Posted in Journal

Ask iOS Apps Not to Track

Today I got some interesting prompts when I opened the Twitter app.

But first, you can disable these prompts for all apps by toggling off Allow Apps to Request to Track from Settings > Privacy as following:

Back to the prompts, it is funny how Twitter framed their prompts as if it is doing something beneficial to me, and even offering some choice.

No thanks, Twitter.

Posted in Journal

Importance of emergency fund

I am re-reading Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money this year and I highly recommend this book to everyone!

There are many nuggets of money wisdom in that book. I try hard to resist my urge to share everything I read and learned from this cool book. But today I read the following that reminded me why I save personally: no reason.

Save. Just save. You don’t need a specific reason to save.

Saving for things that are impossible to predict or define is one of the best reasons to save.

Savings that aren’t earmarked for anything in particular is a hedge against life’s inevitable ability to surprise the hell out of you at the worst possible moment.

Chapter 19, All Together Now, The Psychology of Money.

I think this is also the world’s best definition of emergency fund.

This is why when my neighbors knocked on my door last Christmas Day to inform me about the crack we made in their bedroom window (by a misfired $7 dart off our fence), I was truly, genuinely happy to spend whatever is needed to get their double-glazed window fixed. I know I saved no-reason funds for unexpected surprises like this.

In the end, it cost me $350 and I paid that with no regrets or stress!

Posted in Books, Journal, Learn

Reading books: quality over quantity

Out of the 11 books in my this year’s reading list, I already read five books in the last few years and some just the last year:

  1. What I learned by losing a million dollars.
  2. The Psychology of Money.
  3. Atomic Habits.
  4. Style: the basics of clarity and grace.
  5. The Customer Service Survival Kit.

I am going to re-read them all this year.

The year-end lists of books read by some people I follow are really long! And I only read a handful of books for the past two years (2019 and 2020). While I am cool with the amount of reading I do, I must admit, at some corner of my mind I had the nagging feeling of having to read more. Nevertheless, when I made a tentative list of eleven books to read in 2021, I included the above five books that I already read in the years past.

I felt validated last week when I read the blog post of my ex-colleague and an excellent human Jeremey, titled On Re-Reading and The Book Quantity Trap. I particularly liked this quote in Jeremey’s post:

A good book gets better at the second reading. A great book at the third. Any book not worth rereading isn’t worth reading.

NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB

That validated my thoughts on reading and re-reading a few, but good books. And today’s meditation of The Daily Stoic emphasized the same point.

What if, when it came to your reading and learning, you prioritized quality over quantity?

What if you read the few great books deeply instead of briefly skimming all the new books? Your shelves might be emptier, but your brain and life would be better.

May 20th page of The Daily Stoic

Here’s to reading and re-reading a few but what I believe are great books!

Posted in Journal

Being frugal with gadgets

I’m writing this on the iPhone 7 I bought in October 2016.

The first generation iPhone SE I bought in April 2016 still works just fine.

I have a first generation iPad Air I bought late 2013. It works for my limited needs.

My laptop is my employer-bought mid-2015 Mac Book Pro; it is still going. Although I must add I got a free battery and keyboard replacement in 2019 on Apple. I’m long eligible for an upgrade. I can buy and expense the highest-spec latest Mac Book Pro right now. But I’d like to get the current mid-2015 laptop going for at least another 12 months and then some more if I can. By then I’m hoping Apple Silicon will be mainstream so I can get the most of my next Mac Book Pro and get it going for another five or so years.

I think I like to buy the latest stuff at the time I need it. And get them going as long as I possibly can.

The YouTube app in my third-generation 2011 Apple TV just stopped working very recently. I am also restarting the Apple TV frequently these days. So I think I will need to upgrade it.

YouTube app no longer works on 3rd generation Apple TV.

You don’t need to upgrade Apple devices every year.

Don’t fall for tech companies’ marketing tactics. The latest gadgets won’t make you any cooler as their makers will want you to believe. But if you are not making sensible buying decisions you will be out of pocket by thousands of dollars.

I love being frugal with gadgets. I think being frugal is generally good for our overall well being. When times are bad, and good.

Posted in Journal

Timely Advice for Lockdown 4

Earlier this afternoon I realized today is day 2 of Level 3 lockdown 4 for the 1 community case we got on Saturday evening.

Yes, we got into Level 3 lockdown again since 6 am last Sunday. The lockdown was announced on the Saturday evening, literally within an hour since I was roaming in the city center, peeked into a few bars and restaurants and felt everything was just great and lively! I dropped by the Giapo store, ordered Nothing Else Matters ice cream and then while I was enjoying it, I heard the news of the lockdown. I decided not to worry too much because, after all, I am having Nothing Else Matters ice cream!

On Sunday morning, I was reading The Daily Stoic which offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises. And guess what I got that day!

As the author quotes Epictetus in the next page:

Don’t set your heart on so many things. Focus. Prioritize. Train your mind to ask: Do I need this thing? What will happen if I do not get it? Can I make do without it?

Thinking about the answers to these questions is how I chose to wade through this lockdown week. So far it’s working well.

Posted in Journal

Lockdown — third wave

We had another —third so far—lockdown in Auckland from Valentine’s Day’s midnight, but luckily it lasted only three days as initially stipulated.

Auckland went from Level 1 to Level 3, 4 being most restrictive. The rest of New Zealand stayed at Level 1.

Emergency phone alert for third-wave of lockdown in Auckland.
Emergency phone alert for third-wave of lockdown in Auckland.

I was stressed not because the lockdown was abrupt but because it aggravated my ongoing low spirit due to sluggish progress on the two big, long-term plans for 2021 and beyond. Plus, it also upset the plans I had for my weekly off days.

But in the end, we eased one level down by Wednesday midnight, and further down to Level 1 by last night.

I see a small number of Covid-deniers and conspiracy theorists in this country, which is scary because what starts small can expand. On the bright side, border workers are getting vaccinated from last Saturday, which is great!

I am still wary, continuing to scan the Covid-tracer app even before this latest outbreak. I am avoiding large crowds, keeping a safe physical distance from people, and being mindful of hand hygiene. I stopped wearing a mask, though.

Overall, things are stable in this little part of the world under the sensible and stable political leadership we elected recently.

Timeline continued…

  • 11:59 pm, 14-Feb-2021 Sunday

    Auckland goes from lockdown Alert Level 1 to 3.

    Rest of the NZ goes from Alert Level 1 to 2.

  • 3 days

  • 11:59 pm, 17-Feb-2021 Wednesday

    Auckland goes down to lockdown Alert Level 2.

    Rest of NZ goes down to lockdown Alert Level 1.

  • 5 days

  • 11:59 pm, 22-Feb-2021 Monday

    All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1 – and a return to mostly normal lives – from midnight tonight.

  • Hope the normalcy continues…