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Akshad Singi

Akshad Singi

1 year ago

Four obnoxious one-minute habits that help me save more than 30 hours each week

More on Personal Growth

James White

James White

1 year ago

I read three of Elon Musk's suggested books (And His Taste Is Incredible)

A reading list for successful people

Daniel Oberhaus via Flickr

Elon Musk reads and talks. So, one learns. Many brilliant individuals & amazing literature.

This article recommends 3 Elon Musk novels. All of them helped me succeed. Hope they'll help you.

Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Page Count: 193
Rating on Goodreads: 4.23

Arthur Dent is pulled off Earth by a buddy seconds before it's razed for a cosmic motorway. The trio hitchhikes through space and gets into problems.

I initially read Hitchhiker's as a child. To evade my mum, I'd read with a flashlight under the covers. She'd scold at me for not sleeping on school nights when she found out. Oops.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is lighthearted science fiction.

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • “Space is big. You won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

  • “Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.”

  • “On planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars, and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.”

the Sun Tzu book The Art Of War

Page Count: 273
Rating on Goodreads: 3.97

It's a classic. You may apply The Art of War's ideas to (nearly) every facet of life. Ex:

  • Pick your fights.

  • Keep in mind that timing is crucial.

  • Create a backup plan in case something goes wrong.

  • Obstacles provide us a chance to adapt and change.

This book was my first. Since then, I'm a more strategic entrepreneur. Excellent book. And read it ASAP!

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

  • “Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”

  • “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Peter Thiel's book Zero to One

Page Count: 195
Rating on Goodreads: 4.18

Peter argues the best money-making strategies are typically unproven. Entrepreneurship should never have a defined path to success. Whoever says differently is lying.

Zero to One explores technology and society. Peter is a philosophy major and law school graduate, which informs the work.

Peters' ideas, depth, and intellect stood out in Zero to One. It's a top business book.

Goodreads

My favorite book quotes are:

  • “The most valuable businesses of coming decades will be built by entrepreneurs who seek to empower people rather than try to make them obsolete.”

  • “The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.”

  • “If your goal is to never make a mistake in your life, you shouldn’t look for secrets. The prospect of being lonely but right — dedicating your life to something that no one else believes in — is already hard. The prospect of being lonely and wrong can be unbearable.”

Samer Buna

Samer Buna

1 year ago

The Errors I Committed As a Novice Programmer

Learn to identify them, make habits to avoid them

First, a clarification. This article is aimed to make new programmers aware of their mistakes, train them to detect them, and remind them to prevent them.

I learned from all these blunders. I'm glad I have coding habits to avoid them. Do too.

These mistakes are not ordered.

1) Writing code haphazardly

Writing good content is hard. It takes planning and investigation. Quality programs don't differ.

Think. Research. Plan. Write. Validate. Modify. Unfortunately, no good acronym exists. Create a habit of doing the proper quantity of these activities.

As a newbie programmer, my biggest error was writing code without thinking or researching. This works for small stand-alone apps but hurts larger ones.

Like saying anything you might regret, you should think before coding something you could regret. Coding expresses your thoughts.

When angry, count to 10 before you speak. If very angry, a hundred. — Thomas Jefferson.

My quote:

When reviewing code, count to 10 before you refactor a line. If the code does not have tests, a hundred. — Samer Buna

Programming is primarily about reviewing prior code, investigating what is needed and how it fits into the current system, and developing small, testable features. Only 10% of the process involves writing code.

Programming is not writing code. Programming need nurturing.

2) Making excessive plans prior to writing code

Yes. Planning before writing code is good, but too much of it is bad. Water poisons.

Avoid perfect plans. Programming does not have that. Find a good starting plan. Your plan will change, but it helped you structure your code for clarity. Overplanning wastes time.

Only planning small features. All-feature planning should be illegal! The Waterfall Approach is a step-by-step system. That strategy requires extensive planning. This is not planning. Most software projects fail with waterfall. Implementing anything sophisticated requires agile changes to reality.

Programming requires responsiveness. You'll add waterfall plan-unthinkable features. You will eliminate functionality for reasons you never considered in a waterfall plan. Fix bugs and adjust. Be agile.

Plan your future features, though. Do it cautiously since too little or too much planning can affect code quality, which you must risk.

3) Underestimating the Value of Good Code

Readability should be your code's exclusive goal. Unintelligible code stinks. Non-recyclable.

Never undervalue code quality. Coding communicates implementations. Coders must explicitly communicate solution implementations.

Programming quote I like:

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. — John Woods

John, great advice!

Small things matter. If your indentation and capitalization are inconsistent, you should lose your coding license.

Long queues are also simple. Readability decreases after 80 characters. To highlight an if-statement block, you might put a long condition on the same line. No. Just never exceed 80 characters.

Linting and formatting tools fix many basic issues like this. ESLint and Prettier work great together in JavaScript. Use them.

Code quality errors:

Multiple lines in a function or file. Break long code into manageable bits. My rule of thumb is that any function with more than 10 lines is excessively long.

Double-negatives. Don't.

Using double negatives is just very not not wrong

Short, generic, or type-based variable names. Name variables clearly.

There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things. — Phil Karlton

Hard-coding primitive strings and numbers without descriptions. If your logic relies on a constant primitive string or numeric value, identify it.

