Random events that happen

Postal Spam

I get a lot of postal spam.  Some of it is grocery ads.  Some of it is Comcast or Verizon ads.  In general, though, I don't want it, and it makes me feel bad about the environment, so I try to unsubscribe when I get something.

Buying Glasses Online

Glasses are a racket.  Luxottica owns a lot of the market and does anticompetitive things (CBS, Snopes).  Most glasses seem to be priced with the assumption that people have vision insurance, so prices are artificially inflated like a fashion accessory rather than being tread more or less like the commodity that they should be.

Habitica: the only productivity app that has worked for me

Habitica logo

I had a temporary roommate that studied cognitive science for his PhD, and I saw him using Habitica one day, so I asked him about it.  It is a gamified app that helps people form, keep, or break habits, and it has worked excellently for me for the past 5 months.

A Quaker Service

My cousin went to a Quaker high school, so when I went to her graduation, I had the opportunity to attend a Quaker service.  

At a Quaker service, everyone is silent until they have something meaningful to say.  Then, they say it.  Since it was the service before graduation, a fair amount of parents spoke, including one person who kicked off the service by telling a potty training story about his son (I think there was a moral to the story, too...).  His son took it well.


A Googler showed me an optical illusion, and another Googler commented that they weren't fooled by it because they didn't have stereo vision.  This caused me to look into stereo vision (depth perception, seenig things in 3D).

I experience the following, which makes me think that I might be partially stereoblind (some studies estimate that 5-10% of people are stereoblind):

Update: December, 2013

I graduated with a masters on June 16, 2013, and I started at Google on June 24, 2013.  Thus, I have now worked there for half a year.  Everything is going very well.  

The Jefferson Awards

Sam Beard wearing a Code the Change shirt with Sam King

In my senior year at Stanford (2011-2012), I lived in Branner Hall. The Resident Fellow there is Tom Schnaubelt, the director of the Haas Center for Public Service. I do public service things, and I was active in my dorm (I was the financial manager, for instance), so I got to know him over the year.


The Ghana Cassava team, Whit Alexander, and Professor Oduro from KNUST

Winter and Spring, 2013, I took Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability. In the class, my group focused on cassava processing for subsistence farmers in Ghana, so we went to Ghana over spring break. Now, we talked to a lot of subsistence farmers, professors, students, entrepreneurs, and government folks, and we learned a ton of things, but this post is more about stories.

A Guide to Secure and Easy to Remember Passwords

Note: the following advice is applicable for a general context where someone only casually cares about their security. If you have more cause to care about security than the average person (ie, you deal with confidential information or you're a journalist in an authoritarian country or the Mossad are after you), you will need to be more rigorous. I am posting this because some of my friends wonder how I keep my passwords.

Boomerang for Gmail

I am an email power user. I would probably lose an hour every day if I couldn't use Gmail (and use it from my phone and use keyboard shortcuts and otherwise use it to its fullest extent). I am a paying customer of Gmail -- I use 18GB of storage right now. This is because I archive my emails (I don't delete them) and because I want to be able to search any of my emails from all time, so I can't just make a new account and exploit Google's free storage.


Subscribe to RSS - Life