Thursday, June 24, 2010

Housing market falls - again

I'd like to post another follow up to my original post about the pending second fall of the housing market. Just as I stated here, the housing market *has* fallen and will yet continue to fall over the next 3 to 6 months before starting to improve. This is a direct result of the housing credit that ended in April.

I'm not the only one calling for this. Now that there is nobody in the housing market, since they all already purchased to take advantage of the housing credit, the housing market will continue to fall and prices will get better than ever.

One of the houses we were looking at buying has sold, I don't know the amount, but the second, smaller house continues to sit on the market, unsold, and now with a price tag $5,000 smaller. $5,000 is a really big deal on a home this size and at this price.

We will continue to watch and wait for some decent signs of recovery before we choose to buy. We're thinking 6 months to a year should give themarket some time to recover and start the steady trend upwards. We'll buy then.

Do you agree with me? Post your comments.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Make Note of houseing data.

While the numbers looked good last month, it's clear that I'm not the only one that believes the market will fall again before truly improving. Last months numbers only showed what I explained earlier, which is: People who were going to buy in the next 12-18 months already purchased their homes so that they could take advantage of the tax credit. But now that those people are no longer in the market, house prices will fall again for a lack of buyers.

And when it does - we'll buy, new tax credit or not.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Flying made - uh - easy?

I'm into model airplanes. Not the little toy ones, but the ones that you actually put an engine on and fly into the air. No - not the kind you sit in, but the ones you control via a remote control. My older brother got me into RC airplanes many, many years ago and through the years I've had a few. I consider myself an experienced, but not exceptional pilot. I can fly a plane, I can do fun stuff, but I don't know any of the competition patterns or flight moves.

Yesterday I experienced something new. My plane's wing folded, right in flight. It's a sad thing, to lose a plane, but it's fun to push the limits, make the plane do things a little more extreme. Unfortuneatly, what I was doing was simply pulling out of a simple tail stand and fall.

We went out to the farm lands where there is a perfect paved road, and the breeze was just perfect. So I setup, started the enging and all was good.

After the wing fold:

My wife was filming, and even though she missed the actual fold of the wings on tape, the audio is very, very clear:

Now I have to find a new plane.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Alt-Enter : Excels new-line command within a single cell

I consider myself an Excel student. I've studied, I've learned, I've mastered. I've never, ever, met an excel problem I could not master. Sure, sometimes it takes hours, days - even weeks and sometimes lots more, but in the end, I find the way to do it and I do it.

For many years now, I've believe there was no way to do a 'new-line' within a single cell of Excel. In fact, just a few days ago my wife called asking me how to do it. My answer? Combine all the other columns into 2 cells and leave the one column as two different rows. Yes, I really did think that was the only way to do it.

Even at work, I've been working on a reporting function that is to be run through Excel for formatting and data extraction purposes, and there were times I needed to do a new-line within a single cell. My answer? Same as above. It was a mess and I hated doing it, but it worked and I believed there was no other way.

Those days are now behind me - forever. This new command: 'Alt-Enter' has now become melded to my brain - bonded with my knowledge, forever to know that if you want to make a new-line within a single cell of Excel, simply use 'Alt-Enter'.

I can't even begin to express my excitment to know, now, how to do this. Me and 'Alt-Enter' are now very, very good friends.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Housing Tax Credit to Drop Home Prices - Again

The $8000 Housing Tax Credit runs out tomorrow. Tomorrow night at midnight to be exact. Have you got your home? Have you made your purchase? Or, perhaps more importantly for those waiting until the last minute, have you signed the contract?

I read this article this morning about a $25 down payment on a new home:,1748382

$25 down payment, open late to get the contract signed, discounted upgrades and extra low interest rates. There are lots of reasons to buy a home before the $8000 tax credit runs out tomorrow night. And I'm not just talking about the 8,000, One Dollar bills to be had. There really are a lot of reasons to buy before midnight on Friday.

