Category Archives: Technology

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, 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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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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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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A New Website

Once an idea finds coupling with an interest, it is at that time new and meaningful things begin to happen. My passion for travel planning is now a full-blown hobby. Simply pulling up Google Maps provides an endless source of destinations, each of which of course has a name, but perhaps also an interesting story. Placing myself into that story is one of the most culturally respectful rites and socially entertaining sensations I can experience. Full immersion. I am now living in another world, others’ world.

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