The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Friday, May 01, 2015

Tesla Powerwall

I wouldn't call myself an environmentalist. I totally believe in global warming, and it will be a big problem for our kids' generation. I'm not convinced it's all because we ruined the world in the 20th Century, but certainly human impact has contributed to the problem. 

That being said, I love new technology and energy efficient tech is pretty cool to read about and see in action. A friend recently installed a geothermal unit at his house, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't researched and fantasized about installing solar at my house and kissing energy bills goodbye.

So I was pretty interested when Tesla announced a new home battery system yesterday. When I bought my last car, I seriously considered a Tesla, but it was just too expensive and had a lot of limitations for my usage. However, there is no doubt Tesla is the world leader in batteries, and moving into the home sounds like a slam dunk. Maybe this is the time to seriously consider an investment into solar and a home battery. In 20 years, it will have paid for itself 100 times over, right?

Wrong. I read a great article in Forbes today that reminds me that it is never a good idea to adopt a totally new technology early. Furthermore, it may be many years before solar and battery power are truly cost effective. The money quote:
"No doubt battery technology is important for the management of the power grid of the future, but at this time the average homeowner should let the big power generation utilities take the risks and bear the costs of perfecting the technology. After all, any truly viable energy source is more economic when deployed on a large scale than on a small scale."
So I will continue to follow Tesla and solar power with interest, and we all should. However, before you make a big jump into this, read the article above and realize it's certainly not ready for prime time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

(Super) Guilty!

Take a good look at that picture. That's the last time you'll ever see Aaron Hernandez outside of a prison. He was convicted today of first degree murder and will serve a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole.

This news was met immediately by a tweet from former teammate Brandon Spikes.
So while I would agree with this statement in general, Spikes is so wrong in this case that it shows me that he is simply dumb. This is a knee-jerk reaction that "the system" wronged an innocent man. I suggest he read a little bit about the case and the evidence presented.

In this particular case the system worked DESPITE the underlying issues with our court system in general. I am actually surprised that he was convicted, but clearly justice was served. They were able to prove a blowout fight between Hernandez and Odin Lloyd (the victim) at a club 2 nights before the murder (anger and time to plan). They used phone records to trace Hernandez on the day of the murder, and proved he was with Lloyd when he was killed. They proved that Hernandez used his fiancee to hide evidence (perhaps the gun, but never found). They also proved Hernandez tried to destroy evidence. How much was this proven? So much that the defense was forced to admit that Hernandez witnessed the murder and tried to pin it on his other two friends - IN THEIR CLOSING STATEMENT!!! They never admitted this during the trial, but scrambled to offer some shred of reasonable doubt at the very end.

It's a classic case of circumstantial evidence. Everything except the smoking gun, literally. No murder weapon. Interestingly, the true motive was never offered to the jury as well. That's where the justice system breaks down. Hernandez has also be charged with two other murders from a drive-by shooting in 2012. He will face trial on those charges at a later date. It is widely believed that Lloyd was his accomplice in those murders and that knowledge led to Hernandez decision to quiet him. The judge ruled this evidence/info was inadmissible to the Lloyd case. Had it been, the jury would have seen Hernandez in a very different light.

Justice served.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My New Hero!

So I sit here at work lamenting my weekend of call. It's sunny, 65 degrees and the Masters is on. Worst weekend to be on call ever! One nice bonus: Augusta National has one of the best websites on the internet, and I can watch live streams of the Masters.

So as I was watching the first group arrive at Amen Corner, I saw Steve Stricker hit his shot on the green at 12. Then some guy named Jeff Knox hit it to 10 feet, well inside Stricker. The announcers said he was a "non-competing marker." I immediately thought, what the hell is that? So I consulted Mr. Google. What I found brightened my day immensely!

