Thoughts From My Life

Advice from someone who does not know everything.

Category: General (page 1 of 2)

Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom – Book Review

I’m reading Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom right now. Excellent book, in my opinion. I had stopped doing any type of trading personally a couple years ago, but I have always found it interesting so decided to get active in it again.

I’m only going to “paper” trade for right now. This is “fake” trading to see how your performance is before ever risking any real money. A way to prove out a system somewhat to see how it would have done if you traded real money (though if you traded real money it would then have some “effect” on the market and may change the outcome).

“Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom” is a great book that isn’t about teaching you any specific system on how to trade, but it is more about how you evaluate the system you are using and yourself. It does briefly cover a variety of strategies and their basis. Not recommending one or the other, but discussing what is commonly used out there and why it may appeal to different individuals.

Personality

Chapter 3 has a great list of questions that you need to answer about yourself and try to gauge your capabilities. Items like:

  • How much time do you have to trade? Do you already have a full time job?
  • What is your risk tolerance? Will you lose sleep at night if you have money tied up in the markets?
  • What skills do you have? Good at math? Good with computers? Analytical?

Analyzing the System

A lot of terminology is used here but explained very clearly. Reward to Risk ratio is commonly used to guage how good your returns are compared to the risk you are taking. Position sizing is touched on. I’m only 3/4’s of the way through the book, but it has been excellent. I recommend the read to anyone thinking of getting into it.

Ford Pass Experience

I recently purchased a used 2017 F-150 XLT 302A SuperCrew truck. I jumped ahead quite a few years from my 2006 truck I was previously driving. One thing I was pleasantly surprised about was the technology Ford has in its vehicles. In particular the Ford Pass application.

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2017 F-150 XLT XTR 302A Supercrew Truck

I recently switched trucks. Went from a 2006 Dodge Quad Cab to the 2017 Ford F-150 XLT XTR 302A Supercrew Shortbox. It felt like the right time to make a change as the family was growing and having a proper crew cab for some more space in the interior seemed like the right choice. In this article I will talk about what I was looking for and why I picked this truck and some of the useful tips and tricks there are with the F-150.

Why This Truck?

I was looking for several things specific to what I wanted and I have listed them in an order that is generally more important to less important.

  • Large seating room in the back. The Supercrew F-150 has loads of room a the back and I have 3 children who are into the school age now, so piling into the back with backpacks and child seats takes up a lot of room.
  • Aluminum body. Less opportunity for rust to set in. I had this issue with my last truck. For a few reasons really. I’m not that diligent in washing my vehicle, I live in a climate where road salt is used, and I park in a heated garage where that salt can just eat away with the moisture from melting snow and ice.
  • XLT trim. This is only the 2nd lowest trim package they offer, but it is the highest trim package that still offers 6 seats (see below). It is also a lot more reasonable in price.
  • 6 seats. This is related to the XLT trim, but we occasionally use that additional seat in the front middle. When you don’t need the seat, the back rest folds down for an arm console that has a storage area with flip up lid and there are also 2 cup holders. There are an additional 2 cup holders that can be made available on the floor if you need.
  • 302A package. This is the top luxury package available on the XLT. Lots of little things such as:
    • Heated seats
    • Large console screen
    • Sync3 infotainment screen that supports Apple CarPlay
    • Remote start
    • LED lighting in the truck bed
    • 400W 110V plugin in the front
  • Shortbox. Only a 5.5′ box, but I don’t need that much room (stores occasional work supplies, load of dirt or bark mulch, and hockey gear). This kept the truck around the same length as my Dodge Quad Cab so it fits in the garage the same way.
  • Has the tailgate step as well.
  • White – I find it easier to keep clean and not show scratches compared to black.
  • Better gas mileage than before. I was driving the Dodge Hemi so gas mileage was worse, but I don’t put enough mileage on for it to really matter. I always could have found a 3.6L pentastar in a Dodge too for better mileage.

What Else Is In It

I wasn’t particular about the engine, but when looking used there are a lot of the 3.5L Ecoboost engines out there, so that is what I ended up with. Mine has that auto stop/start technology, so often while sitting at traffic lights, it will turn the engine off until I’m ready to go again.

In the 2017’s, they started putting in a 10-speed transmission. Took a while to get used to when I started driving as it likes to shift a lot around town. I notice the first shift into 1st gear is a bit hard in the morning too.

I also installed the Truxedo LoPro QT tonneau cover. I had this on my Dodge as well and I loved it. Lifetime warranty and only has one release mechanisms on the left hand side, so very easy to get off. I notice on my Ford that the end gate is a bit tight to get closed, but apparently it wears in after a bit.

I have not decided on where to put my cell phone in the vehicle either. I typically use the vent mount to the right of the steering wheel, but in this truck the shifter is there and blocks the view of the cell phone as it is so close to that vent.

Large back seat area.
Large display, heated seats, 110V plugin.
Cupholders in flip down arm rest of the 6th seat.
Lots of options on the dash
Power port for the rear seating area.

Creating a Sun Shield for Garage Door Sensor

I have had issues with my garage door not wanting to close depending on the time of day. I have a a north facing garage door and depending on the time of year and time of day, the sun can shine on the door sensors and interfere with them.

