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Ask HN: What did you purchase that measurably improved your quality of life?
178 points by lllllll0 48 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 519 comments
An obvious one might be a new car (e.g., Tesla), or a house that you improved your quality of life.

What other purchases might be worth considering?




Automated cat infrastructure: automatic USB water fountain[0], food dispenser[1], Litter Robot 3[2] (as of recently, with a homebrew controller[3]).

These allow me a good four days of absence from the house - for camping or whatever else. Doesn't happen often that both the wife and I are MIA, but when it does, these things are indespensable.

[0]: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WGLYV22/

[1]: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VIXRB6O/

[2]: https://www.litter-robot.com/litter-robot-3.html

[3]: https://litter-controller.smaslennikov.com/


I second this. It’s an incredible time saver. I don’t do the powered water fountain anymore though. The last two filled with a disgusting bio film in the pump that was nearly impossible to clean and is unhealthy for the cat. I had to dump both. You need to clean them super regularly. Easier to just use a bowl and swap it out every few days. Or a large bowl when we go on a trip.


The problem with bowls is that cats love love love running water. Stale water is super gross for them, so they’ll only drink out of it if there is no other option. Our cat refuses to drink from anything but her fountain.


I wonder if you've noticed any change in your cats behaviour towards you as a result of this? People often claim that cats only like their humans because they're the ones who feed them etc


Those claims are false. Cats are very affectionate creatures. They are not dogs and you shouldn't expect them to behave like dogs. They are not all the same and not all of them are cuddly (especially if they are not taught to share affection via touch since a young age) but if someone says that cats only like people who feed them, then I have to disagree based on my experience raising more cats than _most_ people.

However, I do concede that sharing food is an easy way to form a bond with an animal (including our very own species).


Now I know why my girlfriend's cat was such a little prick, swiping me in the face and drawing blood. She had an automatic feeder.


Cats are easier to deal with thanks to our auto feeder


Litter robot 3 owner here... take note, the company's tech support ain't at all as it should be. My partner got the device, I'm responsible for its running.

Had issues and tried to interface with their tech support. Unless you email with the person's email that bought it - nothing. Then when you email them with that person's email - nothing.

There are a number of systemic issues that I think can be fixed either in firmware (which I guess they don't believe in updating) and/or a hardware upgrade kit (which I'm willing to buy - if I felt that they understood the issues.)

In this day and age, not allowing easy community access to root out issues is just not excusable. They need to spend more on updating their site for honest feedback and less on the advertising that they have been up to of late.


The litter robot looks good but for 500 dollars I think I'll stick to manual scooping the litter


I was considering getting the robot until my wife got these sifting litter box trays. They come in three layers, with one being for filtration. To recycle litter, you dump the old litter into the filtration tray. This filters litter through while leading solids behind. Throw the solids away into a garbage bag. Done.

No scooping. Takes 30 seconds. $15/set.


So you automated your cat! This reminds the automaticon nanny from the Ted Chiang's book.


High quality floor standing speakers, although I would say the average person can get almost the same QOL improvement from $500 bookshelf speakers.

I use them for music, movies/TV, watching videos on YouTube including technical ones, and even occasionally video conferencing.

Wearing headphones for more than 30 minutes is fatiguing and uncomfortable for me. Listening to people's voices on tiny laptop or iPad speakers is even more annoying.

Hearing the bass and midrange in people's voices makes them more intelligible, particularly if they have an accent. It's just 100% more pleasant all around.

And this is purely an aesthetic thing, but it's crazy to me that people seem to listen to music through their phone speaker, let alone their laptop speaker... to me it's unrecognizable.

----

Most people seem to be using the bluetooth speakers these days, which ~10 years ago were extremely bad IMO. Admittedly I found one that is pretty good recently.

But I still think it's very much worth it to have real speakers with drivers, speaker wire, and an amplifier in your home. (Or a powered speaker, although your options are more limited there, and it's more expensive.)

For traveling the right bluetooth speaker can be alright (there are many bad ones), but after a week of traveling my ears are "relieved" when I get to hear real audio again.

----

Also: a single kettlebell for ~$45, which I almost think of as a stretching/circulation device, and a bicycle used for 10+ years.


As an owner of two pair (3-way & 5-way) of Backes & Müller active speakers with Dynamic-Membrane-Control (https://www.backesmueller.de/en/b-m-technology.html). I urge you to try a pair of good half-open Headphones. I use these: https://global.beyerdynamic.com/dt-880-edition.html

Their half-open build improves mid and bass reproduction, compared to fully open cans.

A revelation for me, can wear them all day, no cutoff from outside. Gave them to my mother to test them, she was amazed too. All parts replaceable. Made in Germany. There are is even a low resistance version, if you want to save battery on the go: https://www.amazon.com/beyerdynamic-Premium-32-Over-Ear-Ster...


If you object to headphones, and don't want the expense of floor standing speakers, the Jabra Speak 510 has been handy for me when WFH. Great audio and mic.

https://www.jabra.co.uk/business/speakerphones/jabra-speak-s...


Re headphones: is it possible you haven’t found a pair that fits well?

I’ve tried many many (highly rated) cans over the years and most hurt my years after some time. But now I have Bose QC and the way they fit around my ears without touching them is awesome. I wear them constantly even without audio playing. It’s almost a comfort object now lol.


Well the physical comfort isn't really the main issue, but yeah I guess I don't like having something resting on my ears for more than say 30-60 minutes at a time.

I would flip it on its head: Why headphones? To me the only advantages of headphones are (1) not disturbing people near you and (2) traveling. For everything else I would use speakers!

The other things I don't like are:

- the cable following me around, especially if I'm mobile (and that applies to ear buds too).

- the feeling of being cut off from sounds around me.

- Admittedly a niche complaint, but for music: I don't like the stereo imaging of headphones. Compared to good speakers, it's an unnatural stereo field -- although I realize not everyone is sensitive to that. Depends what you listen to as well.


the problem with speakers - which I love - is that they don't live well with a microphone as two separate peripherals.

How did you solve this?


Good point, that's another reason to use headphones -- if you're also using a microphone!

There's no way to really solve this! I think there are some hacks, but the music and TV pro solution is to use in-ear monitors.

Good thread where someone suggests using monitors to reduce fatigue on video conference:

https://twitter.com/samuelmehr/status/1309672535190102016

I haven't tried it, but it makes a lot of sense. Knowing how loud your own voice relative to others' is seems like a key benefit.

----

I use speakers to listen to lectures and podcasts, and it's 100% a win IMO, but yeah they don't work well if your voice also has to be recorded unfortunately ...


Try comfy over ear half open cans like the DT880 i linked in my reply to GP


My friend has those. I haven’t tried them for extended periods, but I remember the material being soft to touch. The thing that gets me about the Bose, I think, is the cups are ovular which matches the war better. But maybe that’s corrélation not causation.


My parents wanted to buy me a special gift for my 21st birthday (more than they would usually spend). I didn't want a watch, so I asked for speakers.

I think we spent about £300, including an amplifier, 14 years ago, at the local hifi shop.


Adding to that: a good amplifier that works well with the speakers. It took me a while to find one I liked (in my case it was an old Harman/Kardon PM645 Vxi, you can find it on ebay for under $200).


I have a power speaker that goes on a big tripod, but I only use it for Karaoke or when I need to crank loud music outside.

The JBL Flip 4 I have used for just casual music in the garden.


I'm using same JBL bluetooth speaker for my laptop for everything, I use it all the time, now when on Linux BL sometimes stops working automagically, I can't believe that I was using laptop builtin speakers, before I've got that JBL speaker.


I've got second Soundcore Motion+ and going to sell my bookshelf (Kef Q15) speakers. The sound is amazingly good and I don't have much space for bookshelves ATM.


Which speakers did you buy and which would you recommend for someone that feels overwhelmed by the entire industry?


Not the GP, but I really like the Polk LSiM 707 I picked up during clearance a year ago.


Yeah that's a good question, because it is incredibly hard to wade through all the BS in the industry. The average consumer definitely pays more for "style" and "prestige", and the companies respond in kind with a lot of BS.

I've owned a pair of Ohm Walsh 1000 speakers since 2014, and used them basically every day, and couldn't be happier. Along with a Marantz receiver with an integrated amp.

https://ohmspeaker.com/

This company basically makes one kind of speaker (omnipolar) and has been refining the design for ~50 years:

https://lobste.rs/s/nt9kfo/writing_software_last_50_years#c_... (comment by me, 9 months ago)

If you have the space for floor standing speakers, I wholeheartedly recommend them. The sellers are very honest and will recommend the right size for your room. I did buy them without hearing them, so I get why people are reluctant to buy speakers. (They have a generous money back guarantee.) I've visited many audio stores in person, and it's not a great alternative. There are too many variables and I don't like to engage too much with salesmen.

