2023 Daylio and A Year of Moods

I mentioned my huge 5-year streak on Duolingo, but it’s not the biggest streak I have going in an app. The other app I use daily has it beat by an entire year, at 2190 Days, or 6 years. That app is the mood-tracking app Daylio. I may have actually gotten a code from the developer for this app off of Reddit when it first launched, I don’t remember. I know I heard about it on Reddit when someone posted about developing it. It’s changed over the years, but not as annoyingly as Duolingo has.

Side note: I went looking into when this app launched, and while I didn’t find it (I didn’t look super hard), it seems it has gotten a bit pricey with a subscription or a $60+ “Lifetime membership”. I like the app, but that seems like a bit much. However, it is part of the Google Play Subscription thing, which is much more affordable and pretty nice, I’ll probably blog about it at some point. I have a paid lifetime (for maybe $5) on my old Google account but I recently got a new phone and I’m trying to shift everything to my other Google Account and I’m not sure I would rebuy this at $60. Especially since everything is local, it’s not server-based as far as I can tell, I think it uses your own Google Drive as the backend and I had to export/import to transfer my data.


Year in review. I like this app, though I admit, I’m not sure what the data is really telling me or what to really do with the data. I’ve been trying to use some of the newer features like photos and actual notes. With my previously mentioned new phone, I am trying the whole “Selfie every day” thing, though I don’t post them anywhere. This app may be a good place, along with maybe a quick bullet list of what I accomplished for the day.

I also have a whole slew of sorted custom activities and moods going in this app.

Generally speaking, my moods were mostly “Meh” to “Ok”. I try to keep things fairly honest, I think I’ve had maybe like, 2 of the absolutely terrible days since I started using the app, and probably fewer than 5 “Perfect Days”. I can say that my “Perfect Days” are almost always, exclusively, days when I went to concerts. On this chart here, on August 13th I went to see Alanis Morrissette, and on September 23rd, I saw Lauren Mayberry. Both the two max level mood days.

Basically, if I’m having a normal “good day” I pick 4/5, usually with “Mostly Ok”, other days, more often, I pick 3/5, with “Meh”. Maybe “meh” is bad I suppose, because it’s basically indifference. “Meh” feels like the most common, and this year it is, but “Mostly OK” is surprisingly up there. Most of the 2/5 days are “kind of shitty days” with a custom mood of “Meh but worse”. 2/5 also has a custom mood for “sick” when is usually used when I’m not feeling well. There are a lot of other custom moods I’ve set up, but these are the most common ones used.

For activities, I definitely use “Family” the most, but this is basically just, “Was I at home, and interacted with my family at all.” Which is basically every day, but sometimes not because someone went out of town. I also put “Gaming” pretty frequently, because it’s a bit of a catch-all. If I just check my dailies in Sky, I’ll put “gaming”. I have other more specific additions for games I play, or in some cases, used to play, more frequently. In contrast to this, I have one for “Learn Language” but if I make minimal effort in Duolingo, I don’t enter this. This is for “Extra effort” days.

Another frequently used entry is “Computer Stuff”, which is a catch-all, usually if I use the computer at all, but often if it’s kind of aimless like sorting files or something. The other, related, is “coding” which is any time I do any sort of programming. Another common one is “shopping” which can be anything from “I went to Target at lunch to look for toys” to “I went shopping for Groceries after work”. I don’t count online shopping though.

A pair I often use, especially on weekends or vacations are “Lazy” and “Relax”. These are mostly the same thing, but the difference is essentially, how well I feel about doing it. Relax usually means more “I did some productive things, but also things I enjoy,” and Lazy means “I did some things, but feel like I kind of wasted the day”. Lazy is more likely to be accompanied by a lower mood score.

I have a lot of others, but I often forget to enter them, which I should try to get better about. There are also some residual ones in there from when I was trying to track habits better. For a while, I would do a morning entry and an evening entry, and the morning entry including habits like remembering to take my morning medication and vitamins. Partly this was to help push the habit since I hadn’t had any regular meds at the time. PS, it’s nothing super critical, an allergy pill, and an omeprazole for acid reflux.

I also tend to miss adding activities I do later at night or more often before bed. These are things like reading, sometimes watching movies, etc. The reminder goes off at 8PM, and I’m more likely to do some of these missed activities later than that.

While my “Mood stability” here seems pretty good, I will say that it’s down from the previous year. I won’t lie, I can tell. The main issue I can kind of see rising out of this sort of tracking is that over time, as the indifference rises, the scores will converge on “Meh.” This kind of touches on what I mentioned before about maybe “meh” is worse. The good days are less, but also the bad days are less, because more days are simply “nothing days”.

