A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #42

Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.

Wishing all my subscribers a very Happy New Year. 2023 has been an amazing year and am looking forward to 2024 even more. This is the year I turn 40. A major milestone. And hopefully, I will do some exciting things.

I started the year by applying for an EU Schengen visa. I got an emergency appointment after emailing the Consulate General of Portugal in London and my visa is already stamped. Now I need to wait for my passport and find out how many days/months did I get on my visa. Fingers crossed 🤞🏽.

We also spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with friends in Central London. It has been very cold lately but we are managing it. Our son has also joined back at his nursery and he has been doing well with settling in after a gap of one month.

Every year I change the copyright on the two websites I manage - Amitsarkar.tech and Charlotte Charles Beauty. That happened smoothly as well. I also bought a new domain AishaKalpana.com for the AI Influencer I have created.

Our boiler, at the house we have given on rent, again had issues which we had to get fixed. This has been two issues in two years and we are thinking of finally getting it replaced with a new one as we have already paid more for the repairs than it would have cost us to get a new one.

Enjoy my first newsletter for 2024.

🧾 2023 accountability

Let's see how I did on all the things I said I would do in my 2023 newsletter Issue #27.

🔴 Not achieved | 🔵 Partially achieved | 🟢 Achieved

  • 🔴 Create a course on Udemy - This is still pending since 2022.

  • 🔴 Read 30 mins every day - This didn’t happen at all. I have realized that I am more of a video person than a book person. Maybe I need to try harder. Get less distracted.

  • 🔵 Reduce fat % to 15% and maintain it - I reduced it to 15% ( and even lower) and did maintain it for some time but I ended the year at 16.4% body fat. I measure that using my Withings scale. The aim is to build more muscles and reduce fat. The graph for 2023 is below -

Source - Withings scale

  • 🔵 Travel to 4 new countries - I managed to visit 3 new countries - Japan, USA and Turkey. I did visit India but it’s not a new country for me.

  • 🟢 Run a 5K Parkrun in <23 mins - My Personal Best (PB) was 23 mins 38 secs and I ran three times under 23 mins in 2023. My new PB is 22 mins 37 secs, a minute faster than my previous PB set in 2020.

  • 🔴 Present at a software testing conference - A very tough year for my company which didn’t motivate me to pursue this further. A lot of organizational changes happened throughout the year due to the economic slowdown.

  • 🔴 Start generating passive income - I have tried so many things since the beginning of the pandemic all towards establishing my online presence. And this year I wanted to start generating a passive income by leveraging that or building something on the side and charging for it. It hasn’t happened yet. But I will keep trying.

    • 2020 - Built my website. Presented at 3 online meetups. Started my podcast. Created Charlotte Charles Beauty website for an ex-colleague.

    • 2021 - Started foodGully with friends, to help home caterers.

    • 2022 - Started my newsletter to improve my writing skills and articulate my thoughts

    • 2023 - The new project I wanted to start didn’t materialize so I started something else just before Christmas which I wrote about in my last issue. India’s 1st AI Influencer Aisha Kalpana.

⚽ 2024 goals

Based on my experience from the last two years, I want to achieve the following things in 2024 -

🧑 Personal

  • Be more grateful - Being grateful for what I have. It’s very easy to forget what you have and remember only things you don’t have. This year the focus would be to constantly remind myself of things I am grateful for - family, friends, health, career, and house.

  • Travel to 4 new countries - I want to travel to 4 new countries this year as well, with my wife and son.

  • Continue being a vegan - Dec 2024 would be special for me. I would have been vegan for 5 years by then. It has been a crazy journey but I love being a vegan and how it affects my health, mood, sleep, stamina, energy and motions. I have more muscle mass, more stamina and more strength than ever before.

  • Volunteer at a local running event - Running has been life-changing for me since I started Parkrun in 2017. I want to give back now and volunteer and cheer for others. Starting with volunteering at one local running event.

  • Be a pacer for someone to help them achieve a PB - It could be my wife, a friend or anyone. I want to help someone achieve their PB in a 5K or 10K run.