I bought them mainly for music, but they reproduce voices better than anything I've heard, which is good not only for music, but for lectures and even video conferencing! A lot of speakers and headphones lack midrange, and that is where a lot of the information in human voices is. It's just more comfortable to listen to.

Also, you can turn them up really loud, and it doesn't hurt you ears. The speakers which have a lot of flashy treble and bass sound good in the store, but you get fatigued over 30 or 60 minutes, and you have to turn them down. These speakers can be turned up comfortably.

----

If you want something smaller, there are also lots of good deals for bookshelf speakers -- you shouldn't need to spend more than $300 to $600. The amp is sometimes a problem but I've used some tiny $100 amps to good effect too.

But yes unfortunately there is a ton of BS to wade through. I got this recommendation from Don Lindich, a newspaper columnist for consumer audio. He also recommended me Mirage speakers way back in the day, which I loved as well. These are all omnipolar speakers -- they have an open sound that brings to life the information in stereo recordings. I listen to rock / metal / pop / hip-hop on them, and they're very good for jazz / classical (perhaps a more typical use, but they're not limited to that).


1. Apple Watch Series 5 w/GPS:

- Surprisingly, my iPhone Xs battery lasts longer because I'm checking it less.

- Counter-intuitively, I'm spending less time on my phone because I'm less likely to get sucked into my Watch than my phone. Now I just read non-urgent messages and Dismiss them.

- I use the compass all the time now that I'm travelling[^1] in the UK and I use the compass all the time to learn the city layout. Apple Maps is still crappy on the Watch compared to Google Maps on iPhone, but because my Watch vibrates before every important turn, I have less navigation anxiety.

- I feel safer walking in the city because I don't have to hold my phone in my hand.

2. Macbook Pro 16":

It was f*cking expensive, but:

- Rust compile times have come down 10x compared to my mid-2015 MBP15.

- Screen is 200% better.

- Sound is 500% better.

- Keyboard is 200% better.

- Track Pad is way better.

...hate the Touch Bar, though :).

- [^1] If you are a professional dev in London, hit me up for a beer, esp. if you write Clojure for a living.

(PS. @dang please can we have list formatting support?)


My mbp 2012 is very slow when used to compile stuff these days, and struggles to build react projects and docker images. So I built a small server out of secondhand parts to offload those tasks away from my old laptop.

Using vscode's remote development support (which lets you mount a remote machine in the editor as well as doing port forwarding), there is almost no change to my usual development routine but massive improvement to build time and battery life, for ~$300 in parts. I guess I will postpone upgrading my laptop again.

This setup also works outside of my home network because I use zerotier on both the laptop and the local server, though I also configured my router to expose the server's ssh port in case I can't use zerotier for some reason. I also configured autossh to connect to my small vps server and port-forward the local server's ssh port there as an additional fallback because my isp sometime doesn't assign a public ip when the modem is restarted.


Did you open it up to clear the fans from dust?

Macbooks accumulate a lot of dust during their life, and they're not really servicing-friendly. But many people reported lower temperatures die to better cooling.

This also means longer lasting batteries and faster CPUs (because of less thermal throttling).

It won't completely resurrect your MacBook, but it might give a significant performance boost (and lower the operating temperatures).


I agree on this. Re-pasting the cooler + clearing up the dust boosts the performance quite significantly. But beware that you need to pay attention to the rubber gasket and how it seals to the body. On the rMBP 2015 the camera cable needs to be clipped into the gasket carefully to maintain the seal.


I did opened the macbook several times to replace the disk, ram and the battery and I always clean the dust from the fan surface, but I never considered opening the fan and reapply the thermal paste. Maybe I'll do that later when I have some extended downtime.


Yeah it's bettes to plan it. Get some good paste like Arctic or something like that.


Seconded. Bought the new MacBook Pro and paired with Better Touch Tools using it is straight ecstasy. I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve learned a good dev environment helps so much with enjoying side projects. Does slowly make me hate my Windows 10 work PC though.


Kindle - had one or another model for many years, but in terms of utility to price ratio, it's still one of the highest.

Youtube Premium - I realized I was spending a ton of time on Youtube, both for education, entertainment and podcasts. Removing the annoyance of ads and not being able to just listen to a video while out walking is worth it to me.


For those who don't want to fund youtube, Youtube Vanced is a hacked version of the official client that provides all the features for free (no root required), and there are also various open source clients available.


Isn't youtube without ads exactly the business model we should be encouraging?


People are really vocal about being perfectly ok with paying for ad-free products and not pirating, until the exact moment they actually have to fork out money.


YouTube Premium still requires you to create a Google account and accept their ToS & privacy policy and provide them with validated personal & billing information.

I am personally not comfortable with this and would rather have absolutely no business relationship with such a company. I’m using an Invidious (https://github.com/iv-org/invidious) instance instead.


Would you be willing to pay extra for privacy? Seems like that could be a business model.

I wonder if the VPPA applies to Youtube?


I'm absolutely in favour of paying extra for privacy. However, it has to come from a company that I am willing to trust.

Google is an advertising company at its core and its bottom line relies on knowing as much about people as possible so that they can target better ads, thus I do not want to have any kind of business relationship with them. Their efforts to force users to opt into tracking (like dark patterns and the recent not-GDPR-compliant consent prompt) suggest me to steer well clear.

If they spin off YouTube as its own company, with its own account system (independent from Google) and ToS (that do not include anything regarding tracking - as it stands to sign up for YouTube Premium you do still need to agree to Google's ToS and privacy policy) I will definitely reconsider, but as it stands it is a hard no.


I was a youtube premium subscriber. They kept banning political youtubers, which is out of line with my values, so I quit being a subscriber.

I absolutely agree with the paying for no ads model, as I really, really like that model. The premium subscription was totally worth it, and the app with ads can be truly unbearable in comparison (but not so unbearable that I'm going to start paying them again).


I'd pay for YouTube Premium if it was just ad-free, and didn't bundle Red and Music. I'd easily pay 5$CAD/month for it, but at 15$CAD, it's a fairly steep price, and still doesn't remove all pop-ups and such.

Vanced provides the YouTube I want, I'd pay it that was available.


I would encourage creators to run their own in-video ads (avoiding unethical tracking) and collect funds directly from viewers (i.e. Patreon). This seems to be a much more stable way of collecting income, and doesn't expose them to the whims of YouTube's demonetization system.


I am completely seriously asking and 100% ignorant - isn't there a risk of getting your account banned? I assume Google can detect this, and also know who you are (since it's on Android)?


Related: i really like the "Enhancer for youtube" extension for Firefox, which also removes ads...

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/enhancer-for-...


I also use Youtube on Chromecast, and my phone. It's just easier to pay than to try to hack all different devices.


This, even assuming only your own devices. Now throw the technology unsavvy family's devices into the mix and then YouTube Premium becomes a no brainer.

I would very much like to set up a pi-hole but the moment something goes wrong pitchforks will be pointed at me.


God bless you


Slightly more friendly for sideloading books out the box; Kobo Glo HD

Its my favorite gadget.

Pretty sure kindle are better value though, and can still be hacked/sideloaded onto.

E-Ink is marvel in itself and it is disgustingly uncommon. I hope more products emerge that use them.


> Pretty sure kindle are better value though, and can still be hacked/sideloaded onto.

unfortunately toying with kindles not trivial, at least not with the latest models. last time I checked, you needed to do some hardware bypassing


These are among my top favorite purchases too. I love my Kindle, along with QC35 headphones, I can find oasis anywhere.

And YouTube Premium is awesome, it actually makes watching YouTube a pleasant experience and it comes with YT Music.


Totally agree on both. If you're going to get a Kindle, I recommend the Oasis--it's so much better than the other ones and worth the money if you read a decent amount. The yellow backlight is much easier on the eyes than the blue one.


Really? I'm surprised that you think the Oasis is worth the higher price considering just how much higher that price is.

What other reasons would you recommend it for?


I have had a Paperwhite for years, probably close to 10. I recently upgraded to an Oasis for my 30th birthday. It was an incredible improvement. The noticeably bigger screen is crisp and incredibly responsive. I and my wife had just gotten used to the delay of everything on the PW.

Additionally the brightness is much more fine grained in your control: there a many more brightness settings, and you can adjust it on a scale of harsh blue-white like the PW or a soft orange glow depending if you’re reading in the middle of the day or to try to abate your insomnia like I do.

I liked it so much, and my wife mentioned that she’d like one for Christmas so many times, that I just bought her one.


It’s water resistant which is very useful for me. I also like the physical buttons for changing the page— I often disable the touch screen so I don’t accidentally change the page and appreciate having the physical control, which the Paperwhite doesn’t have. Also the screen is higher resolution so everything looks nicer.


I agree 101% on Kindle. Bought mine (Oasis 2) 3 years ago and since then the amount of books I read skyrocketed. Absolutely worth every penny.


