Friday, 29 November 2013

My lying family

URL: Louise's father was a cheating scoundrel who had two other families. So why does she blame it all on her mother?

I've read the article above and it reminds me of my father who is now on his third wife. My father was away all the time when I was little, and it wasn't until I was older that I found out what was happening. 

Most people were surprised that I didn't seem to care about the lies, deception, cheating, adultery, and so forth. I didn't get angry or lash out at anyone, but deep down I am extremely angry. I will never forgive and I haven't forgotten about it many years on.

I can hate my father all I want for what he has done but the reality is that what is done is what is done, and all I can do now is just disrespect him and never follow any of his commands. Rather than be a loyal son, I just do what I want and expect him to follow me, not the other way around. I will never help or support him or take care of him when he is old. In fact, everything is already set. His new wife will need to take care of him as he gets older, as will his new children (my half-siblings). I don't really need to think about my father. He has a lot on his plate with his new children. They are a handful.

My mother is alone now, and I have become her de-facto husband, which I resent because I feel like it is my right to be my own person. My mother is my mother, not my wife. My mother is my dad's second wife. I don't know if my father cheated on his first wife with my mother and I have no idea whether my mother knew that my father was cheating on her with his third wife. In a way I feel it is her fault for not being suspicious enough of her husband or lover, and I don't feel like it's fair for me to suffer as a result of her lack of due diligence.

I have changed my attitude now. If people around me are liars who try to control me, there is no humour in my conversations. I don't smile. I am serious, and I tell them that they are to follow my commands or else I will hurt them, and if they try to push me or control me, I will push them, and I will hurt them if they push me too hard, and I am prepared to die to defend my boundaries.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Travelling with Google Glass

Google Glass is likely to be released for the mass market for only $300. If that is the price, I will definitely buy one.
Where I think Google Glass will be useful is taking pictures, for example while you are on holidays. There is something so vain and fake about taking out a camera or smartphone to take a picture. When you take out the phone or camera, you announce to the world that you believe this moment is a special moment and everyone starts to pose or act in a way to live up to that moment, and every photo you see on Facebook has that cliche and artificiality to it.
When I travel, I don't want to have to take out a camera or a phone. I want Google Glass to have some app that will take automatic photos or at least allow me to take photos quickly and discreetly.
I am not a big traveller. I think travel is something I will do later in my life when I am more financially secure. But I cannot wait for it!

Julius Marlow 02 Motion

After damage done to my heels from my old pair of shoes, I decided yesterday to head to Myer and buy comfortable shoes, eventually buying the Julius Marlow 02 Motion shoes. I tried these on in the shops and they felt instantly comfortable. I am a little wary of purchasing online because I might get the wrong size or the shoe might end up uncomfortable. I am a size 10.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cheap iPhone will turn Apple into Samsung

Apple creates the iPhone 5 for $200 and sells it for $700. Google, on the other hand, makes zero or little profit on its Nexus devices (Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10).

Some people do not understand Google's philosophy, citing the fact that Google ads are found on Apple phones as well. The best way to understand Google's plan is to imagine what the world would look like if Googlr never invented Android and Apple controlled the entire smartphone market. Apple would make its iPhones for $200 and because they can they will charge $2000 for it to maximise profits. Because the price is so high, they will not sell much phones but because there profit margin on each phone will be so high, Apple is happy. Google makes money off advertising. If smartphones were all $2000 thanks to lack of competition as a result of monopoly, hardly anyone will use smartphones and therefore not many people would look at Google's ads and Google would not make much money. By creating Android, giving it away for free, and producing high-quality and cheap Nexus and Chromebook devices, Google is able to put pressure on Apple to bring its prices down and get the iPhone into more people's hands. Apple is content with selling fewer phones buy making high profit margins on each, explaining why Apple takes in 80% of smart phones profits even though 80% of smartphones run on Android.

The plan is working, and Apple is giving in. Apple will soon release a cheap plastic iPhone in an attempt to compete with Android at the lower end. Regardless of whether the cheap iPhone increases sales of Apple devices and steals market share from Android, it does not matter since Google ads are on Apple devices. A cheap iPhone will only dilute the Apple brand and transition Apple from a boutique low-volume high-margin company into a commodity mass-manufacturing, high-volume low-margin company. In other words, Apple will become Samsung.

