Out of all the recently released programs/courses/interactive content that has come out lately the one that stands out the most and gotten the most attention is Duolingo. Duolingo is the relatively new, innovative service that allows you to translate content on the web as to learn and also provides decent amount of lessons to get one started For the past week or so I’ve been using Duolingo for German and the results have been moderate. I don’t think it’s the fastest way to learn a language, but it’s the definitely the best interactive way, in other words, its not as boring as cramming flash cards. Looking back if I would've spent the time I spent on Duolingo cramming grammar, listening and following along with an audiobook or simply finding conversation partners I probably could've made much more progress. I don’t want to go out listing all the problems I have with Duolingo cause I am not the typical user on the site. I literally rammed through around 70% of the content in just a couple of days, which is probably not the way it was meant to be done, but then again I’m not the average person.
Regardless here are a small number of problems I’ve noticed with Duolingo.
Overall I think its very good for the beginner or for the person who is content feeling like they made some progress for their hour of work, but once you actually calculate how much you learn per hour, its pretty abysmal. Its similar to people trying to learn programming through Codecademy: you feel could cause you made SOME progress without too much effort, but in reality you could've learned much more if you just applied yourself through books and tutorials.
I guess the worst thing about Duolingo is that it just doesn’t scale quick enough. It can take 2 hours to learn 3-5 new grammar points and around 40-60 words (really depends on where you are) when you can easily learn 100 words in 1 hour and 10 grammar points in another on your own. Not only that, if you do it on your own and then follow that by applying it to real source such as books and audio you can scale out of control pretty fast. In Duolingo you learn some new words and grammar points, but then it just doesn’t scale and it doesn’t come at you quick enough.
The best feature by far of Duolingo is the translation section because it gives you a great interface to practice reading in your target language and attempting to translate it. Furthermore a bunch of the chosen translations have comments and other user feedback which really helps you understand what is going on. In conjunction with Google translate and a good amount of challenge setting it can be a very effective way of learning.
Atm I can only long, hopefully will look into shorting later.
OXGN: Huge lift today, pretty crazy, might continue to surge, volume came out of nowhere, so still very good.
NWTR: I think this one is getting pumped not sure, will be interesting to see tommorow. This might be THE play tommorow.
NQ: might be making a solid rebound
First what my high school experience was like and how It got me to where I am now
Growing up for me was an interesting experience. For one I grew up in Puerto Rico, Which from what I have been told from friends who moved to the U.S., is nothing like a "normal" high school life. Having a senior skip WEEK instead of just a day where you ditch school as a class and literally go vacation, No matter where you lived you were only 20 minutes from a beach. Drinking age is 18, and that is barely enforced as well. There was even a day where all the teachers in school EXPECTED students to come in hungover and thus the teachers just showed movies in class while everyone slept. I'm not kidding guys.
Anyways, Throughout early high school I always thought I wanted to be a video game designer. I really liked video games and all I wanted was to live a simple life, make ends meet, maybe a save a bit and just play games and generally not care too much. Then halfway through high school I figured maybe If I found a way to become financially independent I could focus completely on playing video games and then never have to worry about making ends meet (a strategy I had learned from a video game! mentioned in one of my blogposts). This led me to read the four hour workweek which I found somewhere online and in the process I also found out about vagabonding.
If you haven't read vagabonding I suggest you go buy it and read it immediately. This sole book changed my life. I've read it something like 8 times and always become amazed at how good of a job it describes travel philosophy and life philosophy as well. With these two books In hand and reading countless blogposts, and also finding tynan in the midst of life nomadic, I became enamored with the idea of perpetual travel, learning languages, meeting foreigners and just becoming immersed in different cultures. But just one problem... I needed money.
This is where I wish the shoulda woulda coulda aspect of life comes into play.
Lately ive noticed this whole 100 happy days phenomen thing and I looked into it to see what it was about. It turns out it some some challenge where you attempt to be happy for 100 days in a row. Is this some kind of joke? I've detailed what it takes to be happy in my blog before and tynan has a great post on being happy, but I'll let you all in on a little secret: its not that hard, and sometimes, its not even the best thing to pursue. if anything the 100 happy days challenge brings to light the skewed and inaccurate perceptions people have about happiness to light. For example
1. society:Being happy requires "work" or is a "challenge" something you have to attempt or strive for.
truth: Being happy is the body's natural state in most cases. As long as you are healthy and have your basic needs met being happy is easy as long as you allow yourself to be happy. For 95% of people in first world countries who don't have any chronic illness or the like the only things keeping them from being happy ALL the time is bad habits, beliefs and skewed percpetions about happiness. People in much poorer, dangerous and stressful places manage to be happy and live good lives. Being happy isn't about trying or working for it, its the opposite: its about relaxing and changing frantic, anxious thinking that leads to unessecary stress to thinking in the flow
2. society: you can't be happy all the time or else it would take away the value (or something similar)
truth: sometimes happiness gets mistaken with euphoria or some sort of high. In fact being happy is nothing about this for most people. Being happy just means feeling good about yourself and being emotionally stable and overall just relaxed. The best analogy is: its not some rampant fire, but rather slow burning coal. rampant fires can make you feel good, but that isn't really happiness, and it isnt sustainable, but slow burning coal burns for a long time and constantly give you exactly what you need.