Pocketbook inkpad 3 gives you more screen area and control over content while using the same screen panel


Got FireHD 10" for (Kindle) books and comics, it's quite nice.


This is very easy for me, I bought a Boosted Rev electric scooter last year. It cut my commute time nearly in half compared to biking to work (before covid), I don't arrive hot and sweaty in summer and in winter a helmet with a visor keeps me totally warm. It is powerful and sturdy enough that my wife and I can ride together, now that's how we get around Manhattan. All the benefits of a car + bike in a smaller package that can fold down to fit in the back of a taxi or be carried on the subway.

I've said this here before I think, but the Segway inventor was claiming cities would be designed around it and everyone was laughing, but with an electric scooter I can totally see this happening.


"IIHS researchers found that e-scooter riders sustained more injuries per mile than bicyclists and were twice as likely to be injured because of potholes, pavement cracks, lampposts, and signposts, although bicyclists were three times as likely to be hit by a motor vehicle."

https://www.consumerreports.org/electric-scooters/safety-ris...

Boosted Rev has both regenerative and mechanical disc brakes.

"The typical 15 mph stopping distance for mechanical systems is 20 feet, with the absolute best stopping power being under 10 feet."

https://electric-scooter.guide/guides/electric-scooter-brake...

If you put two people on a scooter, the stopping distance increases.

I searched online and found no data on the risk of double-riding an electric scooter. Intuitively, I expect double-riders to be 10 times more likely to get injured than single-riders. I worry for you and your wife and the people I see double-riding in SF.

Someday, US cities may be safe for scooter riding. I doubt they will ever be safe for double-riding.


+1 for electric scooter: life changing for me in Paris, France => spend more time outside, travel times as fast as subway but more enjoyable, a (very little) bit of phyiscal activity, ...

I'd recommend one with removable/swappable batteries: it's very nice to be able to have 2 of them for a long day.


> I've said this here before I think, but the Segway inventor was claiming cities would be designed around it and everyone was laughing, but with an electric scooter I can totally see this happening.

Powered (both electric and gas) scooters in the same form factor as is now becoming more popular were around before Segway; Segway’s innovation was a new form factor tied to a balance-based control system (sure, the brand later got applied to traditional-layour scooters, but that wasn't what Kamen was hyping when made his bold predictions.) The key enabling developments from the scooters before Segway to the modern electric scooters were battery improvements; the original Segway was mostly a distraction. (There are balance-based devices which owe something to it, but basically-traditional-layout scooters like Boosted Rev aren't among them.)


A bidet to save on toilet paper and improvement the quality of your life. I learned about bidets from a HN post a few years ago. Any bidet is pretty good compared to nothing and they are surprisingly easy to install.


Using a bidet dramatically reduces body odor. It enables naked sleeping. It enhances spontaneous adult activities.

Getting used to a bidet takes about 2 days. After that, dry wiping will seem backward, like using leaves or corn cobs.

Get a simple manual one. I use a Luxe brand bidet that I bought for $40, six years ago. It still works fine.

https://www.amazon.com/Luxe-Bidet-Neo-110-Non-Electric/dp/B0...

I use a portable bidet when I travel. It's just a squeeze bottle with a long nozzle. The nozzle stores away inside the bottle.

https://www.amazon.com/Brondell-GS-70-Portable-Convenient-Ca...


"Using a bidet dramatically reduces body odor." Like, because your ass smells so intense that people can actually register it during regular activities?

Not trying to undermine your happiness about clean asses, I'm very fond of that myself but that line seems to be hyperbole.

I don't think I've ever registered someone smelling like ass save for a few bums and some very questionable types.


Sleeping naked without a bidet is impossible?


No, but some would say it's a bit funky spending 8 hours in a bed with a shitty ass.


The seat attachment types are excellent. I installed a $50 Luxe model in one of our office bathrooms, it really was a breeze to put in, and works just great.

For reference, I have high-end Japanese units at home, and here's what an extra $1,200 buys you:

- Remote control (slower than manual)

- Heated seat (I don't care)

- Heated water ($55 models have hot connection, if you care)

- Dryer (useless, as you will wipe anyway)

- Remote-controlled jet positioning (easier to move your ass by half an inch)

- Disinfecting UV light, purified water, etc. (marketing BS)

- Nightlight (...)


The best part is rarely mentioned: this [1] is a thing of the past

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGCIGEUB32M


Did you get a stand alone bidet installed in your house or is it something installed in your toilet?


It's more hygienic

Also, buying and carrying toilet paper is not really practical.


Embarrassed to say but I use a normal toilet and sometimes I try to flush skid marks away using the shower head (from my bath-tub) in strong jet mode. However, this is often quite difficult, which makes me believe that the bidet isn't all that hygienic ...


Not to be too nosy but I’ve noticed that tends to happen if you don’t have a very healthy or balanced diet. Since I’ve started eating better and making sure I’m getting enough greens and fiber it’s rarely been an issue, unless I have a few too many drinks.


Yes I appreciate your concern. I'm aware of potential causes, and I believe these issues are quite normal really, if they are not frequent.


This comment section took an unexpected turn.


My diet is terrible sometimes. I use my bidet (retrofitted toilet seat adapter) and then a quick wipe to ensure cleanliness and to partially dry my bum.

+1 for bidet.


Before you use the toilet, put in some toilet paper and everything just flushes out.


The "poo canoe".


Interesting, my bidet has much more power than my showerhead and if I'm not careful and pull the trigger to much I hurt myself.


Do note that some of those "jets" are meant for cleaning the toilet and not for hygiene. When buying one, make sure you are getting the right one. The difference is indeed in the intensity with which the jet of water is ejected from the device.


Ok. I think hygiene depends on municipal water pressure then, unless one uses a bidet with built-in compressor.


probably.

I used to wipe the first times I used my bidet, because I didn't trust it.

Now, I don't trust toilet paper anymore.


Not sure if that's exactly what you mean by a bidet, but the Japanese toilets with water cleaning are the best I've encountered in that space.


Ever heard of "Muslim Shower"?


My wife and I both work, but our lifestyle does not require two incomes. So we've tried to find trustworthy charities to entrust my salary to. It's harder than it sounds, and we're only about 60% of the way there, but it has measurably improved the quality of life of many people - not just us.

I also "purchased" a 4-day work week, which has had a substantial impact on my own quality of life.


While not technically a "purchase", I also must say that this year, no single product even came close to the donations I made to those who protect the environment and fight climate change.

Now, every time I consider a purchase I ask myself: "do I really need this?" and if the answer is no, I forgo the purchase and donate the same amount of money instead.

This "negative consumption" turns my feelings of gloom and helplessness into a sense of purpose and power.

I can only imagine how awesome it must be to be able to donate almost a whole salary!

Can you please share some of the charities you've found to be trustworthy?


Our main causes are environment, poverty and homelessness, and disability. Most of our charities are local, such as each of the major homeless shelters in our city. Medicins Sans Frontières and Sierra Club are our two international-level charities, but I hesitate to offer endorsements. Due diligence is important when donating larger sums.


GiveWell has a really great guide for picking charities. It helped me narrow down where to direct my giving.

https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities/main


Have you looked into Effective Altruism, The life you can save foundation, and/or GiveWell? They are all initiatives to make sure resources are used as effectively as possible when it comes to doing good.


"I also "purchased" a 4-day work week, which has had a substantial impact on my own quality of life."

Can you tell me more about this? What was your strategy for bringing this up with your workplace, did you take 20% salary cut, any other adjustments?


I took a 20% salary cut. All other benefits remained the same. It's not a formal policy at my company, but I was able to negotiate a reduced schedule during my annual salary review.

I don't know that I did anything clever in the negotiation, I just raised it with my manager and we brought it to HR. Everyone was positive about the idea but unsure of how it would work in the broader scheme, including if other people would see my schedule and want to get on the 32-hour week train too. (I hope so, but I avoided saying that.)

When I say all benefits remained the same, I mean all of them. It's probably an oversight, but I continue to accrue vacation days at a rate of 20/yr - except for me, that's 5 work weeks, not 4. I've avoided pointing that out.


I did the exact same thing at my work with the same concerns of hr and the hope that all my coworkers follow my path. But everyone is much more greedy than I expected!

Having 3 days of weekends every week is just amazing on top of my regular vacations


This is such a wonderful thing to do.


to be fair it didn't improve your quality of life MEASURABLY


Why not? If you'd rate your happiness or peace of mind on a scale of 1 to 10 every day, and after a donation the rating goes up, that's an empirically measurable improvement to your quality of life, much more so than a product that may make your life more convenient but you're still stressed and unhappy.


The 4-day week made for 20% less work, I would say. ;)


Are you serious? We need more people like you. Crazy proposition. I'm the best trader out there for options. There are services which allow others to mirror my account, I am planning to set one of those up.

