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.

Thoughts after the fourth lockdown.

Today in Auckland, New Zealand, the Prime Minister announced that the fourth lockdown we entered into from 6 am last Sunday (27th February) would be lifted at 6 am on the coming Sunday (7th March).

I am cautiously rejoicing the news. This is the fourth lockdown since the main lockdown started in March 2020. The second one after that, in August 2020, was surprising; my phone got an emergency alert when I was sleeping, and that really shocked me!

Two more mini lockdowns later, I am now convinced that another lockdown could hit anytime! Even this current one, which is announced to be eased down in about 30 hours, can be prolonged if we find even a single community case between now and then. I think that’s a good thing. We have employed an elimination, not a mitigation strategy in this country, and I love it! It is inconvenient and is hard work, but it saves lives!

I have been in the fortunate bunch of world population that isn’t affected by Covid. I don’t take it for granted. I have been able not just to survive but thrive in the last 12 months since the world is infested with Covid. More than I deliberately planned anything, I have been lucky!

From now on, I decided not to take freedom (from lockdowns) granted. 

I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I plan my activities while trying to be realistic and assuming that lockdown can hit anytime, as I learned from the last two lockdowns.

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.

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…

Lessons from “What I learned by losing a million dollars” book: issue 1

In the July of 2020, I read What I learned by losing a million dollars book. I blogged a quote that I loved from that book. But there are many nuggets of wisdom and life lessons in the three chapters in the second section of the book titled Lessons Learned.

While this book is about the author’s personal story of how he lost money in the US stock markets, I think the psychological processes he explained in chapters 5, 6, and 7 are universal and equally applies to life as well. i.e. if we swap the words business and markets with life in the following book notes, the principles the author is teaching still hold.  So I borrowed this book again from the library to re-read and take and share notes primarily for myself and for any others interested.

This post is the first in this series to read and share what I believe are important takeaways from this book.

Instead of sharing all the book notes in one large post, I will make a series of smaller posts with the quotes and lessons I would like to remember. I hope you will find them helpful too!


Chapter 6: The Psychological Dynamics of Loss

In this chapter the author explains what happens when a business or market loss gets personalized. He also explains the difference between external, objective losses and internal, subjective losses.

Most people equate loss with being wrong and, therefore, internalize what should be an external loss.

In the financial markets, people tend to have difficulty actively (as opposed to passively, as in the case of the fruit-dealer who expects that two out of one hundred apples will rot and light-bulb manufacturer who knows that two out of three hundred bulbs will break ) taking losses. This is because all losses are treated as a failure; in every other area of our lives, the word loss has negative connotations.

People tend to regard the words loss, wrong, bad, and failure as the same, and win, right, good, and success as the same.

For instance, we lose points for wrong answers on tests in school. Likewise, when we lose money in the market we think we must have been wrong.

Most of the time lose or loss is associated with games. Somehow, the concepts profit and loss get confused with win and lose and right and wrong. But if you lose as a participant of a game, you weren’t wrong; you were defeated. If you lose as a spectator of a game, you must have placed a bet (or expressed an opinion) on the game’s outcome and you lost money (or were wrong), but you were not defeated.


I am still processing the above notes since I first read them some months ago, and I will continue to ponder over these notes for the foreseeable future.

In the next post I will share some notes on external vs. internal losses.

Auckland Anniversary Day

In 2010 I first landed in Auckland and instantly fell in love with the city. So much that I applied for permanent residency right in that first week.

Like any worthy endeavors, some effort, some uncertainty, a bit of drama, and a lot of luck helped me realize my dream. In the end, it all worked out in my favor. In about 18 months since my first landing in the Auckland International Airport, I gained my permanent residency and eventually citizenship of this beautiful country, which helped me make this lovely city my permanent base.

I’m not too fond of large crowds, and I don’t feel safe in large cities. Although Auckland is NZ’s largest city, it is still small by the standard definition of a large city. It is of just the right size to my liking. I believe it has just the right amount of everything that makes a lovely, liveable first-world city where I am fortunate to live and raise my family.

Moving to Auckland is one of the best decisions of my life, one that enhanced my living experience for the last eleven years and counting. I love traveling, but the feeling I experience every single time I land in Auckland is marvelous!

I feel grateful every single day to have realized my dream of where and how I wanted to live my life. I never took my privilege for granted and never will.

To this lovely city that enriched my life, a very happy anniversary day today!