Hey folks, what’s your favorite archived goal?
Mine might be frenchfries, which was one of my two first goals. I was trying to lose weight, so I made a goal to only eat french fries 3x a week, I think. It was a struggle! ~4 years later, I could have a 1x month frenchfries goal and be just fine…
The other might be phonecharge–I set up IFTTT to log every time my phone went under 25% charge, as I was irritated that my phone was always dead.
These were never really goals, just QS tracking but I was tracking my progress towards 500 wins with the various Hearthstone classes at https://old.beeminder.com/drtall/elements , https://old.beeminder.com/drtall/well_met, https://old.beeminder.com/drtall/victory_or_death
My dissertation goal is still my favourite for the awesome results. I don’t think I’ve yet archived any other goal for being irrelevant due to success, but my biting my nails goal might be close…
My SANS goal, which recorded the time spent studying the notes from a SANS security course. There were six thick books that needed to be learnt well enough to pass a difficult open-book exam. The goal enforced, IIRC, initially two hours a day and then towards the end three hours a day. I passed the exam at the master level (91% I think), which was a rare score, and would have been completely impossible without Beeminder keeping me on track. <3
I have fond memories of my Latin goal too. I enjoyed learning Latin just for fun but eventually realised that I’d never be as good at reading Latin as I’d like to be and the initial gloss wore off. I’m still glad though that I learnt as much as I did, and gained a better understanding of grammar in general.
Looking through my archived goals was actually an interesting and useful process! I’ve found three or four old forgotten ones that could be restarted because they’d be useful again now / soon. @dreev I wonder if this thread is worth a boost in a beemail?
I think one of my favorite archived goals is this one: https://www.beeminder.com/byorgey/facebook with which I successfully weaned myself off of Facebook. I haven’t logged into Facebook in… probably over a year, and I don’t miss it.
Cool to see how you went from daily in the first two weeks to a little less, to a few times a week, and suddenly almost never; all guided by the yellow brick road until you were ready…
I seem to have 80 () archived goals (most of which aren’t test goals, though I’m deleting some that are, now that I’m perusing them… ok, down to 71 now).
My favorite is when I beeminded a gratitude journal. Frustratingly, longer datapoint comments aren’t really readable on archived goals so let me reproduce them here (this was all in January to March of 2013):
- learned you can just ask google for the status of a flight
- Human vision is an amazing superpower – consider the insane amount of detail about your surroundings that you can instantly capture in your brain. And you’re doing it remotely! Not so much as touching anything you’re creating the mapping of. Craziness. It sure is great to have superpowers, eh? It’s funny how we forget that we have them as we fantasize about epsilon improvements like x-ray vision or being able to fly (actually we can do all those things too, with machine assistance).
- we can just walk 2 blocks and have amazing thai food served to us
- you can call a landline in australia and talk for an hour for like $2
- it suddenly (in the last few decades) became socially acceptable to be gay, not to mention the broader such progress since the victorian era
- LCD monitors are amazing compared to CRTs which are amazing compared to TTYs which are amazing compared to blinking lights and seven-segment displays which are still plenty amazing
- books! the sheer information density of this pocket-sized thing that lasts for hundreds of years and can convey literally anything you can conceive of. wow. the fact that books are now marginally massless is icing.
- i have a universal turing machine in my pocket, bitches (this is so easy that it’s already boring – i guess that fact is worthy of an entry). btw, i’ve been carrying a universal turing machine in my pocket since i was a kid (HP28S)
- it’s amazing that the real-time full-duplex voice-chat app on my pocket computer isn’t the most amazing thing it can do. a few that could make a case for even more amazing: doppler radar to magically know when it’s going to rain, being able to write arbitrary programs, gps navigation (with spoken directions), access to much of the world’s information (including music), and of course thoroughly sci-fi-esque video conferencing.
- place-value notation (as opposed to roman numerals) is an amazingly ingenious innovation. i think it’s an example of why people who think math isn’t that important for in-the-trenches programmers (at least ones solving business problems as opposed to writing rendering engines or something) are missing the forest for the trees. IT’S ALL MATH. just that some of it we take for granted. (hey, speaking of taking things for granted, what a nice accidental tie-in to this beeminder goal!)