If you are interested, I'd let you follow my account for free, if you are willing to donate 100% of the profits it makes and pay your own fees for the required brokerages.


I have a "BahnCard 100" [1], the German national public transit flatrate. My employer pays for it in lieu of a company car. I only have to pay income taxes on it, which comes out to about 170€ (200$) a month. For that price, I can use all trains across Germany as often as I want and also get free local transit (busses, subway etc.) in 120 cities, including the one where I live.

2020 is my first year with a BC100, so due to Corona I couldn't use it that much yet, but it's kind of mind-blowing to go to a train station and just be able to hop on any train [2] whenever I feel like it, no questions asked. When Corona has blown over, I will definitely make a habit of just exploring Germany every other weekend.

[1] https://www.bahn.com/en/view/offers/bahncard/bahncard_100-co...

[2] There are some rare exceptions, e.g. night trains require a reservation.


In Switzerland we have the equivalent called "Generalabonnament" (GA), which is quite a common thing for people to have. It's steep in price, but often time it evens out pretty quickly if you travel by train often - I have my GA since my apprenticeship about ten years ago. I looooove it, just a bit sad that during Covid train travels weren't possible as much.


One time train tickets were hideously expensive last time I was in Switzerland so this makes total sense if you live in the area.


A BC 100 is a pet dream of mine :D Unfortunately, as a student, the price tag is still quite a bit beyond me...


When you graduate and get a job, try asking for a BC100 in the salary negotiation. Roughly 4000€ per year is not that big of a price tag for the company, esp. since they don't have to pay Sozialversicherungsarbeitgeberanteile on it. And you only get to pay the taxes.


just taxes on it comes to $2400/yr? ouch


German income taxation is rather high. But to be fair, this figure includes income tax, health insurance, nursing care insurance, pension insurance and unemployment insurance. All those insurances are tied to income level in Germany, so when you have more income or pecuniary advantage, the insurance premiums scale up accordingly.


A mountain bike. Every measure of my health has improved and I've never traveling all over to hit bike parks and trails. I've spent more time outdoors this summer than I have the last 5 years.


In a similar fashion: I purchased a helmet + bikeshare membership

I live in an urban environment, so I don't want to store a bike (or worry about getting it stolen). It's 1) vastly increased my footprint and appetite for checking out new areas and 2) helped me get some more exercise into my days.


This. It's surprising how much it helps with job stress and depression. I can leave the house, get on the bike, come up with a solution in my head while enjoying the wind then come back repaired.


What brand? I recently got a road bike but honestly don't love it. I think I would prefer a mountain bike.


So that's the exact same story for me! I started off with a road hybrid and discovered that I liked riding in the woods much more than I did on concrete. There is a lot of skill involved in mountain biking and it's fun to learn each technique: lifts, rolls, drops, jumps, rock gardens, climbing, and turning (I didn't even know there was a specific technique to turning on dirt but it's really important).

Expect to spend about three grand for a good full squish mountain bike. I have a Rocky Mountain and I would highly recommend the brand. They are one of the best values in terms of features, weight, and quality. There are even some really good direct-to-consumer brands now like YT. For mountain biking you definitely want disc brakes, a dropper post, and around 120mm-130mm of front travel with a total weight less then 28lbs. Global Mountain biking network on YouTube is a great resource as well as local riding clubs and bike shops. Good luck!


GMBN has a couple of great videos on buying a mountain bike [0][1], but I can really recommend a direct to consumer brand such as Canyon or YT — especially if you’re not sure whether you’ll commit to the sport. You get a lot more bike for your money compared to the store brands, and you’ll have an easier time getting into the sport the better your first bike is.

The major choice to make, irrespective of brand, is what type of bike — which is dictated by the terrain you have available and would like to ride. There are subcategories, but a useful rough split would be: a cross-country (XC) bike for good pedaling performance both uphill and on the flat, but not so capable going downhill and in the rough stuff; an enduro if you want to ride rougher downhill terrain (roots, rock gardens, etc.), but still have a bike that pedals well enough up technical climbs and fire roads; and a downhill bike if you want to ride the roughest, most technical terrain, with the steepest descents, and you have access to lift-served mountains (not recommended to start with ;).

FWIW, I’ve had a such a great time riding the Canyon Torque this summer. It’s a long-travel enduro, really capable on the descents, and perfectly fine to get back to the top.

As for motivation, I would echo the sibling comment. Time in nature, good exercise, a ton of techniques to learn and master, a really sociable scene, such a rush riding tough and steep stuff. You won’t regret it.

[0]: https://youtu.be/EX1Kb6TEyn8 [1]: https://youtu.be/Y_xiq2mczX4A


I'd actually recommend buying from a local shop for your first bike, if there's a good one close by. The warranty service, plus discounts on gear and free tune ups, will be worth about as much as the discount on a DTC bike.

Giant is a good value brand. They make a lot of components in house, so you get cheaper, "good enough" handlebars etc.

In that brand, I'd recommend a used trance 29 or a new trance x 29, depending on your budget. I'm happy to talk about bikes for days!

Trek, Norco, Rocky mountain are also good value. Just about any modern trail bike is excellent.


Also consider a gravel bike. Currently, it's my favourite type of bike. You do not have to stick to paved roads, which are infested with unattentive/aggressive drivers. A gravel bike with wide enough tires is a good compromise between off-road capabilities and speed. If I had decent mtb trails near my doorstep maybe I would use the mtb more often. My road bike does not see much use anymore.


CPAP machine. If you think you may have sleep apnea then get it checked out.

In-line water filter. Reduce the barrier-of-entry to drinking water however you can. Started with one of those gravity filters but having to refill it all the time was a barrier. One that's tied into mains pressure just works.

Ceiling fans. We have an evaporative cooling system which is good, but adding ceiling fans in the bedrooms and office really allow good air circulation on those hot days.

12mm flashing red LED and a magnetic switch. Stuck the magnetic switch on the garage door and the LED in the ceiling by the front door. Can now easily see if the garage door was left open.


Re Sleep: a sleep mask that is cupped as to not touch the eyes. Has been big improvement to my sleep.


If you're interested in sleep, we're building a headband that monitors sleep and alters sleep state using sound.

Here's a chart showing the effect over 8 consecutive nights (4 without, 4 with). https://imgur.com/z4vqS3w We're preparing for a larger study.

If you're keen to find our more, or get on the waitlist at https://soundmind.co


Can I beta test? I’ve tested many sleep gadgets already :)


We've got a pretty good list going already. I'd be keen to hear what you've tried in the past, what you've liked, and what you didn't. I can be reached at pete[at]soundmind.co


Would you have a recommendation for such a mask? I have been looking for such a mask and haven't found a good option so far.


This is the one I have: https://www.amazon.com/Upgraded-Contoured-Adjustable-Comfort... Have used for 1.5 years now.


Thank you, I'll check it out.


was just going to comment CPAP machine! Hands down most life-changing thing I have acquired.


Hate to say it, but iPad: I have a non-internet cell phone (still have a small data plan, just pretend I don’t) so during the day, it’s just calls and text messages (SMS or iMessage) and useful stuff like camera, music (offline) and calculator. I will turn on location data for maps if I’m traveling (so not much, especially recently)—otherwise those stay off. At night, I have an hour or 2 with the iPad, airdrop and post a few photos to social media, catch up on local news, watch a few select YouTube channels. All my internet and social media happens on the iPad that never leaves the house, and my phone is locked down and disabled as much as possible. Benefits are no tracking, no distractions, no notifications, and all my social media and video is on the larger iPad.

The tool I use the most at home: bench-mounted vise. I’ve owned a home for 15 years and try to fix everything I can myself, so I had lots of other tools (cordless everything) but never a vise until getting one as a gift. Now I clamp (almost) everything for cutting, drilling, sanding, whatever, and I don’t know how I managed before (I remember straining to hold things and getting upset when they slipped—or even injured).


I improved considerably my life by stopping to purchase things and living with very few possessions, eating organic wild food as much as possible


I'm not sure I could go that far but I agree I become much happier after I stopped buying tons of things (I have a closet full of microcontrollers, some of them I haven't even unpacked...). Now I think well about each purchase, sometimes postponing it for months to make sure it's something I really need. Works great.


I had that closet too, I ended up giving them away and stopping buying those things for a good long while. I liked buying them and looking at them, but never ended up building very much


"Everything you own end up owning you!"


That's an unsustainable way of life. Humans cannot feed all humans with only organic food.


Funny that you say that, because everything I have read on that in the last 10+ years indicates that that is not the case.

Being an empiricist I would love to see your sources to evaluate my current knowledge against new evidence.

Edit: Hopefully the sarcasm isn't too harsh. But knowing studies on reduced yields, on the mostly short timeframes and also the question of caloric/nutritional value per acre seems more promising.


