Learning 日本語「Japanese language」

Hopefully I wrote that right in the title. The featured image is by Freebird_71 under Creative Commons license.

So, I am thrilled and also committed to the notion of learning a new language mostly because while not only it allows me to expand my knowledge of learning a third language, English being my second language, the excitement of understand and talking to foreigners is always exciting.

In the past I did try doing my best to learn the language but the motivation wasn’t there. There was a lot of turmoil in my personal life, and honestly the focus just wasn’t there at all for me to even put myself through the grind. Not only that but I felt like I just launched myself at it without organizing and structuring myself a bit more. It’s not just “oh, yea, open a site and learn a few words and now you know everything”.

I’ve been trying a lot of different stuff this year. Some did stick with me others didn’t really stick with me, for example: drawing is a skill that I would love to work on but the commitment isn’t quite there yet. Photography I enjoy doing but it also requires a lot of planning so it’s not something I do often.

I guess, what I’m trying to say is that of all the hobbies that I want to work on. Learning a new language, and traveling seems like the calling I want to answer.

Photo by Almir de Freitas

For me using Anime or Manga would be the most crude and lamest reason to learn a language.

My main motivation to learn English wasn’t because I wanted to watch Lost, or Games of Thrones or any series that’s running. For me, a person that was born as a US citizen on an island whose main language isn’t English created a conflict for our future careers.

It was first out of curiosity, then as I began communicating with people from different parts of the world mostly thanks to the internet it hit me that the internet helped me out little by little correct myself, and by trial and error just learn more about the English language and the people who uses it.

But most importantly, it was and it will always be a business decision.

Learning English today open doors everywhere. Especially in the United States, or even United Kingdom. Whether you agree with that or not, if you were born already in a English-speaking country then honestly what I said may be pointless. But if you were born in a different country that speaks Hebrew but all the opportunities are in English-speaking countries then you have to put everything on a balance what would benefit you more in the future.

Photo by cogdo.

So in a way, my reason to learn a new language this time is to talk to more people, to meet more people, to know their views and daily life, to hangout with them and maybe even go to karaoke sing broken English-written songs, who cares, it’s all in the name of entertainment and blowing off steam.

I feel like just using a medium like anime or manga as a reason to learn a language is disrespectful to the country. And this not only includes Japan but any country in the world. I just think it’s a very short-sighted and immature reason, but I get the pulling of doing so, especially from young people that are growing right now and have easy access to anime/manga/series that we really didn’t have back then and where harder to get. The appreciation I have for translators will never be enough for their work on exposing a medium of any kind out there. Be it in Japanese/Chinese/Korean.

I’ve made a lot of accommodations, and I have been heavily putting a lot of hours into this. All I hope is that it goes all well and that my hard work eventually pays off.

My mistakes with pizza dough

Initially I thought making pizza dough was a bit tedious…. and it is if you are trying to open a business and want to get a good savory crust out there.

Here are some of my really stupid yet it could probably happen to you(tm) mistakes I’ve done with the dough.

  • Not letting the yeast activate and thrive within the environment. Believe me when I say if you don’t see ANY foam after 10 minutes in your mix(warm water(110-115F)/yeast/a pinch of sugar) then it’s time to throw out the mix and start over. Or maybe the active dry yeast you bought is past its time and expired (died) or you got a bad jar.
  • Kneading the dough harshly at the start when you are scrapping off the bowl and mixing the water and flour together. Don’t just put all your force into it. Treat it gently let it mix and when you see it’s springing back from the force then apply force and keep folding and kneading for 5-8mins. I’ve done the mistake that because it was too sticky I thought the dough needed more flour so I added more until I ran into a hydration issue…. at the end it was becoming a sticky mess because I applied too much force into the dough to the point it just got all over the counter.
  • Not salt enough. This isn’t a huge issue itself, but not having enough salt will make the dough taste……. bland, like nothing. However…
  • Not having a good quality olive oil for a complex flavor that adds up as the yeast does its job.
  • The elasticity of the dough depends on various factors. Could be it isn’t generating enough gluten because you decided to throw in the yeast at 150F water which will kill most of yeast if not all the yeast. You could have ran into a hydration problem where your dough is so dry it cannot do its job properly. Anyway, elasticity is still something I’m working on… and I’ve found it’s all about having a good healthy yeast that is active and foaming happily.

