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I'm going to write a post about my ongoing campaign to learn all major languages every time I finish another one. As I've written before, my goal is to complete the Pimsleur courses for every language I'm interested in, which is approximately 25 of them. Each course is thirty to ninety days long.
I just finished Arabic last night. It was easily the toughest language I've tackled on Pimsleur. There were some lessons where I felt totally lost, but then I'd always catch up within a lesson or two. Most other languages I'd feel caught up pretty much all the time.
Arabic was so difficult that I'm not really sure how much I got out of the thirty days. After thirty days of Romanian I could actually function at a minimal level in Romania. I'm not sure I could say the same about Arabic.
On the other hand, I watched Benny Lewis' 45 day Arabic progress video and I could understand almost the entire conversation. He had a bigger vocabulary, maybe by 50-100%, but our grammatical understanding seemed roughly equivalent, and I think my pronunciation is significantly better. That's a pretty strong testimonial for Pimsleur considering how much work Benny puts into language learning.
The marginal benefit of going from zero knowledge to some knowledge is pretty impressive. I've spoken a tiny bit of Arabic with the owner of my local grocery store as well as a clerk at a drug store. They were both really excited that I spoke any at all.
Two years ago I finally jumped off the Thinkpad wagon to buy a Sony Z12. I have my loyalties and preferences, but at the end of the day I know that the one feature that actually directly impacts my productivity is screen resolution. The higher the resolution, the more stuff that can fit on the screen at once. The more I can fit on the screen, the less swapping between windows I have to do, and thus the less I have to interrupt my workflow. At the same time, I travel a lot, so I need a small computer. My criteria will always be the smallest usable computer with the highest resolution.
For a long time, the Sony was that computer. New computers came out over the past two years, but none of them stacked up well against the Sony. Even the Z12's successor, the Z21, wasn't much to write home about.
Then one day I read an announcement saying that Asus was releasing two new ultrabooks (you know, the Windows laptops that look like Macbook Airs), an 11.6" and a 13", and both would have full 1920x1080 screens. They'd be about half the thickness of my existing laptop, and the smaller of the two would be half a pound lighter. I was sold.
I bought the 11.6" version, the Asus UX21A Zenbook Prime.
I have usually been a long term kind of guy. I went for a job/career that required that you work there long term and the benefits would be a life of retirement payments. As well as good benefits while I worked there. I also choose to buy a house rather than rent. The thinking that the real estate is a good safe bet as long as I bought in a good school district and kept the house in good condition.
I ended the job 2/3 into it due to health reasons. I was pretty upset at myself because it seemed like I had lost. Then I began to realize that there is a reason they set those type of years of service into the system. It's probably a low percentage of people that complete the requirements to get to that retirement package. I've seen a lot of people quit during my years. And, the people that did make it to the retirement didn't seem any happier in life when they got there.
I was talking with a friend that was wondering what choice to make about his Social Security retirement. He told me his options were to take a low retirement amount at age 62, or wait until he was 66 and get a larger monthly amount. And then another option was to wait until he was 69 and get a lot larger monthly amount. He was saying that it was hard to believe that 7 years wait would result in such a bigger monthly amount, but evidently SSI has figured out that a low percentage of people make it through those 7 years during that age. Or they wouldn't have offered that type of deal.
I'm in my mid 40's, and I've now witnessed that so many things are unpredictable and out of my control. There will be good weather days and bad weather days. I've reached the point that I can't see getting involved in any long term investments. Anything that has a payout past age 65 in too much of a gamble. I hope I'm healthy into my 80's, but statistics say otherwise.
I always had the opinion that people that just kick the can down the road to survive were rather foolish. Now I'm rethinking that theory. Why not take short term risks and enjoy the challenges. I'm not talking about buying lottery tickets or gambling. I'm talking about trying new things in life to enjoy the moment. Why not go on a fishing trip instead of working feverishly all day hoping to add a few dollars to my savings account. The money saved doesn't seem to make a big difference in the end. Especially when you end up spending it on Doctor bills and prescriptions due to the stress.
We have endured a pretty cold Winter here on the East Coast. I think everyone is ready for the warm weather. There are a few things that I really love about my area in the Summer.
The first thing is juicy, delicious tomatoes. My area, like many, takes a lot of pride in our tomatoes. We like to think ours are the best in the world. They are especially nice after eating the tomatoes we get in the stores during the Winter that have NO flavor at all.
