Money, Time, and Backups

It is a feature of getting older.  When you are young you have all the time in the world, but no money.  As you get older, if you have done OK, you have enough money to satisfy most needs – but not enough time.  Money can be renewed.  Time cannot.  I have become very obsessive about my use of time.

If I go somewhere where I assume I will be waiting, I always bring a book.  Even though I may only get through 2-3 pages, I still will finish a book in a few weeks.  I feel like I have gotten something for nothing.  I have not wasted time.

I hate doing things twice.  I know the second time is nothing but a pure waste of time.  This is why I like backups.  With backups, if I lose something, I have a good chance of recovering most of it.  I will waste as little time as possible.  On my computers at home my primary disk copies off to three separate backup disks.  Much of  what I have can’t be replaced (pictures).  If I invested all that time into getting it  in it then it is certainly worth a couple hundred dollars to improve my chances of saving it.

I switch my ‘primary’ computer about every 18-24 months.  Linux makes this easy.  All my storage files are in a specific directory.  I can just copy my “home” directory to the new computer and be up and working quickly.  With a new computer I spend most of my time improving my backups with what I have learned.  This is time well invested.  It pays dividends by giving me time back in the future in the event of a problem.

My reason for mentioning this is because of another post I was writing earlier.  I usually don’t write in wordpress.  I write in a text editor because it is easier.  I then copy/paste it into wordpress.  I was on a windows machine at the time.  When I was done I wanted to print it out and read it.  I hit print.  The printer program hung.  My program crashed.  I lost everything.  I hadn’t hit save as I was working.  It was a stupid and careless mistake.

Posts are much easier to write the first time.  There is a sense of excitement as you write it out.  That fades as you make corrections to it.  You become tired with what you have written.  I’ve heard it said that books aren’t completed – they are merely abandoned.  I believe that.

I read about Rossini once.  He was so talented as a composer he was writing in bed when the score slipped to the ground and under the bed.  Rather than get up he started a new one.  I’m not that good.  I will have to rewrite my post.  It won’t be as much fun.  Time is lost. It will bother me all night.

Don’t make the same mistake.  Save your work and do backups.  It is good insurance and the time lost can’t be replaced.

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The Right of Way…

A quiz before the lesson

Traffic quiz here:  Imagine you are driving your car along a medium sized street. A pedestrian steps out into the crosswalk ahead of you.  Question:  Who has the “right of way”?  Answer: The pedestrian.

Now lets look at a variation:  You are crossing a medium size street.  You step out in the crosswalk and look up the road and see a car turning the corner and coming towards you.  Question:  Who has the “right of way”?  Answer: It doesn’t matter.

The situation are exactly the same – how can they have two different answers?  Here’s why.  In one situation you are in a car.  In the other you are a pedestrian.  In a collision between a car and a pedestrian the effects are – to say the least – unequal.

Laws and lines drawn on the road are different than flesh and metal.  Those who forget that are likely to win moral victories – and have the physical disabilities to show for it.

Life teaches us shortcuts

Life is so complex that we tend to develop shortcuts to help us cope.  We usually figure out these shortcuts through experience or reasoning. These may be things like “Lock your car doors” – or – “stay off DC roads during the first snowfall of the year” (since everyone forgets anything they ever learned over the Summer.)  But we need to recognize that there is a difference between shortcuts we learn through experience, and those we are simply told.

A recent example is the new that Viagra causes hearing loss.  While the news is fertile ground for puns – it shouldn’t be hard to think of a few – it brings up an important point.  People blindly believe that the FDA works perfectly, or that some external agency will take care of our safety, or that laws are better than common sense – is making a big mistake.

For those who haven’t discovered this lesson, it is a tragedy.  For those who ignore their common sense, who accept intellectual laziness, who use retorts like  “you can’t NOT believe everything” and “What?!  Am I supposed to just stay in the house?” – they get what they deserve and have no one to blame but themselves for the consequences.

We use the car versus pedestrian example because it clearly illustrates our problem.  We find problems with lesser consequences every day.  But you should take the time to think before you cross the road or pop that new miracle drug.  Ask yourself – words and assurances aside – would it be a good idea?  You should take a moment a figure that out.

Schools Almost Out… What Are You Doing This Summer?

Schools out… now what…

In just a couple weeks school will be out. Students will have the summer free until school starts again in the fall.  Students are left with the perpetual dilemma of how to spend all that free time.  Here are a few suggestions:

1)      Work.  Let’s assume there will be 50 working days this summer.  50 days at 8 hours per day is about 400 hours of work.  At $7 per hour that adds up to about $2,800 (before taxes) income.  Even better is finding where to work.  Mowing lawns and watching swimmers is nice, but it doesn’t give much real world experience.  Working in retail, or a business, might give you the opportunity to see how a business works.  This ultimately will be worth much more to you than the money you earn. Aim for these jobs.  Ask questions.  Bosses will not be threatened by a high school kid.  Use it to your advantage.

2)      Start a blog or a youtube channel.  Unless you have a bunch of idiotic friends you can convince to crash their skateboards – you need to think about what you will put on these.  How are your writing skills?  Are you interested in anything?  Are you good at anything?  Do something about it.  Writing a blog is a great way to get writing experience – and anyone can do it.  Even if you watch movies – write reviews.  Hanging at the mall?  Write posts about what fashions are appearing in each of the stores.  Caring for dogs?  Start a page with hints and tips.  Even at a young age you should have plenty of knowledge to write about something. Try wordpress or blogger for free blogs.  Youtube offers another outlet.  Changing the taillight on your mom’s van?  Record a youtube video and post it so other will learn.  Blogging and creating youtube videos will enhance your writing and presentation skills.  This will help you in any job.  Doing these about items you enjoy won’t be a chore.

3)      Find a cause.  If you have time available, find a cause to support.  Humane Society?  Food Banks?  A particular disease?  Get in touch with the local chapter – make sure it is OK for you to represent them – then hit the street and go door to door (work in the organization only if you are not doing manual labor type activities – you want to learn and gain experience here. You can always find manual labor.)  Spread your message door to door and hand out small brochures.  Collect money if you can but don’t try to hard sell everyone – let them give if they want.  The goal here is to overcome shyness, practice making cold calls, accepting rejection, and moving on to the next task.  Just cornering somebody at their door is not a skill for making a living – it is called panhandling.  Getting somebody excited in your product, or your cause, and having them volunteer the money – is a skill.  You can gain this experience for free all summer.  By the end of the summer you will be an asset to any business who hires you.

4)      Make a goal.  Part of the problem with summer is that we have so many days, and no way to spend it.  We wake up each morning and look to be entertained.  The computer, tv, and games seem to satisfy this all for us.  Without a goal to direct our actions that time is wasted.  How big a loss is that?  Compare what you have to what I have as a working adult.  I have about one hour free each day to pursue “me” activities.  If you don’t limit yourself to 8 hours per day – you probably have close to 700-800 hours available over the summer.  If you and I were to pursue the same task, what you could do in one summer would take me about TWO YEARS to accomplish.  Don’t waste this opportunity.

5)      Take a class.  This is dead last on my list – in fact – I don’t really recommend it.  The only reasons I might would be if: 1) You have found your life’s calling and every minute wasted is unbearable, or 2) You are trying to take extra courses in order to graduate from college early.  Otherwise, I think the other opportunities are better uses of your time for the summer.

Hope you have a great one 🙂  Leave some time to get a healthy tan and lots of vitamin D.