So…. those have been my stupid mistakes so far. I used to have such a good olive oil and I like my dough to bit a tiny bit more sour/yeasty taste on the side.. not chewy I don’t think I’ve ever liked a chewy pizza.

2019 has been one of the hardest year of my life

At some point in your life you come across a series of choices on how you want to continue your life. In truth, these choices are always available to you at any time and it’s up to you how you want to proceed. 2019 has been a beautiful year of growth. It has also been a very painful year, especially on all things related to my health, both mental and physical health were impacted.

It wasn’t the best. I wasn’t the best. It just wasn’t the best year.

What makes a year good?

For me, it’s finally having the courage to throw all the baggage I’ve carried for so long in my life. It broke me, it was the heaviest of the heaviest, and yet I still carried so much of the pain and anguish. From the past, present, and future. Some of the most painful moments in my life were the ones that never happened. It was just created from anxiety and depression. Some moments were real as well, and they were equally painful.

2019 is itself the end of an era for me. The final chapter to a badly written book with really bad characters in it.

 I really look forward to the following years, because they are going to be amazing and not because I say so but because I can finally walk the path I want to walk. Steer where I want to steer. See what I want to see.

To experience the world for the first time without the shackles of judgement is what I’ve wanted. I’ve judged myself harshly through this decade more than I have judged anyone in my life.

2019 is itself the the end and the beginning.

So for the following years all I can hope is that every year is met with many events. I want to enjoy my time with friends, family, and take as many decisions of what I want to do free of judgement. Whether it’s a good decision or not, it matters not.

iPhone X impressions

It almost feels like a decade. Back then I knew that I would never own any Apple product because I was just too poor to afford anything other than low quality phones. Plus, everyone sort of just wanted to hate on the brand because it was more of a status than anything else.

Of course those were the days. I still consider Apple products to be vanity items. They are fashion items that impresses no one these days because of how mainstream it has become. These days Samsung/Google/LG and a huge array of manufacturers can match and outmatch in certain scenarios the iPhone in terms of hardware.

As for me, well I’m just a guy that doesn’t like where Google is heading. I think Apple knows where the direction is heading. Mozilla were actually the first organization that started to market Firefox not just as a browser but a browser you need because it doesn’t track everything about you and try to sell your data.

It’s not about I have nothing to hide but more into “whatever I do is my business. I don’t know marketing companies profiling what I do. And if they are they should pay the big bucks to me.”

Well, enough about my opinions of how I feel about the current things going on in 2019.

So I received the shiniest of the shiniest: an iPhone X 256GB (unlocked).

How is it?

I think for the first time in many years I don’t feel compelled to talk about the performance or compare it to anything. I moved away from Google Pixel 2 XL to iPhone X. Both phones have an amazing performance.

It’s not about the performance. It’s about the company.

These days I’ve wondered who’s got my back. I think Apple recent advertisements on privacy are rock solid. They deliver a crystal clear message that whatever you do — be it browsing, watching, listening — it all stays in your phone. Your data doesn’t go to chinese servers to be analyzed.

I’ve been trying to cut off Google products for many years…. it was one of the hardest thing to do. Years ago I decided to move to Fastmail. It took me like 2 months of preparation of what I needed to do. I’ve yet to replace the search engine because Microsoft hasn’t improved theirs… and Duckduckgo is basically Bing in disguise.

As far as impressions go. I like the iPhone X. The Face ID feature works better than I thought. Performance-wise it’s okay but I knew that already. Apps wise, let’s be honestly, there’s an insane amount of apps in the App Store.

Functionality-wise could be better… but I don’t really have many complains because by now I’m used to iOS due my iPad.

In conclusion: I like the iPhone X. It’s all I expected it to be. It has a very sturdy design with an amazing display and a good battery life too.

You did what now? So I am now part of the Apple “family” with the switch to iPhone

I know what you are thinking. Them judging eyes, shaking your head in disgust. But why?

I grew tired of Android. I didn’t grow tired of Windows 10, heck, I love Windows 10 and I love the new Microsoft, but there is no Windows Phone is there?

Google has left me a bit bitter, especially with the garbage the is the Google Pixel 2 XL. Whoever did the quality control on those devices need to be fired. That’s how bad it is.