- running water. that you can drink! it’s crazy how rich the poor are in the first world. think about all the luxuries (fancy gadgets and vacations and services) that you’d give up before giving up running water and refrigeration and electricity. if you think in absolute terms (and why shouldn’t you?) then the first world poor are easily 90% as rich as the disgustingly wealthy. if you think there’s some breakthrough to be had when you break 6 figures or something then you’re surely stuck in non-absolute thinking and after you hit that 6 figures or whatever you’ll be pining for a second house, or a private jet, or a private island. i’m not saying money doesn’t buy happiness, just that if you’re in the first world then you’re already at the point of diminishing returns! [I thought of a pithier way to put this: People assess their prosperity with the bottom of the y-axis cut off. Classic way to lie with statistics! I didn’t want this to be political though. I’m thinking about the problem that’s the opposite of akrasia where you perpetually think that a bit more sacrifice now will pay off later.]
- how far math gets you in understanding the universe. what is up with that? it’s practically suspicious. ps: i just remembered about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Unreasonable_Effectiveness_of_Mathematics_in_the_Natural_Sciences
- how generally comfy everything is. mattresses and fluffy pillows and heat and air conditioning. you can mostly avoid bugs and parasites. we even have painkillers. most pain and discomfort in the first world is probably voluntary (like workouts and camping). that’s pretty remarkable.
- living in walking distance of a million other people is pretty amazing (I guess that’s not literally true for those of us not in manhattan, but it’s close enough to true for all of us who live in cities). it means that no matter what you’re into there are like-minded people nearby. the new ways to find them afforded by the internet is icing.
- how many of my friends and family would be dead (often multiple times over) without modern medicine? my impression is that it’s literally over half.
- Andy Brett: I had a good one today - cars are fucking amazing; Me: i hate them, yet i can’t help but agree; Andy: like, that thing has been sitting in subfreezing temperatures, mostly idle, for six weeks and suddenly, on a whim, I’m like, ‘I want you to whisk me magically to the ocean in full climate control. and I want to go FAST’; Me: and compare to the alternative of horses and carriages – like orders of magnitude better on every dimension including cost
- self-control is the biggest problem facing many of the world’s people
- one word: plastics. it’s so easy to take the amazingness of plastic for granted but imagine the market value a few generations ago of a plastic screw-top bottle. it would be huge. nearly weightless, leak-proof, unbreakable. it’s pretty much magical. and what does such a marvel of engineering cost? to say they’re free to every man, woman, and child is an understatement. in fact, if this were a journal of how much everything sucked I could be complaining about the problem of disposing of the surplus of them. which is amazing.
- you know those dystopian novels where civilization collapses, money becomes worthless, etc? it’s pretty amazing that humans apparently have their shit together enough that that doesn’t actually happen.
- today, while driving (being driven) to a play, i wanted to know why the oceans are salty. typing ‘why are the o’ was enough for google to guess what i wanted to know. (just typing ‘why is’ is enough for it to come up as the 2nd guess, after, of course, ‘why is the sky blue?’) to say it’s like having a full encyclopedia in my pocket is only the tip of the iceberg.
- it’s not quite right to just say ‘cars are amazing’. if you took one back in time it wouldn’t last long, even if you could procure fuel, which you couldn’t. the amazingness requires a vast, elaborate infrastructure with thousands or millions of people working to maintain it every day. amazing.
- specialization / division of labor. everywhere you look in daily life, whole human lifetimes have been devoted to trivial improvements in your comfort and convenience.
- my brother fell and broke his front teeth clean off when he was a kid. wait, that’s not the amazing and wonderful part. he got composites glued on that have functioned perfectly to this day. you can’t even tell. materials science ftw.
- seen on twitter: ‘When I feel depressed, I think, I’m doing pretty well for minerals and water, stirred under sun for 4.7 billion years. Most of it is mud.’ so, yeah, being a sentient life-form. damn.
- as blake lambert says, i’m grateful to be skateful. skates are a brilliant form of transportation. approximately as fast as a bike, but with no moving parts, except the wheels themselves (literally no moving parts in the case of ice skates). and you can wear them, and put them in a backpack. so you don’t have to have a place to lock them up, or be limited by what other forms of transportation you can switch to, like with a bike. it’s just like, wear this and you can magically triple your speed – no external machinery required (well, ok, we’re assuming roads). it’s pretty much like having a super hero cape or something.
- my watch shows upcoming events on my calendar (and text messages and incoming calls). until recently it’s been sad how little watch technology had advanced since the casio calculator and tele-memo watch i had as a kid. that’s finally changing.
- meeting josh estelle and family for dinner, not only could we coordinate in real time by voice or text, he caused to appear in my hand a map with his real time location and current speed. (my first time trying glympse – super slick)
- it’s hardly an exaggeration to say that there are infinite number of things i could write here. http://what-if.xkcd.com/34/ . wow, language. i mean holy freaking crap. it’s, like, whatever, I can’t even describe it.
- it’s about to be commonplace to be able to capture whatever you’re looking at as a picture by saying ‘ok glass take a picture’. i’m not sold on all of the glass hype but that feature alone is simply amazing.
- long list of things to be amazed by at optometrist. have i already been amazed by materials science? oh, and how i just pulled out my phone and video-chatted with bethany to get her 2 cents about which glasses to get.
- i’ve been playing back-to-back scrabble games with my grandma via my phone (and grandma via ipad) for a couple years now [like 8 years now, as of 2018!]
- i’ve probably already mentioned my phone by now but check this out: i had an errand to run across town so i had google maps give me spoken directions while I read a novel (also on my phone) as i walked through downtown in the beautiful sunshine. apologies to those who find people walking down the street with their noses in their phones super obnoxious. but note that if it weren’t for that option i’d have preferred to drive, which incurs a greater social cost (pollution, congestion, and traffic accidents). anyway, for today’s amazing thing i’ll go with the fact that google maps on my phone has, i think, now subsumed the utility of a dedicated gps navigation device, which were already a total godsend.
- my friend had to have her uterus removed due to cancer risk so she first got several fertilized embryos – her own babies, mind you! – cryogenically frozen to be brought to term later by a family member. the mind: it boggles.
- you know how wonderfully amazing it would be if we cured cancer? well my impression is that we’re kind of at least halfway there, at least from my informal sampling of people i know whose cancer modern medicine has thoroughly vanquished compared to those who’ve died. obviously it takes a huge toll still, even on survivors, but compare to a few generations ago when cancer was an unambiguous death sentence.
- i’m wearing a watch that can measure my heartrate without a chest strap. mybasis.com
- the atomic bomb is technologically amazing and though it’s not something to be grateful for, we can be grateful that we’ve managed not to use it to decimate humanity. HT Michael Tiffany, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Arms_Limitation_Talks
- there’s a new android phone coming out next month (samsung galaxy s4) that has a screen resolution higher than my laptop’s 1440x900 pixels. though i guess that’s a retina-like display where the pixel count becomes meaningless. which itself is of course amazing. i guess once retina displays are the norm, only size (ie, the physical dimensions of the screen) matters.
- there’s an app on my phone that can measure my heart rate by detecting tiny fluctuations in the color of my face via the phone’s video camera
- you can’t use the world’s most comprehensive encyclopedia as your Slow News source because it’s pretty much real-time
- the invention of money. consider the crazy coordination problem that’s being solved when you do whatever your day job is and manage to convert that into food, shelter, toys, and anything else that any combination of other humans can possibly do or create for you. arguably money is the most fundamental prerequisite for human civilization, since what is civilization but the solving of just that kind of massive coordination problem?
- think about the extravagance of employing a jester – someone whose full-time job it is to simply entertain you. now think about the fact that you have 24/7 access to all the most gifted entertainers in the world. [including dead ones, which is a whole other category of amazing.]
Well now I want to start a gratitude goal. Thanks Daniel! Some of your items are well within the ideas of Naikan therapy.
My favorite future goal is my gratitude journal. For the past, it’s how I eliminated a weed from my yard. This could be seen as boring — or as meaningful progress that can be seen. With effects over many years to come.
broadleaf plantain elimination
I think my favorite archived goals are:
My RMR (Registered Merit Reporter) practice goal, which led to me finally getting my 260 word per minute steno certification after something like two years and several hundreds of dollars of test fees.
My read-every-day goal, which caused me to put aside time for pleasure reading for at least a minute or two every day. I regularly think about resurrecting this one.
My NaNoWriMo goal, which led me to successfully completing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Still hoping to revise the book sometime so that another human being could possibly read it ever, but even if that never happens, I’m proud of the accomplishment. (I’d won NaNo twice before, once with Beeminder and once without, but the most recent go-round was definitely the most disciplined and successful.)