Avoiding simple difficulties with sloppy shortcuts and workarounds. Avoid evasion. Take stock.

Considering lengthier code better. Shorter code is usually preferable. Only write lengthier versions if they improve code readability. For instance, don't utilize clever one-liners and nested ternary statements just to make the code shorter. In any application, removing unneeded code is better.

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight. — Bill Gates

Excessive conditional logic. Conditional logic is unnecessary for most tasks. Choose based on readability. Measure performance before optimizing. Avoid Yoda conditions and conditional assignments.

4) Selecting the First Approach

When I started programming, I would solve an issue and move on. I would apply my initial solution without considering its intricacies and probable shortcomings.

After questioning all the solutions, the best ones usually emerge. If you can't think of several answers, you don't grasp the problem.

Programmers do not solve problems. Find the easiest solution. The solution must work well and be easy to read, comprehend, and maintain.

There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. — C.A.R. Hoare

5) Not Giving Up

I generally stick with the original solution even though it may not be the best. The not-quitting mentality may explain this. This mindset is helpful for most things, but not programming. Program writers should fail early and often.

If you doubt a solution, toss it and rethink the situation. No matter how much you put in that solution. GIT lets you branch off and try various solutions. Use it.

Do not be attached to code because of how much effort you put into it. Bad code needs to be discarded.

6) Avoiding Google

I've wasted time solving problems when I should have researched them first.

Unless you're employing cutting-edge technology, someone else has probably solved your problem. Google It First.

Googling may discover that what you think is an issue isn't and that you should embrace it. Do not presume you know everything needed to choose a solution. Google surprises.

But Google carefully. Newbies also copy code without knowing it. Use only code you understand, even if it solves your problem.

Never assume you know how to code creatively.

The most dangerous thought that you can have as a creative person is to think that you know what you’re doing. — Bret Victor

7) Failing to Use Encapsulation

Not about object-oriented paradigm. Encapsulation is always useful. Unencapsulated systems are difficult to maintain.

An application should only handle a feature once. One object handles that. The application's other objects should only see what's essential. Reducing application dependencies is not about secrecy. Following these guidelines lets you safely update class, object, and function internals without breaking things.

Classify logic and state concepts. Class means blueprint template. Class or Function objects are possible. It could be a Module or Package.

Self-contained tasks need methods in a logic class. Methods should accomplish one thing well. Similar classes should share method names.

As a rookie programmer, I didn't always establish a new class for a conceptual unit or recognize self-contained units. Newbie code has a Util class full of unrelated code. Another symptom of novice code is when a small change cascades and requires numerous other adjustments.

Think before adding a method or new responsibilities to a method. Time's needed. Avoid skipping or refactoring. Start right.

High Cohesion and Low Coupling involves grouping relevant code in a class and reducing class dependencies.

8) Arranging for Uncertainty

Thinking beyond your solution is appealing. Every line of code will bring up what-ifs. This is excellent for edge cases but not for foreseeable needs.

Your what-ifs must fall into one of these two categories. Write only code you need today. Avoid future planning.

Writing a feature for future use is improper. No.

Write only the code you need today for your solution. Handle edge-cases, but don't introduce edge-features.

Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. — Edward Abbey

9) Making the incorrect data structure choices

Beginner programmers often overemphasize algorithms when preparing for interviews. Good algorithms should be identified and used when needed, but memorizing them won't make you a programming genius.

However, learning your language's data structures' strengths and shortcomings will make you a better developer.

The improper data structure shouts "newbie coding" here.

Let me give you a few instances of data structures without teaching you:

Managing records with arrays instead of maps (objects).

Most data structure mistakes include using lists instead of maps to manage records. Use a map to organize a list of records.

This list of records has an identifier to look up each entry. Lists for scalar values are OK and frequently superior, especially if the focus is pushing values to the list.

Arrays and objects are the most common JavaScript list and map structures, respectively (there is also a map structure in modern JavaScript).

Lists over maps for record management often fail. I recommend always using this point, even though it only applies to huge collections. This is crucial because maps are faster than lists in looking up records by identifier.

Stackless

Simple recursive functions are often tempting when writing recursive programming. In single-threaded settings, optimizing recursive code is difficult.

Recursive function returns determine code optimization. Optimizing a recursive function that returns two or more calls to itself is harder than optimizing a single call.

Beginners overlook the alternative to recursive functions. Use Stack. Push function calls to a stack and start popping them out to traverse them back.

10) Worsening the current code

Imagine this:

Add an item to that room. You might want to store that object anywhere as it's a mess. You can finish in seconds.

Not with messy code. Do not worsen! Keep the code cleaner than when you started.

Clean the room above to place the new object. If the item is clothing, clear a route to the closet. That's proper execution.

The following bad habits frequently make code worse:

  • code duplication You are merely duplicating code and creating more chaos if you copy/paste a code block and then alter just the line after that. This would be equivalent to adding another chair with a lower base rather than purchasing a new chair with a height-adjustable seat in the context of the aforementioned dirty room example. Always keep abstraction in mind, and use it when appropriate.

  • utilizing configuration files not at all. A configuration file should contain the value you need to utilize if it may differ in certain circumstances or at different times. A configuration file should contain a value if you need to use it across numerous lines of code. Every time you add a new value to the code, simply ask yourself: "Does this value belong in a configuration file?" The most likely response is "yes."