I am planting the seeds for my garden inside. I can't wait until everyday I can walk outside and pick my fresh vegetables for a healthy salad. For those of you that like to live frugal, this is the way to go.
I have one section of my garden that is simply a free garden and compost area. It is a variety of tomatoes and cherry tomato plants that come up all on there own each year. It looks that a jungle by July, but I trim out some plants and build a fence to let the plants climb. I always squeeze out a number of tomatoes to let more seeds go back into the ground.
A friend of mine takes potato peelings and plants them. Sure enough, he gets pounds of potatoes each year.
PM me for more pics and a video.
It works great and doesn't seem to affect the Rialta negatively. I haven't weighed it in over a year, but I'd guess it's at ~7500 now with water and excluding 550lb bike, which has it's weight split with the carrier's wheel & RV when loaded. I have a leaky suspension airbag, but even flat, the rear doesn't bottom out or drag in dips. I've looked at the Pit Bull trailer restraint and the Tyre Down as options of better securing it without pulling down on suspension. Since that video, I've added self-retracting ratchet straps permanently attached to the carrier that grab a strap set up like the Tyre Down atop of my rear tire (see pictures in album) and plan to build a collapsible front chock soon. I had to take off the front fender of my bike to restrain it like I have been, but think I can make attachment for hooking on the outsides of the installed fender. Also added on the Rialta is a company logo on the doors and fleet numbers on the corners to appear more "utility van".
I'd be happy to help anyone out with dimensions or more details on the design; I built it in my Dad's shop at home, so can't easily reproduce one right now. If it's feasible to build the carrier frame with aluminum, that would help with weight, but you'll probably have to reinforce it in more places.Tynan, sorry for this post's delay; I didn't realize that uploading a video on mobile broadband was completely hopeless. Bonus pic of the Austin Clique attached.
Ever since the first NEX-5 came out, I've been trumpeting its strong points. With the notable exception of the amazing new Sony RX1, the NEX-5 series is the smallest camera with an APS-C or bigger sensor. In other words, it's the smallest camera that you can really get professional level shots out of. The two big features that I've wanted ever since Sony came out with this camera are in-camera charging so that I don't have to carry around a separate charger, and an audio-in port.
The built in microphone is acceptable, but if there's any amount of wind or background noise, audio quality degrades very quickly. Despite the incredible optical quality of the camera, the audio quality when recording videos has been its Achilles' heel, making many videos unusable. All that Sony would need to do to fix this is put a tiny little microphone jack on the camera. The new NEX-6 and the NEX-7 both have microphone jacks, but getting that jack isn't worth the (admittedly small) increase in camera size.
In a desperate attempt to improve sound quality, I bought Sony's own solution, a microphone that clips to the top of the camera. While it's better than the built-in mic, the microphone was still vulnerable to camera noise as well as background noise. Plus, sometimes you just want to wear a little clip-on lav mic and not worry about outside sounds.
I searched online for some solution, but although there was speculation that it might be possible to hack something together, no one had actually done it. One night, as I drifted off to sleep, my mind circled back around to the microphone issue. I had been recording a video every day for a couple months, and I really wished that I could just plug a microphone in. There had to be a solution. I decided that since the add-on Sony mic wasn't that great anyway, I'd take it apart the next day and see what I could figure out.
Hey guys, I'm curious about if theres anything I need to do to optimize SEO for my site powered by Sett. Apparently google can't find the robots.txt and I'm not sure if I need a sitemap like other wordpress sites.
Hey guys, I'd like to stop by your site and connect with all the new SETT bloggers getting started since the launch. Post your URLs!
Last time i checked on coinbase a bitcoin only costs $220 and I've seen prices at $180. The trend seems that bitcoin is dropping, what do you guys think of this? Is it a good time to buy? If ~$200 is market value, what do you guys think actual value is (of course "actual" is speculative)
I bought a 1996 Winnebago Rialta to live in starting when the lease on my house is done at the end of May. Obviously Tynan was an inspiration in the sense that I would never have considered an RV if not for him, but long before he and I reconnected I'd always taken the stance that I would live in the smallest living space possible as long as I had a great kitchen.
So, when I was looking around at apartments in Seattle's Capitol Hill recently and dreading moving into a lousy studio in some nice building's basement with an electric stove and a crummy refrigerator, I thought, wait a minute, Tynan's got a great kitchen in his RV. Time to put my money where my mouth is.
I've done a fair amount of work on it. The Community section of tynan.com is a perfect place to log this stuff. I'll post some status here in a minute.