Friday, April 15, 2022

How to be less forgetful

To be less forgetful, marinate your mind exclusively with shit that's relevant and necessary for your life and advancement

Exclusive being the key word.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Sovereign Individual

 The Sovereign Individual

I recently finished reading The Sovereign Individual. It was written in 1997, and attempts to predict changes over the next few decades and maybe even the next century or so.

It really had an impact on me. I don't feel like writing a lengthy review or essay about it right now in one sitting. I'll just continue to make references to it on occasion as they tie into stuff I'm thinking about or worrying about.

One of the things I worry about a lot is the effect of massive displacement of individuals from their jobs due to automation. Indeed the Sovereign Individual said several times that careers will cease to be as we currently know them. What they predicted was very much like the gig economy we hear about so much. They got that one right.

They also said that normal professions are going to be like entertainment or professional sports, in that only a tiny percentage of practitioners are going to earn money, and they will earn massively. Everyone else will be pretty much redundant. This is very much consistent with the massive displacement I mention. It sounds very plausible.

Often the answer we see for the massive displacement problem is UBI (universal basic income). However at the end of the day UBI will need to be paid for by taxes. So it will be subject to the mercy of those small number of huge earners. However, as The Sovereign Individual points out, the wealthy will have options to bail from nations/states where they feel they are taxed too heavily. This is not a debate about morals or right vs. wrong. This is about mega-political conditions where the wealthy simply can't be coerced into subsidizing the rest of us!

So this makes me wonder if there exists a free market solution to UBI, as opposed to the usual social-democratic one that gets attention.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

No signal in external display connected to MacBook Pro running Catalina - Fixed

Before I start I should add a caveat - the post title is misleading. I didn't actually fix anything since there was no problem to begin with but my own lack of observational skills! Nevertheless there are many people similarly afflicted, and this post might help them.

So I’ve been connecting my MacBook Air mid-2012 model to an external ASUS VP228HE monitor successfully for a long time. That Mac doesn't have an HDMI port so I've been using a HDMI <-> Thunderbolt adapter all these years.

I just purchased a MacBook Pro early-2015 model, and tried connecting to that monitor the same way. However there was no signal to the monitor. So I was just getting a black monitor screen.

I scoured the internet for answers. I tried every bit of advice provided in this excellent Medium article, and several other articles, but nothing worked.

Eventually I realized that this MacBook Pro actually has an HDMI port! Duh… 😯

So I connected directly to that, rather than to the Thunderbolt port using the adapter. It worked beautifully.


Sunday, May 31, 2020

Growing Tomatoes!

I decided to try my hand at growing some vegetables this summer.

So why not start with my favourite veggie - the tomato! We decided to go with open-pollinated seeds and seedlings.

We bought one seedling from this place in Saitama: .  We drove there, up to Saitama, to pick it up. It's a variety called アロイトマト (aroi tomato). I can't find much info about it in English. 

We transferred it over to a proper planter. Here it is in our garden now:

We also bought some seeds, by delivery, from Noguchi Seeds:  Those were delivered.

Here are the seeds:

We planted them into small pots, will share photos of those in the next blog post.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Don't be Pressured to be an Entrepreneur

There is no need to be an entrepreneur if it is not your bag.

There are countless other roads to happiness, prosperity, freedom, respect, and self-expression.

Now, if you have an idea and a burning passion to pursue it, and confidence in it, then by all means launch a startup! I wish you all the best.

However if your only reasons for wanting to be an entrepreneur are because it is "cool" or socially esteemed or because you envy other people doing it, you may want to reconsider. Those are superficial reasons for making career choices. They are not reasons you prefer one person over another, are they? Hence, they are not reasons to like yourself better either.

I personally like people who are sincere, authentic, and positive. Those are the things to aspire to. If that means being an entrepreneur, more power to you!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Good Piece by Jeff Weiner after 2016 Election

It's over 2 years old, but I just saw this piece today from LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner on the 2016 U.S. election.

I think it is impressive because it expresses views that are solid and sensible without explicitly being partisan. 

I think we may have a strong suspicion of which side he personally supported, as well as that of most LinkedIn employees, and indeed most people working in tech. But he was able to lament the extreme divisiveness of that election and also convey that LinkedIn will uphold values that are decent and civil, without blaming any one side.

Now, in one way, I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. If it is crystal clear that one side is objectively and overwhelmingly vile and sordid, while the other is just politics as usual, then maybe that side needs to be called out every time? Maybe any mention of them, however minor, without opposing them contributes to normalizing them? I tend to think this.

However there may be times when we have to navigate the waters more skillfully. If and when that need comes up, this piece by Jeff is a good reference.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Persistent questions during meetings

There are some people who are really impatient and incapable of delaying their understanding of things.

So when you are doing a presentation they will keep interrupting with questions. However, due to their impatient nature, if those questions are not easily answered they will keep doggedly pursuing the point in their quest to get the answers that satisfy them. This causes the discussion to get further and further off track.

I find it helps to just politely ask them to allow me to finish the presentation, or at least wait till I get to the end of the current chapter or section, and ask questions then.

Another thing that helps is to discern if the question is out of bounds for that meeting. For example, if I promised to provide just an overview of that topic, and the question is really intense and detailed, I can politely tell them that today we are just doing an overview. I can get to their detailed question later or on another day.