  • using temporary variables and pointless conditional statements. Every if-statement represents a logic branch that should at the very least be tested twice. When avoiding conditionals doesn't compromise readability, it should be done. The main issue with this is that branch logic is being used to extend an existing function rather than creating a new function. Are you altering the code at the appropriate level, or should you go think about the issue at a higher level every time you feel you need an if-statement or a new function variable?

This code illustrates superfluous if-statements:

function isOdd(number) {
  if (number % 2 === 1) {
    return true;
  } else {
    return false;
  }
}

Can you spot the biggest issue with the isOdd function above?

Unnecessary if-statement. Similar code:

function isOdd(number) {
  return (number % 2 === 1);
};

11) Making remarks on things that are obvious

I've learnt to avoid comments. Most code comments can be renamed.

instead of:

// This function sums only odd numbers in an array
const sum = (val) => {
  return val.reduce((a, b) => {
    if (b % 2 === 1) { // If the current number is odd
      a+=b;            // Add current number to accumulator
    }
    return a;          // The accumulator
  }, 0);
};

Commentless code looks like this:

const sumOddValues = (array) => {
  return array.reduce((accumulator, currentNumber) => {
    if (isOdd(currentNumber)) { 
      return accumulator + currentNumber;
    }
    return accumulator;
  }, 0);
};

Better function and argument names eliminate most comments. Remember that before commenting.

Sometimes you have to use comments to clarify the code. This is when your comments should answer WHY this code rather than WHAT it does.

Do not write a WHAT remark to clarify the code. Here are some unnecessary comments that clutter code:

// create a variable and initialize it to 0
let sum = 0;
// Loop over array
array.forEach(
  // For each number in the array
  (number) => {
    // Add the current number to the sum variable
    sum += number;
  }
);

Avoid that programmer. Reject that code. Remove such comments if necessary. Most importantly, teach programmers how awful these remarks are. Tell programmers who publish remarks like this that they may lose their jobs. That terrible.

12) Skipping tests

I'll simplify. If you develop code without tests because you think you're an excellent programmer, you're a rookie.

If you're not writing tests in code, you're probably testing manually. Every few lines of code in a web application will be refreshed and interacted with. Also. Manual code testing is fine. To learn how to automatically test your code, manually test it. After testing your application, return to your code editor and write code to automatically perform the same interaction the next time you add code.

Human. After each code update, you will forget to test all successful validations. Automate it!

Before writing code to fulfill validations, guess or design them. TDD is real. It improves your feature design thinking.

If you can use TDD, even partially, do so.

13) Making the assumption that if something is working, it must be right.

See this sumOddValues function. Is it flawed?

const sumOddValues = (array) => {
  return array.reduce((accumulator, currentNumber) => {
    if (currentNumber % 2 === 1) { 
      return accumulator + currentNumber;
    }
    return accumulator;
  });
};
 
 
console.assert(
  sumOddValues([1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) === 9
);

Verified. Good life. Correct?

Code above is incomplete. It handles some scenarios correctly, including the assumption used, but it has many other issues. I'll list some:

#1: No empty input handling. What happens when the function is called without arguments? That results in an error revealing the function's implementation:

TypeError: Cannot read property 'reduce' of undefined.

Two main factors indicate faulty code.

  • Your function's users shouldn't come across implementation-related information.

  • The user cannot benefit from the error. Simply said, they were unable to use your function. They would be aware that they misused the function if the error was more obvious about the usage issue. You might decide to make the function throw a custom exception, for instance:

TypeError: Cannot execute function for empty list.

Instead of returning an error, your method should disregard empty input and return a sum of 0. This case requires action.

Problem #2: No input validation. What happens if the function is invoked with a text, integer, or object instead of an array?

The function now throws:

sumOddValues(42);
TypeError: array.reduce is not a function

Unfortunately, array. cut's a function!

The function labels anything you call it with (42 in the example above) as array because we named the argument array. The error says 42.reduce is not a function.

See how that error confuses? An mistake like:

TypeError: 42 is not an array, dude.

Edge-cases are #1 and #2. These edge-cases are typical, but you should also consider less obvious ones. Negative numbers—what happens?

sumOddValues([1, 2, 3, 4, 5, -13]) // => still 9

-13's unusual. Is this the desired function behavior? Error? Should it sum negative numbers? Should it keep ignoring negative numbers? You may notice the function should have been titled sumPositiveOddNumbers.

This decision is simple. The more essential point is that if you don't write a test case to document your decision, future function maintainers won't know if you ignored negative values intentionally or accidentally.

It’s not a bug. It’s a feature. — Someone who forgot a test case

#3: Valid cases are not tested. Forget edge-cases, this function mishandles a straightforward case:

sumOddValues([2, 1, 3, 4, 5]) // => 11

The 2 above was wrongly included in sum.

The solution is simple: reduce accepts a second input to initialize the accumulator. Reduce will use the first value in the collection as the accumulator if that argument is not provided, like in the code above. The sum included the test case's first even value.

This test case should have been included in the tests along with many others, such as all-even numbers, a list with 0 in it, and an empty list.

Newbie code also has rudimentary tests that disregard edge-cases.

