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Ian Writes

Ian Writes

8 months ago

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a Giant Steaming Pile of Sh*t by Robert Kiyosaki.

More on Personal Growth

Patryk Nawrocki

Patryk Nawrocki

10 months ago

7 things a new UX/UI designer should know

If I could tell my younger self a few rules, they would boost my career.

1. Treat design like medicine; don't get attached.

If it doesn't help, you won't be angry, but you'll try to improve it. Designers blame others if they don't like the design, but the rule is the same: we solve users' problems. You're not your design, and neither are they. Be humble with your work because your assumptions will often be wrong and users will behave differently.

2. Consider your design flawed.

Disagree with yourself, then defend your ideas. Most designers forget to dig deeper into a pattern, screen, button, or copywriting. If someone asked, "Have you considered alternatives? How does this design stack up? Here's a functional UX checklist to help you make design decisions.

3. Codeable solutions.

If your design requires more developer time, consider whether it's worth spending more money to code something with a small UX impact. Overthinking problems and designing abstract patterns is easy. Sometimes you see something on dribbble or bechance and try to recreate it, but it's not worth it. Here's my article on it.

4. Communication changes careers

Designers often talk with users, clients, companies, developers, and other designers. How you talk and present yourself can land you a job. Like driving or swimming, practice it. Success requires being outgoing and friendly. If I hadn't said "hello" to a few people, I wouldn't be where I am now.

5. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Copyright, taxation How often have you used an icon without checking its license? If you use someone else's work in your project, the owner can cause you a lot of problems — paying a lot of money isn't worth it. Spend a few hours reading about copyrights, client agreements, and taxes.

6. Always test your design

If nobody has seen or used my design, it's not finished. Ask friends about prototypes. Testing reveals how wrong your assumptions were. Steve Krug, one of the authorities on this topic will tell you more about how to do testing.

7. Run workshops

A UX designer's job involves talking to people and figuring out what they need, which is difficult because they usually don't know. Organizing teamwork sessions is a powerful skill, but you must also be a good listener. Your job is to help a quiet, introverted developer express his solution and control the group. AJ Smart has more on workshops here.

Scott Stockdale

Scott Stockdale

10 months ago

A Day in the Life of Lex Fridman Can Help You Hit 6-Month Goals

Photo by Lex Fridman on YouTube

The Lex Fridman podcast host has interviewed Elon Musk.

Lex is a minimalist YouTuber. His videos are sloppy. Suits are his trademark.

In a video, he shares a typical day. I've smashed my 6-month goals using its ideas.

Here's his schedule.

Morning Mantra

Not woo-woo. Lex's mantra reflects his practicality.

Four parts.

Rulebook

"I remember the game's rules," he says.

Among them:

  • Sleeping 6–8 hours nightly

  • 1–3 times a day, he checks social media.

  • Every day, despite pain, he exercises. "I exercise uninjured body parts."

Visualize

He imagines his day. "Like Sims..."

He says three things he's grateful for and contemplates death.

"Today may be my last"

Objectives

Then he visualizes his goals. He starts big. Five-year goals.

Short-term goals follow. Lex says they're year-end goals.

Near but out of reach.

Principles

He lists his principles. Assertions. His goals.

He acknowledges his cliche beliefs. Compassion, empathy, and strength are key.

Here's my mantra routine:

Author-made screengrab

Four-Hour Deep Work

Lex begins a four-hour deep work session after his mantra routine. Today's toughest.

AI is Lex's specialty. His video doesn't explain what he does.

Clearly, he works hard.

Before starting, he has water, coffee, and a bathroom break.

"During deep work sessions, I minimize breaks."

He's distraction-free. Phoneless. Silence. Nothing. Any loose ideas are typed into a Google doc for later. He wants to work.

"Just get the job done. Don’t think about it too much and feel good once it’s complete." — Lex Fridman

30-Minute Social Media & Music

After his first deep work session, Lex rewards himself.

10 minutes on social media, 20 on music. Upload content and respond to comments in 10 minutes. 20 minutes for guitar or piano.

