A Short Rant about Mac

It is fair to say that I’m a Windows man through and through. Recently I obtained a Macbook Air 2008 (the very first Air!). Now, first of all, this is a very old Macbook (12 years at the time of writing), however I’m amazed that it holds itself well running some of the modern applications such as Chrome (with 4 tabs open), Safari, Microsoft Office, without crashing. I guess this is where Apple shines. A Windows equivalent spec would simply crash at startup logo. In fact, I doubt a 5-years old Windows laptop would still be usable.

However, this is where my rant began. While Macbook is a very simple user-friendly laptop, it is very difficult to configure otherwise. For example, as the laptop I got is second-hand, I need to factory reset it. The way to do this is simple restart it and press Command+R while it is booting. Then I am presented with the Recovery mode, and then simply choose Disk Utility and Erase the hard drive. So far so good.

Now comes the problem. Back to the main Recovery menu, I choose Reinstall Mac OS X Lion. I connect the laptop to the WiFi, press Agree, and the press Agree again. Finally I need to sign in to Apple. Then it says that this item is temporary unavailable. I tried again and again and it gives the same error.

I quickly searched online, and basically it is a security feature that the Macbook need to be signed in with the same user ID as it was first signed in with. This is very crappy feature that is not helpful at all. Especially when there are so many workaround for this, such as starting Internet Recovery, or reinstall from USB. Even if it works, it should just say that in the message in the first place.

Edit: I found out that the “this item is temporary unavailable” is not a security feature, but a poor implementation. The reason for this is because you need to purchase Lion OS X from the App Store with your Apple ID (using another Mac), then you will be able to reinstall Lion on that Mac using the same Apple ID. This is only needed for Mac that do not have Internet Recovery, so you will unlikely to have this problem.

Simple Mortgage Planner

Survey said that average Australian paid off their mortgage within 10 years, despite the average mortgage term is 30 years. This is probably due to the fact that interest rates has been declining for the past many years and Australian have been good with minimizing their spending.

While there are many calculators in the Internet, I find none serve the basic planning of extra prepayments (including the interest rate changes, planned bonuses, tax return, or planned large holiday).

Attached is a template and sample where you can tweak around and plan what your future balance may be like. See how soon you will be able to pay off your mortgage.

Mice! Logitech G700 vs G900 vs G402 vs Razer vs MX Anywhere 2, 2S, Lenovo

There is no doubt that any programmer would swear by two things, their keyboard and their mouse. After all what is the point of having great mind if you can’t express it into digital words?

Of all mice, gaming mice is by far the best for… work! Yes, I said work. The precision of the speed, the customisable nature of it, makes it great tool for work.

I have here with me a total of 7 mices for review.

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Building Your Own NAS with FreeNAS

It’s the 9th week I’m working in isolation, and I needed a new project. So I look into my old PC and thought that I’m going to make a server out of this.

In this era of big data, we have tons of data, and we should be careful of what we put on the cloud. Chances are we may lose all of our data, or got it hacked, stolen, or ransomed. Building your own NAS allows you to have a complete ownership of your data. It is after all sitting in your own property. While ready made NAS may have been an option, I prefer to build my own NAS, because it’s cheap, and it’s just much more fun.

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How to make extra income in coronavirus lockdown

One of the easiest and fastest way to make extra income is by selling items you already have.
While you can simply list your item in pl

Here are some of my tips to sell your items on eBay, Gumtree, Marketplace and others.

  1. Learn a little bit of HTML editing. It is unfortunate that many personal stores on eBay advertise their ads in free text, while making it pretty with HTML editor is just a few clicks away. Find yourself a nice HTML template that you like, and fill it up with eBay HTML editor. It’s not that hard, and this gives you extra value on your items, and make it easier to attract buyers with a professional look!
  2. Make the photos with a plain background. Get your white shirt, sheet or towel, put it on the floor, and start taking pictures. The plain background will make the item stands out more. If your item is white or in bright colour, get a darker background. It is not too hard!
  3. Offers free postage if possible. In Australia almost all items are charged the same rate to any part or Australia. And this means there is no point to based the postage on buyer’s location.
  4. Make use of the free Final Value Fee offers. eBay and PayPal charges almost 15% of the total selling value. It’s quite a considerable sum! Luckily they give free fees offer from time to time. Usually new accounts get 3 free offers. Sometimes more. If you post your items on Gumtree as well, you can get 2 free listings per month. Finally if you have many many items, then consider subscribing to eBay stores package. It starts from $60ish per month, and gives you about 5% discount.

If you are selling by pickup method regardless on Gumtree, FB Marketplace or eBay, then you can take advantage of getting paid by cash. This saves an extra 3-4% on PayPal fees. However, be extra careful when doing this, meet in public place, and use extra common sense. For more information read here.

Learning Data Analysis at Home

So you want to learn to be a Data Analyst?

These days it is very easy to learn just about anything, and… it’s free! Anyone can do it, as long as you can read, have a working computer, and that’s it!

If you are wondering where to start, or what tools to learn from, here is some mini-guide.

Let’s discuss of the available options:

  1. Python – Most popular programming language today. It’s open-source and popular choice in small medium Enterprises, but large Enterprises also has started using these more.
  2. R – The same as the above, except that it is more widely used for statistical analysis. If you are from actuarial background, you are more likely to prefer this platform, but if you are from Computer Science, you are more likely to prefer Python.
  3. SAS – The demand on this platform has been diminishing in the past decade due to the growth of Python and R, however Large Enterprises still preferred SAS due to their support.
  4. SQL – goes without question. You must be able to write this – it’s not even hard enough to be considered a code.
  5. Microsoft Access and VBA. If you really have to, then you may try learning this very outdated incapable tool. While Excel is very useful tool for presenting and reporting data, MS Access really belong in garbage bin.

To get started with the above, you need to install just Anaconda. it has Python, R, and also SQLite.

Let us know your experience in starting this in the comments below.

My first blog!

My first ever blog!!!! Let’s open that champagne! Why am I writing this? Well the coronavirus lockdown has given me a lot of time for myself, and I have lots of random thoughts in my head. So I thought why not put it on the net, and see who may be interested, right?