For a long time I’ve been investing into Apple products… I own the iPad which I love and I think it’s probably one of the best tablets in the market right now outmatching any out there. The iPad has an insane battery life and you could literally browse for hours or watched 4-6 episodes (probably a bit more depending on settings) of series.

The MacBook Pro has left me a bit of a bittersweet taste. I do love the build quality but the recent MacBook Pros have left me scratching my head because it seems Tim Cook isn’t doing his job. Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs that’s for sure. It seems he has focused all his ideas in pure vanity and not usability.

But, the main reason I love my MacBook as some of you may guess: the battery life, and because it’s UNIX but it factors really low into the decision-making. I’m not really petty to throw a tantrum if it’s UNIX or Linux. I could use Windows just fine.

But the recent problem that I’m seeing about Windows 10 is that all their updates are shipped broken. That’s a HUUUUUUUGE no for me. I have gotten to the age of not wanting to deal with more technical issues on my own devices. I’m just not putting up with more broken updates until Microsoft fixes their mess.

With Microsoft’s move to Linux and OSX I’m actually very happy. I can use my favorite editor: Visual Studio Code which honestly I don’t think anyone from Microsoft ever thought it’d be one of the best tools out there. C#/F# and .NET Core runs pretty well on my machine. Python/PHP/Java/etc are already languages that ran on my machine.

The investment has been done already. I’ve had my MacBook Pro for like a year now… and the iPad about the same length. I am not happy with a few things like Finder actually being a very crappy app that makes Explorer look almost oscarworthy. But maybe I’m just used to Windows File Manager (Explorer) and I actually deem it better than Finder. It also provides even more value with OneDrive now that you can leave your files in the cloud.

I don’t know what’s going to be the future of OSX. I don’t think whoever is making the decisions knows what they are doing. Microsoft is catching up fast and I don’t think they are prepared for it. OSX needs to up their game.

Having said that. Strange times ahead for me as I fully submerge myself in Apple.

The quest to eargasm?

I feel like I may have… gone a little overboard on a lot of things. Buying headphones is certainly one of them.

In full picture:

Sony WH1000XM3, Bowers & Wilkins PX, AKG N60C, Sennheiser HD6XX (Massdrop Edition)

I don’t consider myself an audiophile or anywhere around that. Heck I could explain right now, or try to, on why I have so many… headphones. Part of it is experimenting. The thing about headphones, especially reputable ones is that the retain value so I can easily sell it back without losing much.

Sony WH1000XM3 is meant to be replacing my Bowers & Wilkins PX. These two are the ones I use at work right now and they’ve been wonderful. The Bowers & Wilkins PX certainly wins against the WH1000XM3 when it comes to acoustics…. but when it comes to bass Sony headphones just have the upperhand as the Bowers and Wilkins aren’t as bassy as I’ve had hoped for.

The AKG N60C is actually the one I use at home and it’s connected to a bluetooth transmitter that is connected to my TV. The consoles and most devices are connected to the TV using the TV input ports provided… so I basically route all that sound through a optical audio cable that plugs to the bluetooth transmitter. The AKG ones aren’t meant to outmatch anything. I just found them super cheap and quite reliable for my needs and all I wish is it had more battery life in them.

The Sennheiser HD6XX I use mostly with my Macbook Pro. I just use when I’m alone as they are open headphones, else I’d switch to the closed ones that I listed above.

In terms of quality… I’d dare say I’ve had a greater impression with the Bowers & Wilkins PX and the Sony WH1000XM3 when pitting it against the Sennheiser HD 6XX. Don’t ask me why. I just find the Sennheiser ones to be lacking something and I don’t know what.

Overall I’ll probably end up selling the Sennheiser HD 6XX if I can’t find what’s wrong with it. And part ways with the Bowers and Wilkins PX but as of late a big part of me doesn’t want to give up on the Bowers & Wilkins. I love them. They were my second headphones and I’ve found them to be incredibly delightful to use. I do have minor complains with the clamping… it’s quite… rough after a few hours, but overall I really enjoy using them.

If I ever go high-end with cans… you won’t see me do that this year for certain. I think I’m going to stay in the mid-zone for a long time. I’m also hoping to do a write-up on Sony WH1000XM3 at the end of this month.