Well I finally got around to making a blog and putting myself out there. In this Blog I plan to mostly talk about my life, my passions, what I'm focusing on as well as the people I respect. I don't plan on following any particular "niche" but I plan on writing everything from my thoughts on learning Japanese, my favorite cities in Europe, and book I Love.
So first a little by about myself
Every time someone sees me studying Japanese Kanji（漢字), characters the Japanese borrowed from the Chinese, and then used to represent Japanese ideas and pronunciation, I always get one or both of the following responses
1. Are you studying Chinese?
2. Is it hard?
In response to the first I always teach them and let them know that Chinese is significantly different than Japanese because Japanese people use three "alphabets" (they are in fact more like syllabaries), katakana, hiragana, and kanji, and because the grammar is substantially different.
The second though, is always a mixed bag. The U.S. Government states That Japanese, along with Arabic, and Chinese (and some other languages I forgot) are the languages that require the most time to learn for English speakers. But in my opinion, after having spent years studying on and off, Japanese is definitely one of the the World's toughest languages (at least considering it is actually spoken by over 100 million people) to become really fluent at (watch comedians, read adult-level literature, understand and differentiate slang and homonyms),but one of the easier languages to learn the basics to ( denoting location, modifiers, people, adjectives)
Over the years everyone gets asked the same mundane questions revolving around what is your favorite book, movie, band, song, video game etc.. For most of the things stated I don't have concrete answers. I will definitely tell you one of my favorite movies is City of God and that Red Hot Chilli Peppers is one of my favorite bands, but depending on my mood, the context, and overall experience with movies or music, my opinion can change. But when it comes to books, my favorite is unchanging
The book I'm talking about is Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. Vagabonding is the book that has had the most effect on my outlook, thoughts, and values. First and foremost, Rolf Potts is humble, he doesn't brag or rub it in your face how much he's traveled or all the crazy adventures he has had. Rather he mentions them to inspire and evoke the same feelings he must have felt while living through it. what's amazing about Rolf Pott's advice is how it can be integrated into your everyday life easily and flawlessly. His advice on how to deal with culture shock, his views on working, and his mentality for dealing with the good and bad really hit home on how one should live their life all the time. But his strongest advice comes from two simple words. SLOW DOWN! (I'll probably write and article on this subject one of these days) these two words, implemented everyday will have a dramatic effect on your life. Too many people live their lives hectically and all over the place, in an unnecessary haste that actually brings about no significant improvements over doing things in a more simple manner.
Most of all the book really inspires you to travel. The way I think about it, this world is to huge and filled with too many adventures to be stuck in one place. Cultures, languages, food, perceptions, are so wide and varied that by staying at home or in one country you only "read one chapter" (as one of the quotes Rolf Potts uses in the book). Before I read this book my life mostly revolved around the concept of me growing up, getting a normal job, and then staying at home playing video games, watching TV, and doing exercise. Life just didn't seem that bad, and I have never been the type of person that likes to waste money haphazardly. This book had a profound effect on me. It made me think about what other possibilities lie out there that I wasn't taking advantage, how the small aspects of travel, the people, the environments, the awkward experiences, the combination of just being surrounded by a completely new place and leaving everything behind, would allow me to venture far past my comfort-zone and give me the power to create my own reality.
for those of you who haven't read this truly amazing book, I suggest you buy it NOW. If you have thought about traveling but never really found the motivation too this book will help you. And even if you never plan on travelling, the books premise, concepts and advice can easily be applied to a life anywhere.
In the modern world, an overwhelming amount of information and result-oriented mentalities have lead many of us to become extreme rationalizers. For the most part rationalizing is something is sensible and healthy –don’t do something stupid--. But on the other hand rationalization can be a crutch, as well as a barrier preventing people from accepting reality (by protecting their egos) and taking responsibilities for their actions. Furthermore rationalization will lead to paradoxes due to human behavior, for the most part, being irrational, easily swayed, and motivated or affected by thousands of sources or stimuli. and thus in order to make progress and accomplish things one must develop a system or a set principles that facilitates and empowers progress. Here are four guidelines I use every time I make a decision or seek to progress.