But my wife and I have chosen another thought process. It goes something like this:

When the $8000 Tax Credit runs out, and people stop buying housing to take advantage of the credit, what happens to home prices then? If a home that has been on the market for 'a time' (whatever that happens to be in your area), AND it has been discounted to intice buyers to take advantage of the Tax Credit, BUT it still hasn't sold ... What becomes the strategy? My guess? Yet another drop in pricing.

Yes, the $8000 Housing Tax Credit is going to cause yet another drop in home prices when it runs out. Owners (and home-owning banks and lenders) are going to find themselves with what remains of the homes on the market. This includes both new and used. They will find that even with a lower home price, and the option for buyers to get yet another $8000 off the house price, these homes are going to still be on the market. And their only options to sell will be to actually drop the home price.

So let's take a home that we were looking at buying in our local market. We were looking for a smaller home, something of a fixer-upper so we could take advantage of some 'sweat-equity'. We found two homes in an older neighborhood that interested us. The two homes were the same price: a very, very low $120,000.

Both homes had descriptions talking about the reduction in price because the owners wanted to get it sold. Both homes are still on the market today. When the housing credit runs out tomorrow night, what can these owners do to now move these houses? Lower the price of course. So now they'll drop another 5-10K to re-make them appealing to those who now can not get the tax credit.

So what's the difference? If the home is $8000 cheaper or if you get $8000 tax credit for buying a home that is $8000 more expensive than the first? Good question. For one - you aren't relying on a government payout to buy a house, but more likely, the majority of the people who get the tax credit aren't putting it directly into the home, they are using it for other purposes.

In the end, as this $8000 tax credit runs out, the homes that are still left on the market are going to have to make a difference and drop prices to entice additional potential buyers. We have chosen not to buy right now - we'll wait.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ricksochet Running

Having finished up the rebuild, I decided to do a 'test run' on the engine. The engine was broke-in during the VERY cold Rexburg Winter, so it's going to take some adjusting to get it to run right. So tonight I took it out front, without the wing (don't want it taking off on me), staked the tail and got set.

First, I primed the needle valve by opening full-throttle, holding my thumb over the air intake and turning the prop a couple of times. It sucked fuel through the in-line and I pulled back to idle. I connected the glo-plug clip, put on my leather gloves, and flipped the prop around. Nothing. Flipped it again and it popped, maybe 2 or 3 times. Promising.

On the third finger flip (even without a chicken-stick), the engine kicked over and purred beautifully. I was ecstatic. The idle is set pretty low so I may need to adjust that a bit, but maybe with some fine-tuning I can get it set right.

Then I drove it around our parking lot for a bit. Just cause. I find that sudden throttle dogs a bit, and it wasn't blowing any smoke. I'm thinking it may be a bit lean. But then, due to the low idle, it died, and without a battery on hand to kick it over again with the power starter, I called it a night. It ran well-enough for me for tonight and I hope I can fly it this Saturday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ricksochet Rebuild (the 's' is silent)

I've rebuilt a model airplane. It's a Phoenix Dolphin .40 ARF. It was a fun challenge and I'm impressed with my first real attempt at rebuilding a plane. Following is information and pictures of the process.

As a background - a friend of mine had this plane. He is still learning to fly and just after take-off on his second flight with this plane, it caught a wing, cartwheeled and snapped the fuselage in half right behind the pilot. He decided the hobby was too expensive and gave me his plane, engine, radio, and other parts and pieces.

First, I pulled back the covering and tried to keep it in decent shape. I didn't want to have to do a massive re-covering job.

Then it was a process to line up the plane from front to back. Fortunately, there are 4 main spars that run the length of the plane. 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom. One of the top spars had simply broke so it was fairly easy to know where that connection was to be made. On the other side, shown in the picture below, I had the missing piece so I could easily get that spar to line up correctly as well.

So this gave me the correct connections for the top side of the plane, but I didnt have the parts for the bottom two spars. So I had to guess at the angle of connection. I didn't think much of it the first time, focusing more on the alignment from left to right:

I then began the bracing using balsa and CA glue to hold it in place.