The Key Difference Between Android and iOS

With the latest iOS 7 update, Apple phones look almost exactly like Android phones. According to Know Your Mobile, iOS and Android have copied each other to the point that they are indistinguishable.

Given that Google and Apple are both Silicon Valley tech firms, it is likely that engineers who work at Google will also one day work in Apple and vice versa. Engineers moving around ensure similar ideas are spread. Of course Google and Apple will copy each other.

While I agree that the two operating systems have similar appearances, there are still key differences between the two operating systems. For one, Google is primarily a software company that makes 93% of its revenue from advertising. They Google produce a phone, tablet, or computer, e.g. the Nexus 7, they make no profit on the product, aiming instead to move the market forward, get the device into more people's hands, and make money off advertising. Apple, on the other hand, makes most of its money off the hardware, e.g. making the iPhone 5 for $200 and selling it for around $700 to $800.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Dreaming of Being a Digital Nomad

Having come back from a one-week holiday in Malaysia and working for a week (and hating it), I am starting to think about the possibility of being a digital nomad.
A digital nomad pretty much works online from all over the world. The digital nomad uses WiFi in hotels to connect to the internet and lives in developing countries to minimise the cost of living while still enjoying himself.
The concept of being a digital nomad is just a hypothesis at the moment because, as you can imagine, a lot can go wrong with such a lifestyle.
I suppose I just want to travel again. I've been feeling depressed lately.

Australia Under Tony Abbott

Australia will have an election in a few weeks. The two main candidates are Tony Abbott of the conservative Coalition and Kevin Rudd of the Australian Labor Party. The polls suggest that it is likely to be a victory for Tony Abbott, which is a bit of a bummer because, although Kevin Rudd is not perfect, Australia under Tony Abbott is a worrying thought, mainly because I suspect he has extreme policies lined up. His stated policies, such as paid parental leave, cutting the costs of the NBN, Direct Action on climate change, and scrapping the carbon tax, are highly dubious, but most of these policies will reduce tax revenue significantly, meaning Abbott will likely resort to austerity measures that he has not even announced yet. It is the uncertainty of what this may mean, e.g. cutting funding to hospitals, schools, and the public service, that are worrying.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

How to Use TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor has been in the news lately because a fake restaurant had been rated highly by the site. A group of web users had created this fake restaurant in order to prove that TripAdvisor is not foolproof and can be gamed.

Of course, any website that allows anyone to submit reviews and rate the venue will suffer from this problem. It is just obvious. There is no way to fix this problem other than to allow only professionals to rate and review, but if TripAdvisor opted for that policy, the site would be no different to newspapers that publish reviews by travel editors. It is the democratic nature of TripAdvisor that makes its database so vast.

When looking for a hotel, it is important to determine the price. The best way to get the price is to go to the hotel website itself. After this, I tend to look at the quality of the place. TripAdvisor reviews are filled with angry people who vote a hotel down over minor problems. I do to some extent rely on TripAdvisor rating because ratings that are too extreme on the downside should be cancelled out by rating that are too extreme on the upside. Other than that, I rely on TripAdvisor's photos to judge the quality of bathrooms, beds, and so forth. Pictures don't lie. I also make sure I use other websites, e.g. Google Maps, or I do a Google search of the hotel to see what newspapers and blogs say about it.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Lilja 4-Ever

I just saw this movie, which was about underground sex trafficking. I'm feeling really sad now. Feel like there needs to be something I can do to help these girls.
Sexual slavery is really an example of capitalism at its worst. If the private sector had its way, sexual slavery would be rife. In order to limit sexual slavery, the freedoms of enterprise must be curbed so that they cannot enslave innocent young girls for their profit.

This is why government must intervene to set laws that protect human life, why government must fund police departments that investigate sex trafficking.
We can hope that public servants can be idealistic enough to create laws that protect the innocent and police also be idealistic or altruistic enough to implement these laws.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Less Work, More Holidays

Whenever I speak to people, I make no secret about the fact that I hate my job. It is not really the work that bothers me. Rather, it is the fact that I have to work for a boss. I have to report to a boss, update him on what I'm doing, and endure his speeches on how I should be doing my job. Because my dissatisfaction comes from being averse to being subjugated, I simply cannot go back to university and study a different course, as my father has suggested to me. I need to do something different. If I want to be my own boss, one option is to start my own business, but this option has its challenges. Will I have enough to money to start my own business? How much does it cost to run a business? What sort of tax and compliance processes do I need to follow, and are they burdensome?