"In the real world, I’m currently single, but in the music world, I’m in an open relationship with this beautiful guitar. Open relationship because sometimes I cheat on her with the acoustic." — Lex Fridman

Two-hour exercise

Then exercise for two hours.

Daily runs six miles. Then he chooses how far to go. Run time is an hour.

He does bodyweight exercises. Every minute for 15 minutes, do five pull-ups and ten push-ups. It's David Goggins-inspired. He aims for an hour a day.

He's hungry. Before running, he takes a salt pill for electrolytes.

He'll then take a one-minute cold shower while listening to cheesy songs. Afterward, he might eat.

Four-Hour Deep Work

Lex's second work session.

He works 8 hours a day.

Again, zero distractions.

Eating

The video's meal doesn't look appetizing, but it's healthy.

It's ground beef with vegetables. Cauliflower is his "ground-floor" veggie. "Carrots are my go-to party food."

Lex's keto diet includes 1800–2000 calories.

He drinks a "nutrient-packed" Atheltic Greens shake and takes tablets. It's:

  • One daily tablet of sodium.

  • Magnesium glycinate tablets stopped his keto headaches.

  • Potassium — "For electrolytes"

  • Fish oil: healthy joints

“So much of nutrition science is barely a science… I like to listen to my own body and do a one-person, one-subject scientific experiment to feel good.” — Lex Fridman

Four-hour shallow session

This work isn't as mentally taxing.

Lex planned to:

  • Finish last session's deep work (about an hour)

  • Adobe Premiere podcasting (about two hours).

  • Email-check (about an hour). Three times a day max. First, check for emergencies.

If he's sick, he may watch Netflix or YouTube documentaries or visit friends.

“The possibilities of chaos are wide open, so I can do whatever the hell I want.” — Lex Fridman

Two-hour evening reading

Nonstop work.

Lex ends the day reading academic papers for an hour. "Today I'm skimming two machine learning and neuroscience papers"

This helps him "think beyond the paper."

He reads for an hour.

“When I have a lot of energy, I just chill on the bed and read… When I’m feeling tired, I jump to the desk…” — Lex Fridman


Takeaways

Lex's day-in-the-life video is inspiring.

He has positive energy and works hard every day.

Schedule:

  • Mantra Routine includes rules, visualizing, goals, and principles.

  • Deep Work Session #1: Four hours of focus.

  • 10 minutes social media, 20 minutes guitar or piano. "Music brings me joy"

  • Six-mile run, then bodyweight workout. Two hours total.

  • Deep Work #2: Four hours with no distractions. Google Docs stores random thoughts.

  • Lex supplements his keto diet.

  • This four-hour session is "open to chaos."

  • Evening reading: academic papers followed by fiction.

"I value some things in life. Work is one. The other is loving others. With those two things, life is great." — Lex Fridman

Entreprogrammer

Entreprogrammer

6 months ago

The Steve Jobs Formula: A Guide to Everything

A must-read for everyone

Photo by AB on Unsplash

Jobs is well-known. You probably know the tall, thin guy who wore the same clothing every day. His influence is unavoidable. In fewer than 40 years, Jobs' innovations have impacted computers, movies, cellphones, music, and communication.

Steve Jobs may be more imaginative than the typical person, but if we can use some of his ingenuity, ambition, and good traits, we'll be successful. This essay explains how to follow his guidance and success secrets.

1. Repetition is necessary for success.

Be patient and diligent to master something. Practice makes perfect. This is why older workers are often more skilled.

When should you repeat a task? When you're confident and excited to share your product. It's when to stop tweaking and repeating.

Jobs stated he'd make the crowd sh** their pants with an iChat demo.

Use this in your daily life.

  • Start with the end in mind. You can put it in writing and be as detailed as you like with your plan's schedule and metrics. For instance, you have a goal of selling three coffee makers in a week.

  • Break it down, break the goal down into particular tasks you must complete, and then repeat those tasks. To sell your coffee maker, you might need to make 50 phone calls.

  • Be mindful of the amount of work necessary to produce the desired results. Continue doing this until you are happy with your product.