Then came the bigger pieces and the 7 minute epoxy and sanding.

-- At this point, I realized I had the angle wrong. The tail was too low, so I had to cut the lower brackets, lift the tail, rebrace, reglue and resand. I had already put some TrimCoat on the upper section so I was fortunate to be able to lift and lower the tail without the fear of the left-to-right angle going crazy on me.

After that - I still wasn't comfortable with the elevation of the tail, so I talked to a hobby shop. They weren't too much help, but they thought the tail was too high. So, I cut it again and lowered the tail some.

Finally, after checking and double checking - I decided I had it close enough and began the coating process. I had purchased black, white and blue trimcoat and started with the black on the bottom, the whites on the sides. I pulled the existing blue coating back over the top, behind the pilot. With a couple of pieces of the blue and black, I have the end result:

You can see that some of the trims pieces were just a little bit off, but overall I think it turned out well.

And after adding the internal stuff, radio, engine, landing gear, etc.... The plane is ready to go.

If I hadn't glued it wrong the first two times, I probably only put about 8 hours of work into this. It was kindof a fun project, I learned some great lessons and look forward to taking this thing into the air soon.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What do you call a group of Chickens? Flock? Gaggle? what is it?

We are working on editing Anna's book tonight and we needed to know what a group of chickens is called. So we searched google and found this page:

A group of chickens is called a flock...

-- but I also note this: --


I couldn't help but laugh - an alternate name for a group of chickens is 'Congress'. You know - like Senate, Congress, Whitehouse.... I didn't need a google search to tell me that!!!

Let the Truth be told!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spanish 302 Final - how I did it.

What follows is a method of study in an effort to remember authors, storys and plots. It is a random connection of names, words, thoughts, and ideas that connect them all together. It was written while going over the titles and authors so some may be duplicated, there are misspellings and other issues. But it works and I just might pass this final test tomorrow.

This is a personal study guide for Spanish 302 at BYU-Idaho for Winter Semester 2010, produced by Johnathan Duncan with help from a VERY patient spouse, Anna-Liisa Duncan.

Miguel de Unamuno - unamuno - is like a monk - he wrote about a priest - San Manuel Bueno, martir

no oyes ladrar los perros - dogs bark - woof - roof - rulfo - Rulfo My name is johnathan: john: juan - I hate dogs. Juan Rulfo

Carlos Fuentes - futnes is like fire - fire makes statues - statue of Chac Mool

Isabel Allende - allende sounds like thin - two words are thin - dos palabras

gabriel garcia marquez - gabriel is an angel - un senor muy viejo con unas alas enormous -

mi caballo mago - a little boy captures the horse - ulibarri sounds like a boyish name -

don quixote - went crazy in his head - beer makes you go crazy - beer is cervesa - like cervantes - he is a duplicate of miguel de - so - miguel de cervantes

cancion de pirata -

adios cordera - someone wrote adios clarin on the board - like the movie - clarin is last name - the boy is leaving 'to the' which is 'alas' - leaving to war - leave: leo: leopoldo alas clarin

gustavo adolfo becquer - adolf hitler wanted what he couldn't have, men want what they can't have - like rihanna - who rhyms - Rima XI

Ricardo Palma - palma: palm - a scorpian in the palm, el alacran de Frey Gomez

oda a la alcachofe - alcachofe: artichoke which you eat while walking around nude. nude: nerudo - Pablo nerudo who also wrote walking around.

sensemaya - is song - the guy Nick I know doesn't write songs - so it's nicolas guillen. he also wrote - chant - of la balada de dos abuelos

jorge luis borges - borges: bored - while in the hospital - sick, second realism - El sur - Juan dahlman goes back in time/el sur - and fights - George: jorge

continuidad de los parques - death - cut short - cortezar - parques - like parking - a motorcycle - or metal insect - motorcycles arn't ridden by big fat men named julio.

