Day 22 – Game of Thrones end of season celebration, plus a few useful takeaways!

Yesterday our awesome tech team at HBO celebrated the end of another spectacular Game of Thrones season. It was epic, right? You probably didn’t know, but every Sunday for the past six weeks a bunch of folks, including site reliability engineers, of course, were working hard to make sure everyone across the globe could watch the premiere on the wide array of different devices and platforms.

Remember, GOT is worlds popular show, so you can imagine the magnitude of traffic we had to deal with. Pretty unique experience, that’s for sure.

We would watch graphs, stats, pre-scale all the services, monitor error rates, re-route the traffic in case of unexpected problems. A lot of work behind the scenes, all because we wanted you guys to have a great experience (and we hope you did!).

The celebration took place on the boat! It was awesome, we enjoyed Manhatten views, sailed under the Brooklyn Bridge then got to the Statue of Liberty. I’ve never seen it so close before in my 12 years living in New York!

Check some of my pictures and don’t be jealous 😉

Ok, that’s me right there.

Some of the super smart dudes I work with.

Another shot, a bit blurry, but will work.

The tall building with the long spike on the roof is the Tower of Freedom. I once saw a lightning strike right into that metal pole (maybe it was designed for that actually).

Here is the Statue of Liberty. It looks small on the picture for some reason…

Anyhow, the cruise was awesome. There was a full bar on board and I took a few tequila shots. Yep, sometimes you have to take a hit, nothing you can do. What’s more interesting I was able to wakeup at my usual 5.30am and didn’t feel terrible. Not going to lie, it was very hard to get out of the bed, but I managed to do it somehow!

My morning routine still takes about an hour and I desperately want to to make it shorter, so I actually can do more useful stuff. Not to say my routine is useless, but I would like to free up some more time. In addition, since my wife is away, I have to feed myself which takes even more of my time…

That’s what I had today. Nothing fancy.

In one of my previous posts, I told you guys about the e-commerce store that I started while still in college. Today I have a team of 4 full-time engineers and every day we hold short 15 minutes Skype standups to keep in sync with priorities and potential problems that needs my attention.

For the past week or so I was trying to do the Skype call while walking from Penn Station to my office. It usually takes about 20 minutes and allows me to visually measure time as I progress through my route. Once I hit the building entrance, it’s time to cut off the meeting. Simple as that.

The only thing I didn’t like is that I had to hold my phone near my ear as I walked and it’s not the healthiest (or convenient) option. To solve it, I purchased this headset a few days ago and it finally arrived. I was very excited to give it a try.

Ok, so visually it’s very small device and it’s very light so you almost don’t feel it when you put it on. I made a short call on the train and it was ok, but I felt like it wasn’t loud enough. Then I gave it the real test on the busy streets of Manhatten, with all the sirens, people singing, cars honking. After a few minutes, I realized it was not going to work for me. I just couldn’t hear what my guys were saying during the standup… Once I switched back to the phone I had no problems hearing or talking.

Will have to send it back, unfortunately… Let me know what’s your favorite Bluetooth headset for outdoor use if you have one. Maybe I should get regular earphones with the mic instead. Choices choices… (

Let me see what else is going in my life. Oh yes, I think I mentioned that I read a lot. I get about two hours a day when I ride on the train to/from work, which is plenty of time for my reading! Some of my friends live close to the office and they bring it up as the benefit, but there is the downside as well.

They just don’t have time to read even though they live 10 minutes away. A paradox? Not really. It’s actually pretty simple, they actually spend the time on other activities like sleeping, watching TV, playing with the family etc. They just don’t have this isolated environment where they can disconnect from everything and read a book.

Pay attention to this – you have to find the time and read something every day. Even a few pages will do. You need to keep your brain in shape! In many cases, reading is also the only way to learn something new.

What am I reading today? Thank you, a great question! For the past few weeks I’ve been reading Head Strong by Dave Asprey and in my opinion it’s phenomenal! It’s literally loaded with the information I didn’t know before. I read the digital version on my Kindle and literally highlighting every other paragraph. The book is practically loaded with golden nuggets.

Here are the few of the recent ones that stood out:

  • Mold is the huge issue for a lot of people, it affects your mitochondria and energy generation. As the result you may feel tired, headaches, poor memory, and many other symptoms. About 25% of the population are unable of fighting mold and clear mold toxins. You may not even realize how badly it affects you. Even if lucky enough and don’t have an extreme reaction to mold, it still affects you, slowly but surely. Here is a free move called Moldy (about an hour long) that I highly recommend for everyone.

When I bought my house and we started the renovation process, we accidentally discovered big mold stains inside some of the walls (you have to break the inner wall to get to it!). Probably from some old water leak from the roof. I didn’t pay too much attention to it back then, the guys sprayed it with some mold liquid and we closed it up. But now I’m thinking if it was treated properly or not… Scary stuff

Here is my advice, if you buy some old house and you see some water damage spots or it just smells weird, make sure to open up those walls. I know it could be expensive and annoying, but it will dramatically improve (or destroy) the quality of your family life.

If you see the mold growing in bathroom or other wet place and it’s easily visible, use Homebiotic to kill it. Make sure to ensure proper ventilation, install dehumidifier if necessary and don’t forget to change filters if you have central air systems.

There is also an ERMI air test that mold professionals can do for you. I didn’t too much research on this one yet, but it’s on my todo list for sure.

Remember, most traditional doctors never take mold exposure into consideration!

  • LED and CFL bulbs have too much blue light, which damages mitochondria and energy production. Basically a junk light. This is edge cutting stuff that we started studying only about 5 years ago. Yes, LED is much cheaper in the long run, that’s why most of the street lights (at least in major cities) were “upgraded” to LED. The problem is our bodies were never designed to deal with that much blue light. It comes from bulbs, phone screens, TVs. It’s everywhere now. As the result, we have macular degeneration at younger ages than ever before!

By the way, don’t think that D3 vitamin supplement will save you. You need some real sunlight to activate it (or a high-quality UVB lamp). Crazy stuff, I know.

Sitting under those bright LED and fluorescent lights (most commonly at work) will make you look old. Do you still want those savings?

It also affects your sleep! It’s not a surprise that the quality of sleep matters much more than the quantity. Have you ever wondered why you feel so tired in the morning, even though you got 8 (or more) hours of sleep? Welcome to the club!

Ok, the problem is pretty clear. You can do your own research to find out more, or just ignore and move on with your life.

There are few solution you can implement relatively easy – if you are exposed to the junk light, get some simple LED red lights and put it somewhere close to your environment. It helps to offset the blue light that is so bad for you. Switch to halogen if possible. Also, do not forget to get some quality outdoor light. We need it to function properly!

Spend some time in the infrared sauna if you can.

There is also computer software called f.lux that helps to control the color of your screen.

The author of the Head Strong book also have some trademark orange sunglasses that block blue light. No wonder you see celebrities in sunglasses all the time. I didn’t try the glasses yet, please let me know if you had any noticeable results with those.

There is also the thing called Irlen syndrome (affects about 48 percent of the population). If you have it, you may have problems reading for long periods of time because of the contrast of the pages, or you get very tired driving at night because of the glare from oncoming headlights. You can add here common things like headache, eyestrain, fatigue, dizziness… Just do a research on it to find out more. The glasses that block blue light should help a lot.

Man, approaching 2K words, gotta stop now. My fingers just keep typing and time flies by! Anyways, I just mentioned a few important points, but there is a lot more than I have in store for you. Make sure to subscirbe to my list and I will notify about new cool things that I learn. You can just scroll down and subscribe below if you prefer that. Whichever way, just do it.

Until next time.

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