Archive for April, 2007

The Latest Must-Have for Yuppies?

April 30, 2007

The answer: “a blog about the neighborhood”, according to this report in the NYT:

First come the renovated condominiums, the latte bars and the expensive baby strollers. Next, apparently, come the bloggers.

One Web site’s survey of the prevalence of blogs in urban neighborhoods found a link between gentrification and the number of people who feel compelled to think out loud about the changes in their backyards. The site,, crowned Clinton Hill in Brooklyn as the most blogged-about neighborhood in America.

Before the survey, the staff of was “not conscious that local blogging would be so closely allied with gentrification,” said Steven Berlin Johnson, a founder of the site. Change, he said, “makes people particularly interested in every little development in their neighborhoods.”


2007 Alameda Darwin Awards

April 29, 2007

Two nominations for the 2007 edition.

  1. Guy tries to break into a surveillance store located off Park Ave (on Webb Ave) and is later apprehended by the cops.
  2. Good samaritan (!) discovers he’s been cleaned out the next morning.

Water rationing

April 26, 2007

EBMUD is seeking voluntary cuts in water usage by 15%. This was inevitable, given the waning snowpack levels as a result of the dismal rainfall amounts.

Water yards and plants no more than three times a week and not during daylight hours. No watering outdoor plants on consecutive nights.

Adjusting sprinklers so they do not water hard surfaces like pavement or concrete

Limiting car-washing at home, and instead using commercial car washes, which recycle water.

Finding and repairing leaky plumbing

Clamp Swing

April 23, 2007


This isn’t about the ongoing (never ending?) controversy over Measure A nor the recent apellate court rulings, but rather about the company that was previously located at the building that now bears its name.

My curiousity was piqued by the name of the building (“Clamp Swing”) . Turns out they’ve been around since 1924 and are now located in Oakland. The company owes its beginnings to the frustrations of dealing with the grocery price tags of the day and has since specialized in the manufacturing of Point-of-Purchase display and pricing systems for chain grocers and other retailers.


OLPC: The Alameda Connection

April 17, 2007


OLPC, aka One Laptop Per Child is a non-profit project with a goal to provide 100 million laptops over the next couple years to school kids in the developing world. To put this in perspective, 100m is double today’s annual laptop production!

For a project of this size and scope, the design logistics are staggering. Given that the intended audience is predominantly located in the developing world, providing a reliable source of electricity to operate the laptop becomes of paramount importance. One of the solutions being implemented was designed by a local Alameda design firm: Squid Labs, which has since spun off a separate company (Potenco) to commercialize the product.


Solar Panels

April 16, 2007


With the decision of the city council to have Catellus and Lennar work in tandem on developing Alameda Point, the developers have a great opportunity to incorporate some green building techniques. As the Chronicle points out, Lennar already includes solar power as a standard feature in some of their new subdivisions.

The largest developer of residential properties in the East Bay, Lennar Bay Area Homebuilding, recently completed the first community of new homes in the Bay Area built with a roof-integrated solar electric system. Located in Danville, the 77 homes range in size from 3,673 to 4,243 square feet and are priced at about $1.3 million. The company is building an additional 250 homes equipped with solar power systems, priced at $900,000, in San Ramon.


National Day of Climate Action

April 11, 2007

As part of the National Day of Climate Action, nearly 1000 rallies are being planned all across the country on April 14th. The goal is to call upon Congress to pass a law requiring an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. The organizers have termed this as a “wake up call” to legislators in Washington and hope to persuade Congress to get serious about climate change.

Alameda will be home to two such events:

Alameda Climate Action

Act Now on Climate

Flight tracker

April 10, 2007

Here’s a nifty flight tracker that can be used to find out details about the occasional low flying aircraft buzzing overhead. All you need is the time of day and the date to track down the pesky offender. The tracker offers a “live” option (10-minute delay) and a replay mode. Needless to say, do file a complaint if the aircraft noise is particularly bothersome.

Watching the flight icons as they moved around was quite interesting (the tracker displays flight ID, origin/destination, aircraft type, altitude) and somewhat addictive 🙂