las medias rojas - red socks - hookers wear red socks - about a girl whos a hooker - her dad beats her up so she won't leave and go to the US - red socks - underwear - brazzier - bra - bazan - emilia pardo bazan

satira filosofica - filosofica: philosphical, who is? Tom Cruise - cruz, inez de la cruz - sor juana inez de la cruz

Ruben Dario - a roosevelt (I just happen to know this one.)

la noche boca arriba - crashed - motorcycle - on back - mouth up - motorcycle: metal insect - indians don't ride motorocycles, like the aztecs, that cortez found - cortez: cortezar: big fat man - round like a hula hoop - julio cortezar - also wrote - cortezar - cut - cut short - life, man reading about his own coming murder - continuidad de los parques.

horacio quiroga - horacio cane from CSI miami - investigates odd deaths - like EL HIJO who died on the fence and the public accountant who eats EL MIEL SILVESTRE - and gets eaten by ants.

cancion del pirata - pirates go on the sea to esponCida - Think JOE the pirate - joe: jose - jose esponcida

un senor muy viejo con unas alas enormous - el senor es un angel - gabriel is an angel - Gabriel (Garcia marquez)

adios cordera - bye, leaving - 'alas' - "to the" - to war - like Christ - clarin - leaving - leopoldo - Leopoldo alas clarin

mariano jose de larra - larra is like long - something long - long until tomorrow - manana - vuelva usted manana

Don quixote - crazy in head - because of beer - beer: cervessa, who servers beer? Servantes - servantes - cervantes

carlos funtes - fire - statue, Chac Mool

alacran de frey gomez - in hand - palma ricardo palma

sabinne ulibarri - young type name - a boy - who catches a caballo mago

el sur - con juan dahlmann - bored in the hospital due to illness - bored: borges, he fights george - jorge luis borges

a rooselvelt - ruben dario

el conde lucanor - rich man: don Juan - and kills with his hands, manuel - don juan manuel

emelia pardo bazan - brazan bra brazzirre - underwear, socks red socks las medias rojas

la casa de bernarda alba - casa house want good food in house - like garcias food - f before g - F: Fredrico G: Garcia mexican food is too hot for orcas - orca; lorca - fredricao garcia lorca

san manuel bueno Martir - was a preist so a monk wrote about him - a monk is una muno - or unamuno - he is a duplicate of miguel de - miguel de unamuno

juan rulfo - roof woof - dogs, no oyes ladra los perros

satira filosofica - philosophical tom cruise - sor juana inez de la cruz.

*** tell me what you think of this method of study and - if you find this useful, please let me know.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Iomega NAS Setup

I got our new NAS Drive out of the box. It's a bit bigger than I expected, but still about 18X smaller (literally) than what we are currently using.

I started by setting up a restore point, just in case. Then I followed the 'Quick Start' quide to a 'T'. At the very end of setup, the install sent me online to register the Hardware. Registered, Done. But - the installation window hungs. Ugh. Then, still following the Quick Start guide, I double-clicked on the Discovery Tool icon on the desktop. This opened a small window that appeared to be searching my network for drives, and it looked like it found the new one, except then that window hung as well. Ugh. Then - just to add insult to injury, the whole system hung and I could do nothing but hard-reset my machine.

After the reset and reboot, I chose to do the system restore and try again. Done. Re-ran the CD software and it installed fine. This installed the Discovery Tool and the EMC Retrospect software on my machine. On this turn, I also registered the software (having already registered the hardware on the first attempt).

I've been working as an IT Administrator and Network Adminstrator at my job, so with the networking knowledge I gained there, I was able to get my new drive setup without using the Discovery tool. Now that it is setup and I have access, I then go through the creation of Shares and am now in the process of copying our data over. This could take a while.

Meanwhile, I'm looking into the backup software. I am required to map a network drive so that when I run the backup software, I can set the destination to a 'backups' share I created on the new NAS drive. Now I've setup the software to run backups on my machine.

Next, I need to setup the other computers in the house to do the same.

And Finally - uninstall the Discovery tool because I do not need it.