2. Acquire the ability to add and subtract.

How did Picasso invent cubism? Pablo Picasso was influenced by stylised, non-naturalistic African masks that depict a human figure.

Artists create. Constantly seeking inspiration. They think creatively about random objects. Jobs said creativity is linking things. Creative people feel terrible when asked how they achieved something unique because they didn't do it all. They saw innovation. They had mastered connecting and synthesizing experiences.

Use this in your daily life.

  • On your phone, there is a note-taking app. Ideas for what you desire to learn should be written down. It may be learning a new language, calligraphy, or anything else that inspires or intrigues you.

  • Note any ideas you have, quotations, or any information that strikes you as important.

  • Spend time with smart individuals, that is the most important thing. Jim Rohn, a well-known motivational speaker, has observed that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time.

  • Learning alone won't get you very far. You need to put what you've learnt into practice. If you don't use your knowledge and skills, they are useless.

3. Develop the ability to refuse.

Steve Jobs deleted thousands of items when he created Apple's design ethic. Saying no to distractions meant upsetting customers and partners.

John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple, said something like this. According to Sculley, Steve’s methodology differs from others as he always believed that the most critical decisions are things you choose not to do.

Use this in your daily life.

  • Never be afraid to say "no," "I won't," or "I don't want to." Keep it simple. This method works well in some situations.

  • Give a different option. For instance, X might be interested even if I won't be able to achieve it.

  • Control your top priority. Before saying yes to anything, make sure your work schedule and priority list are up to date.

4. Follow your passion

“Follow your passion” is the worst advice people can give you. Steve Jobs didn't start Apple because he suddenly loved computers. He wanted to help others attain their maximum potential.

Great things take a lot of work, so quitting makes sense if you're not passionate. Jobs learned from history that successful people were passionate about their work and persisted through challenges.

Use this in your daily life.

  • Stay away from your passion. Allow it to develop daily. Keep working at your 9-5-hour job while carefully gauging your level of desire and endurance. Less risk exists.

  • The truth is that if you decide to work on a project by yourself rather than in a group, it will take you years to complete it instead of a week. Instead, network with others who have interests in common.

  • Prepare a fallback strategy in case things go wrong.

Success, this small two-syllable word eventually gives your life meaning, a perspective. What is success?  For most, it's achieving their ambitions. However, there's a catch. Successful people aren't always happy.

Furthermore, where do people’s goals and achievements end? It’s a never-ending process. Success is a journey, not a destination. We wish you not to lose your way on this journey.

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Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow

4 months ago

The current inflation is unique.

New Stiglitz just dropped.

Here's the inflation story everyone believes (warning: it's false): America gave the poor too much money during the recession, and now the economy is awash with free money, which made them so rich they're refusing to work, meaning the economy isn't making anything. Prices are soaring due to increased cash and missing labor.

Lawrence Summers says there's only one answer. We must impoverish the poor: raise interest rates, cause a recession, and eliminate millions of jobs, until the poor are stripped of their underserved fortunes and return to work.

https://pluralistic.net/2021/11/20/quiet-part-out-loud/#profiteering

This is nonsense. Countries around the world suffered inflation during and after lockdowns, whether they gave out humanitarian money to keep people from starvation. America has slightly greater inflation than other OECD countries, but it's not due to big relief packages.

The Causes of and Responses to Today's Inflation, a Roosevelt Institute report by Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and macroeconomist Regmi Ira, debunks this bogus inflation story and offers a more credible explanation for inflation.

https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/RI CausesofandResponsestoTodaysInflation Report 202212.pdf

Sharp interest rate hikes exacerbate the slump and increase inflation, the authors argue. They compare monetary policy inflation cures to medieval bloodletting, where doctors repeated the same treatment until the patient recovered (for which they received credit) or died (which was more likely).

Let's discuss bloodletting. Inflation hawks warn of the wage price spiral, when inflation rises and powerful workers bargain for higher pay, driving up expenses, prices, and wages. This is the fairy-tale narrative of the 1970s, and it's true except that OPEC's embargo drove up oil prices, which produced inflation. Oh well.