Source?


I am not OP but this is a nice meta-study

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2019.0008...

Looking at yields only (which is a small part of the study; sustainability depends on many other factors) it looks like log response ratio for organic vs conventional is -0.4 (but depends on crop type, etc, see figs 5,6). This response ratio means organic yields were typically ~2/3rds of conventional across US, EU for most produce types.

I think a real path forward is reduction of pesticide/herbicide usage through highly targeted techniques, as well as greater embrace of biodiversity in the field (even at some cost to yield). However it is also not reasonable to switch to all organic right now, since we would then produce only 2/3rds the food we have now.

I think where move from conventional is most critical is for animal products. “Conventional” in the US comes with lots of cruelty. Even if we net eat less meat supporting meat sources that treat animals better is important, and will not likely cause net decrease in calories produced.


I recommend the studies from the Royale Institute.

They looked at yields on a longer term and discovered, that after a transition phase of around 5 years the numbers were comparable, but with organic agriculture realizing better yields in times of draught.

Additionally they looked at caloric yields per acre. I just grabbed an explanatory blog post from said institute:

https://rodaleinstitute.org/blog/can-organic-feed-the-world/


Rodale compares their own experimental farm, not organic yields on real commercial organic farms (many of which are run for more than 5 years). Their conventional yield is also on their farm, not real conventional farms.

Edit: Looking a bit further rodale has rest years that they don’t count for their organic fields. 25% of the years they literally don’t grow anything on a given plot, but they only compare the growth years.


It is a scientific institute. So it isn't an organic farm either. So I am not sure if this argument applies in any direction.

It I am totally aware of studies like Verena Seufert et al. showing reduced yields between 5 to 39% depending on the context and used methodologies.

Edit: Regarding rest years. At least were I live both, organic or non organic farmers do that. Not sure how it is in other parts of the world.


Considering much food is thrown out and wasted, perhaps lower yields would make us find better ways to reduce waste.


The problem is that we currently have starvation due to poor distribution of food. Rich people can afford higher prices and will continue to waste (in fact, lots of rich people already eat organic), while the poor will feel the squeeze.


Ignoring that it's not always a good idea to distill a complicated system to a single factor like distribution or scarcity, I believe the calorie numbers frequently stated often do not discount for the fact that roughly a third of crop yield is fed to livestock, nor are typically the variety used for human consumption.


I read years ago that the starvation wasn’t necessarily distribution, but rather corruption that prevented the distribution. Is that incorrect?


Noise-canceling headphones. I recommend Bose QC35 IIs. You don’t realize how loud the world normally is until you take them off.


I own the Sony version of them, the wh-1000xm2. They have xm3 and I think xm4 now and they are all highly praised. I bring them with me basically everywhere. They're especially incredible when flying.


I upgraded to the 1000xm3 from a QC15. It was much better. Im pretty satisfied.


I got QC35, one of my favorite thing ever. I can listen music at really low volume and still hear all different notes. And I can sit outside in my patio next to a running A/C unit and not hear it at all.


Thanks, bookmarked. I so much wish I went for these. I bought the Beats headphones that were a little cheaper. I don't find anything good about them either in comfort or functionality.

Social media influence!


I have worn the Bose QC35 II on a 19 hour flight. It greatly reduced the terrible hum of the airplane and the battery lasted all the way through (bluetooth and sound were on maybe 6 to 8 hours). They are that comfortable.


I have Airpod Pros, and I found myself wearing them without playing anything, just to tune out the noise.


Could I use them to cut off external noise that keeps me awake when I am trying to sleep?


I would recommend a white noise machine for that, I haven't been able to live without mine for many years now: https://www.amazon.com/Marpac-Classic-White-Noise-Machine/dp...


There are also a million white noise apps on the play store. I like Noice, its in the f-droid repository.


Mynoise.net is also a wonderful resource.


Yup I sometimes accidentally fall asleep with mine on. The noise cancelling works even while not playing anything. Just make sure you don’t sleep on side and crush them but you should be fine as they’re pretty resilient to damage (except water).


AirPods Pro work way better for sleep due to low profile (mostly just using single one tho), but I've used big cans too. They do get damaged rather quickly (pads compress, drivers crackly all the time) and not comfy.


The kinds of noises that often keep people awake at home aren't really the strong suit for active noise cancellation technology, but it works well enough that there's a whole market for noise cancelling sleep aids. You're probably better off looking there than the Bose QC; ordinary headphones and pillows often don't agree.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise-cancelling_headphones#As...



Yes. Probably depends on the exact noise. I've used them to good effect on planes and when sleeping beside a snoring person.


YMMV, I would struggle to sleep in mine. Noise makers are better for drowning out noises, IMHO


best trick i know for this is to have another source of noise that you can tolerate (e.g. a fan). noise cancelling headphones are useful if you sleep on your back...


So true. Most bang for the buck i know.


Sceptre 27" 4K monitor for $200 on Amazon. It's the cheapest 4K monitor I've found so far.

I wasn't even looking for a 4K monitor when I bought it, and didn't think it would make a big difference, but I was very wrong. It's made a huge difference in my day-to-day computing experience.

Reading ebooks and papers on screen is actually bearable now; previously I'd prefer to print documents out or purchase/borrow physical books for reading.

I can also now use antialiased vector fonts for programming, though I still use Terminus in the terminal emulator.

https://tonsky.me/blog/monitors/


Agree with large monitor - game changer. But Amazon shows only 3/5 stars for Sceptre 27" 4K monitor.


I've found that monitors are a good item to buy used, because they're usually a lot cheaper and 100% as functional...and I like to get used electronics when I can, for environmental/climate reasons.

I bought a 27" LG 4k monitor for $200 on Craigslist, which would have been ~$500 new, and I love it.


I just recently got a Dell S3220DGF. 32", 1440p, 165hz and hdr10.

It is really good, I highly recommend it.


A robot vacuum cleaner. «I» now vacuum every day, the the flat just looks overall better. There is barley any dust on the shelfs anymore either.

https://us.roborock.com/pages/roborock-s5-max


Similar experience here. Also cause I have it on schedule it also indirectly forces me to keep things tidy so it can clean the floor without too many obstacles.


I'd say the first few years of owning a Roomba were magical, but recently a combination of too many children's toys on the floor, and working from home has meant that I don't use the daily-schedule any more.

I have to remember to turn it on when I head out for a beer, go shopping, or do something else outside the home. There were a few days I was working from home, on a video-call, when the robot started cleaning away.

Wonderfully useful tools, but not at all quiet!


I agree about the children, Lego pieces on the floor are a big issue. Working from home the only issue is the noise it makes but because its constant my noise cancelling headphones filter it out completely.


So it decreases dust levels in the entire house, even far above the floor?

That would suggest a major source of dust on counters / shelves is the floor. Seems counterintuitive!


A dust particle in the middle of the room takes many hours to settle on the floor or other horizontal surface. During that air time, it frequently changes direction and rises and falls many times. Every time someone walks on a dusty floor, lots of dust is put into the air. Most will eventually settle on the floor again, but some ends up on other horizontal surfaces. But the dust that ends up on the fllor again is likely to put in the again by people walking.


I have a complete different experience. Went from cheap robot to high end dyson standing vacuum cleaner, and the latter performs much better. Robot was getting stuck everywhere, after some time the mechanism broke due to dust getting inside the gears. Now i just spent 10 minutes every two days for a quick vacuuming around the house and lo and behold - the dust is no more.

It might just be that the robots aren't best suited for small flats.


We actually just bought this exact model, the S5 Max, and it was a near-instant quality of life improvement.

We can now walk around the apartment with bare feet without any dirt or kitty litter-dust getting on the soles of our feet. The kitchen floor is now always clean, it's really incredible.


Roomba 614 (Wirecutter pick) is only $135 used from Amazon Warehouse.

https://www.amazon.com/iRobot-Cleaner-Self-Charging-Carpets-...


Apple Airpod Pros -- long battery life, near instant bluetooth tethering. Even other expensive headphones/earbuds (Bose) for instance could not compete with the ease of use, noise cancellation, and comfort.

I don't think about headphones anymore, they just work the way they're supposed to.


You all might want to read about long term irreversible health effects (read: hearing loss) of in-ear speakers (irrespective of which company makes/markets them).


I think that's incorrect. All the research discussed in-ear headphones that are not noise-cancelling, which lead people to turn up the volume to drown out background noise, which leads to hearing damage.

This is relevant to regular Airpods, but not Airpod Pros which are noise-cancelling. These sort of headphones are actually safer for you hearing, as you can keep the volume lower and still hear well.


Do you have any research that talks about in-ear speakers in particular? With my very lazy Goolge search I only found articles about loud volume being bad


I do love them, but the noise cancellation does bad things to bass and for my real low end stuff, produces a rattle? I turn it off when i want it full volume


The rattle is a defect. Apple will replace them.