14) Adhering to Current Law

Unless you're a lone supercoder, you'll encounter stupid code. Beginners don't identify it and assume it's decent code because it works and has been in the codebase for a while.

Worse, if the terrible code uses bad practices, the newbie may be enticed to use them elsewhere in the codebase since they learnt them from good code.

A unique condition may have pushed the developer to write faulty code. This is a nice spot for a thorough note that informs newbies about that condition and why the code is written that way.

Beginners should presume that undocumented code they don't understand is bad. Ask. Enquire. Blame it!

If the code's author is dead or can't remember it, research and understand it. Only after understanding the code can you judge its quality. Before that, presume nothing.

15) Being fixated on best practices

Best practices damage. It suggests no further research. Best practice ever. No doubts!

No best practices. Today's programming language may have good practices.

Programming best practices are now considered bad practices.

Time will reveal better methods. Focus on your strengths, not best practices.

Do not do anything because you read a quote, saw someone else do it, or heard it is a recommended practice. This contains all my article advice! Ask questions, challenge theories, know your options, and make informed decisions.

16) Being preoccupied with performance

Premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming — Donald Knuth (1974)

I think Donald Knuth's advice is still relevant today, even though programming has changed.

Do not optimize code if you cannot measure the suspected performance problem.

Optimizing before code execution is likely premature. You may possibly be wasting time optimizing.

There are obvious optimizations to consider when writing new code. You must not flood the event loop or block the call stack in Node.js. Remember this early optimization. Will this code block the call stack?

Avoid non-obvious code optimization without measurements. If done, your performance boost may cause new issues.

Stop optimizing unmeasured performance issues.

17) Missing the End-User Experience as a Goal

How can an app add a feature easily? Look at it from your perspective or in the existing User Interface. Right? Add it to the form if the feature captures user input. Add it to your nested menu of links if it adds a link to a page.

Avoid that developer. Be a professional who empathizes with customers. They imagine this feature's consumers' needs and behavior. They focus on making the feature easy to find and use, not just adding it to the software.

18) Choosing the incorrect tool for the task

Every programmer has their preferred tools. Most tools are good for one thing and bad for others.

The worst tool for screwing in a screw is a hammer. Do not use your favorite hammer on a screw. Don't use Amazon's most popular hammer on a screw.

A true beginner relies on tool popularity rather than problem fit.

You may not know the best tools for a project. You may know the best tool. However, it wouldn't rank high. You must learn your tools and be open to new ones.

Some coders shun new tools. They like their tools and don't want to learn new ones. I can relate, but it's wrong.

You can build a house slowly with basic tools or rapidly with superior tools. You must learn and use new tools.

19) Failing to recognize that data issues are caused by code issues

Programs commonly manage data. The software will add, delete, and change records.

Even the simplest programming errors can make data unpredictable. Especially if the same defective application validates all data.

Code-data relationships may be confusing for beginners. They may employ broken code in production since feature X is not critical. Buggy coding may cause hidden data integrity issues.

Worse, deploying code that corrected flaws without fixing minor data problems caused by these defects will only collect more data problems that take the situation into the unrecoverable-level category.

How do you avoid these issues? Simply employ numerous data integrity validation levels. Use several interfaces. Front-end, back-end, network, and database validations. If not, apply database constraints.

Use all database constraints when adding columns and tables:

  • If a column has a NOT NULL constraint, null values will be rejected for that column. If your application expects that field has a value, your database should designate its source as not null.

  • If a column has a UNIQUE constraint, the entire table cannot include duplicate values for that column. This is ideal for a username or email field on a Users table, for instance.

  • For the data to be accepted, a CHECK constraint, or custom expression, must evaluate to true. For instance, you can apply a check constraint to ensure that the values of a normal % column must fall within the range of 0 and 100.

  • With a PRIMARY KEY constraint, the values of the columns must be both distinct and not null. This one is presumably what you're utilizing. To distinguish the records in each table, the database needs have a primary key.

  • A FOREIGN KEY constraint requires that the values in one database column, typically a primary key, match those in another table column.

Transaction apathy is another data integrity issue for newbies. If numerous actions affect the same data source and depend on each other, they must be wrapped in a transaction that can be rolled back if one fails.

20) Reinventing the Wheel

Tricky. Some programming wheels need reinvention. Programming is undefined. New requirements and changes happen faster than any team can handle.

Instead of modifying the wheel we all adore, maybe we should rethink it if you need a wheel that spins at varied speeds depending on the time of day. If you don't require a non-standard wheel, don't reinvent it. Use the darn wheel.

Wheel brands can be hard to choose from. Research and test before buying! Most software wheels are free and transparent. Internal design quality lets you evaluate coding wheels. Try open-source wheels. Debug and fix open-source software simply. They're easily replaceable. In-house support is also easy.

If you need a wheel, don't buy a new automobile and put your maintained car on top. Do not include a library to use a few functions. Lodash in JavaScript is the finest example. Import shuffle to shuffle an array. Don't import lodash.

21) Adopting the incorrect perspective on code reviews

Beginners often see code reviews as criticism. Dislike them. Not appreciated. Even fear them.

Incorrect. If so, modify your mindset immediately. Learn from every code review. Salute them. Observe. Most crucial, thank reviewers who teach you.

Always learning code. Accept it. Most code reviews teach something new. Use these for learning.

