Being a candle is not easy: in order to give light, one must first burn. – Rumi
One of my ultimate dream is to be a writer. A writer is probably the most free human. He can write anywhere, wherever, whenever. And create whatever he desires.
I love technology and programming. I love progress and what computers have done for humanity. And I loved almost every single job I had. Some of the smartest people I have met are programmers.
But sometimes, I just want to get disconnected. Sometimes I just want to sleep late and work when it is dark outside. And sometimes I just want to take a vacation for a few weeks. I haven’t had a vacation longer than a week in more than 10 years.
With this in mind, I am going to focus on writing. I am a horrible writer at this point. It might take many many years before I can publish anything. But I have to start somewhere.
Last year, I bought Nikon D750. I bought it because it was perfect for low light photography. It was big. I figured, since it is scary looking big camera, I can get some client work, do 10-20 photo shoots and camera would recover its own cost.
But in one year, I had only a few photo shoots, and only for friends for free. And a few times, potential customers contacted me, I really didn’t wanted to do photoshoots. Perhaps I got scared, perhaps it was laziness.
But you know, you don’t need to recover cost of everything. I can keep the camera for personal use. A lot of people use professional level cameras for family photos.
But then I compared number of personal photos taken on D750 vs Sony Nex-3N during same time period; it was obvious that I was using my smaller camera a lot more. Even when I try to make concise effort to use D750, a lot of time I would change my mind at last minute.
Last, I am minimalist. Having a really powerful camera that doesn’t get to be used as it should be, makes me feel guilty. It is like having a dog that you never take out for walks.
So I sold it last week. I miss it. Good news is that D750 is being used by a wedding photographer and my favorite lens, Nikon 24-70MM f/2.8 is used for concert photography by a Dallas Observer photographer. The way they were supposed to be used.
I have been trying to like my Sony Nex-3N again but it sucks. I will probably buy A6300 or A6000 as those are same size as Nex-3N but better low light performance.
I have been using Mint.com for a while now. But one thing always scare me, that one day free version would go away, or even Mint.com would shutdown. Then we will have to find a new replacement.
Luckily, Mint.com provides csv export of all transactions with categories and labels. This way I can make my local backups and if need be, hopefully, these transactions could be imported into whatever comes along. Also csv export let me do my own analysis in Excel and Google spreadsheets.
Now I have also started to use git to track changes in csv exports. Just in case some old data changes, git would display diff easily. Before I was keeping multiple copies and csv file, now I have just one file in git repository.
This is a quick lesson or reminder to anyone who just purchased a new AC system or new construction home. Most HVAC come with ten year warranty. But you need to register your unit with manufacturer for warranty to be valid.
Recently, our AC stopped cooling. Outside unit had visible oil leak. Apparently, oil is mixed in the refrigerant or coolant. Refrigerant evaporates leaving behind oil. So if you have oil leak, then you also have coolant leak. I figured that the fix would be simple as finding a small leaking part, replacing it, and then refilling refrigerant. Apparently our coil is leaking and that is essentially whole unit.
We called the company that installed HVAC originally. The guy initially scared me by saying that if we didn’t register the unit, then it probably is not under warranty and you cannot register now. It is only 3.5 years old unit.
Luckily, the company had registered it on their side, so all parts will be free. We still have to pay for labor which is still pretty high about $1100. But without warranty, it would have been another $1000 or so for the coil.
echo 1 >/proc/sys/net/ipv4/icmp_echo_ignore_all
Lately, I have been following /r/financialfreedom. From there someone recommended to read this book. I wasn’t expecting much as I have read many business books but this one is actually really good. It basically summarize ideas and lessons from both business textbooks and popular business books. There is nothing new in it but it is nice to have all this information in one place.
There are a lot of concepts in this book that one can apply to their personal lives too like adopting habits or negotiating purchases.
A good read indeed.
One of my favorite story is of an executive of a big company who goes to a resort town for a vacation. There he sees a fisherman with a few fish walking away from beach. Executive asks fisherman where he was going. Fisherman replies that he has caught enough fish for the day, now he will go sell these fish to fish vendor in market. Executive asks it is early in morning why don’t you catch more fishes. Fisherman says he has caught enough for him and his family. Executive asks so what he plans to do for rest of his day. Fisherman replies that he will go home, play with his kids, go for a walk with his wife, and hang out with friends in the evening.
Executive says to fisherman but if you stay a little longer, you can catch some more fishes. Then use that extra money to buy a bigger boat. Then catch even more fishes, so on until you have a fleet of fishing boats. Then he can negotiate better terms with fish vendors and make more money. Then he can open his own fish processing plant and sell fishes directly to many vendors all over the country. Then he will be rich.
Fisherman asks how long will it take, executive replies maybe 15 or 20 years. Fisherman asks then what he will do when he is rich. Executive says that then he can relax, play with his kids or at this point grand kids, go for walks with his wife, hang out with his friends. Fisherman just smiles.
This parable is meant to say that one doesn’t need a lot to enjoy life.
I have been reading Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. It is fascinating book. This book discusses how some societies and cultures came to dominate the world while others were subjugated to slavery and destruction. While there are many reasons for it, but one of the main reason seems to be that some cultures encouraged greed. That led to wars in addition to innovations. Which led to taking away resources from cultures that didn’t engage in greed or war.
So now I wonder what would happen in real life in this story. Perhaps executive will see that as an opportunity to expand his firms operations. Might buy big fishing boats and hire local fisherman to work for his firm. Because of his scale, he might be able to undercut the fisherman and force him to work longer or even quit fishing. Perhaps fisherman will become an employee of executive’s fishing company.
I guess the point is we romanticize simple life but sadly it is not possible anymore.
Last year, I moved my blog to Github pages. The main reason was that it was programmer centric way of blogging. I could write blog posts using Markdown in SublimeText, my natural habitat. To publish a post, I simply commit and push. And it would be fun to see git log history. I could edit old posts and not only me but everyone can see how it changed overtime. And most of all it was elegantly simple.
But there were some cons. I could not auto-post to social accounts without signing up for another service. If I wanted comments, I would have to sign up on another different service. That would be no longer elegantly simple.
Then a few months ago, Github disabled a few Markdown plugins which meant I had to update a few posts. Not a big deal but I didn’t want to deal with it again.
So after some contemplation, I decided to move back to WordPress. My biggest concern with WordPress is security issues but most of these issues come from insecure plugins or themes. As long as, I am mindful of which plugins or themes to install, it should not be a big issue.
SublimeText is awesome but WordPress’s editor is also nice. It is pleasure to be using it right now. It generating pretty clean HTML too.
I liked the automatic backup when using git to publish a site but my hosting provides automatic backups and then I have scheduled job to do my own backups. So using Github pages just for backup purposes was not that important.
Then of course, WordPress provides easy ways to post to various social sites, manage comments, categorize posts, and, search capabilities, etc.
The big advantage of WordPress is that I can now just focus on writing blog posts instead of looking for ways to add features to Github pages.