Live Pigeon Cam

Unfortunately, I have some pigeons living on my patio. That’s unfortunate because 1) They crap all over the place, 2) They have a nest with a egg in it. I cannot bring myself to get rid of them with the egg there, actually it’s their second one. Had I know about it before they laid it I would have done something about it.

To get something useful out of of the situation I have set up the pigeon cam. Running off my 500mhz first gen iBook, a iSight and EvoCam you can watch as the butt ugly baby is born (and believe me, they are ugly). Click on the image to see a 640×480 image. I will be adding it to the side bar as well. I’m also working on a time-lapse.’ve seem the mom and dad birds do some weird things so I will try to point them out when I see them. Also check out this MetaFilter post, who knew people ate them?

Update 06/01/05 3:44 PM: I wanted to mention that the picture updates only when there is movement, But EvoCam still seems to struggle to upload to my iDisk. I’ve also put in the link to the timelapse movie but doesn’t seem to be accepted by QuickTime in the browser, it works fine when I view it from the finder.

Intel Preps Mac Mini Look-Alike

News that Intel wants to rip off the Mac mini.

A new Wintel prototype that openly apes Apple Computer’s popular Mac mini is due out this week, sources told Wired News, giving Intel a showcase to prove its chips are a match for anyone when it comes to tiny PC designs.

Working prototypes of the Mac mini look-alike running Microsoft Windows and based on Intel’s Pentium M CPU have already been built by Taiwan PC maker AOpen at Intel’s request, according to two sources in Taiwan’s PC manufacturing industry who have seen them.

Running Out of Bubbles – New York Times

More on the potential housing bubble.

Many home purchases are speculative; the National Association of Realtors estimates that 23 percent of the homes sold last year were bought for investment, not to live in. According to Business Week, 31 percent of new mortgages are interest only, a sign that people are stretching to their financial limits. The important point to remember is that the bursting of the stock market bubble hurt lots of people – not just those who bought stocks near their peak. By the summer of 2003, private-sector employment was three million below its 2001 peak. And the job losses would have been much worse if the stock bubble hadn’t been quickly replaced with a housing bubble.

House Hunting Week 2

I’m being very careful this time around, not jumping into anything unless I’m very sure it’s what I want. I looked at two house this week.

This house, being a HUD home, was foreclosed on.

  • The interior was pretty dated, probably was built in the 70s.
  • For a HUD home, it isn’t in bad shape but does need work.
  • The house is good size at ~1500 square feet, but the kitchen is smaller than my apartments!
  • The yard is probably a 1/4 acre, but oddly shaped.
  • The landscaping isn’t too bad. Mostly dead grass and no rocks.
  • Asking price is $85,000

Although it seems cheap, it gets bid on. Bids are due on this house by the end of next week. My concern is that I could get outbid by a contractor who can do the fix up work cheap that I can (which is apparently happening with the HUD homes around here). Even though it’s the fixer upper that I’m looking for the kitchen needs more work than I think I’m prepared (or know how to) do. Not to mention the yard is oddly shaped.

This house didn’t have any lot size info on the MLS, only saying it was on a culdesack. To make a long story short, the house was pretty nice inside but the lot was very small.

Housing Bubble Or Not?

The Montly Fool has a article about the housing bubble that I found interesting.

In our neck of the woods, things look pretty unhealthy. I recently came across an OK-looking three-bedroom, maybe 1,000 square feet. 1950s vintage. Needs a new roof and windows and updating throughout. Price: $500,000. If you’re screaming, you don’t live in the D.C. area. The showing agent expected prospective buyers to make an offer within two days, and, as is now usual here, to waive all reasonable protections like inspection clauses. To me, that screams, “Bubble!”

Thankfully I don’t have to deal with housing prices like that here in New Mexico, but we are dealing with the same sort of house buying frenzy that the rest of the country is. The 30 years house I looked at for $113,000 is a good example, cheap but still a lot for such a old house (that needed work!).