I guess I am using this data a bit after all.

One Year of Duolingo

So, I have just reached a 1 year, 365 day streak, on Duolingo. Technically, it’s been a little longer than that I think, because I believe I broke some short, earlier streaks. I’ve also, occasionally, used a Streak Freeze item, which you can use to skip a day. Still, the point is, I have effectively used Duolingo, for 5-15+ minutes, each day, to learn a foreign language.

The vast majority of this time has been spent learning Spanish. I very briefly toyed with the idea of doing Japanese at the same time, but never bothered to get past the first set of challenges. I took 4 years of Japanese (maybe it was 3, I think it was 4), in High School. I still know the general idea of Japanese, but I am rusty enough that I couldn’t really understand it with any speed without some work. More recently, I have also started doing a little bit of the Norwegian tree, along side the Spanish.

Surprisingly, Norwegian is closer to English than Spanish. I guess if you look up some actual language relational trees, both English and Norwegian are on the same larger branch, and Spanish is on a seperate branch.

So the question is, do I feel like I’ve learned anything? I would say, yes. Early on I was doing a bit of research on what it means to “know” a language, and it’s essentially 4 parts. Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening. My weakest area would definitely be speaking. I seriously doubt I could speak Spanish well at all to anyone beyond some basic stuff. Part of this is because I don’t exactly have any way to really practice speaking Spanish to anyone.

“Always it’s sunny” versus
“It’s always sunny”

I would say listening is probably my second weakest area, but more because I’ve found that natural Spanish speakers, talk very quickly. I sometimes will run a Spanish TV channel or Spanish HBO in the background while doing other things and I can sort of pick out words I know, but they get jumbled among words I don’t know.

Writing is a little easier. My problem with writing is that I still get messed up on the tenses or whatever they are called for the verbs. Eating, eaten, will eat, he eats, I eat, that sort of thing. I still get kind of lost on which one to use where. I imagine I could get the idea across, but it would come off as broken Spanish.

Lastly is reading. I feel fairly confident in the reading department, at least if I know the vocabulary being used. Part of this is because I can get the idea of things like eating and eat and eats, using context clues. Como, Comer, comes, all just become “something to do with eating”.

The app itself overall, does an alright job, but it’s not perfect. It does a really good job of pushing memorization of the same handful of phrases, but it’s not so great at encouraging the free forming of sentences. I’m not sure that would even be possible though, since the App isn’t going ot be able to effectively evaluate open ended questions.

In a previous exercise, “Preferred food” was wrong, even though favorite and preferred are synonyms and obviously “Preferida” is the same root of “Preferred”.

I also wish there was a way to just do the matching mode with words learned so far. Especially with verbs. Like give me all the variations of “eat” and let me match them up, so maybe I can get a better handle on which is which. There is a separate app that sort of does this, but the format is a little different and it doesn’t directly sync to the main app.

It also gets a little less literal with it’s translations that I like. I have seen other people comment on this a bit on the Duolingo forums, and there are arguments for both ways. Some people will argue that making the translation more natural English is better, because it gets the point across more. I would argue it makes for poor learning, and encourages memorizing phrases instead of actually learning translations. One common one is with words like “Always” and “Never”. You may get the phrase, “He is always happy”, which in Spanish would be, “El siempre esta feliz.” Except it’s not, not directly, in English, “El siempre esta feliz”, is “He always is happy”. The placement of “always” in the English version is valid both ways, though it would be more common to say “is always” than “always is”. I feel like if Duolingo emphasized the “Always is” translation, it would better emphasize how the sentence structure works in Spanish. Since spanish is “siempre esta”.

Another synonym issue with plate and dish.

Another way more common example of this is the omission of “the”. A lot of the Spanish uses “la/el” in the sentence. “Me gusta la escuela”, which duo translates to “I like school”, even though it’s more literally, “I like the school”. Now, granted, I am learning Spanish, and it may in fact be perfectly valid to just say “Me gusta escuela”, except Duolingo, in the app, would mark that incorrect, for missing the “la”. These little inconsistencies drive me nuts and frankly, are probably one of the biggest reason I miss some of the questions. It also does make a difference int he long run, since “I like school” and “I like the school”, are arguably completely different phrases. One can like going to school and learning (I like school), or one can like a particular school (I like the school).

Anyway, I can deal with the little weirdness, but there are times when it’s annoying, it also feels a little inconsistent on it’s enforcement as well.

