Kindle, Kano and a money lesson

I bought a Kindle Paperwhite and Kano Computer Kit while I was in the US last week. I also did not buy an iPhone 8 Plus.

My first attempt to buy Kindle was at the end of 2010. But that Kindle was lost even before it reached me along with my friend’s lost checked-in baggage.

Over the years I have been reading a lot on iPhone, iPad and physical books borrowed from the library. But I felt like I could benefit from Kindle in the following ways:

  • Easy to carry.
  • Gentle on eyes for reading in the night.
  • Distraction-free reading.
  • Can add notes and highlights.
  • Cheaper books.
  • Longer battery.
  • Fewer barriers between me and my books which should result in more reading.

I also had my eyes on Kano computer kit for a while. So as soon as I saw it on the store shelf I knew it will be a great buy. I bought it mainly for my son as a birthday present, but I too am excited to learn a thing or two about computers. We will unbox it once my son turns seven in June. It is my attempt to get him excited about creating rather than consuming things with computers.

I am also glad that I did not give into my impulse to purchase a new iPhone. I use iPhone 7. I was thinking about the iPhone 8 Plus for a few months. The trade-in deal Apple Store people offered means I will get the iPhone 8 Plus for $600 NZD cheaper than buying it in New Zealand.

But then I recalled an important financial lesson: No discount is too good for the things you don’t need.

The price of iPhone 8 Plus in NZ is $1450. But if I buy it in the States, I could get it for $850 NZD by trading-in my pristine iPhone 7. That’s a good deal but only if you need, not want, a new phone. If I took that offer I would have spent $850 on a phone that I didn’t really need. Sure, I get the latest large screen phone with a good camera. But they are not really game-changing features for me given how I typically use my phone. So eventually I walked away from the Apple Store without buying anything.

I can tell that it was a lot of inner struggle to think clearly and not giving in to the temptation of a shiny new iPhone. I felt particularly hard to resist the urge while standing amidst all the cool gadgets in the Apple Store and with cash in my bank. But in the end the feeling of exercising some choice and thought while standing right amidst the temptation made me felt like a super-hero. If only I exercise my choice in a few more areas of my life.

Gave up on Mac’s Hot Corners

I recently learned some Mac tips and one of the things I was excited about and tried is Hot Corners. But after a few months of trying them they proved to be Annoying Corners. I often accidentally send my mouse pointer to one of the corners of the screen and invoke them inadvertently. So I disabled Hot Corners today.

I am hoping to instead add a few more multi-touch gestures to my finger memory. Multi-touch gestures are intuitive, fun, and make me feel like I am a pro Mac Book Pro user. So far I am loving the gestures which means I will practice them more.

Itsycal

I found this list of 25 free macOS apps every Mac user should have, which I found on my twitter feed, interesting.

I already use some apps like Wunderlist, Slack and VLC mentioned in that list. But one app that I felt I could use is Itsycal. It shows the calendar from the menu bar; something I wish the default time date / time app on Mac showed. Itsycal also connected to the calendar app on the Mac and synched all the events. I am no longer using the default time app on the menu bar. Now my calendar is just Ctrl + I away.

Try Itsycal!

1000 days of Elevate

Today is my 1000 th day playing Elevate.

Elevate Session Highlights           Elevate Milestones

I broke the streak once in June 2016, not because I slacked but because I was stuck on the dated iPhone 4 running on dated iOS 7 on which the Elevate app was slow and crashed repeatedly. I was also traveling and didn’t have reliable internet. I couldn’t let all this break my 610 day streak at that point. So once I am on the reliable phone and internet, I completed a handful of games retrospectively to fix the streak. And of course, playing Elevate is a fun way to improve vocabulary and math skills little bit everyday.

Here are the earlier milestones.

WiFi and VPN

I usually don’t offer free advice. But I will make an exception this time for the greater good.

Don’t connect your phone and computer to public WiFi networks without VPN.

Install VPN software in your computer and phone and turn that on every time you are about to hook on to public WiFi.

But how? Ask Google. There are many free VPN services for Windows and Mac; iPhone and Android.

Using any VPN software is magnitude better than using none to protect your privacy and security. You don’t need to be a celebrity to get snooped or hacked.