#291 - Crackers Update, Clarity, ChromeOS & Android, and Unsexy Solutions

4 minute read

Motto: Pajamas are the coolest thing according to cats, meanwhile the knee is the object bees find the most hip.


Right out the gate - my cousins were in town & here's this awesome continuation our traditional "Crackers" photo:

If anyone knows of a hardware store with a sign denoting where they sell their studs, please let us know.

Lately I've been changed my attitude about several things. I'm not sure what's driven it, but I have fallen into a zen mode. I want fewer distractions. I want to do life things. Let's buy a house. Let's have a kid (JK NOT YET I'M SO YOUNG). For real, though, I feel like I'm in a period of great mental clarity. I don't know what's brought it on, but I hope it stays for a while. I have uninstalled Fallout 4. I'm not watching a TV show while I'm writing this. I'm not wanting to do 8 things at once. I want to do one thing that I'm 8 times more passionate about. Here's a depiction of the transformation I'd like to make:


In other news...

The biggest news from Google I/O after the fact was the coming of Android apps to ChromeOS. One common (and mostly unnecessary) complaint about Chromebooks is their lack of ability to install programs. My next Chromebook will be home to a Google Play Store that has 2.2 million applications to explore, and I couldn't be more excited. It's got me looking ahead to the holiday season this year when I can hopefully upgrade this couple-year-old model. 

This Android/ChromeOS news has implications on my goals. It's been my ambition for years to create a portable, shareable version of the Life Tracker (which I'm considering renaming "Captain's Log", by the way). For a long time I've been stuck with analysis paralysis about whether or not I wanted to just convert the Google Apps Script-based version I wrote originally over three years ago or if I wanted to start from scratch with an Android version. My thoughts on the subject were summarized as so:

Reasons to use Google Apps Script:

  • Coding is easier. I can already do it.
  • The final product is spreadsheet-based, which allows for incredible flexibility for the end user.
  • It's platform independent. Available to anyone of any operating system and any form factor.
  • There's basically zero competition.
Reasons to use Android:

  • Nobody in the normal world things "I'm going to use a Google Apps Scripts solution!" when they are searching for a tool to solve their tracking-related problems. An Android app from the Google Play Store is much much more approachable.
  • Android is probably in the first 10 words someone would put in a word cloud around a picture of me.
  • It would be more challenging, which makes it better.
  • I've always wanted to call myself an Android developer. People understand "he makes apps" a lot better than "he's got this crazy spreadsheet with a JavaScript backend that ties into various RESTful APIs.
There's extremely solid arguments to be made on both sides... but knowing that I could create an Android app that could also then be accessed from my laptop is the thing that pushes it over the edge for me.

One last thing I've been wanting to write about. Here goes.

I feel like many of the major problems people have in their lives that they've struggled to control have well-known, simple, yet extremely unsexy solutions. People want a pill or a trick that will burn off the fat. They want to find a fortune on the street or win the lottery to solve their money woes. They want to be faster, stronger, healthier, and better looking. They want to finally stop smoking. All day these people have trendy and new-age "solutions" advertised at them, promising to help them achiever their goals and fix their problems with no effort or suffering on their part (other than 3 easy payments of $9.99).
There are already solutions for all of those things that work great... and they've been around long enough that you could read about them at your local library - in the 1940's. 

Want to lose weight? Track your food. See how much you eat. Aim to eat less. Adjust your intake to move that average while continuing to track food. 
Want more money? Track your expenses. See where you're spending your money and cut out some of the less necessary expenses.
Want to be faster, stronger, healthier, and better-looking? Go running. Do simple lifts. Sweat more often. Buy healthier stuff and eat what you buy. Health follows those things. Better-looking follows health.
Want to stop smoking? Just stop smoking. Don't buy cigarettes.

Simple solutions. Effective solutions.

Top 5: Things I'd Like to Do More of, but Would Require More Free Time
5. Noodle more guitar. I cannot really play guitar... but I may have achieved "noodling" status. 
4. Film and edit more videos. I have ideas written down from literally years ago I haven't ever tried.

3. Pushups. Planks. Pullups. Runs. Bikes. 
2. Finish that Udacity curriculum I got halfway through. Continue learning to code in a semistructured way. Make a sharable version of the Life Tracker.
1. Write more. Write more abstract.

"That system seems about as useful as a notetaking monkey that doesn't take good notes."
- Alex -