The door sensors are the little sensors that are attached near the bottom of the door rails. They are a pair and point at each other. If anything is between the sensors, then it will block the garage door from closing. On my opener, the door won’t even try to close or if it was closing and something got between the sensors, it would go back up. The light on the garage door unit flashes three time until the issue is resolved.

One of my sensors.
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S.K. Parks Consulting – Manuscript Editing, Research Consulting, Seminars, Tutoring

My brother-in-law has recently returned from living in France for the past decade. He earned his PhD in Canada before moving abroad and working in Labs in Nice, France and Monaco. He has over 15 years of experience in scientific research, publishing & peer-review for internationally recognized journals and teaching in the Medical and Biological Sciences.

Now living in Victoria, Canada, he is has launched his own website, S.K. Parks Consulting. He provides a variety of services such as:

  • Manuscript Editing & Evaluation
  • Research Consulting
  • Guest Seminars
  • Tutoring
  • Translating Services (French & English)

Check out his site if you are interested.

Koodo Error Message During Phone Number Swap

I was recently helping someone switch their phone plan over to Koodo. This involved putting in their new SIM card, registering an online account, and swapping out their new Koodo phone number with their previous number from their old provider.

This is a typical activity when switching phone companies. When you sign up in store, they often take care of this, but with Koodo online signups, you have to do it on the web.

An Issue Though

To swap your number, you login to Koodo Self Serve and click Mobile services. On this screen you will have an option called Manage your phone number, click on Manage.

At this point, we received a warning message at the top of the screen.

You are not able to change your number at this time

Oops! You can’t change your phone number within 14 days of activating or renewing a phone.

Error message displaying on Koodo manage phone number page.

Not Really an Issue

Well that is really annoying if you can’t get your old number of right away. But it turns out, you can still change your number. That error message is either referring to something else or is a bug in their online system.

Simply select the option Transfer your phone number and click Next.

On the next screens you can just input your information as requested.

It will say it may take up to 2 business days, but the number switches I did (three of them now) were finished within 10 minutes.

So luckily what appears to be a potential issue is really nothing.

Beyond the Horizon – Colin Angus

I read this book during my last holiday and was quite entertained.

Basically, the author writes about his experiences being the first man to circumnavigate the globe on his own power. This means using his own strength. No sailing, no motorized vehicles, etc. He cycles, walks, and rows around the northern hemisphere.

Below is a paid link to purchase the book.

The book is interesting not just because of the physical trials and setbacks that he incurs, but also the relationships he has with his teammate and fiance (who later joins him on his travels).

I won’t talk much more about it here, but I definitely recommend reading it. It is an easy read with lots of interesting tales and trivia from around the world.

By the way, Colin Angus is from Vancouver, Canada.

A* Pathfinding Algorithm

I have been messing around with my Nintendo DS again and trying to write some simple programs. Hello World that can be dragged and dropped on the screen somewhere is as far as I have advanced.

I have been learning the A* algorithm however. I have implemented it in Java and now I am working on C/C++ versions. I think I will also try to do a demo version in javascript to what how it works visually.

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Replacing The Tailpiece On My Mandolin

I unfortunately broke a piece of the tailpiece off on my mandolin the other day. I was restringing it and was putting on some old strings (they hadn’t been used) I purchased a few years ago. I don’t know if that was the problem or not, but one the little pegs in the tailpiece that the eye of the string holds onto snapped off.

I didn’t know what to do, so I phoned around to a number of places in Calgary and no one wanted to deal with it. Replacement tailpieces were selling upwards of $100 on eBay so that didn’t look very good either.

I ended up phoning Long & McQuade here in Calgary (Calgary Long & McQuade) and they said to bring it by and they would take a look. Anyhow, I walked in and they have a replacement tailpiece of the exact same shape and size for $20. I couldn’t believe my luck. It was the same size as my original so I could use my Kentucky tailpiece cover on it as well. It wasn’t even stored in the back. It was a plastic wrapped item on a display shelf.

I own a Kentucky KM200S teardrop style mandolin. I purchased it back around 1995 or so. It is a pretty nice little instrument so I want to keep it in good repair.

Replacing A Mandolin Tailpiece

Replacing it is really simple:

  1. Remove the cover of the tailpiece.
  2. Remove any strings connected to the tailpiece. Either remove them from the Mandolin completely or loosen them enough that you can slip the string eyelets off of the tailpiece pins.
  3. Remove the screw for the knob you connect your strap to.
  4. Remove the 3 screws holding the tailpiece onto the bottom of the mandolin.
  5. Hold the new tailpiece in place where the old one was. The angle of the mandolin tailpiece might not quite be right, so bend it a little so that it is touching flat on the bottom side of the mandolin and the on the top.
  6. My old tailpiece had a piece of felt along the edge that the strings dug into, but the new one didn’t have this. I removed the felt and superglued it onto the new tailpiece.
  7. Replace the 3 screws to hold the taipiece on.
  8. Replace the strap knob and screw.
  9. String up your guitar and put your tailpiece cover back on.

Overall, it was super simple, only cost me $20, took half and hour of work including the restringing, and I was able to keep on my original tailpiece cover.

I’m Back

This blog has been offline for a number of years, but I have decided to start back up again. Mainly to just keep up with my writing skills and document more of my personal experiences.

I will put back up some of my older and more popular posts from the past. Likely some may need some updating.

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