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Aggregating Data by Month in Google Sheets

Certain operations that are easy in SQL are hard in google sheets / excel. I ran into one of these: I had a simple problem: I had some time series data (dividend payouts from a financial institution) and I wanted to aggregate the data by month. In SQL, this is a simple GROUP BY, in sheets it’s not that easy. Create a separate sheet to aggregate data, then group Filter based on the type of transaction Look at each date and normalize it to the last day of the month =ARRAYFORMULA(EOMONTH(B:B, 0)) (this is now column E) Get a list of unique months (i.e…

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Download a CSV of Wealthfront Financial Activity

I use Wealthfront for a portion of my investments. I recently was trying to get a CSV of all my dividends, fees, etc this year and there’s not a way to do this! If you navigate to your activity (homepage > investment account > see recent activity) you can at least generate a CSV from the information on-screen (which does not include your gains/losses from the direct indexing) and copy/paste this into your web console, your browser will spit out a CSV. This is highly tied to the current (as of this writing) Wealthfront HTML structure, so you’ll probably have to ask ChatGPT to fix this in some number of months…

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Bye Stripe, on to the Next Adventure

I sold my bootstrapped startup to Stripe and I’ve worked for them for a couple of years. It’s an amazing company. I learned a tremendous amount and worked with some amazing people. However, the pull to build something new—especially with the massive improvements in AL/ML—was too strong, and I’ve decided to move on and build another technology company. I’m going to blog about the lessons I’ve learned from Stripe—both good and bad—in the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to the constant challenges that building and running a startup brings (including doing this with multiple young kids)…

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2022 Goal Retrospective

I’ve been doing retrospectives on my yearly goals for a while now. Here’s my review of last year’s goals and my thoughts about what I can change in this years goals. (as an aside, I’ve been working on open sourcing some of the templates we use as a family to plan out our life—if you are interested in taking a look while I refine them, drop me an email.) What Worked I started using Streaks this year to track key habits I wanted to maintain or start. For well-structured habits, this worked. I had a daily recurring p1 task on todoist to track habits on Streaks and that was effective at keeping me looking at it daily…

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Scripting macOS with Javascript Automation

I’ve been playing with ActivityWatch, a really neat open-source application to track what you are doing when you are on your computer. Similar to rescue time RescueTime, but open source, with some more advanced features. I’ve been using it for a couple of months as part of my digital minimalism toolkit and it’s worked great to give me an idea of what’s taking up my time. There’s been a couple of things that have bugged me about the application, and it’s written in a couple of languages I’ve wanted to learn (Rust, Vue), so I decided to make a couple of changes as part of a learning project. I ended up needing to modify an AppleScript and ran into macOS’s Javascript Automation for the first time…

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Securing and Backing Up Your Data

I’m sure you’ve had this experience: you flip open your laptop and it doesn’t boot up. You drop your phone and it won’t turn on. You pause for a second… “is any of my stuff backed up?” It wasn’t until this happened to me (my hard drive almost fried) that I started taking backups seriously. Security and digital backups are one of those “important not urgent” things it’s easy to forget about until it’s too late. Here’s my take on how to think about backing up your digital world and making sure others can’t get access to it. Security & Privacy Assume all of your private information—SSN, address, password, phone, etc—will be public at some point. It’s only going to get easier to hack into large systems. Why? Here’s one example…

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Reclaiming Your Mind: Creating an Information Diet

There’s been a lot of areas of my life that I’ve been ‘auditing’ and attempting to tweak the habits that have intentionally or accidentally fallen into place. One of these is my information diet: how I find, consume, and process information.I’ve been tracking my time spent on reading/time on the internet and I’m not liking the trend. I’ve felt more addicted to information this year and I want to eliminate that feeling. Revamping my information intake is one way I’m going to do that. It’s worth thinking about why it’s worth spending time consuming information, how I consume information, and how I want to change my information consumption. Categories Stories…

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Handling Web Timeouts in Heroku

I’m a huge fan of Heroku. Way back when, I used to manage the entire deployment infrastructure manually. I’d grab a VPS from RackSpace/AWS, install nginx, configure ruby, tinker with deployment scripts, and then in the weeks ahead endlessly tinker with settings when things didn’t work just right. Although I did enjoy the capture-the-flag feel of finding the right service configuration to solve a problem, once Heroku became a thing I switched over every application I managed. There’s a huge amount of leverage in never having to worry about the details of your deployment infrastructure. Heroku is expensive, but it’s orders-of-magnitude cheaper than hiring a devops expert. However, there are some limitations…

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Three Financial Automation Techniques

I’m a huge fan of outsourcing and automating everything, even rarely used tools like faxing. Time is my most valuable resource: and although I’m far from perfect at this, I try to eliminate, automate, or delegate everything that isn’t essential for me to do. Here is a snapshot of the toolkit I use to automate personal finance. Automate All Bill Payments Do you spend any time manually paying bills each month? YES! You can automate this and, if you are near a beach, you can write “relax” in the sand just like the above photo with all of your extra time. All credit card payments can be automated. Login to your credit cards online portal and setup auto-pay; pay the full balance off every month…

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Send & Receive Faxes Online for Free

An important aspect of building a business that’s scalable – one that operates when you aren’t around to “press the buttons” – is eliminating paper. I’m going to be writing about what I’ve put into practice over the last couple months to eliminate all my paper in my software consulting business. One of the easier (and obvious) aspects of going paperless is eliminating the fax machine. Yes, even if you run an internet-only business you will run into a vendor that only offers a fax machine as an alternative to snail mail. Here’s how to setup your business to send and receive faxes online with no monthly fee…

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