You may need to correct the reviewer. If your code didn't make that evident, it may need to be changed. If you must teach your reviewer, remember that teaching is one of the most enjoyable things a programmer can do.

22) Not Using Source Control

Newbies often underestimate Git's capabilities.

Source control is more than sharing your modifications. It's much bigger. Clear history is source control. The history of coding will assist address complex problems. Commit messages matter. They are another way to communicate your implementations, and utilizing them with modest commits helps future maintainers understand how the code got where it is.

Commit early and often with present-tense verbs. Summarize your messages but be detailed. If you need more than a few lines, your commit is too long. Rebase!

Avoid needless commit messages. Commit summaries should not list new, changed, or deleted files. Git commands can display that list from the commit object. The summary message would be noise. I think a big commit has many summaries per file altered.

Source control involves discoverability. You can discover the commit that introduced a function and see its context if you doubt its need or design. Commits can even pinpoint which code caused a bug. Git has a binary search within commits (bisect) to find the bug-causing commit.

Source control can be used before commits to great effect. Staging changes, patching selectively, resetting, stashing, editing, applying, diffing, reversing, and others enrich your coding flow. Know, use, and enjoy them.

I consider a Git rookie someone who knows less functionalities.

23) Excessive Use of Shared State

Again, this is not about functional programming vs. other paradigms. That's another article.

Shared state is problematic and should be avoided if feasible. If not, use shared state as little as possible.

As a new programmer, I didn't know that all variables represent shared states. All variables in the same scope can change its data. Global scope reduces shared state span. Keep new states in limited scopes and avoid upward leakage.

When numerous resources modify common state in the same event loop tick, the situation becomes severe (in event-loop-based environments). Races happen.

This shared state race condition problem may encourage a rookie to utilize a timer, especially if they have a data lock issue. Red flag. No. Never accept it.

24) Adopting the Wrong Mentality Toward Errors

Errors are good. Progress. They indicate a simple way to improve.

Expert programmers enjoy errors. Newbies detest them.

If these lovely red error warnings irritate you, modify your mindset. Consider them helpers. Handle them. Use them to advance.

Some errors need exceptions. Plan for user-defined exceptions. Ignore some mistakes. Crash and exit the app.

25) Ignoring rest periods

Humans require mental breaks. Take breaks. In the zone, you'll forget breaks. Another symptom of beginners. No compromises. Make breaks mandatory in your process. Take frequent pauses. Take a little walk to plan your next move. Reread the code.

This has been a long post. You deserve a break.

Teronie Donalson

Teronie Donalson

1 year ago

The best financial advice I've ever received and how you can use it.

Taking great financial advice is key to financial success.

A wealthy man told me to INVEST MY MONEY when I was young.

As I entered Starbucks, an older man was leaving. I noticed his watch and expensive-looking shirt, not like the guy in the photo, but one made of fine fabric like vicuna wool, which can only be shorn every two to three years. His Bentley confirmed my suspicions about his wealth.

This guy looked like James Bond, so I asked him how to get rich like him.

"Drug dealer?" he laughed.

Whether he was telling the truth, I'll never know, and I didn't want to be an accessory, but he quickly added, "Kid, invest your money; it will do wonders." He left.

When he told me to invest, he didn't say what. Later, I realized the investment game has so many levels that even if he drew me a blueprint, I wouldn't understand it.

The best advice I received was to invest my earnings. I must decide where to invest.

I'll preface by saying I'm not a financial advisor or Your financial advisor, but I'll share what I've learned from books, links, and sources. The rest is up to you.

Basically:

Invest your Money

Money is money, whether you call it cake, dough, moolah, benjamins, paper, bread, etc.

If you're lucky, you can buy one of the gold shirts in the photo.

Investing your money today means putting it towards anything that could be profitable.

According to the website Investopedia:
“Investing is allocating money to generate income or profit.”

You can invest in a business, real estate, or a skill that will pay off later.

Everyone has different goals and wants at different stages of life, so investing varies.

He was probably a sugar daddy with his Bentley, nice shirt, and Rolex.

In my twenties, I started making "good" money; now, in my forties, with a family and three kids, I'm building a legacy for my grandkids.

“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” — Robert Kiyosaki.

Money isn't evil, but lack of it is.

Financial stress is a major source of problems, according to studies. 

Being broke hurts, especially if you want to provide for your family or do things.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Investing in knowledge is invaluable. Before investing, do your homework.

You probably didn't learn about investing when you were young, like I didn't. My parents were in survival mode, making investing difficult.

In my 20s, I worked in banking to better understand money.


So, why invest?

Growth requires investment.

Investing puts money to work and can build wealth. Your money may outpace inflation with smart investing. Compounding and the risk-return tradeoff boost investment growth.

Investing your money means you won't have to work forever — unless you want to.

Two common ways to make money are;

-working hard,

and

-interest or capital gains from investments.

Capital gains can help you invest.

“How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” — Robert G. Allen

If you keep your money in a savings account, you'll earn less than 2% interest at best; the bank makes money by loaning it out.

Savings accounts are a safe bet, but the low-interest rates limit your gains.

Don't skip it. An emergency fund should be in a savings account, not the market.

Other reasons to invest:

Investing can generate regular income.

If you own rental properties, the tenant's rent will add to your cash flow.

Daily, weekly, or monthly rentals (think Airbnb) generate higher returns year-round.

