Weeknote for 6/13/2021

Finances

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I finished my expense goal calculations with grad school and a pet. For grad school I chose about 20 schools for AI and cognitive science based on their rankings at US News and CollegeHippo, and I gathered tuition data from CollegeHippo. The costs were intimidating but not unexpected, $50,000 a year toward the upper end of the range. In this phase of my planning I didn’t look at financial aid or researcher salaries, so I’m left in an uncertain state about whether it’d be a good investment, but that’ll come eventually.

I haven’t had any pets since I moved away from home, and the place I live now doesn’t allow them, but if I get one someday, it’ll most likely be a cat, so I based my calculations on that. The articles I looked at gave me a rough estimate of $1,000 a year.

I set up my freelance invoicing in Quicken. Previously I did my invoicing via a rickety set of scripts I wrote that grabbed and formatted data from GnuCash, when they worked correctly. When they didn’t, I had to fix them, and the result was that I regularly put off invoicing for months at a time. Invoicing with Quicken turns out to still be somewhat cumbersome but hopefully less glitchy.

My finances project is on hold for the next few weeks. But I’ll probably still work on it on the side, mostly in the realm of reducing my regular expenses.

Business

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Entrepreneurship by OpenStax makes starting a business feel difficult but doable. On the difficult side, it laid out many, many issues to research, decisions to make, and risks to handle. On the doable side, it presented the many resources available to help with those challenges. As usual, the book kept me thinking about my plans in this area and sparked some ideas. One of them was to practice by applying some of the book’s methods to the simpler business ideas I’ve picked up from YouTube. It even gave me a potential direction to take my next, non-entrepreneurial job search, whenever that will be.

Productivity

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I learned that The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is, in fact, very good and not a book of clichรฉs. After hearing about this book for decades, hearing Dan Charnas reference it again finally motivated me to put it on my to-read list, and my library hold on the audiobook came up last week. Even though many of the concepts in the book were familiar, what kept them from being clichรฉs is that they were fertile. You could plant them in your life, and they’d bear fruit. Of the many quality ideas Covey puts forward, one I keep returning to is to schedule activities from each of your key roles each week. I’m also intrigued by his principles and techniques of deep communication.

This project month of Sol I’ll work on my productivity system. This time, in addition to GTD, I’ll incorporate ideas from Everything in Its Place, The 7 Habits, and Algorithms to Live By.

Housekeeping

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I started the purging phase of tidying with my shipping materials and clothes. Half of tidying is purging and organizing. The other half is coming up with a system to keep it that way, which is both my MO these days and an emphasis of The Home Edit. So as I purged, I wrote down the criteria I was coming up with, which I’d previously also done for my book weeding.

Coffee

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Barissimo Donut Store Blend: 2/5. The quality was very inconsistent and ended up sour too much of the time.

TV

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Westworld is a fascinating examination of AI, freedom, and invisible oppression. I finished season 3 last week. I’ve been watching the show via Netflix DVD. It’s many times better than the movie it’s based on, which I wrote about in an earlier post. (If you want to watch it, keep in mind that it earns its TV-MA rating.) My impression is that stories about AI have gotten smarter in recent years. If that’s true, I imagine it’s because of the public’s easy access to information about the current AI spring. My AI takeaway from the show is that in contrast with the dangers of making AIs too alien, there are dangers to making them human enough to be treated (and mistreated) like humans.

Space

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I made a multistream for watching everyday SpaceX Starship operations. It has all of LabPadre’s feeds except the thermal view. I grouped them spatially. The launch site cams are at the top, and the production site cams are at the bottom. Here’s a good overview from NASASpaceflight of the latest activity and plans for the Starship program.

Sometime in the next few months I hope to spend some time on space. I have some books to listen to, a page to post, and maybe even some games to play.

Games

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I reinstalled Minecraft and started exploring my old worlds. I’ve barely played any video games for the past few years, and I rarely miss them, but the one I do miss is Minecraft, especially when I listen to its soundtrack on my nature walks. And recently I discovered my favorite Minecraft YouTuber has begun uploading again after five years of silence. Now that I have better control over my time, I think I can fit in some gaming, so over the weekend I installed Minecraft on my new Surface.

Setting up the game took several hours because I needed to transfer my files from my old computer. But once all that was done, I could remind myself of what some of my more mysterious old worlds were about. The first one I tried was the one I’d been hoping to find, one where I’d built an elevated base made of glass. Even though I abandoned it for another Minecraft project, it occupies a special place in my mind, and I’d like to see what else I can do with it. The third one I tried only had a bit of mining. But the second one turned out to be the source of a dim memory of an underground Nether portal near the place I’d left the game. Where will I end up when I retrace my steps from long ago?

This entry was posted in AI, Business, Coffee, Housekeeping, Money, Productivity, Space, TV, Video games, Weeknotes. Bookmark the permalink.

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