Albloggerque: The Evaporative Cooler As An Alter Of Manhood

Summer in Albuquerque gets hot, but not nearly as hot as Phoenix. It rains but it does not get humid like Austin. The summer time in Albuquerque as warm and dry, and we can use some pretty simple technology like the evaporative cooler. Albloggerque explains why it’s so manly.

The swamp cooler is the last bastion of twentieth century manhood. I say this for several reasons.

  1. It is up on the roof. Take your tools, sun hat, beer cooler…go up that rickety ladder and say adios to civilization until you feel like coming down. It is like disappearing under the car in a “Gasoline Alley” cartoon. For kicks, yell down the opening, “Turn on the fan!” once in a while. Then, “Okay…turn it off.”
  2. The guts of the cooler are straight out of a 6th grade science book. Nothing hi-tech here: just pulleys, tubes, pads, and pumps. This is basically a nostalgic visit to the science of Mr. Wizard.
  3. A cooler is so mechanical…a car is not. Guys used to work on the car or truck all the time. Change the points, plugs…maybe the condenser. You need gapping gauges, sockets, screwdrivers. Nowdays cars have no points, no condenser, and plugs last forever. Open the hood and you’re lost. Coolers, on the other hand, still require the occasional wrench and screwdriver. And it feels so good…pockets full of a crescent wrench, a 1/2 inch open end wrench, pliers, and a brush.
  4. It has its own secret vocabulary. You get to sit around with other cooler-techs and throw out words like: pillow bearings, octopus, brass ferrels, 3 quarter horse motor, squirrel cage, and fan belt.
  5. The job can last as long as it needs to. I swear you can be out of there in 20 minutes…or it can last a day and a half. It all depends on how much you replace and how much beer was in your toolbox. (And how much you like being on the roof. A shady tree usually adds a couple of hours to the job).

House Hunting Week 1

I started house hunting this week. No winners yet, my apartment lease is up in about 5 months so I have plenty of time. Here’s what I found so far.

In perspective, this house was just about perfect.

  • It is on a rectangular 1/2 acre lot.
  • It in the city of Rio Rancho but just on the edge so has a septic and propane tank but has city water running to it.
  • It’s on a dirt road and has a bunch of trailers in the neighbor hood, neither of which concern me.
  • The house itself is on ~1200 square feet, not huge but big enough for me. Newer construction (last few years).
  • The best part, it has a solid 8 foot fence all away around the property. Made of welded tubular steel with metal paneling. The fence goes all the way around the front to make a gate in the front.
  • It was well in my price range at $113000.

Unfortunately the house had an offer on it when we went to look at it, so I never saw the inside.

No house yet, its being built and will be done in about 3 months. But I did look at an identical house nearby that was almost done.

  • This house is in a flood plane. Yeah it will probably never flood, unless I buy this house then we will have the rain storm that only comes around every 1000 years.
  • The property, although a full acre, was all over the place. I don’t think I could put it to use the way I would want.
  • Its outside the city of Rio Rancho. Septic, propane and well water. None of which bothers me except the well is shared by two other houses. I don’t want to have to deal with neighbors at all.

Considering it’s on a flood plane they still wanted ~$130000 for it. I’m afraid this isn’t the house I’m looking for.

No photo for the next house.

  • On the edge of the city and has city water and sewer.
  • On dirt roads, lots of desert around.
  • 1/2 acre lot, most of it not cleared. I like the natural desert look.

It’s a new house, they want ~$130000 for it and it just doesn’t seem that special for the price. There were no windows in the back of the house, just weird.

Were getting close with this house.

  • It’s old. Exact age or builder isn’t known but was estimated to be 20 to 30 years old. It certainly had that 70s look to the interior.
  • Speaking of the interior, it needed work. I would want to redo much of the kitchen and living room. A fixer up for sure.
  • The lot is 1/4 acre. Unfortunately it seems most of the property is in the front, since it’s a corner lot. I would prefer it be in the back. I’m sure some creative fencing could move some to the back but it’s not ideal.

Like I said, it’s close. I going to keep looking, but I may come back to this one in a few months if I don’t find anything else (if it’s still available).