  • Start Rate & Complete Rate ⏫ - Start few things and make sure I complete more things. I am always buzzing with ideas so I want to focus this year on completing them rather than just keep thinking about them.

💼 Professional

  • Learn more - I have started a Machine Learning Specialization on Coursera and I want to make sure I complete the specialization and move on to doing other courses. Technology is changing rapidly and if I want to continue working in this space then I need to keep myself up-to-date.

🏃 Health

  • Exercise 5 days a week - Currently I run twice a week, go for Yoga once a week and train with my trainer once a week as well. I want to add one more day of activity which I can continue every week for the rest of the year.

  • Run a 5K Parkrun in <22 mins - My Personal Best (PB) is 22 mins 37 secs.

  • Run my 100th Parkrun - It is Parkrun’s 20th anniversary this year (02-Oct-2024) and it would be amazing to reach this milestone of 100 Parkruns. I ran 36 Parkruns in 2023. So hopefully I should be able to reach this goal easily. I am currently at 76 Parkruns.

  • Run a half marathon in under 2 hours - I have registered for four half marathons this year (Lisbon, Berlin, Tromsø and Cardiff). I want to finish at least one of these runs in under 2 hours.

  • Maintain fat % at <15% - The aim is to build more muscles and reduce fat.

💰 Financial

  • Start generating passive income - I have tried so many things since the beginning of the pandemic all towards establishing my online presence. And this year I wanted to start generating a passive income by leveraging that or building something on the side and charging for it. It hasn’t happened yet. But I will keep trying.

  • Clear existing debts - I want to finish my existing debts so I can focus on savings and plan for the future.

📡 Cost of streaming services

We all subscribe to various streaming services - video and audio. And we normally don’t see a comparison between each one of them as there are so many services on offer.

So I have tried to summarize the major service offerings in the UK for a new customer (excluding any new year or new joiner discounts). I have excluded any bundle offerings as well.

If we buy these services on a monthly plan basis then the below table shows the yearly cost for each of these services (sorted by low to high yearly cost).

The following services have only annual plans and no monthly plans but I have included them in the table above.

  1. BBC iPlayer | TV Licence

  2. Qobuz | Sublime | Solo

  3. Qobuz | Sublime | Duo

  4. Qobuz | Sublime | Family

If we buy these streaming services on an annual plan basis then the below table shows the yearly cost for each of these services including the savings we would make over the monthly plan (sorted by low to high yearly cost). Please bear in mind that only some streaming services offer an annual plan.

All costs are up-to-date till 08-Jan-2024.

Some observations I have made are

  • Family plans are expensive.

  • Student plans are cheap.

  • Plans with adverts are cheaper than plans without any adverts.

  • Netflix is more expensive than Disney+, Apple TV+ and Prime Video. But it is cheaper than BBC iPlayer and YouTube Premium.

The idea behind this exercise is to -

  • educate people on where their money is going when they buy these services

  • show how much people pay for these services on an annual basis

  • show how many services are there today and what are their different plans

  • show how much money people can save if they move from a monthly plan to an annual plan

  • do a comparative analysis and show which services offer more value for money

❤️ Things I enjoyed

This section has been inspired by Ali Abdaal’s wonderful newsletter.

🎬 Video - Left and Right Wing Political Ideologies and Introduction of Indian Philosophy from Vedas to Osho by Dr. Vikas Divyakirti are very informative and provide a very deep insight into the subject matter.

📝 Article - If you are an avid traveller like me then you would enjoy these articles - The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2024 and The biggest travel trends for 2024

📱 App - Microsoft has launched Copilot for Android and iOS devices. You can now use GPT-4 without a ChatGPT Plus subscription.

📝 Article - 2024 Predictions by Scott Galloway is an exciting prediction for 2024. Let’s see how many he gets right this year.

🌐 Website - Gobble Bot is an all-in-1 scraper designed to convert all different kinds of content into one text file. Quite helpful if you want to quickly scrape text from websites, YouTube transcripts, files and other sources.

Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.

If you want to follow me around the internet, then please do so here.

Until we meet again next week, read more, learn more, adopt AI, stay healthy and stay warm.

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