I got a pair months ago, after using gen-1 AirPods for a couple years. Soon the left AirPod Pro started rattling at certain frequencies. It got worse. I complained to Apple and they sent me a new left ‘Pod.

Soon the right one exhibited the same behavior. This time, I could hear the rattle if I tapped gently on it. Clearly something was physically loose inside it. Apple replace that one, too.

I had to argue a little, but less than with most tech support. Now I have two AirPod Pros that work perfectly.


I have heard these stories, i don’t doubt them, but maybe rattle wasn’t the right word in my case, the fact it happens only on noise cancellation makes me think it’s a software issue. It’s very few tracks, not a general issue, 99% of tracks sound great, just some tracks with real low loud bass and it triggers on the bass drum. I’m no sound engineer, but it sounded a bit like a glitch that spunds like a rattle of a speaker that can’t handle it. Maybe the bass gets boosted on noise cancellation? Like i say, turning off the cancellation stops it, and the bass come through just fine


I’ve got rattle in both in less than a year. It rattles even without any sounds, just walking around is enough to trigger it. So must be something physical.

I’m in Vietnam right now. There are no Apple Stores, but there are official authorized repair shops. Unfortunately they have to order parts from Singapore.

I’m now without the headphones for two weeks waiting for repair or replacement and I really miss them! My daily walks are just not the same without the podcasts.


I had noticeable distortion on mine. Used chat to talk to Apple tech support and they had me reset them and that made the distortion go away.

I do get a squeal when pushing them into my ear canals which is a known problem with having noise cancellation on.

I find the Airpods Pro stay in my ears much better than the Airpods. And they seem pretty water resistant - the left one survived a bath in the dog's water bowl when I was filling it.


this same exact thing happened to me, in the same order even. Now, about 6 mo later, I'm getting the rattle again on the left...


Anyone would have a recommendation for a good choice of wireless earbuds (with a mic) for a Pixel phone?


I use Airpods on my Samsung Phone. You don't need an iPhone to enjoy the best aspects of airpods.


I have the first gen samsung buds, they work great with all my devices so far and for me sit way better than airpods. But the new "bean" buds seem to have better sound and noise canceling


I got Samsung Galaxy buds when I switched from iPhone to Pixel 3a, and I can definitely recommend them. I like them much more than airpods (I had gen 1). Being able to rewind and fast forward by tapping on the buds is great.


Check this blog out: https://www.scarbir.com/


A Wacom tablet, years ago, when I was working in the graphic arts.

Compared to a mouse, the change in my daily ergonomics was astounding, because using a mouse would hurt my entire arm. When I switching to a tablet (using a custom mouse mode), the mouse click was replaced by tapping the tablet which saved my entire career. Although, fast-forward 10 years, now I do full-stack programming, so I don't use it anymore.


Similar to my case. I have an old Wacom Intuos, and have slowly been doing less Python/Java and spending more of spare time re-learning how to use the tablet. Might even buy a new one, although looks like other brands caught up and their hardware/drivers work as well as Wacom's.


+1 for wacom tablets. Been using them for around 10 years instead of mice, for the ergonomic benefit. Portable, and cheap (bamboo series 2nd hand). Last several years each, too. Also native Linux support.


Would be interested to learn more about you're experience. I'm suffering from some RSI, so I'm thinking a pen tablet could help - I've already tried every type of mouse out there.

Two questions: 1. How do you scroll ?! 2. What Wacom tablet do you recommend?


FYI-- The Wacom's are highly customizable. Even for the right-mouse-click I prefer hold and tap on the stylus than the default hover-and-tap. I would also get rubber stylus add-ons to make the stylus itself thicker to hold more easily.

Some Wacom's come with a scroll wheel. Some double as touchpad, so it can quickly be used as a touchpad.

I was using the medium, non-pro Wacom's (Bamboo) and these were just as good as the pro versions. Also, it is a great entry point than jumping full-in to the higher-priced models.


Not the person you're replying to, but I have a bit of experience with tablets. Scrolling is usually handled by 'grabbing' the page, usually by pressing a button on the pen. I bought the Wacom Bamboo, and it can double as a large, medium quality trackpad. Might be enough variety for your RSI.


Extra device chargers. Now wherever I sit around the house I have a cable nearby, I don't have to be lugging them around everywhere. So worth.

A power tower. Simple, doesn't take up much space, but lets me do a variety of upper body exercises on-demand without having to set anything up. A great way to fit exercise into the day without friction.

A good rice cooker. Makes the rice perfectly every time without me having to think about timing.

A good wardrobe. Started getting compliments on how I dress all the time. I never cared about this very much, and that made me unaware that other people did care.


> A good wardrobe. Started getting compliments on how I dress all the time. I never cared about this very much, and that made me unaware that other people did care.

Any advice for someone that doesn’t care about this? I’m currently in this boat - I dress “fine” in the sense that it’s functional but is otherwise pretty plain and boring. Every time I try to improve on this I give up after being overwhelmed by the paradox of choice.


Get the Lululemon ABC pants in a couple colors (e.g., grey and dark blue). They are the best pants I've had and they work in the office and for sports. I also recommend dress shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt and casual shirts from Uniqlo.


Buy a week or maybe two worth of "outfits" and hang them in sets. That way you can wear something slightly different every day without having to think about it. This is especially so for women, but even for guys those subtle signs that you change your clothes regularly are useful.


Yeah, absolutely! Let's see.

I experienced the same thing with paradox of choice. Unfortunately the solution was just to spend a lot of time on it, trying different things and researching options by asking people and doing internet searches and browsing malls and outlets. Going from "no good clothes" to "all good clothes" took me a full year of off-and-on effort.

Most important thing is finding things that fit. I didn't used to know what this looks like, but by trial and error and feedback from others I learned. Personally I aim for things that fit snugly without being too tight. I think a good mental rule of thumb (at least as a straight man) is to think about what looks attractive on a woman-- things that tastefully emphasize her figure. I realized the same goes for men. You want clothes that show your body's lines. This means jeans that aren't baggy, but which show off your legs and gluts. It means shirts that bring out your chest and shoulders or which simply mesh with the lines of your figure.

A really important thing is feedback. Women friends are best for this because usually they're much more aware of style than men are (just how it is). DO NOT ask parents or older relatives; do not ask male friends unless they have notably good style. In general you want feedback from women who you know well enough to trust them to be honest with you.

The /r/malefashionadvice subreddit can be very useful, it's a mine of recommendations, discussions, and guides.

Lastly, a general outline of what I went with, just to give starting ideas:

-I wanted a collection of well-fitting t-shirts. I ended up mostly going with v-necks from Uniqlo, personally-- they're cheap but fit me well. There's a million options for simple t-shirts, from Target to Banana Republic to Tom Ford. Frankly you can go cheap here and be fine.

-I wanted an assortment of well-fitting jeans. I ended up with Everlane, tailored Levis, and Diesel, in different shades of blue and black. I'm still looking for chino pants that work for me.

-I wanted a wide array of button-up shirts. This is important because it's just the cornerstone of modern male fashion. Nothing gets noticed faster than when someone switches to wearing these, imo. I get these from all over: Macy's, Banana Republic, Express, Armani Exchange, Club Monaco, and Levis. Make sure they're not baggy! Wear them over a t-shirt and roll your sleeves up, it's a great look. Leave the top two buttons open.

-I wanted a wide array of shoes. I literally wore white New Balance sneakers for 27 years until moving to NYC and being shamed into diversifying. I found that boots come in many varieties and look fantastic with jeans. I have a pair of Timberlands, some cheap black leather Polar Fox ones from amazon, some suede Steve Madden boots (cadwyn), and some Rockport tennis shoes.

I also got some sweaters and better-fitting sweatshirts. I'm still working on finding a winter coat that looks nice. Scarves are great!

Apparently you live in London, so you're in one of the best places in the world to buy clothing (along with NYC and Paris). You can find anything there.

All in all I think I've spent around $2500 on the full wardrobe, but you could get away with less.


Asking for feedback is crucial. Before I did that, I performed many iterations of buying some items I think look good on me, wearing them a few times, and getting rid of the ones that don't get any compliments (most of them).


A TL;DR of OPs post: start simple. Visit /r/malefashionadvise and follow the basic starter guide, i.e. chinos, white oxford shirt, and leather shoes.

You DO NOT need to spend 2.5k to look good: aim for 100-200 from ASOS.com and you'll look fabulous! You can order multiple sizes of the same product and return those that don't fit. Fit is key!

Check eBay for good quality shoes if cost is an issue (e.g. Meermin, etc) as imho that's generally the large cost in the wardrobe.


I think a lot of that $2500 for me came from mistakes, especially with jeans. It took so long to figure out the jeans.

