Birthday Cupcakes

33

Make the money, don’t let the money make you
Change the game, don’t let the game change you

-Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I turned 33 this week. My wife surprised me by doing a small celebration at home. It was beautiful.

I love history and I enjoy reading historical articles on Wikipedia. The problem is I have hard time visualizing dates when various events occurred. I was looking for an easy to read timeline of the world history. Didn’t find any I like. So I decided to build my own at http://amerkhalid.com/histories/. As I read articles, I add to a Google doc that above link pulls data from.

33 sounds old. I thought I would be ready to retire by now. And after retiring, I thought I would work on real fun projects. I wanted to work on real complex problems. The problems that actually change the world. Instead of simply implementing solutions that have already been created. There is not a whole of challenge and discovery in these simple problems.

There is no reason to wait until you retire. I think I got sidetracked by money. I want to make good money. But money became my main driving force. For my side projects, I was creating simple sites like social networks, dating sites. These are already solved problems. The only discovery is googling to lookup library’s functions.

And why do I not get a job where I would get paid to work on harder problems. First, I like where I work and I do enjoy my work. There is security and stability. Then no one would hire me as I lack any real experience or record of solving big problems that I want to work on.

My new goal is to use my free time to read up on interesting problems like big data, NLP, AI, image processing. I am not sure exactly what I want to work on eventually. Just reading for now.

I

Who is that is I
Still lost in my mind
Trying to find my purpose
When there might not be one
The first thing was writing
Can words truly change anything?
Why should I write
When there is so much noise
Are you in that house
or are you out here
I will give up now
This desert is just too vast
My voice will not reach you
Is this even a language
What is music when there is no rythm
Why should I write
When I have nothing to say

 

Is Basis Watch Worth It?

I was following Basis’s development since the start. Their initial goal was to build an actual heart rate monitor. But current technology is not there. So they changed wordings on their site but I missed that. When I received it, I was very disappointed with lack of heart rate monitoring during workouts, and returned it immediately.

I was hoping by now we would have more options. But now only other option is MIO watch which should be better at monitoring heart rate but lacks all other sensors.

And then Basis updated their Sleep Analysis which looks pretty cool. It was new year, I wanted a new gadget, so I end up buying this once again. This time, however, I knew what I was getting.

First, let me list cons (for me):

  • Heart rate monitoring requires almost no movement. Even walking will stop heart rate monitoring.
  • Display is hard to see, and looks cheap.
  • You have to wear pretty tight, not uncomfortably, but still too tight for normal watches.
  • They are not clear on how they use some data like skin temperature, and perspiration.
  • No Api to export your data and run your own analysis.
  • Even while sleeping at night, there is 3 hour block where it could not detect my heart rate. The watch was on pretty tight.

Now here are some reasons why I still bought it again:

  • Only choice if you want a tracker that tracks more than just arm movements.
  • It records resting heart rate, which shows overall health.
  • It records steps, so it is at least worth $100 like Fitbit.
  • It records sleep automatically, and does pretty good analysis. (Not perfect but something to look at).
  • It records skin temperature and perspiration. Not sure exactly how they use it, but I can use it for some personal analysis.
  • Chrome model looks pretty good.
  • They are improving their software, I want to support them and hopefully, heart rate tracking will get better with time.

Overall, I think it is a great activity tracker, and worth extra $100 for me. But it is not perfect, and all extra sensors may not be worth for some people.

Bought MyBasis Watch Again

I had followed Basis team long before they released their watch. I was really excited for their technology. Last summer, after a long wait, I finally received invitation to place the order. As soon as, it was delivered, I charged it up and started using it.

However, my excitement didn’t last very long. I noticed my heart rate was not being tracked correctly. I tried it for a few days, but even slightest movements will stop watch from recording heart rate. It was completely useless as a heart rate monitor during a workout. I checked online and learned that MyBasis had changed their marketing. When I joined their waiting list a year or so before the launch, it was advertised as real-time heart rate monitor that can be used during workouts. But now it was advertised as Health/Lifestyle Tracker that can help establish baseline for average heart rate throughout the day.

I was not happy. So I decided to send it back. MyBasis’s support was great, they didn’t try to talk me out of it. They immediately issued me RMA, and they even waived restocking fee.

Now 6 months later, I ordered Basis (2014 Ed.) again.

Hardware-wise this is still the same watch.  There have been a few cosmetic changes on 2014 edition but basically it is same Basis B1 watch.

However, they have updated their software.

The main reason I got this again is because of their updated Sleep Analysis. There are a lot of positive reviews of updated Sleep Analysis on Amazon and on the web.

I suffer from insomnia a lot and have difficulty waking up early in the morning. This seemed like a great alternative to full-blown medical sleep study. I am not sure what I will find, but hopefully, it will show me a few things that can improve my sleep.

This time, I am not raising my expectation too much though. Even if it doesn’t help me improve my sleep, I am going to keep it this time. I am just hoping that Basis’s team will continue to improve its software and hopefully this watch will become more and more useful as time goes on.

Also Karl got Fitbit now. While I am on different system, we can still compete.

Link

Paul Graham’s “How to Do What You Love”

This essay is a great read. My favorite quotes from it:

That’s where the upper-middle class tradition comes from. Just as houses all over America are full of chairs that are, without the owners even knowing it, nth-degree imitations of chairs designed 250 years ago for French kings, conventional attitudes about work are, without the owners even knowing it, nth-degree imitations of the attitudes of people who’ve done great things.

That’s what leads people to try to write novels, for example. They like reading novels. They notice that people who write them win Nobel prizes. What could be more wonderful, they think, than to be a novelist? But liking the idea of being a novelist is not enough; you have to like the actual work of novel-writing if you’re going to be good at it; you have to like making up elaborate lies.

Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you’ll be more likely to arrive at it.

via How to Do What You Love.