Capital gains are taxed less than earned income if you own dividend-paying or appreciating stock.

Time is on your side

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t — pays it.” — Albert Einstein

Historical data shows that young investors outperform older investors. So you can use compound interest over decades instead of investing at 45 and having less time to earn.

If I had taken that man's advice and invested in my twenties, I would have made a decent return by my thirties. (Depending on my investments)

So for those who live a YOLO (you only live once) life, investing can't hurt.

Investing increases your knowledge.

Lessons are clearer when you're invested. Each win boosts confidence and draws attention to losses. Losing money prompts you to investigate.

Before investing, I read many financial books, but I didn't understand them until I invested.


Now what?

What do you invest in? Equities, mutual funds, ETFs, retirement accounts, savings, business, real estate, cryptocurrencies, marijuana, insurance, etc.

The key is to start somewhere. Know you don't know everything. You must care.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao Tzu.

Start simple because there's so much information. My first investment book was:

Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"

This easy-to-read book made me hungry for more. This book is about the money lessons rich parents teach their children, which poor and middle-class parents neglect. The poor and middle-class work for money, while the rich let their assets work for them, says Kiyosaki.

There is so much to learn, but you gotta start somewhere.

More books:

***Wisdom

I hope I'm not suggesting that investing makes everything rosy. Remember three rules:

1. Losing money is possible.

2. Losing money is possible.

3. Losing money is possible.

You can lose money, so be careful.

Read, research, invest.

Golden rules for Investing your money

  • Never invest money you can't lose.

  • Financial freedom is possible regardless of income.

  • "Courage taught me that any sound investment will pay off, no matter how bad a crisis gets." Helu Carlos

  • "I'll tell you Wall Street's secret to wealth. When others are afraid, you're greedy. You're afraid when others are greedy. Buffett

  • Buy low, sell high, and have an exit strategy.

  • Ask experts or wealthy people for advice.

  • "With a good understanding of history, we can have a clear vision of the future." Helu Carlos

  • "It's not whether you're right or wrong, but how much money you make when you're right." Soros

  • "The individual investor should act as an investor, not a speculator." Graham

  • "It's different this time" is the most dangerous investment phrase. Templeton

Lastly,

  • Avoid quick-money schemes. Building wealth takes years, not months.

Start small and work your way up.

Thanks for reading!


This post is a summary. Read the full article here

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JEFF JOHN ROBERTS

1 year ago

What just happened in cryptocurrency? A plain-English Q&A about Binance's FTX takedown.

Crypto people have witnessed things. They've seen big hacks, mind-boggling swindles, and amazing successes. They've never seen a day like Tuesday, when the world's largest crypto exchange murdered its closest competition.

Here's a primer on Binance and FTX's lunacy and why it matters if you're new to crypto.

What happened?

CZ, a shrewd Chinese-Canadian billionaire, runs Binance. FTX, a newcomer, has challenged Binance in recent years. SBF (Sam Bankman-Fried)—a young American with wild hair—founded FTX (initials are a thing in crypto).

Last weekend, CZ complained about SBF's lobbying and then exploited Binance's market power to attack his competition.

How did CZ do that?

CZ invested in SBF's new cryptocurrency exchange when they were friends. CZ sold his investment in FTX for FTT when he no longer wanted it. FTX clients utilize those tokens to get trade discounts, although they are less liquid than Bitcoin.

SBF made a mistake by providing CZ just too many FTT tokens, giving him control over FTX. It's like Pepsi handing Coca-Cola a lot of stock it could sell at any time. CZ got upset with SBF and flooded the market with FTT tokens.

SBF owns a trading fund with many FTT tokens, therefore this was catastrophic. SBF sought to defend FTT's worth by selling other assets to buy up the FTT tokens flooding the market, but it didn't succeed, and as FTT's value plummeted, his liabilities exceeded his assets. By Tuesday, his companies were insolvent, so he sold them to his competition.

Crazy. How could CZ do that?

CZ likely did this to crush a rising competition. It was also personal. In recent months, regulators have been tough toward the crypto business, and Binance and FTX have been trying to stay on their good side. CZ believed SBF was poisoning U.S. authorities by saying CZ was linked to China, so CZ took retribution.

“We supported previously, but we won't pretend to make love after divorce. We're neutral. But we won't assist people that push against other industry players behind their backs," CZ stated in a tragic tweet on Sunday. He crushed his rival's company two days later.

So does Binance now own FTX?

No. Not yet. CZ has only stated that Binance signed a "letter of intent" to acquire FTX. CZ and SBF say Binance will protect FTX consumers' funds.

Who’s to blame?

You could blame CZ for using his control over FTX to destroy it. SBF is also being criticized for not disclosing the full overlap between FTX and his trading company, which controlled plenty of FTT. If he had been upfront, someone might have warned FTX about this vulnerability earlier, preventing this mess.

Others have alleged that SBF utilized customer monies to patch flaws in his enterprises' balance accounts. That happened to multiple crypto startups that collapsed this spring, which is unfortunate. These are allegations, not proof.

Why does this matter? Isn't this common in crypto?

Crypto is notorious for shady executives and pranks. FTX is the second-largest crypto business, and SBF was largely considered as the industry's golden boy who would help it get on authorities' good side. Thus far.