I plan to keep going on my learning expedition. I have been also doing a bit of LingoDeer Spanish, for a fresh perspective and methodology. I have a couple of Audiobooks for learning Spanish that I got in a Humble Bundle a while back I want to listen to. I hope to reach at least a mild level of competency in Spanish, and maybe eventually some other languages as well, eventually. I don’t have any particular reason for it, other than I have always liked the idea of learning other languages and, in general, I enjoy learning new things.

Building A Cross Platform App with Xamarin

So, I made an app.  A for real, runs on things app.  More accurately, I followed a little tutorial to make an app, as part of the Xamarin Challenge over at Thurrott.com.  The app itself is a little weather app, it even includes location based weather and forecasting.  I know this isn’t particularly impressive but I think it’s pretty neat.

Part of the point of the exercise is that it show off the cross platform ability of Xamarin as a development plaform.  The end app uses the same code and runs on Windows 10, iOS and Android.  Unfortunately, I don’t own a MAC or an iOS device to test the iOS code but I was able to run both the Android and Windows 10 versions of the App.  I even ran the Android APK on my Fire Tablet.

I can’t say I learned a ton about how to actually make apps using Xamarin, though I plan to poke through the code provided more later.  What I learned more of was how to trouble shoot Visual Studio, which seems to be a bit more than buggy.  There is a forum set up for people looking for assistance on this contest and there are a lot of issues that all seem unrelated to each other but all related to issues with Visual Studio.

For example, I had issues getting the location based weather to work, until I went through and updated the Android Emulator files and build an emulator that ran on Android 7.  In a later step I found several of the NuGet packages weren’t installing properly, I never really figured out why but I ended up having to add them individually to each of the app platforms rather than the blanket “Install this on all platforms” system.

In the end, I did manage to get through and the app says everything was submitted and accepted.


Synology Phase 03 – The Apps

ScreenShot253 The key component of the Synology is the Software.  You can buy cheaper NAs devices if you just want a network storage device.  Honestly, the price justification is almost entirely in the software, though the Hardware RAID (as opposed to Software RAID) is a partial factor as well.  The box itself isn’t all that sophisticated or exciting honestly.

I don’t plan to cover every available app by any means this is just sort of a run down of some of the apps I find useful, and probably the ones that are most commonly used.

Photo Station

The main reason I even bothered with investing in a NAS at all was because of my Photo collection.  Everything else is a bonus.  I’ve got 250GB of family photos I’ve taken over the years, plus a whole mess of other photos from Blog Posts etc.  I’ve gone through a drive crash on them and the drives I’ve been using are aging rapidly.  The wife doesn’t care to lose photos either.

Photostation is of course, made for Photos, and it’s pretty great.  The interface is very similar to OneDrive, which is is probably my favorite interface of all the photo services I’ve used.  Everything flows together to make a wall of photos, real great for easy navigation.  There are also tagging functions which I plan to use later once everything is loaded.

Audio Station

I’ve tried several solutions for streaming my audio collection to my phone.  I had sort of mostly settled on Google Play Music since it’s the only service that would let me upload my entire collection of some 20,000 songs at once.  I don’t really NEED all these songs at once but I do like having the option.  I buy most music these days via Amazon and so streaming via Amazon is always an alternative as well.

Unfortunately, my recent conversion to Windows Phone from Android means neither service is an option.  I’ve been back to putting music on my device like a caveman.  Fortunately, there is a DSMusic app available for Windows Phone, and I don’t have to worry about any limitations of any service, it’s just all there.  Now I just need to build some good playlists.

A secondary benefit here, Google Play Music was one of the few Google Services I still sometimes used.  I’ve worked pretty hard to divorce myself from all things Google for a variety of reasons, primarily privacy concerns and secondary they are starting to push their own semi proprietary services on the web over long standing more open ones.  Basically, they are using their considerable size to bully everyone to their methods.  “Don’t Be Evil” doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore, but anyway, Google isn’t the topic here.  Having a good Google Music alternative that works on WP is.

Download Station

I don’t use Torrents too often, mostly for my Humble Bundle downloads, but the Synology has a really nice built in Torrent client.  I don’t have to worry about keeping a program running elsewhere or drive space on my PC in use, it just downloads them right to the NAS.  There is even some auto extraction settings, though I have not looked into those yet.

Web Station

A nice little bonus here I wasn’t quite aware existed before buying this NAS, it can function as a web server.  I’ve long given up hosting my own web sites from my house but I do keep some wordpress and other files on an internal web server for archival purposes.  The web server has allowed me to archive these files off my Ubuntu Server to the NAS, which also means I get the backup functionality of the NAS itself.