Let's be generous to seventies-haunted inflation hawks and say we're worried about a wage-price spiral. Fantastic! No. Real wages are 2.3% lower than they were in Oct 2021 after peaking in June at 4.8%.

Why did America's powerful workers take a paycut rather than demand inflation-based pay? Weak unions, globalization, economic developments.

Workers don't expect inflation to rise, so they're not requesting inflationary hikes. Inflationary expectations have remained moderate, consistent with our data interpretation.

https://www.newyorkfed.org/microeconomics/sce#/

Neither are workers. Working people see surplus savings as wealth and spend it gradually over their lives, despite rising demand. People may have saved money by staying in during the lockdown, but they don't eat out every night to make up for it. Instead, they keep those savings as precautionary balances. This is why the economy is lagging.

People don't buy non-traded goods with pandemic savings (basically, imports). Imports don't multiply like domestic purchases. If you buy a loaf of bread from the corner baker for $1 and they spend it at the tavern across the street, that dollar generates $3 in economic activity. Spending a dollar on foreign goods leaves the country and any multiplier effect happens there, not in the US.

Only marginally higher wages. The ECI is up 1.6% from 2019. Almost all gains went to the 25% lowest-paid Americans. Contrary to the inflation worry about too much savings, these workers don't make enough to save, even post-pandemic.

Recreation and transit spending are at or below pre-pandemic levels. Higher food and hotel prices (which doesn’t mean we’re buying more food than we were in 2019, just that it costs more).

What causes inflation if not greedy workers, free money, and high demand? The most expensive domestic goods produce the biggest revenues for their manufacturers. They charge you more without paying their workers or suppliers more.

The largest price-gougers are funneling their earnings to rich people who store it offshore through stock buybacks and dividends. A $1 billion stock buyback doesn't buy $1 billion in bread.

Five factors influence US inflation today:

I. Price rises for energy and food

II. shifts in consumer tastes

III. supply interruptions (mainly autos);

IV. increased rents (due to telecommuting);

V. monopoly (AKA price-gouging).

None can be remedied by raising interest rates or laying off workers.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, omicron, and China's Zero Covid policy all disrupted the flow of food, energy, and production inputs. The price went higher because we made less.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, oil prices spiked, and sanctions made it worse. But that was February. By October, oil prices had returned to pre-pandemic, 2015 levels attributable to global economic adjustments, including a shift to renewables. Every new renewable installation reduces oil consumption and affects oil prices.

High food prices have a simple solution. The US and EU have bribed farmers not to produce for 50 years. If the war continues, this program may end, and food prices may decline.

Demand changes. We want different things than in 2019, not more. During the lockdown, people substituted goods. Half of the US toilet-paper supply in 2019 was on commercial-sized rolls. This is created from different mills and stock than our toilet paper.

Lockdown pushed toilet paper demand to residential rolls, causing shortages (the TP hoarding story was just another pandemic urban legend). Because supermarket stores don't have accounts with commercial paper distributors, ordering from languishing stores was difficult. Kleenex and paper towel substitutions caused greater shortages.

All that drove increased costs in numerous product categories, and there were more cases. These increases are transient, caused by supply chain inefficiencies that are resolving.

Demand for frontline staff saw a one-time repricing of pay, which is being recouped as we speak.

Illnesses. Brittle, hollowed-out global supply chains aggravated this. The constant pursuit of cheap labor and minimal regulation by monopolies that dominate most sectors means things are manufactured in far-flung locations. Financialization means any surplus capital assets were sold off years ago, leaving firms with little production slack. After the epidemic, several of these systems took years to restart.

Automobiles are to blame. Financialization and monopolization consolidated microchip and auto production in Taiwan and China. When the lockdowns came, these worldwide corporations cancelled their chip orders, and when they placed fresh orders, they were at the back of the line.

That drove up car prices, which is why the US has slightly higher inflation than other wealthy countries: the economy is car-centric. Automobile prices account for 9% of the CPI. France: 3.6%

Rent shocks and telecommuting. After the epidemic, many professionals moved to exurbs, small towns, and the countryside to work from home. As commercial properties were vacated, it was impractical to adapt them for residential use due to planning restrictions. Addressing these restrictions will cut rent prices more than raising inflation rates, which halts housing construction.