Does this affect cryptocurrency prices?

Short-term, it's bad. Prices fell on suspicions that FTX was in peril, then rallied when Binance rescued it, only to fall again later on Tuesday.

These occurrences have hurt FTT and SBF's Solana token. It appears like a huge token selloff is affecting the rest of the market. Bitcoin fell 10% and Ethereum 15%, which is bad but not catastrophic for the two largest coins by market cap.

Victoria Kurichenko

Victoria Kurichenko

1 year ago

What Happened After I Posted an AI-Generated Post on My Website

This could cost you.

Image credit: istockphoto

Content creators may have heard about Google's "Helpful content upgrade."

This change is another Google effort to remove low-quality, repetitive, and AI-generated content.

Why should content creators care?

Because too much content manipulates search results.

My experience includes the following.

Website admins seek high-quality guest posts from me. They send me AI-generated text after I say "yes." My readers are irrelevant. Backlinks are needed.

Companies copy high-ranking content to boost their Google rankings. Unfortunately, it's common.

What does this content offer?

Nothing.

Despite Google's updates and efforts to clean search results, webmasters create manipulative content.

As a marketer, I knew about AI-powered content generation tools. However, I've never tried them.

I use old-fashioned content creation methods to grow my website from 0 to 3,000 monthly views in one year.

Last year, I launched a niche website.

I do keyword research, analyze search intent and competitors' content, write an article, proofread it, and then optimize it.

This strategy is time-consuming.

But it yields results!

Here's proof from Google Analytics:

Traffic report August 2021 — August 2022

Proven strategies yield promising results.

To validate my assumptions and find new strategies, I run many experiments.

I tested an AI-powered content generator.

I used a tool to write this Google-optimized article about SEO for startups.

I wanted to analyze AI-generated content's Google performance.

Here are the outcomes of my test.

First, quality.

I dislike "meh" content. I expect articles to answer my questions. If not, I've wasted my time.

My essays usually include research, personal anecdotes, and what I accomplished and achieved.

AI-generated articles aren't as good because they lack individuality.

Read my AI-generated article about startup SEO to see what I mean.

An excerpt from my AI-generated article.

It's dry and shallow, IMO.

It seems robotic.

I'd use quotes and personal experience to show how SEO for startups is different.

My article paraphrases top-ranked articles on a certain topic.

It's readable but useless. Similar articles abound online. Why read it?

AI-generated content is low-quality.

Let me show you how this content ranks on Google.

The Google Search Console report shows impressions, clicks, and average position.

The AI-generated article performance

Low numbers.

No one opens the 5th Google search result page to read the article. Too far!

You may say the new article will improve.

Marketing-wise, I doubt it.

This article is shorter and less comprehensive than top-ranking pages. It's unlikely to win because of this.

AI-generated content's terrible reality.

I'll compare how this content I wrote for readers and SEO performs.

Both the AI and my article are fresh, but trends are emerging.

Here is how my article written with SEO and users in mind, performs

My article's CTR and average position are higher.

I spent a week researching and producing that piece, unlike AI-generated content. My expert perspective and unique consequences make it interesting to read.

Human-made.

In summary

No content generator can duplicate a human's tone, writing style, or creativity. Artificial content is always inferior.

Not "bad," but inferior.

Demand for content production tools will rise despite Google's efforts to eradicate thin content.

Most won't spend hours producing link-building articles. Costly.

As guest and sponsored posts, artificial content will thrive.

Before accepting a new arrangement, content creators and website owners should consider this.

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

1 year ago

How I train my brain daily for clarity and productivity.

I use a conceptual and practical system I developed decades ago as an example.

Since childhood, I've been interested in the brain-mind connection, so I developed a system using scientific breakthroughs, experiments, and the experiences of successful people in my circles.

This story provides a high-level overview of a custom system to inform and inspire readers. Creating a mind gym was one of my best personal and professional investments.

Such a complex system may not be possible for everyone or appear luxurious at first. However, the process and approach may help you find more accessible and viable solutions.

Visualizing the brain as a muscle, I learned to stimulate it with physical and mental exercises, applying a new mindset and behavioral changes.

My methods and practices may not work for others because we're all different. I focus on the approach's principles and highlights so you can create your own program.

Some create a conceptual and practical system intuitively, and others intellectually. Both worked. I see intellect and intuition as higher selves.

The mental tools I introduce are based on lifestyle changes and can be personalized by anyone, barring physical constraints or underlying health conditions.

Some people can't meditate despite wanting to due to mental constraints. This story lacks exceptions.

People's systems may vary. Many have used my tools successfully. All have scientific backing because their benefits attracted scientists. None are unethical or controversial.

My focus is cognition, which is the neocortex's ability. These practices and tools can affect the limbic and reptilian brain regions.

A previous article discussed brain health's biological aspects. This article focuses on psychology.

Thinking, learning, and remembering are cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities determine our health and performance.

Cognitive health is the ability to think, concentrate, learn, and remember. Cognitive performance boosting involves various tools and processes. My system and protocols address cognitive health and performance.

As a biological organ, the brain's abilities decline with age, especially if not used regularly. Older people have more neurodegenerative disorders like dementia.

As aging is inevitable, I focus on creating cognitive reserves to remain mentally functional as we age and face mental decline or cognitive impairment.