Snappity Snap ?

The past few days have been fun. They’ve been filled with a lot of curiosity and eagerness to learn something new. I feel like photography might be a hobby I’ll be pursuing heavily.

I find it fun… because it gives me something to do. More than just fun, it’s a series of what happens if I alter the settings to obtain a more seasoned take of the photo. On the past few days I’ve been working with two people that have been helping me get up to speed with a lot of things photography except composition.

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For now I’m just having a blast with learning more about ISO/Exposure Time/Aperture. These three elements are fairly important at least to me when it comes to all things lighting and if I don’t learn it I don’t think it would’ve made much sense buying a Nikon camera.

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I feel like the greatest challenge so far is actually having a good composition in the photo. Everything in place and working in harmony. I don’t think I will be able to master that anytime soon but as time passes, maybe.

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Either way… it’s a hobby. One I hope that stays a hobby. I think I’ve found something I can become quite passionate about. It’s really a break from all things programming. I don’t think you know how much photography means to me as a new hobby. Perhaps I’ve been burnt out to the ground with programming and need a break from it.

Nonetheless, it’s fun and keeps me busy.

Wrapping this up. Feel free to check out my Flickr and follow me.

Approaching new things

If I have to give this month a fair shake it is that I’ve been doing things the wrong way. I’ve yet to make any progress in a position that I want because quite honestly these days I’ve yet to get excited about a company or product.

Now, I don’t really want to give the opening of this log entry a very heavy start. Life doesn’t go the way you want it most of the time and I’ve learned to be okay with it as long as I don’t become complacent or a conformist.

I feel like I have been extremely spontaneous about many things this month with the start of new hobby. Like anything, it takes a lot of practice and a lot of trial and error to get good at it. Photography isn’t exactly a passion of mine. Just an interest that I hope to nourish over the following years.

It’s also something that I’ve been meaning to start. I’ve been with computers for so many years that the thought of doing more outdoor activities was never in the equation. Now, these days I want to take control of my life and finally enjoy myself. Go out, travel the world, etc.

A huge part of me doesn’t want to just stay still… I just can’t do it anymore.

I can only hope that everything goes well. Not just on this new hobby but everything I’m planning to do.

I love you, Sony WH1000XM3. But you are too fragile. ?

I finally got my hands on the Sony WH1000XM3. They’ve been dropping the prices on eBay so I thought: Hey, you know what? It’s time to bite.

I have so many mixed feelings and all of them revolve around the build quality.

A friendly reminder that I’m still a bad photographer

On a fair note, I’ve been extremely spoiled by Bowers & Wilkins. Hands down I feel like Bowers & Wilkins understands that perhaps something that is priced around $350-400 shouldn’t be completely plastic.

Sony, Bose, and many other manufacturers continues to deliver poor build quality just to maximize profits and not compromise on giving people a better product.

Granted, the cans are actually amazing and I feel like while the sound stage isn’t as big as B&W PX it sure makes the B&W PX sweat when it comes to the bass.

This is my third pair of cans while having previously owned Sennheiser MOMENTUM, Bowers & Wilkins PX, and now the Sony WH1000XM3.

I’ll be talking about this on a consumer standpoint, not as an audiophile because I don’t classify as one nor do I have the knowledge many audiophiles have. However, as someone who owns the product I can talk about the differences I’ve found and so on.


In search of passive income

I believe I got the answer to this one… anyone that is a developer knows that at times we consider freelancing or creating some sort of software. Sometimes the idea becomes creating your own software to sustain yourself and your family.

Me? I’ve thought about a few things. None of the ideas are easy or even profitable. The thing about profitability though is that you just don’t know if it’s actually profitable. If you don’t do a decent execution on it then you’ll see yourself in a very bad spot.

Freelancing is tiring. I don’t want to go back into it. The mere thought that I’d have to sit down and build a client list is maddening. It’s just a solid no.

Creating software and selling it might be my route. Sadly, it’s a time consuming one if you don’t have all the pieces come together. I’ve always followed a strict guideline of always plan and always keep it as simple as possible and honestly that has helped me not implement unwanted features.

For now I’m just searching for passive income that I can compliment my current one. It’ll be a tough search.