Statistical mirages cause some rent inflation. The CPI estimates what homeowners would pay to rent their properties. When rents rise in your neighborhood, the CPI believes you're spending more on rent even if you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Market dominance. Almost every area of the US economy is dominated by monopolies, whose CEOs disclose on investor calls that they use inflation scares to jack up prices and make record profits.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/02/02/its-the-economy-stupid/#overinflated

Long-term profit margins are rising. Markups averaged 26% from 1960-1980. 2021: 72%. Market concentration explains 81% of markup increases (e.g. monopolization). Profit margins reach a 70-year high in 2022. These elements interact. Monopolies thin out their sectors, making them brittle and sensitive to shocks.

If we're worried about a shrinking workforce, there are more humanitarian and sensible solutions than causing a recession and mass unemployment. Instead, we may boost US production capacity by easing workers' entry into the workforce.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/06/01/factories-to-condos-pipeline/#stuff-not-money

US female workforce participation ranks towards the bottom of developed countries. Many women can't afford to work due to America's lack of daycare, low earnings, and bad working conditions in female-dominated fields. If America doesn't have enough workers, childcare subsidies and minimum wages can help.

By contrast, driving the country into recession with interest-rate hikes will reduce employment, and the last recruited (women, minorities) are the first fired and the last to be rehired. Forcing America into recession won't enhance its capacity to create what its people want; it will degrade it permanently.

Nothing the Fed does can stop price hikes from international markets, lack of supply chain investment, COVID-19 disruptions, climate change, the Ukraine war, or market power. They can worsen it. When supply problems generate inflation, raising interest rates decreases investments that can remedy shortages.

Increasing interest rates won't cut rents since landlords pass on the expenses and high rates restrict investment in new dwellings where tenants could escape the costs.

Fixing the supply fixes supply-side inflation. Increase renewables investment (as the Inflation Reduction Act does). Monopolies can be busted (as the IRA does). Reshore key goods (as the CHIPS Act does). Better pay and child care attract employees.

Windfall taxes can claw back price-gouging corporations' monopoly earnings.

https://pluralistic.net/2022/03/15/sanctions-financing/#soak-the-rich

In 2008, we ruled out fiscal solutions (bailouts for debtors) and turned to monetary policy (bank bailouts). This preserved the economy but increased inequality and eroded public trust.

Monetary policy won't help. Even monetary policy enthusiasts recognize an 18-month lag between action and result. That suggests monetary tightening is unnecessary. Like the medieval bloodletter, central bankers whose interest rate hikes don't work swiftly may do more of the same, bringing the economy to its knees.

Interest rates must rise. Zero-percent interest fueled foolish speculation and financialization. Increasing rates will stop this. Increasing interest rates will destroy the economy and dampen inflation.

Then what? All recent evidence indicate to inflation decreasing on its own, as the authors argue. Supply side difficulties are finally being overcome, evidence shows. Energy and food prices are showing considerable mean reversion, which is disinflationary.

The authors don't recommend doing nothing. Best case scenario, they argue, is that the Fed won't keep raising interest rates until morale improves.

Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers

11 months ago

Because of regulations, the $3 million Mercedes-AMG ONE will not (officially) be available in the United States or Canada.

We asked Mercedes to clarify whether "customers" refers to people who have expressed interest in buying the AMG ONE but haven't made a down payment or paid in full for a production slot, and a company spokesperson told that it's the latter – "Actual customers for AMG ONE in the United States and Canada." 

The Mercedes-AMG ONE has finally arrived in manufacturing form after numerous delays. This may be the most complicated and magnificent hypercar ever created, but according to Mercedes, those roads will not be found in the United States or Canada.

Despite all of the well-deserved excitement around the gorgeous AMG ONE, there was no word on when US customers could expect their cars. Our Editor-in-Chief became aware of this and contacted Mercedes to clarify the matter. Mercedes-hypercar AMG's with the F1-derived 1,049 HP 1.6-liter V6 engine will not be homologated for the US market, they've confirmed.

