Denver move – forward progress

We’ve sold furniture to friends, had a successful garage sale, and earlier this week we moved the 40-gallon aquarium to the Peel, Inc. sales office in Pflugerville — the house is looking pretty sparse. The house is also leased and we think they will be great tenants.

I’ll be a work-from-home employee for IBM effective Monday. My VOIP work phone isn’t due to arrive until mid-next week so I’ll be without an inbound work phone for a few days — woohoo!

The next two major items on our list are getting part of our fence in the back fixed (I have calls out to Viking fence) and selling the Mustang. The Mustang is going to be tricky since we need it up until the beginning of May. Anyone interested in buying a ’98 Mustang GT? (Details and price to follow in future post.)

Multi-touch pressure-sensitive interface

A quick google search says that I’m several months behind the times (it was posted to /. in Oct 2006) but today was the first I’ve heard about it so I thought I’d pass it along.

Jeff Han (and others?) is working on a new touch-screen-like device that integrates more natural human gestures for interacting with a computer. For instance, move a picture by dragging it, resize it by taking two corners and streatching it, scale the “desktop” by selecting two points on it and streatching it, bring up a keyboard and type directly on the device itself (you can also scale and place the keyboard interactively), ditto pan/rotate/zoom mapping applications, etc.

Here’s a link to the Flash video of the keynote that was presented at 2006 Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference. See also the researcher’s web page.

A most productive weekend: Garage Sale & IKEA

This weekend was the most productive and busy weekend that Benjamin and I have had in months. We really need to take a few days off this week to recover I think.

On Saturday we hosted our Garage/Moving sale. We were originally planning on having the sale in January but when I started to put the ad in the newspaper the weather forecast said rain for the weekend so we deferred. (Of course, the weekend ended up being beautiful, go figure.) Our garage has been completely packed with items ever since and we were anxious to get it all done. Oddly enough, the forecast for this weekend was a 70% chance of rain but we went ahead with it anyway — the weekend ended up being absolutely beautiful and didn’t rain a drop at the house.

The plan was for Benjamin’s folks to come up and help run the sale but a family issue came up and they were unable to make it so it was looking to just be Benjamin and myself. We sent out a ‘calling on friends’ email on Friday to some folks in Austin asking if they would mind helping us out — Jan C. and eternal_wonder showed up bright and early and helped us out for most of the day (Jan stayed and helped up until after we dropped all the remaining items at Goodwill — we couldn’t have done it without her!). thephiguy and Mitch came by shortly after we opened, as did Steve E. and Todd both to help and shop. Later in the evening Terri M. dropped by and helped/visited. We ended up with tons of help – we have some amazing friends! The garage sale didn’t start out so well (we had 3 visitors in the first hour) most likely due to the “200-family community garage sale” happening just down the street. Luckily later in the morning we had a good crowd show up and were able to sell 70% of our “merchandise”.

One of our early decisions was to take very little of our furniture from the house with us to Denver. This was for several reasons: 1) we wanted to go with a different ‘look’ for the apartment and most of our furniture didn’t fit that 2) our furniture is a hodge-podge of things from combining our places 3) we can’t fit all the furniture from our 4-bedroom house into a 2-bedroom apartment and 4) we just wanted new stuff :) With that in mind we decided to scope out IKEA as a relatively inexpensive way to furnish the entire apartment. Benjamin did an exploratory run about a month ago and came out with a preliminary list of things we’d need that would look good together. A week or so later I took off of work and we went to IKEA together to create a finalized list (we added a few things, changed a few things, removed a few things). The problem is that there isn’t an IKEA in Colorado – the nearest one is in Utah, or will be when it opens May 23rd. The initial estimate for completely furnishing a 2-bedroom loft was $4500 which we thought was pretty reasonable, but IKEA wanted $4800 to ship it! Umm… no thanks! So instead, we’re buying all the furniture here in Austin and renting a Penske truck and driving it all to Denver ourselves for less than 10% of IKEA’s shipping cost. [Interesting business plan idea: IKEA shipping service for 1/3rd of their cost.] We toyed with the idea of renting the Penske truck and driving it to IKEA the day before we want to leave Austin and load everything up ourselves but decided that we would risk the possibility of them not having something we need. Instead we opted to have them do “home delivery” which only costs about $200.

On Sunday after church, eternal_wonder and Terri M. joined us for lunch and the purchasing trip to IKEA. Two hours, 8 packed carts, and $4500 + $200 shipping later we were finished. We could have never done it without the help of our amazing friends – it was a 5-person job that we pulled off with 4 creative people. In fact, as I post this IKEA is delivering the items to our garage. Now all we need to do is ping them once a week for the two items they didn’t have in stock to complete our set, rent the Penske truck, load it up, and drive off to Denver in ~40 days.