Monday, May 7, 2018

Speech links: How to be rich

Mr chairman, fellow toastmasters and guests.

Recently I was enjoying my jet-setting hobby of visiting international airports.  I was sitting in the departure lounge at Singapore airport when a man walked up to me and said "Hi Sean, how are you".  It was Thomas; we had inadvertently booked onto the same flights back to Hawkes Bay.

WE got into a conversation about money, and Thomas asked a questions that I thought was both insightful and pertinent.  He said "Sean, "", and this is almost a direct quote, he said "Sean, how can I be as rich and good looking as you?".  So I told him.  As you can see he is already much better looking.  Afterwards I thought "That's good advice, I should take it" and also "I have to do a speech next week, I should tell everyone".  So here I am.

I would like to introduce you to Harold Pollack.  Harold is a blogger and podcaster.  A few years ago he was interviewing someone about the personal finance industry, the financial equivalent of used car sales.  He said “Isn’t the industry’s fundamental problem that the best advice for most people would fit on an index card, and it’s available for free at the library?”.  They laughed and moved on.

Once the interview was published, people started asking.  They said "Harry, where is the index card" and "Pollock, you pillock, show me the card."

So Harold took an index card, wrote down his 9 rules and posted a photo online.  The rest is viral history.

1                     strive to save 10 to 20 percent of your income.
2                     pay your credit card balance in full every month.
3                     Put 3% into Kiwisaver or similar (NZ version) max out your 401(k) and other tax-advantaged savings accounts. 
4                     never buy or sell individual stocks.
5                     buy inexpensive, well-diversified index mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
6                     make your financial advisor commit to the fiduciary standard.
7                     buy a home when you are financially ready.
8                     insurance. Make sure you’re protected.
9                     do what you can to support the social safety net.

I promised to tell you how to be as rich as me.  But I'm not rich.  I have a wife and 2 teenage children who are expensive to keep.

I am not trying to be rich, I am aiming for something else: Financial independence; having enough investments that I don't need to work.

To be financially independent, you need to meet 2 criteria:
  1. Have 25 x annual expenses in savings and investments
  2. Spend less than 4% of your saving/investments each year
If you can meet these criteria, then your investments should last at least 50 years.

Closing thoughtsMoney is like sex.  
We like it, but we don’t really talk about. it 
We all think we know what we are doing, but most of us don’t.  
We all think that everyone else has more than we do.
And like sex, the more you learn about it, the easier and better it gets


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Using the Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box with an XPS 15 9560

 TLDR: Everything is twice as fast

I recently purchased an Aorus GTX 1080 Gaming Box (see review)  for my 9560 (i7, 1 TB SSD, 32 GB ram).  I have been playing with and testing it for a few days and am pretty happy with my purchase.

Initial impressions

Initial impressions are mostly good.
Setup was annoying
Recognition of the card when hot plugging is OK, but not outstanding.  Typically takes 20 seconds for the card to recognised and my external monitor to be activated.
The internal clearance is a bit tight.  When it arrived, the gpu fan was hitting the casing.  I had to remove the case (6 screws) and do some precision adjustment with pliers to resolve this.

Set up

Initial setup is a pain in the arse, although it would probably have been easier if I had found the CD and read the instructions.

To set it up properly you should do the following:

1. Install the 16.2 thunderbolt drivers from Intel
2. Plug in the box and let windows recognise it
3. Reinstall the graphics drivers
4. Install the latest firmware from gigabyte.  This requires the 16.2 thunderbolt drivers
5. Install the latest thunderbolt drivers from Intel.
6. Profit


Gaming performance on an external monitor is much improved as you would expect.  For every config that i have tried, I get 2 to 2.5 times the fps compared to the internal 1050 card.

Gaming on the internal monitor was also improved, but not as dramatically.  I got an extra 25% fps compared to the internal card.  However the minimum fps was much better.

I did quick and dirty benchmarking with the Far Cry 5 benchmarking tool.

I also tried testing with Farcry 4.  Unfortunately I couldn't turn off vsync, so with the gaming box I got a solid 60fps @ 1440p with everything on ultra.  Using the internal card I averaged 28fps.

In Final Fantasy 15, I am getting 50 fps on highest settings.

Overall I am pretty happy with this.  Every game that I have tried has been able to run at 1440p on highest/ultra settings at a playable framerate.