My protocols focus on neurogenesis, or brain growth and maintenance. Neurons and connections can grow at any age.

Metacognition refers to knowing our cognitive abilities, like thinking about thinking and learning how to learn.

In the following sections, I provide an overview of my system, mental tools, and protocols.

This system summarizes my 50-year career. Some may find it too abstract, so I give examples.

First, explain the system. Section 2 introduces activities. Third, how to measure and maintain mental growth.

1 — Developed a practical mental gym.

The mental gym is a metaphor for the physical fitness gym to improve our mental muscles.

This concept covers brain and mind functionality. Integrated biological and psychological components.

I'll describe my mental gym so my other points make sense. My mental gym has physical and mental tools.

Mindfulness, meditation, visualization, self-conversations, breathing exercises, expressive writing, working in a flow state, reading, music, dance, isometric training, barefoot walking, cold/heat exposure, CBT, and social engagements are regular tools.

Dancing, walking, and thermogenesis are body-related tools. As the brain is part of the body and houses the mind, these tools can affect mental abilities such as attention, focus, memory, task switching, and problem-solving.

Different people may like different tools. I chose these tools based on my needs, goals, and lifestyle. They're just examples. You can choose tools that fit your goals and personality.

2 — Performed tasks regularly.

These tools gave me clarity. They became daily hobbies. Some I did alone, others with others.

Some examples: I meditate daily. Even though my overactive mind made daily meditation difficult at first, I now enjoy it. Meditation three times a day sharpens my mind.

Self-talk is used for self-therapy and creativity. Self-talk was initially difficult, but neurogenesis rewired my brain to make it a habit.

Cold showers, warm baths with Epsom salts, fasting, barefoot walks on the beach or grass, dancing, calisthenics, trampoline hopping, and breathing exercises increase my mental clarity, creativity, and productivity.

These exercises can increase BDNF, which promotes nervous system growth. They improve mental capacity and performance by increasing blood flow and brain oxygenation.

I use weekly and occasional activities like dry saunas, talking with others, and community activities.

These activities stimulate the brain and mind, improving performance and cognitive capacity.

3 — Measured progress, set growth goals.

Measuring progress helps us stay on track. Without data, it's hard to stay motivated. When we face inevitable setbacks, we may abandon our dreams.

I created a daily checklist for a spreadsheet with macros. I tracked how often and long I did each activity.

I measured my progress objectively and subjectively. In the progress spreadsheet, I noted my meditation hours and subjective feelings.

In another column, I used good, moderate, and excellent to get qualitative data. It took time and effort. Later, I started benefiting from this automated structure.

Creating a page for each activity, such as meditation, self-talk, cold showers, walking, expressive writing, personal interactions, etc., gave me empirical data I could analyze, modify, and graph to show progress.

Colored charts showed each area's strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths motivate me to continue them. Identifying weaknesses helped me improve them.

As the system matured, data recording became a habit and took less time. I saw the result immediately because I automated the charts when I entered daily data. Early time investment paid off later.

Mind Gym Benefits, Effective Use, and Progress Measuring

This concept helped me move from comfort to risk. I accept things as they are.

Turnarounds were made. I stopped feeling "Fight-Flight-Freeze" and maintained self-control.

I tamed my overactive amygdala by strengthening my brain. Stress and anxiety decreased. With these shifts, I accepted criticism and turned envy into admiration. Clarity improved.

When the cognitive part of the brain became stronger and the primitive part was tamed, managing thoughts and emotions became easier. My AQ increased. I learned to tolerate people, physical, mental, and emotional obstacles.

Accessing vast information sources in my subconscious mind through an improved RAS allowed me to easily tap into my higher self and recognize flaws in my lower self.

Summary

The brain loves patterns and routines, so habits help. Observing, developing, and monitoring habits mindfully can be beneficial. Mindfulness helps us achieve this goal systematically.

As body and mind are connected, we must consider both when building habits. Consistent and joyful practices can strengthen neurons and neural connections.

Habits help us accomplish more with less effort. Regularly using mental tools and processes can improve our cognitive health and performance as we age.

Creating daily habits to improve cognitive abilities can sharpen our minds and boost our well-being.

Some apps monitor our activities and behavior to help build habits. If you can't replicate my system, try these apps. Some smartwatches and fitness devices include them.

Set aside time each day for mental activities you enjoy. Regular scheduling and practice can strengthen brain regions and form habits. Once you form habits, tasks become easy.

Improving our minds is a lifelong journey. It's easier and more sustainable to increase our efforts daily, weekly, monthly, or annually.

Despite life's ups and downs, many want to remain calm and cheerful.

This valuable skill is unrelated to wealth or fame. It's about our mindset, fueled by our biological and psychological needs.

Here are some lessons I've learned about staying calm and composed despite challenges and setbacks.

1 — Tranquillity starts with observing thoughts and feelings.

2 — Clear the mental clutter and emotional entanglements with conscious breathing and gentle movements.

3 — Accept situations and events as they are with no resistance.

4 — Self-love can lead to loving others and increasing compassion.

5 — Count your blessings and cultivate gratitude.

Clear thinking can bring joy and satisfaction. It's a privilege to wake up with a healthy body and clear mind, ready to connect with others and serve them.

Thank you for reading my perspectives. I wish you a healthy and happy life.