That amount is what I spent, but in the end now that I know what works I could burn it all and repurchase for probably $1200.


My friends say I dress nicely. Here's what I wear:

Volcom, Men's Frickin Modern Fit Stretch Chino Pant, Charcoal Heather. They look dressy. They are 40% synthetic so sweat/rain dries quickly. They're a bit stretchy which is comfortable. I own 4 pairs and have washed each one about 75 times. The color has faded a bit, but evenly. There is little visible wear. TCO ~$0.75 per wear. Wear with a simple brown leather belt.

https://www.amazon.com/Volcom-Frickin-Modern-Stretch-Chino/d...

Banana Republic Factory, Standard Fit Non-Iron Shirt, Sky Blue. This is a standard Banana Republic shirt, but made with more durable cloth. I own 4 of them and have washed each one about 75 times. They all still look great. TCO is <$0.50/wear. Check with 2 fashionable friends before going with a non-sky-blue color. I usually wear a thick dark gray merino long-sleeved "base layer" undershirt or a thin cream-colored merino undershirt.

https://bananarepublicfactory.gapfactory.com/browse/product....

Uniqlo, Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Long-sleeve Sweater, Dark Gray. I own 4 of these sweaters, purchased over 2.5-1 year ago. I can't tell which ones are newer or older because they all look great. They are warm, soft, extremely durable, dry quickly, and don't hold any body odors. I wear each one about 10 times between washes. I wash them in a front-loading washer on delicate warm cycle with standard fragrance-free detergent and hang on a normal hangar to dry. TCO is <$0.25/wear.

https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men-extra-fine-merino-crew-neck...

Uniqlo, Cashmere Crew Neck Long-sleeve Sweater, Dark Grey. Compared to the merino one, this sweater is also durable, twice as warm, twice as soft, three times the price, and a bit shorter in the waist. Uniqlo's product is special in the industry. It's a $200 sweater for $100. $100 cashmere sweaters from other companies will pill after 5 wears and look terrible. Uniqlo's is durable. I've worn mine about 30 times, washed it twice, and it still looks new.

https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/men-cashmere-crew-neck-long-sle...

Patagonia, Men's Torrentshell 3L Jacket, Andes Blue. This is good for wind and light rain. It rolls up into about 1L of volume. I've worn it nearly every day for 3 years, walking about 1 hour a day and riding in carshare. The waist tension cord channel fabric has worn through in the back. The jacket still looks fine and functions well. TCO ~$0.20/wear.

https://www.patagonia.com/product/mens-torrentshell-3l-rain-...

Crazy Cool, Men's Seamless Boxer Briefs Underwear, Camouflage. Underwear can be fashionable. These have no interior seams to rub against male equipment. If you have a belly crease, the wasteband will start to roll after 5 wears, but it's not too tight. They can smell if you sweat repeatedly. They dry quickly. The legs ride up. I expect final TCO to be ~$0.20/wear or lower.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Crazy-Cool-Men-s-Camouflage-Seaml...

Woolly Clothing, Merino Wool Long Drop Boxer Brief, Everyday Weight, Charcoal. Extremely expensive and extremely comfortable. Wearing these and using a bidet will solve all body odor issues below the belt. The "long drop" version doesn't ride up your legs. The company had fabric durability problems but solved them. These wear out by getting holes on the seat after about 50 wears. If you have a belly crease, the waistband will get a crease after 15 wears and can roll and become tight and uncomfortable. TCO ~$0.55/wear.

https://www.amazon.com/Woolly-Clothing-Merino-Boxer-Brief/dp...

Columbia, Men's Newton Ridge Plus Ii Waterproof Hiking Boot Shoe, Cordovan/Squash. These are roomy in the toes and flat inside (no "arch support"). The interior fabric and tread wear out after about 750 miles of walking. TCO ~$0.10/mile. If they wear out within a year, ship them to Columbia and they send you a $96 gift card.

https://www.amazon.com/Columbia-Newton-Waterproof-Hiking-Cor...

Nike, Men's Revolution 4 Running Shoe, Black/White/Anthracite. These are flat inside (no "arch support"). I put these in the washer every 6 months to whiten them up. To wash, remove the laces and inserts, put the shoes and everything into a mesh bag, and wash them on a delicate warm cycle. The tread lasts a long time. The inserts and interior fabric fail around 750 miles. TCO ~$0.10/mile.

https://www.amazon.com/NIKE-Revolution-Running-White-Anthrac...

Darn Tough, Vermont Men's Merino Wool Boot Full Cushion Sock (Style 1405), Charcoal. These are the best warm socks. I wear them all day every day, even at home. I walk 1,000 miles a year and go through about 6 pairs a year. TCO ~$0.13/mile. Darn Tough makes many variations of socks so be sure to get the full cushion version.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ENQYZIE

O'Neill, Loaded 2.0 Hybrid Shorts, Heather Black. Comfortable and quick-drying. With a collared shirt tucked in and a belt, you'll look "loaded".

https://www.amazon.com/ONeill-Loaded-Hybrid-Shorts-Heather/d...

Minus33, Merino Wool 703 Algonquin Men's Lightweight Short Sleeve Crew, Dark Gray Heather. Super-quick drying, nearly eliminating body odor. Extremely durable fabric and stitching. They keep their shape. They don't fade. I own four, purchased 4-6 years ago. I have probably worn the oldest one 100 times. I cannot tell which one is the oldest. They all look fine. TCO ~$0.50/wear.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000R7E1LU

Tortuga, Outbreaker Daypack. Chest strap. Understated logo. Comfortable even when full and heavy (2L drinks, 13" Macbook Pro, charger, headphones, sweater, jacket, lunch, snacks, & workout clothes. Water-resistant zipper stops being water resistant after about 1,000 zip/unzip cycles. Stitching around top handle fails after about 1,000 miles. TCO ~$0.10/mile.

https://www.tortugabackpacks.com/products/outbreaker-travel-...

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I wash my clothes in a front-loading washer on a delicate warm cycle and dry on delicate warm. I take them out immediately after the dry cycle finishes and hang them up. I never iron. All wool skips the dryer, going straight from washer to a hanger or clothes-pin rack.

https://www.mamaslaundrytalk.com/the-proper-way-to-hang-dres...

For drying socks and underwear on the bathroom door:

https://www.amazon.com/Whitmor-Clip-Drip-Hanger-Hanging/dp/B...

https://www.amazon.com/Over-Fitting-Sized-Doors-Unjumbly/dp/...

For drying sweaters and shirts:

https://www.amazon.com/JEFEE-Garment-Clothes-Storage-Fashion...

If you use a top-loading washer with an "agitator", double or triple the TCO numbers. Such washers destroy clothes.


I just want to emphasize how great and affordable Uniqlo's Merino range is. Merino wool is a fantastic, functional material and the value Uniqlo is offering here with their low prices but good quality is basically unmatched.


Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed looking through all your links. Amazed you found amazon links for all of it.


I purchased 6 sets of cheap headphones so I could keep them in all my backpacks/bags/around the house. Anytime I forget to bring headphones to listen to my iPod, I know I have an extra set in my backpack.

I purchased 10 USB chargers that attach magnetically. I keep 2 at the office, 1 in my gaming console, 1 in my computer, 2 in my car, 1 in the wall with an adapter next to my bed and have the other 3 set aside. The metal connectors wear out after a year or two of constant use. I recommend getting the 360 degree ones. I also bought two 3m USB extenders so I can plug in my console peripherals from where I sit while gaming. One for now, one for later just in case. Overall cost of this was ~$60 but it's some of the best money I've ever spent. The convenience is incredible and since all the adapters are the same, they work with all my devices as long as they're not being connected for data transfer reasons.

The best thing I've ever bought that has improved my life, has been an "extra" of anything I find myself using frequently.


Rice cooker is hard to overstate for me. Aside from the obvious use in sterilising covid masks, I eat a lot of rice and use it as a slow cooker as well. Used with a mechanical timer I can set it to soak rice for a few hours and have it cooked just when I need it.

What make the difference was buying a proper one with a stainless steel bowl. It was $200 but it's been used about every second day for nearly 10 years now. The non-stick aluminium ones die after less than a year and are flaking delicious fluorocarbon chunks into your food the whole time.


Supplements, especially L-DOPA (amazing mood improvement and libido boost), L-citrulline (libido and energy boost) and niacin.

There are other supplements¹ in my stack but these three stand out as the effects are near immediate, measured in mere minutes/hours.

¹zinc methionine, L-taurine, Ashwagandha, Boswellia serrata, fish oil, cod liver oil, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9, B12, C , D, K, calcium, resveratrol.


L-DOPA as well as L-Citrulline are Rx only, so you're either outside of US/EU or you suffer from some condition that requires that medication.


