Reading vs Audio Retention Rates

Today, I came across an interesting question on HN that asked, “Are there any studies about book reading retention rates vs. audiobooks?”. None of the answers that I have seen actually cite any studies, but it’s interesting to me on what some of the people say, most notably a user named Juvoni Beckford:

I’ve done some personal “A/B” testing on audio vs print for retention and found that I remember significantly less when listening to non-fiction content as opposed to reading it and the recall dropoff is very sharp.

I mainly use audiobooks now for mostly fiction and narrative strong content like history, biographies/memories, or communication around domains like sales, public speaking, marketing, and relationship books.

I found a lot more interesting things about being more strategical in using the right medium(print vs ebook vs audio) depending on the nature of the content I’m consuming as well as my energy levels

My results mirror his almost exactly and I started a similar system. If it’s a business or development book I buy the ​print version, ​if it’s fiction I go Audible, if it’s a classic that I know my kids might one day need to read for school I buy the print version. Rarely do I buy ​ebooks now and only for self-published​d tech topics. I think all this has to do with age and knowing that real books I can give away or let my friends borrow, whereas​ an ebook and audible all that is annoying.

Bloomberg: Traditional to Roth IRA Do-Overs Could Prove Costly

Ellen Stark writing about the new tax laws for IRA conversions:

The trouble with switching a traditional deductible IRA to a Roth is that you owe income taxes on the entire amount you convert. And while you have to make the move by Dec. 31, you likely won’t know that year’s full tax picture until you prepare your return. In the past, if the conversion pushed you into a high tax bracket or made your bill so high you couldn’t pay it, you could reverse the conversion, in what’s called a recharacterization. Same was true if the market dropped sharply after you converted, leaving you with a tax bill on investment gains you no longer enjoy. Starting with 2018 conversions, that escape route is gone.

Why the change? For one, over the next 10 years, the federal government expects to collect another half-billion dollars in taxes as a result. What’s more, this shuts down a strategy that exploited the grace period: converting multiple IRAs to Roths early in the year, investing each in different asset classes, giving all the accounts up to 21 months to rise or fall, and then recharacterizing the ones that lost money. Essentially, you could cherry-pick winners to save on taxes. “Congress didn’t want to discourage converting,” says Jamie Hopkins, associate professor of taxation at the American College of Financial Services. “What they really wanted to shut down was this tax-planning strategy.”

I’ve never heard of this conversion strategy before, and it still remains crazy to me that we have all these loopholes in our tax system and the only way to know about them is to have a highly​ engaged advisor or to spend hours upon hours researching how to best utilize the existing system.

Tiger Woods Birdie on 17 at Valspar

Today’s final round at the Valspar Championship had Tiger Woods in the hunt for the first time in forever. Tiger was down by two with two holes to play and you knew it was time for him to break out, but you weren’t sure if he still had it. Then on 17, he made that insane 40-foot​ putt.

As it went to the final hole it reminded of the time back when I loved watching golf. Tiger has always stolen​ the show because he is a closer. Today felt like the good old days before he went crazy. Alas, on the 18th he missed the closing birdie putt and finished second.

I think it’s good for golf that he is back ​and good for the fans. It brings back the excitement that I’ve not felt from any other player.

Laravel: Disable Timestamps on Models

A few days back someone sent me a message with an issue on all the old posts on Laravel News. It wasn’t a huge bug but to fix it I had to resync all the posts from the WordPress install and as I was running through them I noticed that all the updated_at dates were then out of sync. Technically they are correct since I updated each post, but I wanted to keep the original date.

Laravel provides the ability to set this on demand and I could just include it in my command and have it ignore updating each timestamp. Here is a quick example:

$post->content = $data->content;
$post->timestamps = false; // Dont change the timestamps on save.
$post->save();

Of course, if you don’t want timestamps at all you can disable it on the Model level through the public $timestamps = false; property.

Twitter wants to open verification to everyone

As reported by Recode on a Periscope Live Stream with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey:

In a very casual Periscope livestream on Thursday, Dorsey said that he wants to verify everyone on Twitter, a continuation of the plan Twitter laid out a few years ago when it asked users to apply for verification online.

That program as been suspended since the fall, when Twitter got major backlash for verifying a few white supremacists. But it appears that Dorsey is open to relaunching some version of it once Twitter figures out how it should work.

“The intention is to open verification to everyone,” Dorsey said from a conference room at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. “And to do it in a way that is scalable [so] we’re not in the way and people can verify more facts about themselves and we don’t have to be the judge and imply any bias on our part.”

As someone who has a verified account, ​I’d love for Twitter to make it much easier to get. One of the bonuses of being verified is that in your notifications tab you get a subsection​ for “verified” which only shows notifications from fellow verified accounts. This would be great for filtering out the noise of bots, trolls, and fake accounts. However, not many of my friends are verified so it makes this tab useless.

I also never understood the original verification process. I was able to get it, but I have friends with many more followers, and more active that didn’t. Just like @laravelnews got verified but @laravelphp isn’t. Makes zero sense to me.

For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers.

Farhad Manjoo writing for the NY Times:

In January, after the breaking-newsiest year in recent memory, I decided to travel back in time. I turned off my digital news notifications, unplugged from Twitter and other social networks, and subscribed to home delivery of three print newspapers — The Times, The Wall Street Journal and my local paper, The San Francisco Chronicle — plus a weekly newsmagazine, The Economist.

I have spent most days since then getting the news mainly from print, though my self-imposed asceticism allowed for podcasts, email newsletters and long-form nonfiction (books and magazine articles). Basically, I was trying to slow-jam the news — I still wanted to be informed, but was looking to formats that prized depth and accuracy over speed.

It has been life changing. Turning off the buzzing breaking-news machine I carry in my pocket was like unshackling myself from a monster who had me on speed dial, always ready to break into my day with half-baked bulletins.

I actually thought about going to paper newspaper delivery a few months back and put out a tweet poll seeing if anyone else is doing it:

Not surprisingly, most people get their news online and I honestly didn’t want a daily delivery, which I know will end up with unread papers lying everywhere. So I decided to completely cancel all my newspaper subscriptions, subscribe to one weekly magazine (Bloomberg Businessweek), unfriend everyone on Facebook, and then just ignore it. If something important happens I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

From tuning out all the noise I’ve noticed a difference, but the biggest is how little knowing the news actually matters. I’d argue locally it matters more, but my local paper’s website​ is so bad I don’t want to waste my time.

Coinbase Launches an Index Fund

Today, Coinbase announced a new index fund:

Coinbase Index Fund will give investors exposure to all digital assets listed on Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX, weighted by market capitalization. If a new asset is listed on the exchange, it will be automatically added to the fund.

I think this is a good move on their part and I’ve been impressed with other features they’ve recently launched like the Coinbase Commerce.

Even though the prices of BTC are down from its​ crazy run at the end of last year I still have a bullish outlook on it. I think in ten years everything crypto will either be huge or it’ll all come down in a fiery​ crash, but with so much money being invested into it I’m not certain the latter​ will happen.