Monday, May 19, 2014

The battle of the keychain tools: Atom vs Gerber Shard

I've been using the Gerber Shard for years. I’ve given tons (~10) of them away as gifts. They’re super convenient. Need to open a package from Amazon? Done. Need to open a beer bottle? Done. Need to screw in an occasional screw? Done. With the addition of a little chunk of metal keyrings can actually be useful.

But one thing about the Shard has bothered me since I got it. It has a curved end so you can, I don't know, pull out nails? No. In all the years I have it I've never needed to use the pry bar to pull out a nail. Look at everything the shard claims to do:

  1. Pry Bar
  2. Small Flathead Driver
  3. Wire Stripper Puller
  4. Large Flathead Driver
  5. Bottle Opener
  6. Lanyard Hole
  7. Cross Driver

Come on. Most of these are silly. One of their features is a hole. Of course it has a hole. How else is it supposed to attach to your key ring?

The useful feature list goes like this: Cross Driver (read: box opener), Bottle Opener, and occasional screw driver. The useless silly features are a pry bar, wire stripper, a hole, and pretending the 3 different drivers are any different in actual usefulness.

Enter the Atom. I found it on Kickstarter and was optimistic enough to pack the project. On the surface its feature list is double crazy that of the Shard.

  1. Bottle opener
  2. Hex bolt wrench set (3/8″, 5/16″ and 1/4″)
  3. Ruler set (imperial and metric)
  4. Flat head screw driver set (1/8″ and 3/16″)
  5. Philips head screw driver set (#1 and #2)
  6. Pry Bar
  7. Hex bit driver (1/4″)
  8. Protractor (45° increments)
  9. Cross-cut coarse file
  10. Single-cut fine file
  11. Ripping tool*

That list is crazy. Items 7-8 and 9-10 are the exact same little chunk of metal. Item 4 and 12 are the same as well. 14-15, the files, are silly. They couldn't file balsa wood. The same with the Ripping tool. I don't know what it can rip. Yarn seem out of the question. Maybe playdough. The tiny ruler on the side is a nice touch and may come in handy some day.
But being around the same size as the Shard the question is is the Atom better? It does the essential 3 as well as the Shard. It opens boxes, opens beer, and can screw in occasional loose screws. But being flat give it the win by a mile. Laying flat next to your keys feels better, looks better, and is a million times better. So it’s Atom all the way.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Seahawk ticket madness: charter seats are instant season tickets but at insane prices.

All Seahawks season tickets are sold out and basically have been forever. The Seahawks have a Blue Pride waiting list you can join for $100 to reserve a spot in line to buy tickets when they eventually become available. But even the waiting list is full

The latest info on the situation appears to be they expect to open the waiting list again in 6-7 years and once on the list there is a 4-5 year wait to buy tickets. So you have a chance of getting season tickets in 10 to 12 years.

Except you can actually buy season tickets today via the Seahawks. Anyone remember charter seats? The Seahawks have an official charter seat marketplace where you can buy charter seats right now and the season tickets that go with them:

Obviously it's a more expensive route but there are seats for sale now for $7,500. If you really want into the stadium which is more valuable to you, $7.5K or waiting 12 years plus however much tickets cost then?

There are a lot of crazy listing up there now. I'd guess mostly "Make me leave" type where people don't want to sell but if you pay enough they will. But the Seahawks also have a public list of the seats that have sold. (My easy to mess with online copy).

Here are some of my favorite figures from the past 2.5 years of charter seat transfers. To emphasize, these are actual sales and not crazy for sale fantasy listings.

Originally charter seats on the Seahawks and visitors sides of the stadium cost the same. However fans like the Seahawks side more now and it shows. On average seats on the Seahawks side sale for $4000 more per seat! Just like real estate I guess, location location location. Choosing the Seahawk's side of the field way back when turned into a $4K per seat bonus now.

Average Lower Level:  $7,777 
Lower Visitor:  $6,002 
Lower Seahawks:  $9,939 
Seahawk Side Bonus: $3,937

Similarly winning the Super Bowl has given everyone an additional $4,704 bonus. If we include the upper level seats and look at all the charter seat sales comparing 2013 and 2014 the price has gone up just under $5K.

Average All Levels 2013: $8,689
Average All Levels 2014: $13,393
Average Super Bowl Bonus: $4,704

Now lets look at the rarest of the rare, front row seats. There have only been 5 front row transactions. And they're spendy. Looking at the visitors side again a front row license over there has doubled between 2012 and 2014 going from $7,750 to $15,000. That's a nice investment.