Jeff Knox is a 51 year-old resident of Augusta and a member at Augusta National. Since 2002, he has been designated the fill-in guy in case there are an uneven number of players after the cut on the weekend at the Masters. This is a pretty big honor, but this guy has earned it. He holds the all-time scoring record at Augusta at 61. He also regularly beats the pros he's paired with. Often, they look to him for advice on the course and greens. A quick search brought up several AWESOME stories about his past performances:

  • In 2003, he was paired with the Walrus, Craig Stadler. He smashed him both rounds.
  • Another year he was paired with Miguel Angel Jimenez. After outdriving him on #1, Jimenez told him not to outdrive him again. He ignored him and did anyway!
  • He was paired with Bubba Watson in 2013, who was the defending champion. Bubba asked him for tips at Amen Corner.
  • He was paired with Rory McElroy in 2014 on Saturday. He beat Rory by a stroke and won some cash in a bet!
  • This year, he played a practice round with Tiger while Tiger decided if he was going to play the tournament.
But my favorite story without a doubt is 2006. He was paired with Sergio Garcia in the final round. They certainly made a bet, although we will never know how much. Knox scored 72. Garcia scored 73. Garcia refused to shake his hand after they were finished. It's unclear if he paid up!

So make sure you check to see how Jeff Knox did today. It won't be an official score, but you can find it. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

I Just Don't Understand

Look, I'm not the biggest fan of Apple. I'm a staunch PC guy (I guess now that's a dying term. Do I have to say I'm a Windows guy or an Android guy instead?). That being said, my wife and I do have iPhones. When we got them, they were light years ahead of any other smartphone. Once we made the switch, we stuck with them. iCloud, Photostream, syncing music and apps, backups and updates are a total disaster, especially with 2 (or more) devices. The phone is great, though.

I understand the marketplace here too. Release a new, updated phone every year. Most people will update every year or two. Lots of new features. Better hardware. Better battery. Yada, yada, yada. It's the same model for most electronics. It works. Customers will keep coming back and buying the next big thing.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would EVER buy an Apple Watch.

This is being marketed alternatively as a new electronic device, as an iPhone add on, and even as a high end watch. Sure, Apple may push the tech aspect, but make no doubt they are gunning for the watch market. The retail debut of Apple Watch models in watch sections of high end stores should dispel any thoughts otherwise.

Pricing starts at $349 and goes up to $17,000. Most watches will be in the $600 - $1000 range. Seems like a lot for a watch that doesn't work without an iPhone. Sounds like a worse deal when it costs 3 to 5 times more than said iPhone. Sounds ludicrous when you consider it's for a watch.

See, here's my biggest issue. When you drop $1000, $5000, $10,000 or more on a fancy watch, you are buying a watch that will last you forever. You can pass it on to your kids or grandkids. Although I personally wouldn't pay $10k for a watch, I understand why some would choose to do so. Hell, some nice watches actually retain value or increase in time!

Compare that to the Apple Watch. It will be obsolete in a year. The battery when brand new lasts 18 hours. Do you think it will make it through a day after a year? Judging by the battery degradation in my iPhones, I would say NO WAY! New tech will evolve. New features will be added to newer watches. Your old watch will be worth $150 to an online reseller.

So if you run out and buy one of these things, congrats on being one of the "cool kids" for a few months. Then let me know when you go back to pulling out your iPhone to check the time!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Bye Bye (again)'s new look

For a number of years, I’ve tried to get away from  ESPN is generally biased, self-serving, and more eager to promote themselves then accurately cover sports.  More often than not, they fabricate and/or grossly exaggerate the story in order to make it more news worthy.  I always want to get away from ESPN, but there’s very few alternatives out there.  

A couple of weeks ago, change the format of their site, and I’m happy to say that I don’t like it one bit.  There’s too much going on, too many Flash videos running, and there’s almost no sports information until you dig in.  Heck, most of the good content on the site is only for “In” members, and I don’t pay for that crap.  So I’m finally able to say I’m going to be leaving  I can’t get away from the ESPN TV stations (unless someone has a solution), but at least I can lessen my dependence on all my sports info and news coming from ESPN.  

I now will rely solely on a sweet app I downloaded a couple years ago called “The Score.”  It’s got tons of news, a good headlines page, and let’s my pick what teams and sports I care about most, without forcing the Yankees-Red Sox game(s) down my throat.  Also, it’s minimally self-promoting (every app and station promotes itself somewhat, but it’s a pale fraction of what ESPN does).