On Having Great Neighbours

Thursday, November 12, 2020

We are lucky enough to have amazing neighbours in every direction surrounding our home. There are neighbours who are older and who act as a second set of grandparents. There are neighbours who have kids the same age as our own. And there are neighbours who have older kids who are willing to put up with our little ones’ shenanigans for a fun evening on the driveway.

The little girl here is the same age as our oldest, and this has to be one of the greatest blessings in disguise. These two girls are going to grow up not knowing any other life than having a next door neighbour as a best friend.1

Having the neighbourhood watch-dog also happens to be a blessing in disguise.

For the full photoset of this beautiful family, check out my portfolio page right here.

  1. Assuming nobody moves away. I moved enough friends and family over the summer to know it won’t be us moving away anytime soon. 

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"Go after a market with strong demand."

Sunday, October 11, 2020

I’m quickly growing fond of Justin Jackson’s business writing. This latest piece has a few nice tips and learning points for those looking for clarity. I thought the breakdown of this list was great:

When I talk about a “market” I’m describing the sum of demand for a particular thing:

  1. Number of potential customers
  2. How much they spend
  3. The frequency at which they buy
  4. Their willingness to pay

Seems obvious, but if it were obvious, we’d all be millionaires.

Falcon Lake 2020

Friday, October 09, 2020

I’m still getting caught up on all the photography from the summer. Which is a great thing of course — it means I actually pulled out the camera and took the time to make some edits!

In actuality, the camera has been in full swing. But more on that soon.

Falcon Lake, Manitoba is where my retirement dreams lie. It’s a full-on lake town, with a grocery store, lumber yard, and a beautiful golf course all within a five-minute drive from some of the nicest cabins in the province.

Josh of the Future longs for a cabin on the water at Falcon Lake. Every year we visit, Josh of the Future’s longing gets deeper.

Here’s why.

Web Apps Are a Must

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Matt Birchler’s latest post is a hammer to my nail:

So what do I look for in a new service? The Mac diehards will kill me, but I look for things that are a web-service first and foremost. I want to make sure that no matter what device I’m on, and no matter what account I’m logged into, I can get to my stuff. Inoreader is a good example of this, as it lets me view, read, and manage my RSS feeds in a competent web app on Windows, but it has an open API which developers can use to integrate the service into native apps.

I’m using GoodLinks myself for read-it-later right now, but this is far from an ideal workflow. Should I run into an article I want to read later on any of the iPhone, iPad, or Mac, GoodLinks is great. If I find an article on my work PC — which is 90% of the articles I find these days — I have this convoluted work-around:

  1. Using a Chrome extension, save the URL to Link Drop, a service that compiles all your URLs clipped in a day and sends you an email with the list at the end of the working day.
  2. From the email in HEY on iPad, tap and drag each individual URL into GoodLinks to save later.

Should one of the links be required to save for later in Bear notes, I’d formerly move that link from the daily Link Drop email into Bear.

This was a long, ugly workflow that I am happy to retire.

On the notes front, everything is going into Roam Research right now. Roam is best accessed in the browser on a Mac or PC, but is also 99% capable in the browser on iPad as well. I’m not reading articles later in Roam by any means, but this at least takes Bear out of the equation.

Read-it-later continues to be one of my most despised workflows. I’ve found nothing that checks all the boxes (web app/service, great reading environment, and a touch of whimsy and delight).

By and large, I’m with Matt here: I likely won’t even entertain (which should be read as “I won’t even download”) an app to my iPhone or iPad that doesn’t have a working web service or web app in the background. I don’t even need Mac support! Windows/Web-app + iPhone + iPad works just fine.

There are one or two exceptions, but having a web app is increasingly fundamental for me.

The Toonie Newsletter

Friday, September 25, 2020

Back in May of this year, I had an insatiable itch to write about personal finance here on The Newsprint. It began with this piece, where I discussed the realities of finances and how everyone thinks they’re experts in the personal finance world.

(I guess I’m no better?)

That post acted as me giving myself permission to write about personal finances here on The Newsprint. I proceeded to do so, of course, but with a smidge of apprehension each time.

Every time I hit the publish button, I felt as though “Personal Finance” and “The Newsprint” went together like water and gasoline. And any attempt I made to glue them together resulted in a larger and larger mess than before.

So after a hiatus of that sort of writing, some friends pushed me to put personal finance writing into a newsletter.

I’ve been working and publishing that newsletter for four weeks now, and I feel like it’s gaining some momentum. I haven’t had this much fun writing about any topic in a long, long time, I feel like I’m coming up with new ideas that I haven’t seen gain popularity in the wider circles, and, above all else, I feel like I’m providing a direct value to a very personal set of readers.

Dubbed “The Toonie Newsletter”, this newsletter will house my thoughts on personal finance and tax, and perhaps some investing and stock market discussions. The goal is to provide value to a wide range of readers, from beginners to experts, but probably will shy away from the professional end of the investing spectrum. (I’m not in much of a position to give trading advice when I don’t think the act of constant buying and selling is advantageous. For most people, of course.)

Why “Toonie”?

Well, I spent weeks brainstorming a name for the newsletter, and “Toonie” fulfills a few goals.

For one, it’s a Canadian slang term for a $2 coin.

For two, “Toonie” fits nicely alongside “The Newsprint” — they have many of the same letters, and “The Newsprint’s Toonie Newsletter” kind of, sort of rolls off the tongue better than anything else I could think of.

For three, toonies are silver in colour (with a gold insert) and this fits nicely alongside The Newsprint’s simple grey circular logo.

For four, “Toonie” is easy to remember and spell.

Hopefully this sticks.

I’ve had a ton of fun over the last few weeks kicking things off, and I have a couple really cool ideas coming in the near future. A smattering of examples include:

The “Where Should I Start?” piece, in particular, is the jumping off point for a four-part series for going from “I don’t have a clue about how to get my personal finances in order” to “I’ve got a start and I want to try some new things”. Subscribe to receive Parts 2 to 4 in your inbox.

The Newsprint will, of course, continue to exist. I’m just hoping to put other personal stuff on the blog. Photography, fun links, some tech writing. You know, the stuff you’ve come to expect over the years.

Personal finance was just a little out of the The Newsprint’s scope, and Toonie is a fun and fresh start to both try Substack and allow others to glean something from a few of the experiences I’ve had over the years.

If you’re intrigued, you can subscribe right here. I’m trying to push out an issue each Friday morning. If you missed today’s, make sure to swing by (or subscribe) for next Friday morning’s issue.

I’m going to try my best to ensure it’s a doozie.

Brereton Lake 2020

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Each year, we get a chance to enjoy Manitoba’s Whiteshell Provincial Park for about a week. And each year, that week is circled on the calendar about 12 months in advance.

We were able to do an á la carte trip to the Whiteshell this year though. We began with four days at beautiful Brereton Lake followed by a final three days at Falcon Lake.

This was our first official camping trip as a young family and it sure was an eye-opener. We didn’t sleep more than 18 hours all week. We were on each other’s cases for all 7 days. And we promised each other it would be at least 3 or 4 years before we embarked on another camping trip.

We’re already thinking otherwise. Of course.

It was a great week in the midst of a weird year. I can’t wait to return next year.