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In Life

By Daniel Kao

A Book a Week

On 04, Sep 2014 | No Comments | In Life | By Daniel Kao

At the beginning of this summer, I decided that I wanted to read one book a week.

The reasoning behind this was simple. Books are a resource that authors spends years crafting and compiling their knowledge and experience that I can pick up for less than $20 and learn about what they learned in a mere couple days of reading. The vast wealth of information, experiences, and perspectives are so immensely large that not reading books would mean missing out on a great deal of learning.

It hasn’t always been easy, however, to fit in reading time in between all the different things that I have been working on this summer, but I did my best to be intentional and consistent with my reading time.

So in no particular order, I’ve had the opportunity to read the following books this summer:

From the engaging narratives of The Promise of a Pencil, I’m Feeling Lucky, and Jesus’ Son to the deep philosophy of Black Swan and The Obstacle is the way, reading has definitely given me a better perspective of the world and how I approach things. It’s given me frameworks to think about everyday choices, and how I can better myself and the people around me.

This is a habit that I hope to continue for years to come, and perhaps I’ll write my own book one day. Feel free to follow me on goodreads, I love chatting books!

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Building Tallymark

On 29, Jul 2013 | No Comments | In Projects | By Daniel Kao

I started learning Django this summer, with the goal of creating a web based application with a friend.

Having never worked with Python or Django before, the only appropriate response to building this application was “challenge accepted”.

From the git-go (see what I did there), I had issues getting the right versions of Django and Python set up both locally and on the server. After a whole week installing Arch Linux and living in the terminal, I finally got Django setup and running without errors.

We officially unveiled the pre-launch page yesterday, opening the application up for people to stay updated via email.

To me, this project represents the power of autodidactic learning, or learning on your own, not bound by any requirements, grades, or work hours. In fact, everything I know about the web was completely learned on my own, independent of any academic classes.

About Django

Being the first time that I worked with Python and Django, there were a lot of things I had to get used to, such as the fact that python uses tabs instead of curly braces, giving me weird indentation errors on occasion.

But I’ve really grown to appreciate the framework, because of the way that it makes so many things so simple, and how intuitive the model-view-template philosophy is. I’m definitely beginning to like Python even more than PHP (gasp).

I’ll spare you the rest of the technical details, because there’s still a lot that I’m learning about Python and Django.

About Tallymark

Tallymark is an application designed as a hassle free way to divide costs between people who live together, saving you the trouble of figuring out how to pay each other back. The idea is simple: Have each person log their purchases for the apartment/house/room, and Tallymark will take care of the rest.

If you’re interested, head on over to to stay updated!

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Why We Often Waste Time

On 07, Jul 2012 | 2 Comments | In Education, Life, Productivity | By Daniel Kao

Ever since a young age, we have allowed programs and systems to manage our lives.

We all know the feeling of wasting an afternoon on the computer, not really doing much besides endlessly browsing Facebook and randomly surfing the internet. We spend half of our time online on “social networks” that prove to be quite anti-social. So we mindlessly browse around, refreshing the page every 2 minutes, hoping to see something new scroll across our newsfeed.

We are so accustomed to having our schedule managed for us that when we have free time, we don’t know what to do with it. So we occupy ourselves by doing the easiest thing possible, which often is some sort of mindless activity such as watching TV, randomly browsing Facebook, or doing nothing at all.

We find ourselves often bored, because we have nothing to occupy ourselves with. We don’t have enough personal projects or things to do to keep us occupied. It’s a trend that seems to happen every year, as students all across the nation begin their summer breaks. All of a sudden, they are no longer given homework, tests, or academic projects to manage their time.

I’ve realized that people who have found their passions find themselves in boredom far less frequently. The reason is that people who have found passion and purpose are always taking steps in regard to their purpose. If you often find yourself bored with nothing to do, it’s probably a good indicator that you’re used to other people managing your time and telling you what to do.

But at some point in life, something clicks and people make the shift to being intentional about what they want to do, setting clear goals and steps to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, we’re not taught how to manage our time growing up, and so it becomes a cycle of trial and error in order to be productive and creative with our time.

When and how did you learn to manage your time? and what difference did it make?

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