after all red across the board. I believe people want to travel — and when vaccines are reaching a broad part of the population, we will see travel rally. Jet Blue has some great routes and I think they will see some decent spring/summer revenue. (I have JBLU shares and long term options)
The Covid stimulus of $1.9T has passed. Pretty wild the things that were embedded into the bill. I am all for the necessary measures to aid people in this hard time with government assistance, but there are some bailouts that are a huge stretch and have nothing to do with covid. ie. $86B in pension bailouts. WTF is going on there.
I have too many subscription services around media. But some of them are so good. I love Spotify, but I have to say that SoundCloud is so awesome to hear new and emerging music, remixes, and just experimental music. I even use it natively on my Denon CDJs. It’s worth a subscription to support the diversity of music.
I fell off from writing. There has been so much on in various areas. Took the boat out for a motor cruise around the harbor a week ago. A February first!
After spending time away from the cold (spent time in Florida), it was still a cold and isolating time back in NJ. Continued with walks around the neighborhood as a way to still get some outdoor time and the occasional sunshine that warms up a 30 degree day.
The market has been a wild place the last few months. Wild gains that seemed to reach nearly all the sectors. The SPACs that I would buy at $10 would go to $17-20. Everything was running full steam until the 10 year note’s yield started to run up beyond $1.50, and then the brutality of the pullback became clear. Massive sell offs in tech, even while stimulus money continues to be released, and jobs numbers grow back in time for spring. I think the pullback is temporary — there is still a lot of healthy things happening in the market.
Next week are some warmer days, and likely a good time for a real start of the year sail. There is plenty of work to do on the boat this season. Planning on cleaning up the wood, adding some repair to the teak handrails on the deck, and adding some more tech. Considering adding AIS, radar, and hardwiring in the temporary solar setup that I have for the house batteries. This is all in prep to taking her out on farther trips. Would love to cruise down to Sandy Hook or just cut back and forth outside Coney Island. Eventually I also want to get into some longer motor trips — up the Hudson — was looking at marinas or Anchorage up past West Point. I think this would be a nice trip past the palisades, and past some of the iconic bridges that cross the Hudson.
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.
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.
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: