A few months ago I had the pleasure of reviewing GoldenEar Technology's least expensive home theater system. The SuperCinema 3 ($1,750) comes with five small satellite speakers and a smallish subwoofer, but the sound was big and beautiful. More than that, the sound was distinctly high-end in its flavor. It was easy to tell it was designed primarily for home theater, but for those buyers who also have a hankering for audiophile-quality sound.
SAUSALITO, Calif.--Here in Marin, a county forward-thinking enough that it commissioned a world-class civic center by Frank Lloyd Wright, it should come as no surprise that many homes are truly stunning and would be envied the world over.
And the envy will probably be especially strong for those who fork over $150 to visit 10 multimillion dollar masterpieces throughout Marin, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, on April 30 and May 1. Dwell magazine, in conjunction with Marin magazine, is hosting the Home Tours. But as part of my Road Trip at Home series, I got a chance to visit four of the residences before the tours take place.
The four homes I toured provided a terrific cross-section of the best Marin has to offer: a Tiburon hilltop cacophony of windows featuring world-beating views of Marin, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, and Berkeley and Oakland; a spare but impressive floating home in the middle of one of Sausalito's best houseboat communities; a "Bridge House" that imaginatively spans a small valley and a river below; and a home at the top of a hill in a tree-studded and quiet neighborhood that emphasizes the beauty and grandeur of the outdoors throughout its modern interior.
As the home tour's official brochure puts it, these houses are "pushing residential architecture forward in Marin County... Discover the houses that are bringing the outdoors in, realizing dreams, and defining what modern design means."
Gate 5 House For years, one of my favorite things to do in Sausalito has been to go walking on the houseboat docks. And while there are several of them clustered together in a small area on the north end of town, I've long favored one specific dock for its quiet, the lush plants that residents grow outside, the many cats that wander peacefully along the wooden planks, and the whimsical art found up and down the dock.
So I was very happy when I discovered that the one houseboat included in the home tour is not only on my favorite dock, but is located right at my favorite part of the dock.
This is owner-architect David Spurgeon's Gate 5 House. Unassuming from the outside, inside it's a study in maximizing minimal space. After all, this is a house with two wide-open floors and no other rooms, save for a couple of bathrooms and a closet-cum-bunk-bed. Yet it features a fantastic gourmet kitchen, views to die for of Southern Marin's Richardson Bay, a boat of its own that allows Spurgeon to set sail for just about anywhere he wants to go, and much more.
Spurgeon, who works in Sausalito as an architect, started out by buying the aging tugboat that previously filled his slip and turning it over to the local fire department, which in turn moved it nearby and used it to set test fires. Once the slip was empty, Spurgeon began building his new home by hand in 2002, completing it three years later. "I built everything you see," he told me proudly.
The house is designed to be comfortable in all seasons. When it's warm, Spurgeon can open the wide doors that lead from the main upstairs space to a deck that looks out over the water. When it's cold, he keeps the doors closed, trapping heat inside. Spurgeon touts the house's green credentials: it has radiant heat in the floors, and bamboo flooring, low-E glass, steel siding, and manufactured lumber from new-growth wood.
The house also uses space wisely. In the lower level, Spurgeon installed closets that open both into his bedroom area and into the bunk bed room. The bunk is built on top of the closet, which is located at floor level. I thought using the closet would require stooping down, but that wasn't the case.
In the bathroom, Spurgeon displays more creative use of materials. For his fixtures here, he employed food service equipment, including a kettle caddy for the main plumbing. It feels industrial, but looks just right.
I asked Spurgeon something I've always wanted to know about the houseboats: Don't they suffer from mold, since they're smack dab in the middle of an extremely wet environment? The only corrosive he worries about, he said, is the salt from the bay water that can attack the wood and metal of the boat.
But it doesn't look like he has much trouble with that, and when I asked him if he likes living here, he glowed. "Basically, you never really lose the connection to the outside," Spurgeon said, touting the seals that show up outside from time to time and the "pelicans that come in like marauding bombers" about 6 inches off the surface of the water. "It's an absolute cacophony of stuff with all the doors open... I love it here. I always feel like I'm camping out."
And if camping means cooking in a gourmet kitchen, sign me up. … Read more
According to tech news site TechCrunch, Apple may be ready to deploy the first Golden Master (GM1) of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. The release will be a major update since last month's developer preview, which many thought, according to the report, wasn't as smooth as it could have been."Apple has been working through many OS X Lion bugs and performance issues as they move towards the stated Summer release date. Given that GM candidates are already nearing, they definitely appear to be on schedule."
This is good news for those of us patiently … Read more
Apple has given developers the Gold Master copy of iOS 4.3, which is slated to go out to users as a free download at the end of next week. The Gold Master is typically the same build users get when the software is released.
Among the new features that come with iOS 4.3 are support for Home Sharing (which lets you play your iTunes library from anywhere in the house), the capability to turn your iPhone … Read more
REDMOND, WA.--It would seem to be just another day here on Microsoft's campus. In one building the next version of Windows is being built in secret, and in another the next version of Office. But this day is a little different from the rest. In a closed-off auditorium, a gathering of Microsoft employees are showing off their latest science projects.
