“Mr. Market”

Warren Buffet, from his Letter to Shareholders, 1987 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report:

Ben Graham, my friend and teacher, long ago described the mental attitude toward market fluctuations that I believe to be most conducive to investment success. He said that you should imagine market quotations as coming from a remarkably accommodating fellow named Mr. Market who is your partner in a private business. Without fail, Mr. Market appears daily and names a price at which he will either buy your interest or sell you his.

Panther Beach

A week ago was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which I spent visiting Panther Beach in Santa Cruz with friends. It’s not the most accessible beach. The parking “lot” is a patch of dirt off Highway 1 and getting down to the beach involves a steep hike. But it’s a great spot if you can reach it. We got up near the tide pools and took these shots as the sun retreated on this winter evening. All shots taken with an iPhone 5.

Upstage is back

Upstage is my library for building web presentations. Created way back in 2010, before deck.js even existed, it’s the only presentation software I know of built on YUI. Last year I used it with getUserMedia to show multiple live demos of various tablets and phones on the big screen.

Since YUIConf and HackSI are right around the corner, and I’m speaking at both events, it’s about time Upstage got some love for 2013. I’ve switched Upstage from an Ant-based built system to Shifter, updated it to the latest YUI 3.13.0, and rewrote most of the README. It’s open-source under the BSD license. Happy presenting!

Status Board at Home

I have wanted my own always-on Status Board for years, displaying ambient status for things I’d otherwise forget. So, I made one.

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I used a free trial of Geckoboard to bring all of these stats together. The most useful part of this screen is the graphs on the left that come from RescueTime that let me know where my time goes on the computer.

My experimentation with Geckoboard explains why Pingdom, Twitter, and YHOO widgets are up there: I was curious what they’d look like, but they aren’t useful on this screen. They’ll be replaced with birthday reminders and other distant calendar things I often miss. My roommate and I both use the UP by Jawbone fitness tracker, so I plan to introduce friendly competition by putting our stats up there too.

The heart of my status board is a little Android stick that’s powered by the TV’s USB port:

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It’s basically a giant Android tablet. The Android stick turns on and off with the TV. (Sadly, it’s no BAT since there’s no touchscreen.) I use a tiny keyboard and trackpad combo to drive it. It can run Air Display, YouTube, AirPlay video, etc.

You can make this for about $250. Here’s what I used:

The LE32HDF3010 at Fry’s is no longer offered at $189. You can find the same model at Costco for $199. A similar TV by Sanyo at Fry’s is currently $189, so check their weekly ad for what’s cheap this week.

I preferred the LE32HDF3010 because unlike most sub-$200 TVs, it has a slim bezel. Because it’s LED, it’s very energy-efficient and only draws 45 watts—less than some of our lights. (I also turn the TV off before leaving the house or sleeping.) You can also move it from room-to-room pretty easily since it’s only 14 pounds. The resolution is 720p, which isn’t stellar but does the job.

You’ll want to shop around for the MK808, since there are lots of variations. I bought mine from Seeed Studio at discount, but they no longer offer it. The MK808 that I have does not play Netflix or Rdio out of the box and requires a firmware update to fix the problem. I don’t need these apps, so it’s not a problem for me.

I used the Auto-Start app to automatically launch the built-in browser app on startup and full!screen to hide Android’s bottom tool bar. The TV boots to Android and in about a minute the status board website appears.

It’s a fun setup and an easy project. If you’ve been wanting your own status board, it’s now pretty cheap to create.

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A cartoonist’s advice

Gavin Aung Than created a wonderful comic around a quote taken from the graduation speech Bill Watterson gave at his alma mater, Kenyon College, in 1990. Watterson is the man behind the widely acclaimed Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.

The entire speech is full of great advice. Than’s comic is based around this quote:

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

While there are no prints of this comic planned, I made my own as a reminder of Watterson’s advice.

Inspirational quote from Bill Watterson as wall-comic

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