Dec-12 2 CHR C CHR112 A $15,500.00 $7,750.00
Jan-13 2 CHR B CHR110 A $20,000.00 $10,000.00
Aug-13 2 CHR C CHR106 A $20,000.00 $10,000.00
Oct-13 4 CHR B CHR108 A $60,000.00 $15,000.00

But what about unicorns? A front row Seahawk sideline seat? There has been one sale and it's the most expensive to date. $40,000 a seat and $80,000 for the pair.

Seriously! Lower level, Seahawk's sideline, front row, post Super Bowl = $39,750!

Feb-14 2 CHR A CHR135 A $79,500.00 $39,750.00

Unicorns are expensive.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

An exposé on the blue jean industry's lies

This weekend I discovered that Amazon sells jeans. Not only that but you can narrow your jean selection by waist and inseam. Perfect. I can never find the right size jeans. If they have my waist size the legs are usually too short. The right length leg is usually too loose at the waist. I rarely find what I'm after. So praise Amazon and their blue jean salvation. Maybe I'll finally find a 30/33.

Then I remembered that jean sizes are meaningless. Every manufacture has a different interpretation of math or a different measuring tape. Most of the time a 30/32 is really a 34/30. Everyone feels better when they buy jeans a little smaller in the waist and longer in the leg than they really are. So how are you supposed to shop on Amazon? You obviously can't try anything on. Blah.

To figure it out I decided to profile every pair of jeans I own to try and come up with a jean decoder ring. I cataloged all my jeans claimed size and actual size. Their real life actual size after a lot of washing/drying cycles. Here's my jean sizing cheat sheet.

So what did I learn?
  • With one exception, every pair of jeans I own is at least one inch wider at the waist than claimed.
  • 7 For All Mankind is crazy. They're the only brand where jeans are actually smaller than claimed. They also have a 3 inch spread for 30 inch waists. Both 29 and 31 inch waists measure 30 inches.
  • Buffalo is odd. One of their 30 waist jeans is actually 30 while the other is 32.
  • Kenneth Cole is impressively consistent. All three pairs were purchased at different times yet they're all off by the exact same amount. If you have a pair of Kenneth Cole jeans that fit you're safe buying that size again.
  • Evidently jean wearing American men love baggy baggy crotches. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Activity tracker duel: Who wins between a Fitbit One and a Withings Pulse?

What are you supposed to do when you find yourself with more than one activity tracker? For example a Fitbit One and a Withings Pulse. Instead of reconsidering the life choices that enabled such a state I decided to compare exactly what those trackers were telling me. For a week I wore both trackers in the same pocket for exactly the same amount of time. 

I don't know how many steps I actually took that week. But now I know how many the One and Pulse think I took. Here are the raw stats.

The most interesting thing to me in those numbers is how much more the Fitbit reports compared to the One. Over the week the Fitbit gave me an extra 4448 steps which is basically what the One averaged per day. And on distance the Fitbit thought I walked 1 more mile than the One. Just looking at the Fitbit somehow I squeezed 8 days in a 7 day week. Score.

What does it mean? Nothing much. Both tools/toys give you an approximation of what you did. So either is fine. But if you have a Fitbit and your friend has a Pulse, definitely show off how much more you do. You don't have to let anyone know the Fitbit overestimates the Pulse. Or the Pulse underestimates the Fitbit. Whatever. Toys are fun. That's the most important thing.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A few Galápagos giant tortoises slow motion fighting

On our tour of the Galápagos island we ran into a few giant tortoises eating. How slow they eat was entertaining. But how slow they fight was the surprise. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vizsla tail explosion

This is currently my favorite picture of Digby. I caught his head to tail shake just when his tail went crazy and make the water explode. What a good boy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My baby, my BRZ, is back in the shop today.

Oh sweet BRZ. I love you, and I hate you for how often you need to go back to the dealership for basic work. Today it is the fuel pump again. The fifth time to the dealership for the fuel pump and the third new one installed.

The previous BRZ dealer trips I can remember right now without consulting my documentation.

Condensation in the tail lights, three trips. Once to fix the right. Then to fix the left. Then again to replace them both. Home link rear view mirror, one trip to get it replaced. Engine CPU? One trip to get it re-flashed. GPS head unit? One trip to get an upgrade bring it back to life. Antenna, two trips. One for a "fix" and once to get it replaced. Messed up power windows? One trip. Rattling door? Two trips and still no fix.

BRZ, if you weren't the funnest car I've ever driven I'd be starting to get a little sick of you by now.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Spot the Vizsla

Ready to play +Digby's favorite game. It's called "Spot the Vizsla". How good are you? Can you spot the Vizsla?