Housing in Silicon Valley

I won’t lie. The biggest concern that I had coming to Silicon Valley was the housing. This place is filled with millionaires and high salaried nerds, driving the prices of house to un-affordable levels. Cupertino is probably the worst. I’ve seen a 1 bedroom condo which they claimed to be 2 bedrooms by putting a divider list at $900K.

I had the choice of moving to Seattle or Mountain View when I recently changed jobs. I thought about it for a long time, and decided that in the long run, the opportunities in this unique part of the world will probably outweigh the short term discomfort of ridiculous housing prices and having to pay state taxes (Washington State does not have a state income tax).

I think I remember playing close to $1K a month when I was in the DC area in rent, though this was about 5 years ago. When I moved here, I was expecting the rent to be somewhere around $1500 to $1800. Boy was I wrong. Anything with a 2 bedroom was asking for more than $2200 (as of October, 2013). I visited every apartment within 10 miles of work and I was disheartened by the real estate business in the area. You could see that some of these places were well worth the high price tag. However, there were plenty of apartment complexes with old appliances, sub-standard amenities and dingy rooms that were asking for the same price. I think they were just hoping for poor suckers to walk through the door and put down some money without looking at the living space. Eventually I settled on a guy who was renting out his condo.

Hopefully I wasn’t a sucker… though this remains to be seen.

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A Matter of Time

So Engscope has been pretty quiet lately. I haven’t written an article in a long long time. As you know, I’ve moved from the DC area to sunny Silicon Valley, to the greatest gathering of nerds and engineers in the world. There has been some ups and downs in my journey, but boy is it exciting to work in this town.

I am currently working for the Microsoft Xbox group, the details of which cannot be disclosed. Regardless, I’m not here to talk about work. What has changed significantly is the amount of time I have to maintain the website. There has been so many projects and cool plans that I want to post to the web, but the resource that I am lacking right now is time to do such things.

In light of this, I think I will try to post more opinions and short rants about what is happening in the tech world, from a Microsoft engineer’s perspective, rather than post full fledged projects for the time being. Perhaps once I have the more time in the future, I will start posting projects again.

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Job Transition and IR Oven

I have been hired for a new job with the Xbox hardware design team. I will be doing a lot of moving and paperwork in the next few weeks, so updates might be far and few. I don’t know what the schedule will be like with the new job, so here’s to hoping that the website will still be updated regularly.

In addition, I’d like to share an IR oven design in the next few updates. Last year, I required the soldering of some parts that were impossible to mount using a solder iron. Instead of outsourcing a few prototype parts, I decided to build my own IR oven. Since the software has been relatively stable, I think it’s time to share the design with anyone interested. Updates to come when I have time to post pics and code.

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Keypad Door Access, Part 2 Available

The second part of the keypad door access circuit is now also available. This section deals with writing drivers for a scanning keypad.

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Back from the Dead

So haven’t heard from me in a while. I am back, and hopefully with some interesting stuff to post.

I just realized that I don’t post a lot of analog circuits on my blog and I’d like to expand on the subject matter a bit more. Analog design involves a lot of calculations and noise mitigation which, in this day of digital signal immunity, doesn’t get quite the attention it deserves. To kick things off, I’ve added a solenoid circuit that works off of USB in the Tips and Examples section. Enjoy.

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