Author Archives: RLP

Reprise and Revise

I thought it might be fun to revisit a few of my previous posts and see what’s been happening since. Take Email Efficiency, for instance. A few days after writing that entry I was going through my Trash folder and discovered some Doctor of Credit newsletters. My mailbox sorting rules say they should just stay unread and be placed in the Archive, not sent to the trash! It turns out the fifth or so rule in my list of 357 filters — a rule I’ve had for years! — was loosely matching on a common phrase and deleting any emails containing a match.

That rule has now been deleted.

i do occasionally review the email in my Trash folder and this is the first time I’ve spotted something that I intended to keep. Perhaps I really haven’t lost that much mail due to this errant rule as I’d first suspected.

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Email Efficiency

For awhile I have known that I am efficient when it comes to email. I use Gmail, it offers methods to help with email management. Using filters to automatically label with a category, archive (remove from the inbox view), and mark emails as read, are all actions that can be performed based upon a condition.

For instance, if the email is from dailystoic.com, I can do this: Skip Inbox, Apply label “Daily Stoic”. Skipping the inbox archives the email, but doesn’t mark it as read. The “Daily Stoic” label helps when identifying it later on.

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Thinking about Tax Year 2018

This year saw income from a handful of sources other than a regular paycheck. This year I received:

  1. bonuses for opening new bank accounts – $3,800
  2. payment for selling trade-lines – $2,975
  3. another couple of thousand in new credit card bonuses, travel credits, and discounted gift cards

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Deciphering the Burger King Magstripe

In terms of technological innovations, magnetic stripe cards have existed for a long time, since 1960 at least. According to Wikipedia, IBM was the first company to place them on the now ubiquitous plastic cards that we all carry around in our wallets. The information on the card is encoded in three horizontal lines, running lengthwise, called tracks. Mostly only tracks 1 and 2 are used. Indeed, this is where Burger King (and all other merchants) store the data that represents a unique gift card code.

Due to magstripe technology now being so wide-spread, card reader/writer devices have drastically fallen in price. From what I understand, a decade ago writers cost $400. Today they can be found on eBay for about $70, which is where I bought mine.

This article discusses how to source cheaper electronic gift codes, decipher the Burger King magstripe, and write that code to a gift card for easier use.

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Market Capitalization Targets

What is the percentage needed to increment or deincrement to the nearest number of arbitrary end number places. How much must market cap change in order to reach the nearest hundred million? In other words, what percentage gain takes 189.5 billion to 189.6 billion? How about down?

1) Know variable number to be measured
2) Know variable number of end number places to target
3) Find variable number percentage needed to move up or down
4) Optionally: Run random or stepped simulations and graph the data and results
5) Optionally: Specify denominations (B=billion, M=million, etc.) with a letter

No prewritten compound algebraic functions
ex: =MOD() is OK if % is not available, =ROUND() may NOT be ok because that can be solved algebraically

 

Here is a simulation of some numbers when evaluated by my solution:

Anatomy of an Itinerary

What is the genesis of your perfect travel itinerary? What concept kick-starts your plans, taking you to awe-inspiring destinations filled with rich, foreign cultures? Perhaps it’s venturing to the UNESCO sites. Or how about checking off countries and continents? Well, what gets me going is a far-flung hotel with an attractive award redemption rate—a new hotel in a new place means new things to do! That hotel becomes a home base from which a well-structured itinerary can frame an incredible travel experience.

This entry is all about how I have planned my future trip to southern Chile.

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Flurries

Flurries of activity, things get done. Lately lucrative bank bonuses earned in exchange for opening new accounts has become very attractive. Giving away my personal information to big financial institutions. Running their respective gauntlets, adhering to the requirements and rules, and operating within the terms and conditions:  Quite an awesome angle on extracting big bucks for simply playing a little game.

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Design and Improvements

Growth! Movement! Design!

This past Saturday morning I had quite a list. Open tabs, scattered notes, partial plans. These things (each a tiny project in itself) had been staring back at me from my desktop for weeks. However Saturday morning I also accomplished a lot.

It took some distilling and arranging but I lined up tasks and knocked them out one after the other. The method I use to force myself to action is to leave tabs open in my browser until I act on whatever the project is that requires the content from that page. Constant exposure to information (the tab) that might help me to finish the project and free up space (in my browser and in my mind) is an excellent form of perpetual prompting. Personally I find this method works quite well. The drip of stress is a strong motivator.

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Blogging on the Cheap

This site was assembled fairly quickly and it is built upon the most cutting edge blogging platform out there. WordPress is so powerful; it facilitates publishing yourself on a global scale. Words and thoughts belonging to you stand independently. They stand right alongside juggernauts like CNN, Reuters, and Yahoo, and are just as accessible. Your ideas on view to all the world. It’s an inspiring sensation. Here’s how I did it and how you can too:

  1. Register a domain name with Namecheap* – $10 per year
  2. Open an account with DigitalOcean – $5 per month
  3. Install and configure WordPress – free!

This comes out to around $70 per year. Totally doable! It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a pre-packaged web hosting plan, you receive root access to your own shell, and you get to walk away with valuable skills.

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Things Be Gone!

Last night after writing Declutter I separated and stacked a few items and tried to decide which to create a Craigslist listing for first. With the low light of evening less than ideal for positive photography results, it was decided:  I would write item descriptions that evening and take pictures the next morning.

Yeah, those photos didn’t happen.

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