Most may never see the light of day, but some could go on to become real products, or at least features in products of the future. This is all a part of what Microsoft calls its "science … Read more
Caroline McCarthy from CNET's The Social blog joins us on today's podcast to discuss this morning's Oscar nominations and eight nods for "The Social Network" including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay Adaptation, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Original Score.
The film undoubtedly deserves the recognition, but it seems they left off Andrew Garfield for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Eduardo Saverin, Facebook's co-founder and a 5 percent shareholder of the $2.5 billion company.
Despite this oversight, Garfield will likely have another chance with his upcoming role as the famous Webslinger in the upcoming reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. The rest of the cast includes Rhys Ifans as the Lizard, Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, and Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson.
Wilson checked out an early preview of the show and has an equally negative review to share that makes this Onion headline sound right on the mark: "Nuclear Bomb Detonates During Rehearsal For 'Spider-Man' Musical." We blame Bono.
As usual, the Razzie nominations were announced today in conjunction with the Oscars, and it's no surprise that the "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" swept the Golden Raspberries for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Robert Pattinson), Worst Screenplay, and...actually, the movie appears in all the categories except for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D, where they were ineligible to be nominated.Episode 743 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
Ricky Gervais got in a record number of jabs at celebrities at this year's Golden Globe Awards (and I, for one, loved every minute of it). But that wasn't the only record set.
A couple of days before Sunday's ceremony, two dashingly dressed gentlemen unveiled the new Guinness World Record holder for "World's Largest Magnetic Structure" in the shape of a Golden Globe statue.
The behemoth is made out of 550,000 tiny golden magnets called Nanodots. It weighs a staggering 600 pounds, and completely shatters the previous record-holding sculpture, which consisted of a … Read more
I confess to having a soft spot for much of Microsoft's recent advertising. Mainly because it bothers to appeal to my soft spot.
The company decided to use the glamour of the Golden Globes ceremony to remind people of their innate love for the underdog. In this case, the struggling, table-waiting, eating-out-of-a-tin actor.
In new ads, we see what appears to be an audition. Actors express their love of their craft, their commitment to it. They end with a different Microsoft brand "precongratulating" the Golden Globes stars of tomorrow and offering the tagline "Be What's … Read more
I heard a lot of great-sounding speakers this year, but the following four topped my list.
Magnepan, based in White Bear Lake, Minn., builds nothing but panel (boxless) speakers. To say I was knocked out by Magnepan's new 1.7 speaker earlier this year would be an understatement; it is the best-sounding under-$2,000 speaker (a pair) on the planet. The 64.5-inch-tall design is a mere 2 inches thick! I reviewed the 1.7 for Tone Audio magazine. Magnepan prices start at $599 per pair.
The Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.5 ($6,000 per pair) is a radical update of the Gallo Reference 3.1, with new drivers. The small, 35-inch-tall floor-standing speaker projects a huge, precisely focused soundstage. The cast aluminum and stainless steel design feels remarkably solid.
Sonically, the Reference 3.5 has the ease and poise of a much larger and more expensive speaker. It's nowhere as fussy about electronics and room acoustics as the Magnepan 1.7, so the Reference 3.5 might actually be less expensive to buy and use in the long run.… Read more
The Golden Globe nominations were released this morning, and though "The King's Speech" received the most nominations, "The Social Network" was also honored for Best Picture--Drama, Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg), Best Supporting Actor (Andrew Garfield), Best Director (David Fincher), Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin), and Best Original Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross). We saw the movie when it first came out, but CNET's social-media reporter Caroline McCarthy knows much more about the film, so we're psyched to have her on the show today!
Caroline and Jeff are both addicted to TV shows like "Boardwalk Empire," "30 Rock," and "Mad Men," which share Best TV nominations for a drama, musical, or comedy, but the three of us are confused about the appearance of "The Walking Dead," a show that the Internet seems to collectively hate for its departure from the original graphic-novel storyline.
Along with the rest of the discoveries in Zeitgeist 2010, Google has also shared the "fastest-falling" list of searches in 2010. In other words, these are the search terms that enjoyed popularity in 2009 but failed to keep up the momentum this year.
The list includes swine flu, Circuit City, Myspace Layouts, and Michael Jackson, despite the release of a new album in December.
Check out this graphic of the world according to Facebook. Facebook intern Paul Butler wondered how to show an accurate representation of Facebook's popularity across the globe, and his idea to visualize Facebook "Internet" friendships on a map actually shows the extent of real human relationships.
Interestingly enough, the picture reveals that even Argentina, Southeast Asia, and South Africa have a strong Facebook presence, while a significant portion of China and Russia are missing due to Web censorship.
Girls geeks are uniting in support of a young Star Wars fan who was bullied by classmates after choosing a Star Wars water bottle and matching backpack for school. Her mom wrote a heartfelt blog asking female Star Wars fans to send messages and comments to show Katie that plenty of women appreciate Star Wars, and within days the post received more than 1,000 messages of support.Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more