• Year In Review 2022

    Happy new year to the readers of my blog. I know that statement becomes stale quite quickly. Like every year, I reflect upon the events that happened over the last year and write a short summary of how things went and where I can improve for this year. Of course, every year is different with new challenges and events, so the learnings don’t always easily translate to the new one, but we should at least try :). Compared to 2021, the previous year was considerably better. There were no more crazy COVID-19 waves and people’s movement and businesses footfalls have gone back to their pre-covid levels. That is the good news in general at a global level. The bad news of course is the Russia Ukraine war and the persistently high inflation all over the world. In addition to that, I have my own highlights and lowlights at a personal level. Let me unwrap them quickly for you.

    ...continue reading
  • A Case Against Minimalism

    I have a problem. No, I don’t have a drinking problem. Mine is different actually. I want to be a minimalist and a DIY (do it yourself) guy. Generally that shouldn’t be a problem right? But for me it is. You see, if I want to build things myself I need a bunch of tools. Tools means stuff and more stuff goes against minimalism. Why do I bring this up? Well recently I concluded the series with some of the tools that I own. But I want ever more tools. In that sense I am not a true minimalist then? I have seen people who don’t even own a car and travel by walking, scooter, and public transport. However, they own a lot of tools, which gives me some consolation.

    ...continue reading
  • Internet Expenses Inflation

    I have covered inflation of so many things in the past. This is one more of them if you haven’t already gotten tired of reading. Inflation causes cost of items to go up over time. Take for example the cost of milk. It was half as expensive some 7 or 8 years ago. But not all things inflate. Some actually reduce in cost as time progresses. Technology for example falls in this space. A 32” TV is cheaper now than it was a couple of years ago because of advances in technology. Internet expenses for a fixed speed falls under this category too. Alternatively, you can think of it in this way – cost of internet remains the same as the speed increases over time.

    ...continue reading
  • Vehicle Maintenance Tools

    I thought I was done writing about tools, but there is just one last part I want to cover which are the tools I possess to maintain vehicles. I am pretty sure most of you probably already have all of them, but just in case there is a new vehicle owner, it might help. Like always, I wish I had more tools, but greed is unlimited. So lets start with one of the basic tool that should be in the toolkit which is a tire inflator and tire pressure gauge. The tire inflator that I own, does not have an auto cut-off feature. So I have to manually check the pressure as I am pumping. The auto cut-off pumps were expensive back when I purchased mine, but these days you can get them for cheap and I would happily buy it. I have a tire pressure gauge to quickly check pressure in all tires before I go on a long drive.

    ...continue reading
  • Why I Should Spend More

    We have been pretty careful with money since I decided to retire early back in 2014. Ever since, every time we get tempted to buy something, we think twice to see if it is really worth it. Not whether the object is worth the price, but whether we really need it. By practicing this kind of thinking we were able to limit our spend considerably and increase our savings. The twin effect of spending less and saving more helped us to retire early. But these habits compound over time just like money. Now, everything feels like it is probably not worth the money. The only real kind of expense we feel that is worth is the ones we spend on experiences, not objects.

    ...continue reading
  • Computer Tools

    Hopefully this is the final post on tools I use on a daily basis to fix various things at home. This is about the tools I have in my laptop which helps me be productive in coding. The first and most powerful tool in my arsenal is caffeine :). Just kidding. That used to be my most powerful tool back when I was still considerably young. I was addicted to coffee, Mountain Dew and Red Bull, and there used to be days when I consumed black coffee every 2 hours or so. Now, on to the serious stuff. I don’t think I will be able to do justice listing out all the tools I have because I have way too many and I am sure I will forget one or the other. Anyway, here it goes.

    ...continue reading
  • How To Prepare For A Hard Disk Failure

    In April 2021, my 8TB media center hard disk suddenly stopped working. It started to make the “click of death” sounds while we were watching some movie and my heart sank. I knew this could be the end of life for the drive. I turned off the media center PC and turned it on but it was unable to discover the HDD. Bad luck struck. At least I am prepared for such kind of an event, so it was not too bad. The drive contains all my important files, photos, videos, music and movies. I purchased the drive in November 2016, so it lasted a good four and a half years. Not bad for a drive that has been running almost 24/7.

    ...continue reading
  • Why I Prefer Not Having A Backup Plan

    Life is full of surprises. Many things are not really in our control, yet we live life like we have control. Take driving for example. We do our best to practice defensive driving to avoid accidents. Yet we have absolutely no control over the others and how in spite of being most defensive, we could end up in an accident. There is no backup plan here. If an accident happens, we have to deal with it as it comes. Most times a plan B helps, but in some cases, there is no plan B. Strangely, I have taken some decisions in life intentionally without a backup plan. These are no small decisions. They are some of the most difficult and riskiest ones.

    ...continue reading
  • Failed To Repair An Android Tablet

    I tried to fix an old android tablet and I failed. If you recall, a few posts ago, I mentioned how I failed to repair my TV. Later I figured out the issue and eventually was able to fix it. I hope the same can happen with the tablet. But as of now, after many attempts to recover it, I was unable to bring it back to life. It was working fine until the battery has gone bad and the device would not turn on without a battery. A few weeks ago, the battery of this cheap android tablet bulged like a balloon. The bulge was so big that the back of the device opened up. In the past, when some of my old android phones had a bulged battery, I could remove the battery and still run it using a USB charger. That does not seem to work with tablets though.

    ...continue reading
  • Time To Revisit My Expectations?

    Most of my finance related numbers for retirement were based on an inflation of 6% and investment returns of 10%. Going by the recent data, neither inflation nor returns are inline with my expectations. We are in a high inflation and low returns period of a market cycle. The worst part is that the returns from both equity and debt are low at the same time. While it is not as bad in India, elsewhere in the world, that is causing a lot of pain. Since the rest of the world will affect India at some point, I thought it was time to revisit my numbers and see if they still make sense in the future as I continue my long retirement journey.

    ...continue reading