The more I think about it, the more I realise that I probably need to start taking more holidays. Less than a month ago, I turned 29. I am almost thirty, almost sort of reaching the middle of my life, and I when I think back on my life, I realise that I really have not done much. I have been overseas but only twice. Most people go on a foreign vacation ever year. I have been reluctant to go on holidays because of the costs. I believed it was more sensible to save the money.

Given how stressful my job is, I believe it is best if I start taking holidays. It is not just my career where I am facing crisis. There is also chaos in my family life. Going to a different place and leaving your old life behind is a great way to clear the mind.

I will still continue to save money, mainly because I want to invest the money to make more money. One day I may be able to save up enough money to be able to be on holidays for, say, six-month periods at a time. When I come back to Australia, I can work part-time, and when I feel like it, I can just get back on the plane and get out. I am starting to realise that one of the greatest freedoms is the ability to just get out. I pity those who have committed too much into wage slavery, the people who have a mortgage, two children, and a car loan to fund. I have none of these, but pressure from friends and family to be normal is really starting to ramp up. It's as if all of society is trying to set a trap for me. I've reaches a point in my life where I need to make a fundamental decision about whether I want to embrace the culture of wage slavery or the culture of freedom. What is most cruel about life is that the price of freedom is a decade of wage slavery.

Too much holidaying can be unhealthy. I could get bored. I just don't know. I need to give myself the flexibility to move in and out of holiday mode and work mode.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Importance of Global Diversification

"Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land."
Ecclesiastes 11:2 (TNIV)
I have great respect of John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard Group. I believe that if you are unsure how to invest your money, just do what John Bogle says. That being said, there are few issues I have with him. The first relates to his aversion to foreign (i.e. non-American) investments. According to John Bogle, if you invest in a mutual index fund that replicates the S&P500 index, given that most S&P500 companies are multinationals with operations all around the world, you are getting foreign diversification anyway.

This is wrong.

What Bogle completely ignores is the fact that, by investing in only American equities, you are limited to companies that list on a small and undiversified number of stock exchanges. Every stock exchange around the world has different listing requirements. Some stock exchanges have very strict listing requirements, demanding that companies meet demanding disclosure requirements. Other stock exchanges may have lax disclosure requirements. Furthermore, some governments or stock exchanges (or both) may be more corrupt than others. You simply don't know, and it is for these reasons that you need to diversify across stock exchanges and countries. It is not enough to invest in an index fund that replicates the S&P500. You need to invest in European shares, Asian shares, Australian shares, and so forth. And that is only looking at shares. You should invest in other asset classes as well, such as REITs, bonds, and commodities.

One good argument against diversification if it's just too difficult. For example, in my opinion it makes sense to invest in commodities like gold for the sake of diversification, but investing in gold is not simple. You can't walk into a bank and just ask for gold, and storage of the gold becomes another difficulty. However, diversifying your equity investments across different countries is easy. There are many mutual funds out there that automatically diversify across multiple countries.

Hide and Diversify Your Wealth

If I could give two pieces of advice on investing, it would be the following: 
  1. hide your wealth
  2. diversify your wealth.

The first piece of advice is due to safety. If you save up money and go around telling people how great you are at saving money, the risk of theft only increases. I don't even recommend you tell family or friends about money you're saving. If you spouse knows, the payoffs from divorce are so much higher, which would tempt him or her. Just keep it to yourself and, better yet, pretend that you are poor. If snobs don't want to be friends with you because they don't want to associate with poor people, it's probably better that you didn't know them anyway.

The second rule of investment is you must diversify. In fact, when I think about it, the first and second rule are similar in that they exist due to lack of trust. If you hide your wealth, it is because you cannot trust people who will tempted to steal. If you diversify your wealth, it is because you cannot trust those people who hold your money to destroy your wealth either due to corruption or incompetence.

The two rules above help protect your wealth.