Be as specific as possible
Being Vague in life gets you nowhere. Its fine to be vague when you are trying to relax or when you are just messing around, but when you went results or progress, specificity is of utmost value. Vague goals like “ I want to learn Japanese” “or I want to lose weight” or “I want to get As” don’t point to any action or guide you in anyway.
Being specific is easy and allows you to determine a course of action much more effectively. For example, under learning Japanese something specific might be “learn 20 verbs in 1 hr through Flash Cards” or “learn Japanese grammar by reading and reviewing 1 chapter of genki 2 a week”. Using both a time frame and detailing the method has proven to be very effective because it forces you to focus, plan and get things down as well as giving you something to adhere too. Things that can be added to further improve is dictating when you will do something (I will learn… form 9-10), and what to do incase you can’t do the first (run 3 miles a day, but if its raining do high intensity exercise indoors)
Being specific also makes it harder for you to rationalize, which leads me to my next point.
So far, 2012 has been a rather average, yet splendid year. First and foremost I spent excessive time doing two of the things I love the most: playing video games and socializing. Second, ever since I’ve returned to Puerto Rico, I have had a blast hanging out with friends, going to the beach,and engaging in amazing culinary experiences all around the island. But now, most of the excitement surrounding my stay here as faded. Many of my friends have already moved on, either to take summer programs, get jobs, or just straight out move. Having lived in Puerto Rico for the majority of my life, most of the new adventures and places here are rather limited, there is only so much one can do and see one an island before one gets bored.
It turns out, I just haven’t done enough of what I REALLY love: travel.
While reading The Personal MBA I came upon an interesting method called the Five-Whys method, where, essentially, you ask yourself why five times in a row until you reach the main issue that needs solving or the main motivation behind the action. By doing this, one can focus there attention and energy into getting the motivation satisfied. I used the five- why’s method on travel and came up with the root motivation behind my want of travelling: freedom. Unfortunately it isn't that simple.
The truth is in order to do all the things I want, I need money. Money can effectively buy you freedom, as long as it is used in a level headed manner. Thus I came to realize that my goal for the rest of 2012 should be to make money. Becoming financially free should be the number #1 goal all people in their twenties have because becoming financially free is what really opens up doors. Working 9-5 discourages freedom, innovation, and trying out new things. Not only do I get back from work tired, due to all the energy I already expended at work, waking up early etc, but since the majority of work I did was repetitive and boring, my motivation to take on new projects competes with a need to either rest, do mind-numbing activities or just socialize
Case in point: Spend as much time and energy as you can to set up a system that provides passive, dependable income, without you being there. Once the system is set up, test it and see if it works without you. This is my current goal.
I remember when I first read the Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and how logical and seemingly easy it seemed to me. Even though I knew that actually making it happen required a lot of work, guts, and maybe some luck; I could still understand how important the concepts were. Of course, many have gone on to criticize the concept of a four hour work week-- some calling it lazy, others impractical and some just straight up disbelieving its possibility But in my opinion, the book was not solely about starting some sleazy company and wandering off to some unknown island; rather it was about how to dissect, plan and make deliberate choices. Early in the book, Chapter 2 I believe, Ferris asks the reader to imagine what they would if they had 100 million dollars, what everyday concerns would become redundant and what would one really begin to care about?
Since then I think about this exercise at least once a week to see how I have come along. Personally I believe this is one of the stronger exercises one can do in order to get down to the core of the issue for most of us: if money weren't an issue what would you do? Ferris talks about dreamlining ( a way of organizing what you want, whether it be tangible or some sort of skill set, on paper ) and then outlining what action you would have to take to get there. Dreamlining is important because it helps you put your goals in perspective by helping you breakdown the amount of time and money learning a skill will take as well as determining what constitutes achieving that skill or that money.
In the majority of the book, Ferris talks about countless of productivity ideas (he talks about Parkinson's law and how it can be used to create pressure, one of my favorites), and how 80 percent of the results can come from 20 percent of the inputs : meaning that deciding what to focus on can be infinitely more productive than how much time you spend doing something. But in my opinion, these parts of the book pale in comparison to the immensity of value in the first and last parts of the book.
The later parts of the book focus on how one will continue to feel like they are contributing after they become completely financially independent Many people think that after they quit there careers, especially if it was a career they took particularly seriously, they can just relax, but the fact is, many of these professionals begin to feel empty. With nothing challenging them to succeed and step up to the plate, suddenly they feel empty and their drive to live feels diminished.
The first part of the book is the one that focuses on the mind-set and paradigms of the financially independent. Its also the part that asks the question of what would you do day to day if you had 100 million dollars.