Article shows ROI for Toyota Prius

In the MSN Money Central article entitled “What driving a hybrid will really cost you“, it does an actual calculation for return on investment if you decided to purchase one of the hybrid vehicles as opposed to their gas-only counterparts. According to their study, the only vehicle that will save you money over a five year ownership period, is the Toyota Prius.

If you really wanted to see how much a new Prius or hybrid will save you as compared to your current vehicle, you can head over to the Hybrid Vehicles Gas Savings Calculator. In my case, I would save $1000 per year on gas, if I decided to get a Toyota Prius.  Since, the Prius costs about $21,000 to purchase, it would take about 20 years to break even.  If I decided to trade in my current vehicle, I could realize a break even point at about 10 years. All of this assumes that gas prices will stay the same over the 10 year period, which I highly doubt.  Using the gas savings calculator, I calculated that if I wanted to break even at 5 years, the price of gas would have to sky rocket to $6 per gallon. Any bets on whether price of gas will get that high?  Five years ago, we were at $1.20 per gallon. It’s more than doubled in five years. If that trend continues in the next five years, that initial investment today in a Prius might not look so bad.

Google Calendar First Impressions

Here are my first impressions after using the new Google Calendar (gCal) for a few days now.

Pros:

  • Integration with Gmail and automatic recognition of incoming email titles as possible events to add into gCal.
  • The Quick Add feature is a quick, smart, and intelligent way to add events into gCal.
  • Import iCal, vCal, Outlook calendar file formats into gCal.
  • Ability to share your calendar in either RSS or webcal format.

Cons:

  • You can share your calendars via the web, but there is no easy way to download a file that is ready to import into Outlook or some other calendar application that doesn’t support subsciption to remote calendars. There is a workaround if you use Mozilla Sunbird, which involves subscribing to the remote Google calendar, then selecting all the events in that calendar, and finally choosing Export Selected Events from the File menu. That is too much work for me. Why not just have the file readily downloadable in the same screen as the Calendar Details?
  • Extremely slow when accessing public webcal / iCal feeds.
  • No to-do lists (Come on now… how hard would that have been to add?)
  • No support for Safari browser on the Mac, and the IE 7.0 beta.

Wish List:

  • See the Cons section.
  • We need a public API, so other web apps or offline applications can take advantage of adding/syncing events to/from gCal.
  • I want some sort of ability to add customized RSS feeds into gCal.  This could be useful for integrating del.icio.us bookmarks, or TaDaLists, weather feeds, TV show listing feeds, etc.

Funny! Dilbert on contractors

[Dilbert Comic for April 15, 2006]
[Dilbert Comic for April 14, 2006]

Update: Seems like the URLs to the comic images are no longer available. Simply head over to Dilbert.com and search for the comic strips archived for those dates above.