Mercedes has informed its customers in the United States and Canada that the ONE will not be arriving to North America after all, as of today, June 1, 2022. The whole text of the letter is included below, so sit back and wait for Mercedes to explain why we (or they) won't be getting (or seeing) the hypercar. Mercedes claims that all 275 cars it wants to produce have already been reserved, with net pricing in Europe starting at €2.75 million (about US$2.93 million at today's exchange rates), before country-specific taxes.

"The AMG-ONE was created with one purpose in mind: to provide a straight technology transfer of the World Championship-winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 E PERFORMANCE drive unit to the road." It's the first time a complete Formula 1 drive unit has been integrated into a road car.

Every component of the AMG ONE has been engineered to redefine high performance, with 1,000+ horsepower, four electric motors, and a blazing top speed of more than 217 mph. While the engine's beginnings are in competition, continuous research and refinement has left us with a difficult choice for the US market.

We determined that following US road requirements would considerably damage its performance and overall driving character in order to preserve the distinctive nature of its F1 powerplant. We've made the strategic choice to make the automobile available for road use in Europe, where it complies with all necessary rules."

If this is the first time US customers have heard about it, which it shouldn't be, we understand if it's a bit off-putting. The AMG ONE could very probably be Mercedes' final internal combustion hypercar of this type.

Nonetheless, we wouldn't be surprised if a few make their way to the United States via the federal government's "Show and Display" exemption provision. This legislation permits the importation of automobiles such as the AMG ONE, but only for a total of 2,500 miles per year.

The McLaren Speedtail, the Koenigsegg One:1, and the Bugatti EB110 are among the automobiles that have been imported under this special rule. We just hope we don't have to wait too long to see the ONE in the United States.

Will Lockett

Will Lockett

4 months ago

The world will be changed by this molten salt battery.

Salt crystals — Pexels

Four times the energy density and a fraction of lithium-cost ion's

As the globe abandons fossil fuels, batteries become more important. EVs, solar, wind, tidal, wave, and even local energy grids will use them. We need a battery revolution since our present batteries are big, expensive, and detrimental to the environment. A recent publication describes a battery that solves these problems. But will it be enough?

Sodium-sulfur molten salt battery. It has existed for a long time and uses molten salt as an electrolyte (read more about molten salt batteries here). These batteries are cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly because they use less eco-damaging materials, are non-toxic, and are non-flammable.

Previous molten salt batteries used aluminium-sulphur chemistries, which had a low energy density and required high temperatures to keep the salt liquid. This one uses a revolutionary sodium-sulphur chemistry and a room-temperature-melting salt, making it more useful, affordable, and eco-friendly. To investigate this, researchers constructed a button-cell prototype and tested it.

First, the battery was 1,017 mAh/g. This battery is four times as energy dense as high-density lithium-ion batteries (250 mAh/g).

No one knows how much this battery would cost. A more expensive molten-salt battery costs $15 per kWh. Current lithium-ion batteries cost $132/kWh. If this new molten salt battery costs the same as present cells, it will be 90% cheaper.

This room-temperature molten salt battery could be utilized in an EV. Cold-weather heaters just need a modest backup battery.

The ultimate EV battery? If used in a Tesla Model S, you could install four times the capacity with no weight gain, offering a 1,620-mile range. This huge battery pack would cost less than Tesla's. This battery would nearly perfect EVs.

Or would it?

The battery's capacity declined by 50% after 1,000 charge cycles. This means that our hypothetical Model S would suffer this decline after 1.6 million miles, but for more cheap vehicles that use smaller packs, this would be too short. This test cell wasn't supposed to last long, so this is shocking. Future versions of this cell could be modified to live longer.

This affordable and eco-friendly cell is best employed as a grid-storage battery for renewable energy. Its safety and affordable price outweigh its short lifespan. Because this battery is made of easily accessible materials, it may be utilized to boost grid-storage capacity without causing supply chain concerns or EV battery prices to skyrocket.

Researchers are designing a bigger pouch cell (like those in phones and laptops) for this purpose. The battery revolution we need could be near. Let’s just hope it isn’t too late.