The problem of where they should live

aspen-airportPlaces like Aspen and Breckenridge have a problem: people who work there can’t live anywhere close.

Jonathan Thompson wrote an article about this in The Denver Post (link). He outlines the problem far better than I can – and backs it up with good research.

But Jonathan did not propose any solutions. I will.

Part-time residents in such places should pay a tax to build affordable housing in close proximity. That tax should be based on the amount of time they don’t live there. In other words, if someone lives in their vacation home just three weekends a year, their tax would be higher than someone who lives there year-round. Or than someone who rents out their vacation home during the time they’re not there.

I know this is the kind of post that many read and take issue with. I’m turning off comments for this post only, as it’s one of those things where if you believe differently, I can’t convince you of my point – and vice-versa.

p.s. I love Aspen. And Breckenridge. And their competition. I took the photo above during a brief visit in 2007. That’s the airport just outside Aspen, which has a greater density of Learjets than any other airport in the USA. (That is not a statistic I can back up.)


Shift it yourself

manual shifting jaguar roadsterA shift has been under way for years in automotive culture – the move from manual transmissions to automatics.

At the Denver Auto Show, Jaguar was so proud of offering a car with a manual transmission that they plastered that fact on the door.

I made the shift myself about five years ago. I used to love manual transmissions. The old story was that you could squeeze more performance and fuel economy out of your vehicle with a manual transmission. Now it’s the opposite for many newer vehicles.

And there’s the drawback of the pain of shifting in stop-and-go traffic. My last two years in Nairobi, Kenya taught me that it’s no fun to keep shifting over and over in heavy traffic. I almost vowed to never get a manual transmission again.

Then again, if someone offered me a new Mazda Miata with a manual for free, I would not turn them down.

Tip: One way to save fuel with an automatic transmission is to pop it into neutral while going down a mild hill. (Use this tip at your own risk. Results may vary. Some users have been known to have increased blood pressure.)


What kind of light are you letting into your life?

tilesThe tiles in our bathroom change in color and shadow depth during the course of every day. In the same way, my mood changes, depending on what is happening outside of me.

My mood sometimes changes due to inside forces. I let my response to events drag me down. Other times, I am in a strong place and am almost immune to difficult situations.

But inside is affected by outside. The voices I allow myself to hear affect the way I deal with life. If I’m always listening to negativity, I will tend to be negative. Positivity leads to being positive.

But false messages of either type never have a good effect. Truth is always the best thing, even if it hurts. (However, we do not always need to tell everyone everything.)

Who are you listening to today?


Apple Watch review

Apple Watch on my wristNo, I don’t have one.

Yes, that’s my wrist that the Watch is sitting on.

So this is not a super-deep review, since I do not own one. But I will give you some first impressions, having spent about 90 minutes in an introductory workshop at my local Apple Store, playing with one and trying several on.

Here are my initial thoughts:

  • They’re nice. The feel and workmanship is as you might expect: top-notch. The vibrations that tell you things are not annoying. If you had your settings at a level where you were getting taps more than once an hour, you might start to go crazy. The interface is very well thought out.
  • Costs: The $349* price of entry (Sport model) definitely makes it a luxury item. And then your style choices are limited to the color of your watch (silver or black) and the color of your Sport band. If you want more choices, you have to spend $549 for the Watch (middle) model that lets you have a lot more  band choices.
  • Pretense: They can be less visible than the old Apple white headphones that told everyone you had an iPhone or an iPod. If you know what they look like, you can start to think about who has them and imagine their budgets. (I was amazed at the mom with her two teenagers who were part of my workshop. The kids already both had Watches. When I asked why he got one, the boy said, “I just wanted one.”)
  • Bands: The Milanese Loop was amazing for its simplicity and ease of use (add $100). The leather bands (add $100 or $200) seemed like step backwards from the synthetic sport band. The Link Bracelet (add $400) was incredible. You can size it without going to a jeweler. Having said all that, the only style I’d consider would be the Sport band (black case with black band, probably). The others are just a little too glitzy for me.
  • Sizes: My wrists are tiny. The only one that would work for me would be the 38mm. The 42mm does have a little more breathing room for viewing the screen, but it costs $50 more. (Casey Neistat described them as “girl size” and “boy size.” I disagree.)
  • Apps: Fitness seems to be the big one. If you aren’t interested in tracking your fitness, notifications for email and texts would be a big use, though habitually looking at your wrist might be just as annoying to others as habitually looking at your phone. (A whole new level of, “I’m not paying attention to you,” might start becoming widespread.) Phone calls seem to be so limited, due to issues like low audio volume, that I can’t imagine many people doing calls more than a few seconds through their Watch. Maps are limited but could be useful after you get used to the tiny interface. Music means pretty much a remote-control for your iTunes or Pandora. Photos: The maximum size for a photo is so small that I wouldn’t be spending much time with that one. And any library of more than about 100 photos probably means a hard time ever finding the photo you want to show someone. Oh yeah, and there’s the watch part. It’s super-easy to change its time-telling face between a variety of cool time-keepers… and then modify each one.
  • Tethering to your iPhone: A lot of people have hugely complained about this aspect. I don’t see it as any big deal, since my iPhone is always in my pocket, unless I’m at my desk or puttering around the house. And I like the idea of being away from messages, so I’d feel free to leave my iPhone at home. You can listen to a limited music library (with bluetooth headphones) while you run or bike ride without an iPhone nearby.
  • The Edition: Paying $10,000+ is just absurd. It’s for people that zeros do not matter. And for Denver residents, you’ll have to travel to Las Vegas to try one on.

Bottom line: Game-changer… 1) I think there are vast possibilities for how this will transform the way people relate to technology. 2) Today’s Groupon email had fitness wristbands – and a series of Breitling luxury watches – for far less than half price. The luxury watch and fitness band markets are changed forever. 3) Health professionals are just beginning to imagine new worlds that will open up for monitoring and then responding to health spheres.

None is on-order for me …. yet. I’m still trying to figure out how to justify the (not insignificant-to-me) expense.

* Apologies to my friends outside of the USA. You’ll need to go to your nearest Apple Store website to check pricing for your area.

For more info, visit Apple Watch on the web.