Psst – Want a free copy of Windows?

Granted, this post is not real estate related. However, since Rain City Guide is at the intersection of Real Estate Ave & Technology Blvd, I figured the goings on at Microsoft Way might interest some Rain City Readers.

Windows VistaFor good or ill, Microsoft is still the 800 lb gorilla of the technology industry. Because of this, the success of the company has sizable impact on the price & availability of housing in the region. Therefore, it’s fair to say, that I’m hoping that Windows Vista won’t suck, and its success will lead to another growth spurt at the company which will increase the value of every-body’s home in the greater Redmond/Seattle area. (That way both the geeks & realtors will be happy)

Anyway, the purpose of this post if to inform the geeky among us that Microsoft is having a Windows Vista Install Fair this weekend. Here’s what you need to do in order to get a free copy Windows Vista.

  • Have a computer that your willing to sacrifice that meets the following criteria..
    • Your important data has been backed up! (This is pre-release software after all)
    • Operating System is Windows XP SP2 (Home or Professional) English x86.
    • Intel/AMD Processor running at 1 GHz or higher.
    • Minimum of 512MB of RAM.
    • Video adapter is AGP4x/8x or PCIe with a minimum of 64MB of RAM.
    • Hard Disk has a minimum of 10GB of free space to allow for upgrade.
    • Has a DVD-ROM Drive.
  • Send mail to Windows Vista Install Fair Registration ( and inform them that you wish to participate in either the Saturday (March 18th 2006) 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM session or the Sunday (March 19th 2006) 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM session.
  • Bring yourself and your computer over to Building 27 on the Microsoft Campus at the scheduled time.
  • Enjoy your free copy of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition (February 2006 CTP Version) 

Well, I’m looking forward to playing around with all the cool new features and using an OS built for the 21st century. Here’s to hoping my laptop enjoys the experience!

South Lake Sammamish celebrates annexation by City of Issaquah

The South Lake Sammamish Association (SLSA) has worked tirelessly to make this happen. As a part of unicorporated King County, they were frustrated with inadequate police patrols, road maintenance and similar public services. Last fall the Greenwoord Point-South Cove Annexation area voted to join the City of Issaquah and now it’s time to celebrate.

On March 1st, 6:30-9PM, the city will host an open house at Pickering Barn (just east of Costco) to welcome everyone. Issaquah’s mayor and other city officials will be there to celebrate and answer questions about city services.

In addition, SLSA will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony and parade on March 4th from 10AM to Noon. There will be refreshments and activities for the kids including tours of a fire truck and police car. See their website for details.

It’s great to see community involvement pay off for residenets on Lake Sammamish.

Free Margaritas!!!*

margaritaWho servers the best margarita in Seattle?

Apparently, I stirred up a little bit of a hornet’s nest as there is definitely some contention in the blogoshere as to the best margarita in Seattle.

Some say that La Carta de Oaxaca serves up the best margarita, while other good sources say that El Gallito is the place to go.

But the real answer may be a different place altogether! (Did I mention that I serve up a mean margarita?)

There is really only way one to find out, and that is a Gringo Tour! (Am I allowed to say that on a real estate blog?)

I’m all over organizing a tour to get the determine the margarita in Seattle… If you’re interested in joining the tour bus, let me know, along with the evenings within the next week that would work for you. I’m thinking that this weekend would be best although both of these places can get quite busy!

Some people who simple need to show up include Virginia from Seattle Pulse, Chris from Metroblogging and Chris Pirillo from, well, Chris Pirillo, but all are welcome! Just email me if you’re interested and I’ll coordinate from there!

party drinks

* Free Margaritas are ALWAYS available to people who use Anna to purchase or sell a home. Unless, or course, I find out there is a policy against offering Margarita’s to clients… 😉

Ballard Jazz Festival

Jazz MusiciansThis weekend in Ballard:

2 days / 50 musicians / 1 nordic fishing village

Artists include: Joe Locke/Geoff Keezer Quartet, Larry Goldings Trio, Kate Hammett-Vaughn, Eric Alexander, Peter Bernstein, Marc Seales Band, Jovino Santos Neto Quarteto, Origin Uber Band, Tumbao, Dawn Clement Trio, John Stowell, Rob Davis, Matt Jorgensen +451, Bill Anschell … and many more!

All the venues for the Jazz Walk are on a $15 joint cover (a $25 Festival Pass will also grant admission). Tickets can be ordered online or you can buy tickets at either the New York Fashion Academy (5201 Ballard Ave NW) or Mars Hill (1401 NW Leary Way) on Friday, November 18 starting at 7:30pm. Tickets may also be purchased at any Sonic Boom Records location.

Yahoo Maps is Now Driving Innovation!

Yahoo Map of Seattle DestinationsI’ve been waiting (and searching) for a mapping site that gives multi-destination directions and the new (still in Beta) Yahoo Maps definitely delivers!

