Quick Targets To Hit

In an earlier post about starting this journey I came up with a set of four targets I planned to achieve in the next 3 to 6 months. On reviewing the full list and making the choices I tried to be clearer about what it was and what it involved. As a result, I ended up with new names for the same thing. Here are my four listed exactly as before with my new names in parenthesis.

  • Contribute to someone else’s open source project (Contribute to an open source project)
  • Get fitter and my weight down to 76kg aka under 12 stone (Get fitter and lose weight)
  • Start horse race betting (Make money betting on horses)
  • Meet up with someone I haven’t seen for 10 years (Reconnect with an old friend)

Just listing stuff isn’t going to cut it so this post will expand on each target to explain what the target involves, why I believe I should do it, and how I know when it is done. I have also thought about something I expect to learn even if I failed. This is important as it turns failure into success. I finish each target with the action to take in the next week.

Contribute To An Open Source Project

Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. Nearly every application produced today and used by businesses or individuals contains open source software. That includes parts of the software that needs to be paid for. People from different locations from around the world can work on open source software together.

There are many ways one can contribute to open source such as providing a tutorial, writing documentation and help testing it. I specifically want to contribute code I have written to an open source project.

People often say if you want to get a promotion you should start to do the job you are after. Since I believe I want to be a Software Developer then working on an open source project is a great way of finding out by doing the job. My original list had three serious programming languages I wished to learn and one esoteric language (Brainfuck) chosen for the fun of it. Although I never selected any of them as a Quick Target, I can choose a project which uses at least one of them in order to learn about it. It will be like having two choices in one.

I know I have hit this target when I have a pull request accepted by the open source project maintainer. It isn’t something Iknow how to do yet, but it means code I have written will end up in the application and people will be relying on something I have written.

I will learn more about the programming language I will be using but that isn’t the most important thing for me to learn here. This will teach me about the process for submitting code changes. I have no idea how it is done in a team environment. I have only ever written code by myself in the past. This will be a new departure and a skill I will need to become a software developer. I’m sure it will also help with my current implementation consultant role. It isn’t developing software as such, but the creative process can be similar and I suspect the approaches transferrable.

My next action is to seek out and choose an Open Source Project to contribute to. It should make use of one of the languages I want to learn which are Elixir, Elm and Rust.

Get Fitter And Lose Weight

This involves discipline to make sure I can hit my target weight. I am not one for going to a gym or sticking to strict diets. I’m vegetarian so a lot of the detailed guidance isn’t for me either. I need to resist temptation on the one hand and introduce some kind of exercise routine into my life.

I once did the NHS Couch to 5K programme which was excellent. I discovered I really enjoyed jogging and listening to music as I did so. However, I stopped too soon at the point where I had only managed 6K runs.

I also have a road bike and a mountain bike both of which are hardly used. I’m sure this will involve making use of those as well.

I want to do this because my clothes such as shirts and some trousers are just too tight and uncomfortable for me. I also can’t remember when I didn’t feel a little overweight. I find I don’t have as much energy as I would like. I weigh in at 83+Kg.

I want to reach a number of targets before I say this one is completed. I want to be 76Kg or less for 3 weeks because if I can do that, I suspect I can do it for much longer. I also want to fit into all my shirts and trousers without them being tight. I could judge that, but I think my wife would be best at doing that on my behalf. I also want to run 10K at least once. It would be great to run in a race, but am not too concerned with that. Anything else will be a bonus.

This is not just about exercising because it wouldn’t be enough. This is also about learning to eat healthier. I will also learn how to make use of the bike navigator I was given for Christmas.

My next action is to go for a run. It is kind of obvious, but I’ve just checked and the last time I went for a run was August 2016.

Make Money Betting On Horses

On face value, this looks like it is about gambling on horses, but it is so much more.

I really think if I could make a living doing anything, it would be gambling on horses or football. I wouldn’t just stay at home, I would want to go to the races or see live matches in stadiums.

This target involves applying the knowledge I gained in my earlier years through the work of Nick Mordin for Horse Racing. I would combine that with Bayes Theorem and may well need to write software to make it easier to do.

I once used an application called Combayes which produced great profitability on Horse Racing. It used Bayes theorem.

This brings together a number of personal interests. I like sport and use to go to horse racing frequently as a teenager, often hitch-hiking. Before databases were as accessible as they are now, I use to dream about creating a horseracing database to calculate and pick potential winners for me. I also studied how to calculate speed ratings, manage stakes and analyse a race, something I have forgotten the detail of.

I use to have so much fun and that is the real reason I wish to do this.

I want to have a month of profitable gambling where I have at least one bet every week. I also want to write a computer program to help with the task. In such a short time it won’t do everything, but it should make some of the work of analysing and managing betting faster and just as accurate.

This will teach me about Bayesian probability which is used in a lot of analysis and Data Science. This is an area I am interested in and one full of either Statisticians becoming Software Developers or vice versa. It is a very sought after job.

I will also be able to bring in one of the programming languages I want to learn. Most likely the same one as in my contributing to open source.

My next action is to learn about Bayesian probability by reading the book I have about it. I will also survey the market for horse racing data and information.

Reconnect With An Old Friend

I have met many people over the years who I really enjoy being around. Unfortunately, I have lost regular meaningful contact with just about all of them.

This includes people from school, my teenage years, college and working life. I would like to get back in touch with some of them and enjoy time with them and let them know I appreciated them and the time we spent together.

I recently met up with a small group of friends I hadn’t seen for 20 years and it was such great fun. I enjoyed it and so did they. It was like getting some new friends but familiar new ones.

This is the easiest one to measure. I just need to meet one friend I haven’t met within the last 10 years. I mean a physical meetup and not Facebook or some other social platform.

I will learn about a friend from my past. I will learn how to take time for myself. This is also about preparing for the unknown. People change and there is no guarantee we will still get on. Being able to handle that situation will be a good skill.

My next action is to select 5 people to try and meet up with.

Author: callenb

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