Note Station

Another unexpected surprise, though I have not explored it completely yet, the Synology includes an app called Note Station, which can sync (or at least download) from Evernote.  I’ve been racking my brain for a while on a good way to backup my Evernote notes, with ideas ranging from Print to PDF using some script to just pulling it weekly to a PC client.  Problem solved.

Cloud Sync

Another nice backup feature, The Synology can hook into and sync with both Dropbox and One Drive.  I use One Drive for some backups and Dropbox for some phone syncing so pulling both to an internal local storage is a plus.  I may even look into using One Drive as a secondary backup like I had originally planned.  Office 365 now includes unlimited storage on One drive, in addition to client licenses for 5 copies of Office (there are conveniently 5 people in my family all with PCs).  It’s a really tempting offer, and with it I could set up the Synology to start pushing all (or select) data to the cloud for an offsite backup.

Surveillance Station

Last, and the ONLY feature I have been disappointed with so far is the Surveillance Station.  I mentioned recently setting up cameras for monitoring and security.  I currently have three cameras and may install a few more.  The Synology only allows the use of 2 cameras before needing to purchase additional licenses.  I’m not super irritated about the additional cost, I get the whole “It supports dev costs”” thing.  My problem is that licenses are $60+, EACH.  If I wanted to add another 3 cameras like I am considering, I’d need 4 more licenses, or $240.  I’d be alright with maybe $10-$15 per seat, or even $60 for “unlimited” (within the capacity of the device) but $60 each is a little ridiculous.

I suspect there is some lame ass license fees Synology has to pay to someone involved but that is also kind of giving them the benefit of the doubt.

I’m still super satisfied with the box, but having better/cheaper access to Surveillance station seats would be eliminating my Ubuntu server completely.

The First Full Day of Android…

I think I’ve finally got something I like after rearranging my little icons all over the place back and forth.  I still have not figured out how and if I can rename the single folder I’ve placed on the screen.  Thankfully the pre-installed apps, while not uninstallable, are removable from the main screens.

Of note on tests and discoveries.  At one point I accidentally triggered something called “Car Mode”.  I’ll have to look into how this happened and it took me a second to figure out how to get OUT of “Car Mode”.  This mode is a simplified interface with larger icons for things like voice dial and Maps.  Essentially the idea is you’d put the phone on some mount and interact with it minimally while driving.

As for battery life, I removed it from the charger this morning at around 6:30 when I woke up and plugged it in to charge off my laptop at around 2:30 PM when it alerted me that it was getting low.  Eight hours isn’t too bad though It looks like I’ll want to invest (eventually) in a second charger for the desk at work.

I’ve been getting notifications about tying together “friend accounts”.  Irritatingly it seems to have doubled up my twitter followers.  i wish it would just take the obvious ones and pair them for me.  Guess what phone, Twitter.com/XXXX is the same person as Twitter.com/XXXX. 

The music player works so far.  I had little trouble with everything it played on random except for MP3s from an Allison Iraheta album I got from Amazon.  Everything else came from Amazon so I’m not real sure what the malfunction is.  I’ll probably just recopy these tracks and see if that fixes it.  The last.fm scrobbling works great.

I’m not real sure I like the built in FriendStream app.  It combines Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr together.  I like the Idea but I find it a bit cluttered and hard to follow.  Also I can’t open links directly in it without going to a secondary screen.  Finally I wish it would “remember” where I had left off instead of jumping to the newest items every time it comes up.  I’d rather scroll up into new stuff then scroll down and figure out where I left off.

Today’s installed apps… (I plan to get more detailed on a lot of these later)

Amazon.com – In case i feel the need to shop while mobile.  not that i couldn’t go to the website.

Barcode Scanner – This seems useful and it seemed to sort of work on the only barcode I found handy on some granola bars, though it said they cost 40 bucks a box, which is WAAAAY off.

Google Earth – Mostly a novelty.

Google Sky Maps – Because stars are fun.

WCIA’s Mobile App – I saw a short clip promoting this on a local television channel and figured hey, sure.  I have not tested it a ton but if the School closings tab works it’s worth keeping around.  Too bad we’re probably beyond school closing season.

A Handful of Games – I’ll get into this aspect another time.

I also installed another NoAgenda app then proceeded to completely uninstall all three of the apps.  None of them do the most basic thing desired of playing the most recent episode of the show.  I also exported my iTunes Podcast list to the Podcatcher App I’[d installed yesterday.  Basically, now i can download the show (among others) direct to the phone, who needs some lame program.