Here are some of the features that I have wanted to see in an on-line maps and how the Beta Yahoo Maps stands up:

  1. Multi-destination: This allows you to type in a bunch of addresses and get directions from one site to the next all on one map. This feature alone should make Yahoo Maps (beta) the default online mapping program for all real estate agents (and home buyers!). Thank you Yahoo!
  2. Best routing of destinations: theoretically, you’d be able to hit a button and have the mapping software tell you the most efficient route to get between multiple points. Yahoo does not have this feature (yet?), but they do let you manually change the order of your destinations! To do this, you simple have to drag the address within the sidepanel above (or below) another address.
  3. Remembering addresses. It is nice that Yahoo maps is integrated with my Yahoo Address book. The only problem is that I haven’t used my Yahoo Address book in years so all the addresses (and there are 100s) are old (including my “home”). It looks like it might be time to return to my Yahoo address book!
  4. Mobile Phone Integration: Getting directions via my mobile phone is currently a pain. I have a blackberry with internet access, but the current mapping sites are too slow and any misspellings require retyping things… I did try out Yahoo Maps a few weeks ago (and I liked that I had access to my on-line Yahoo address book), but, again, the addresses in my address book were so outdated, that it didn’t do me a lot of good. Seeing has how the Yahoo Maps has the “email map” and “Send to phone” options, it looks like it might be time to update my Yahoo address book!
  5. Live Traffic Data: I also like that Yahoo has integrated live traffic data (like freeway speeds). I’d be interested to see them add traffic cameras (Along the lines of Bus Monster).

Ideally, I’d like to be able to map out a bunch of homes while sitting at my home computer and email a set of directions to myself. All the addresses would be remembered (by Yahoo Maps) so that I could easily get an updated set of directions while on the road via my mobile phone. It looks like Yahoo is definitely going in that direction, but when I tried to email myself a map with four destinations, it only returned a generic map. I had similar problems trying to get a “printable version” of the map so I’m thinking that my problems might be related to the fact that I’m working on a Mac. Hopefully they will fix these issues soon!

And speaking of bugs, the beta version of Yahoo Maps did not work for me while using Firefox on my Mac. I had to revert to IE in order to see the graphics. Again, hopefully they will fix this bug soon!

One last thing before I call it a night… I played around with some of the programs that have been created with the Yahoo Map API, and it looks like they are finally at a level that is competitive with Google… My favorite mash-up so far maps out local events based on yahoo’s event calendar. Note that it would be really nice if this event mash-up had a city/zip search bar so that I could easily navigate from SF to Seattle, but instead, I had to zoom way out and zoom way back in is really nice that this program DOES have a city/zip search bar. (As Toby says in one of the comments: “For moving around in the events browser, you can highlight the city name above the map and type in a city or zip. It’ll jump straight where you want it to go.”) . Other than that issue, it It is a nice little program which I’ll definitely use again! I’m especially jazzed (or is it “rocked”) that I found out the Red Elvises are playing at the Tractor Tavern this Saturday! 🙂

Update 1: After posting this article, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one excited about the Local Event Browser. Jeremy Zawodny gives a good round up of all the excitement by Yahoo staff regarding the new map capabilities. I especially like that Yahoo has made an API for their geocoder. A free and easy-to-use geocoder is a major missing link from the Google Maps API. (what is a geocoder? In the simplest sense, a geocoder gives a latitude and a longitude for a given address.) It will be interesting to see if Google responds by opening up an address geocoder as well.

Fremont Oktoberfest this weekend…

Fremont gives us another wonderful opportunity to celebrate the autumn, hear live music, have a glass of good beer, make some crafts and much more at the Fremont Oktoberfest September 23-25th

Autumn gets ushered in with the Fremont Oktoberfest. Historically, in old Germany, the brewing season began with the fall harvest of barley and hops and any beer left at harvest time had to be consumed before the new beer arrived. September was designated as the time to drink-up all of last season’s beer. It officially became Oktoberfest in 1810, when Ludwig I, the Crown Prince of Bavaria declared a 16-day celebration in commemoration of his wedding.

Seattle Tilth’s Harvest Fair on Sept 10th

kid gardeningThe Seattle Tilth is a group that “inspires and educates people to garden organically, conserve natural resources and support local food systems in order to cultivate a healthy urban environment and community.” This weekend (September 10) they will be hosting the 2005 Harvest Fair in Meridian Park (in the Wallingford Neighborhood). Here’s a map of the park. The festival will include tomato tasting, backyard garden harvest, garden demonstrations, music and more.

Did you know you can raise chickens in Seattle? Seattle Tilth teaches a course on raising city chickens.

Fremont Solstice Parade

Once again, Fremont put on quite a show…

I had a wonderful time at this Fremont-only parade and celebration… A bunch of people have already posted photos over at flickr, but a warning that many of the photos are not for the faint of heart.

(The same warning should probably apply to people thinking of moving to Fremont! 🙂 ).