Article On Intel's Fab 11X Construction In Rio Rancho New Mexico

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New Mexico Business Weekly has an article on Intel’s Fab 11X build out. This is the factory I work for.

When Intel Corp. finishes upgrading its chip-making factory in Rio Rancho next year, it will operate one of the world’s largest clean rooms.

The company started a $2.5 billion upgrade to its Fab 11X manufacturing complex early this year to produce Intel’s next generation, 32 nanometer chip technology. The new chips are smaller and faster and consume less energy than Intel’s current 45 nanometer chip technology.

When the upgrade is complete, Fab 11X will include 400,000-square-feet of clean room space, said Tim Hendry, vice president of the Intel Technology Manufacturing Group and the Fab 11X plant manager.

“It will be the largest clean room operated by Intel globally, and one of the largest in the world in general,” Hendry said. “The corridor that runs along the outside edge of the clean room is a quarter-mile long.”

Sometimes I have to walk the distance of that factory frequently. It’s a good way to get exercise. Read the whole article at New Mexico Business Weekly.

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1960's Buick Wildcat

<p align="center"Buick Wildcat

I caught this red Buick Wildcat near Corrales Road in Albuquerque this morning. It appears to be early 1960’s but I can’t be sure of the year.

This one looks to be in good shape and has something like 1000 square feet of trunk space.

Solarizing The Back Yard To Kill Weeds

With summer approaching, it’s time to start focusing on outdoor projects and leave the indoor projects for the winter. Even if the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. The previous owners of my house had a section of the back yard, about 1500 square feet, sectioned off to grow grass including an underground sprinkler system. When I moved in to the house it had been unoccupied for a while and the weeds had taken over. I tried growing grass where it used to grow but haven’t had success.

CRW_9722 - Version 2

The problem, the low water grass (buffalo grass, blue gamma, etc) I’ve tried growing can’t compete with the weeds. I refuse to use chemicals to kill the weeds and I’ve tried manually cutting down the weeds down and pulling them out but it hasn’t been effective enough (especially against the dreaded goat heads aka Tribulus terrestris).

I’ve discovered a chemical free method of eliminating weeds on a large scale called solarization. It uses transparent plastic directly on the ground to bake the soil and will kill seeds. It’s possible to cook the soil 6 inches deep and at 125 degrees ore more. The University of Arizona has a good article on the process for use in Tucson (also see Wayne Schmidt’s Solarization Page) and should adapt to New Mexico.

The timing for installing the plastic is good right now, it has just rained giving the ground a good soaking and the spring winds died off long enough to install the plastic. My first try was using 108 square feet of 1 mil painters drip cloth. The thinner the plastic the better the sun penetrates but 1 mill is too thin for this application. Even though I had cut down the weeds even a little bit of plant materials was able to puncture the plastic. Smaller sections of plastic are harder to manage than larger sheets.

I was able to find 500 square feet 4 mil plastic sheets at the local WalMart (as much as it pained me to have to enter the place). It wasn’t cheap at a cost of $20 per roll. I could have probably put a ad on craigslist and found some plastic sheeting for free but I have a limited window to install it.

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The installation of the plastic went well. I used bricks to hold the plastic down while I laid it out. I then dug a trench around the perimeter and used the dirt to seal the edges. I used two sheets and overlapped them about 6 inches using bricks and landscape staples. It’s important that air cannot get under the plastic sheeting so the moisture and heat stays under the plastic.

CRW_9729 - Version 2

I’m not planning on growing grass in the entire area where grass originally grew, only about 1000 square feet so two sheets should be sufficient. Since I will be out of town for most of the summer the ground should be well cooked by time I get back. I will try to make regular soil temperature readings during the summer.

Civilization Creaps Into Rio Rancho

It’s a pain in the ass to do just about anything in Rio Rancho, because you can’t actually do much in Rio Rancho. You have to go into Albuquerque. Now I’m getting a 14 screen movie theater right down the road from my house. I was hoping for a Home Depot to be build there, but I will take what I can get.

Drew Dolan, a project coordinator with Argus, said plans include a strip mall with 8,500 square feet of retail space to be developed with the theater. Site plans also include another sit-down restaurant, fast food offerings and an auto services provider, he said.

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!).

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).