Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, January 19, 2021

Some fascinating dynamics are emerging as the housing bubble pops. For instance, you’d think that, as mortgage lending tightens, more and more people are forced to rent, which should mean a bonanza for landlords.

But that simple supply-and-demand equation is being derailed by the existence of all that surplus housing that’s now unbought, but still needs to generate revenue:

That means that landlords are seeing what should be one of their strongest markets in years weakened by the increasing supply of unsold properties entering the rental market. “Shadow inventory is coming out and competing against us for rentals,” says Richard Campo, chief executive of Camden Property Trust, a Houston-based real-estate company that owns 70,000 apartments. That is weakening landlords’ pricing power, he says, because homeowners are less concerned about getting full market value.

Which translates into a rental market that will be at least stable for the next five years. Toss in recessionary pressures, and it might even decline in relative terms. After that time, a good chunk of that residential property could be majorly retrofitted into commercial in some form — professional office space or, more drastically, torn down to make way for retail developments.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/19/2008 07:39:15 PM
Category: Business, Society
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I’ve harped on the shortcomings of battery life in electronics before, and didn’t expect significant improvement anytime soon.

But now that a nanowire technology breakthrough opens up the possibility of battery charges of up to 40 hours, we could see a major shift in how we make use of a range of digital offerings.

“It’s not a small improvement,” [Stanford professor Yi] Cui said. “It’s a revolutionary development.” And Cui means to move the development out of the lab as soon as possible. “We are working on scaling up and evaluating the cost of our technology,” Cui said. “There are no roadblocks for either of these.”

Cui has filed a patent on the technology and is evaluating the formation of a company or licensing the technology to a battery manufacturer. Potentially two-day batteries could be on the market within “several years,” he said.

And what would we see in those several years, if this comes off?

I think it’d go well beyond just extending the amount of time we use mobile devices like phones and notebook computers. Rather, not having to worry about rationing an extremely finite amount of charge time means people would, indeed, indulge in a lot more extras. Combination devices that play music/movies and provide telecommunication access are already gaining in popularity, but the ability to use them at will without worrying about the power running out will hasten their appeal.

Basically, all the ringtone and mobile-application extras that are now niche offerings would explode into big business, because extra battery life provides a sustainable platform for indulging in them.

The corresponding dynamic: We’re all going to be even more tethered to our mobile devices than ever before. We’ll be constantly connected, for good and bad.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/19/2008 06:40:59 PM
Category: Tech
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pixel pops
It’s right up there with Star Wars symphony concerts: Video Games Live yanks gaming soundtracks out of the console and into the orchestra pit.

Here’s the sampling rundown, as it’s set to be performed in the Big Apple this April:

Selections from the following games are expected to be included in this performance: “Mario,” “Zelda,” “Halo,” “Final Fantasy,” “Warcraft,” “Sonic,” “Metal Gear Solid,” “Kingdom Hearts,” “Chrono Cross,” “Myst,” “Tron,” “Castlevania,” “Medal of Honor,” “God of War,” “Bio Shock,” “Civilization IV,” “Tomb Raider” and many more.

I’m not nearly enough of a gamer to get much out of this, even with the piped-in video cues. Not to mention it’d be a stretch to find worthy companionship to go with.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/19/2008 05:47:06 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Videogames
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