The truth is not as bad as it seems

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Snow, Hey Oh (Cover)

By , 23 October 2014

This song makes more sense the more you play it. The images just melt into each other...

Alison Sparrow's Violin Exercises - First Finger

By , 9 October 2014

Progressing from the open string exercises, here is my transcription of Alison's first finger exercises for violin written in Sam's Mobile Music Notation. First, her tutorial:

And my transcription of the exercises (G3=1) with the images I use to remember the music.


Sam's Mobile Music Notation

By , 4 October 2014

This is how I write down music so I can read it from my phone or notepad or scrap of paper or whatever. I really really don't like traditional notation because it uses absolute pitches which makes everything very complicated.

Okay, so here are the basics:

  • beats are represented by spaces
  • bars are represented by a colon :
  • pitches are represented by scale degree number
  • chords are also represented by number
  • held notes are represented by ~
  • rests are represented by 0
  • downstrums are \
  • upstrums are /


Alison Sparrow's Violin Exercises - Open Strings

By , 4 October 2014

I've started learning the violin. It's something I always told myself I'd do 'later' (which is a pretty bad way to learn something new). So yeh... I just went to the shop, bought the stupid thing and started.

I found a good set of violin tutorials by Alison Sparrow on YouTube and have written down the first set of drills for you from tutorial 5 (I just prefer my notation to sheet music). There are six exercises and I use an image to remember each one as you'll see below. Firstly, here is the original tutorial:


How To Calculate Your ROI The Easy Way

By , 3 June 2014

Most people don't know if they're making money on their investments. We rely on heuristics, like "I sold it for twice what I bought it" or "The fund reported a 13% return this year". Neither of these statements give you a real answer to how hard your money is working for you. The first completely ignores how long you were invested and the second uses an arbitrary time span which has nothing to do with the amount and timing of YOUR investment.

We don't calculate return on investment because the math gives us a headache. Here's why. This is the conventional formula for calculating Return on Investment that you learn in high school or from some spammy website:

  ROI = profit / amount invested / time

It's not that the formula is incorrect (although the simple version above doesn't take into account any compounding over time), it is that the formula just doesn't represent the real world. We usually don't just invest a lump sum then cash out after x number of years. Most investments involve continuous give and take. We invest a bit, then some more, maybe we sell down or take dividends (or reinvest them) or spend money on capital improvements - and we do this at all sorts of random time intervals.


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How To Ignore Hot Chicks

By , 5 May 2014

It is difficult to recall a single approach I have done recently that hasn't been followed by an instant date, day two, number-close or (god forbid) a facebook-close. So what is the problem with that? Well for me, there are two.

Firstly, I'm trying to work. Dating is huge time sink and distraction for me because it triggers my creative mode that leaves me day-dreaming about dating even when I'm not actually on a date. Although I can get away without working for long periods of time, I actually love my work and it gives me a big sense of satisfaction.

Secondly, there aren't enough hours in the week to meet, date and close all of those girls you see on the street. Opening is fun and rewarding and a phone full of messages from cute chicks is very validating but not ultimately what you want. What you really want is to be the man she gives herself to and craves sexually. Or to put it another way, you want to spend the whole week fucking each other, leaving the house only to stock up on food, drink and contraceptives.

So here is what I am doing to get a hold of this problem.


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5th Grade Haikus on The Game Of Your Life

By , 3 May 2014

A fellow psychology student, Lakecha, wrote some haiku's about my motivation app "The Game Of Your Life". They're kind of cute:

The Game of Your Life
I must trick myself
Into acting presently
For future rewards

The Game of Your Life
Present benefits
Are like salt on the dish of
Long term benefits

The Game of Your Life
The Game of Your Life
Is accumulating points
Now to spend later

The Game of Your Life
If I got rewards
For each time I rode a bike
I'd live forever

The Game of Your Life
The Game of Your Life
Has reward substitution
As it's Focus

Here are some screenshots from the latest update. Most of the concepts are in place now (Quests, Rewards, Bounties and Rules). You can also share your achievements to your favourite social network.

Suggestions welcome.

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Play The Game Of Your Life

By , 13 April 2014

My new application has hit the market and this one may just transform your life. Based on research into human motivation and the brain's reward system, this application is designed to make improving your life fun. "The Game Of Your Life" turns your life into a game by helping you to create quests, set bounties, and give yourself rewards.

The objective of the game is to earn points for doing things that make you awesome. It's very simple - just set yourself some bounties and let the app sort them so you get the best return on your time. Once you complete an activity, you reward yourself the points and see your daily score increase.

Play The Game Of Your Life Now


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Which Is The Best High Yield ETF?

By , 12 April 2014

I'm planning to move some of my money into a high dividend yield index fund for a few of reasons. Firstly I like dividends, secondly I like franking credits, and thirdly dividends seem to predict company health (and growth) pretty well. So here is the research I've done into the index funds / ETFs I've found on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The four ETFs I looked at are:


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Intrinsic Motivation Sucks

By , 8 April 2014

I can write software. In fact, I'm very good at it. But there's a catch.

I won't do it for money.

Why not?

Well basically I feel deep dissatisfaction when I give my creative work away. Especially if it goes to a sinister money grabbing corporation.

When I look back on the jobs I have had in the past, it is the menial ones that have give me most satisfaction. I worked on a trawler when I was 18. It's a job that mostly involved sorting fish. I worked in a bar when I was 19. a job that mostly involved collecting glasses. I cleaned dishes when I was in university, and actually it was kind of fun.

Psychologists have recognised this as a common phenomena since the 80s. It is all a matter of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. As it turns out, extrinsic rewards inhibit creative work but facilitate simple tasks.


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