No condition and no medical diagnosis. For the past few years I've been afflicted by periods of existential crisis and L-DOPA short circuits this. Much better mood, focus and most importantly — drive (which is what helps most with the EC). Feels almost as good as how I felt when in my teens¹.

As others have mentioned I simply buy them off of Amazon.

¹completed my 37th trip around the sun yesterday, the 17th.


If citrulline were Rx-only in the US, then I doubt Doctor's Best would make it and I doubt Walmart would sell it:

https://www.walmart.com/ip//150061958


L-citrulline is on the GRAS list. There are dozens of supplements for sale on Amazon.


What does Rx mean?


Prescription. As in, prescribed by a physician.


"Prescription"


Prescription-only


If you’re up for it I’d love hear about each of these and your decision process.

If not, could at least comment on niacin? I’ve been hearing more about it.


How long have you been on L-DOPA? It's well-known to build up a strong tolerance with Parkinson's patients after around 5 years, so I'd be careful with it.


It's been a few months now. L-DOPA tolerance is dose-dependant, term-dependent as well as drug-dependant. After looking for ways to work around this, I found L-DOPA from Mucuna pruriens does not have the two major side-effects I was concerned about:

1. LID (Levodopa induced dyskinesia) - ironically the "cure" for Parkinson's disease (abbreviated to PD from here on) induces PD like side effects!

2. tolerance built up over chronic use.

We're not sure why Mucuna is able to do this but regarding LID one hypothesis advanced in a paper I read was that it might have something to do with pure L-DOPA being co-administered with Carbidopa in order to prevent peripheral metabolism of L-DOPA so that a greater amount reaches the brain. In the paper they show Carbidopa worsens LID and patients on pure L-DOPA alone took longer to get LID. Mucuna group didn't see any LID symptoms for the duration of the study.

Regarding tolerance, there are a few papers that compared Mucuna with other common PD drugs and found trial participants remained responsive throughout the study to a greater degree while on Mucuna compared to the other drugs. Here's one such paper: "Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson’s disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study", https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/jnnp/75/12/1672.full.pdf

Tolerance also seems to depend on the dosage and delivery regimen, the key thing to watch out being the prevention of dopamine peaks and to maintain a smooth steady level through continuous administration via IV — "Does Tolerance Develop to Levodopa? Comparison of 2- and 21-H Levodopa Infusions ", https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8474479/

Having done all this work, I'm still highly wary of continuing Mucuna for years. I keep a watchful eye on any behavioral (hallucinations, insomnia) and physiological (tachycardia) abnormalities in myself, just in case. Also because I don't have PD, I can stick to a relatively low dosage (PD patients are given 45g of Mucuna/day equivalent to 1.5g of L-DOPA; I take 2.4g/day, roughly a twentieth of the therapeutic dose) which seems to be highly correlated with LID (what I'm most anxious about).

What gave me the confidence to move forward was knowing that Mucuna has been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Siddha medicinal systems here in India for thousands of years and is still actively in use as treatment for mood disorders¹. Something that lasts long and is also backed by science can't be wrong. Even so, I won't deny that L-DOPA via Mucuna is a minefield I'm gingerly stepping across.

¹https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyxVCPgUVMI (sorry, the video is in Tamil, "poonaikali" is vernacular here for Mucuna pruriens)


Do you just eat a plate of supplements? That seems like a lot to take every day.


Only some of them are on a daily schedule so actual pill count/day is low. Niacin (vitamin B3) for example leads to diabetes and liver damage when taken upwards of 4g/day. So I take 0.5 mg (nearly a tenth of the therapeutic dose, that too on alternate days, to reduce the potential for side effects even further). High dose vitamin B6 (>20mg/day, I take 3mg once every 5 days for 30x reduction compared to therapeutic dose) can lead to lung cancer in men. So the b-complex pill¹ is taken once every 5 days. Vitamin D overdose can lead to hypercalcemia so that's taken once a week (60000 IU) and some months I stay off it entirely as fat-soluble vitamins like vit. D tend to build up in the system. There are similar rules for other supplements as well.

¹The B-vitamins (1 to 12) + zinc + calcium are a single pill called "Recobex-Z". These are generally called "b-complex", it's a combination drug.

Essentially the daily pill count is 2 in the morning + 1 in the afternoon + 2 at night, so 5 pills/day. I also do supplement fasting days with no pills taken on that day.


How long have you been on the exact same stack?


Vitamins (B-K) + calcium + fish and cod liver oil: several years.

L-citrulline, zinc: 2+ years.

Ashwagandha, Boswellia: slightly more than a year.

L-DOPA, niacin, L-taurine: a few months.


What about L-arginine?


Squat cage, good bar, 220kg weights, bench press, farmer walk bar. 12 years ago. Best $2,500 I've ever spent.


Came here to reply with exactly this. I think I've had my set over 15 years now. For awhile I was going to the gym just for fun and to mix it up, but now with the pandemic, I just reverted back to my home equipment with no service interruption. I've probably paid for the equipment 6x over vs. yearly gym fees, and I never have to wait for a squat rack to be open (because I'm the only one in the gym)!


Where do you keep it?

I've been thinking about getting a squat rack into my garage, but it's gonna be a very tight fit, and I'm not sure I'll be comfortable having 45 lbs plates around my Tesla.


If you have a yard you could potentially keep it outside. It's can be a bit invigorating during the winter though.


Bang for the buck, my best purchase ever has been a jackhammer.

Soil around here is very hard. For years I struggled to dig even the shallowest of holes for planting things, laying pipes, etc. Holes that would take me months to dig, one painful weekend at a time, I can now get done in 10 minutes. Weirdest tool I've bought, but it has saved me literally years of effort at this point.

I guess the generalized message is just buy the best and most specific tool up front. The time saved by proper tools is totally worth it.


> I guess the generalized message is just buy the best and most specific tool up front. The time saved by proper tools is totally worth it.

This is very true IF you know it’s the tool you’re after.

I usually preface buying something expensive with something entry-level. In Sweden, this means Biltema - I can get a fully functional 400W impact drill for ~35€. I then ride that thing like I stole it and when it eventually burns up I’ll know the use-cases I need to consider when splurging on a Hilti.

But overall, yeah, buying (or renting) professional-grade equipment making any work easier and much more pleasant.


Is it dry there? While a jackhammer is probably even more effective I find if I wait for rain or soak down soil its much easier to dig where I live (Brisbane/clay soil).


A flight ticket.

The last one was to Madrid. But really every time I go on a journey, I am surprised how much it improves my life quality.

Not only while I am traveling. But also afterwards, when I am back. The effect holds for quite a while.


How do you travel? Do you travel alone, do you meet people? To what part of the journey would you attribute the positive effect?


Of course the pleasurable experiences are part of it. But the lasting changes are from exposing your brain to the new unknown landscape, meeting new people, trying new things. It gets you out of the same mental rut. Routine is a healthy part of life, but so is travel/new pathways.

Going solo is going to let you do this the best. No link to your normal life.


I hadn’t realized how travel played a valuable role in my life until that was severely restricted this year…


Buy the best bed for your needs as soon as possible. Best bang for the buck IMO.


I would agree with this. I had bad sleep and therefore bad everything else until I decided to get a better bed. Good sleep makes everything better.


Any advice (or links to advice) for something like this?

I have been sick a lot lately and I feel like it's due to bad sleep, and I hate my bed, but buying a mattress is such a scam.


After doing about a month of research (The Mattress Underground is a good forum) I bought a latex mattress from SleepEZ. Had it for a couple of years and been very happy with it.

One consideration to keep in mind is that if you sleep in the middle of your bed you won't want to get the split layers. They make assembly easier and allow for more granular customization, but a friend of mine who got the same mattress feels the crack between them where the layers separate slightly.


A latex mattress topper works great, in my (& a relative's) experience, upon a good old mattress. 3", medium-firm, pretty reasonable cost, just lay it on top. I like using enough layers of sheets so as not to feel the dimples/holes. Natural latex foam, it's surprisingly cool and solid to the touch, like a chilled custard.


After the birth of our daughter my wife and I got the Beautyrest Black. The improvements to our sleep and general well-being have been amazing! https://www.beautyrest.com/black/k-class-ultra-plush-pillow-...


We ended up buying an organic mattress online (e.g., Avocado, My Green Mattress). It’s made a huge difference.


You probably don't need a base, but spending money on a good mattress is definitely worth it.

I would recommend getting it locally though, if this is possible for you right now.


Having lived in a shoebox in London for a couple of years, I am now a convert to a divan base that lifts up to provide loads of storage space.


Tesla Model 3. 'Measurably' is subjective, but I graduated from a BMW 328i, which I loved dearly. The Model 3 is more fun in almost every way, and costs far, far less in maintenance. No gas stations, diamond lane, cost to operate is far less.


I'm tall and my knees/back are getting older. I went from a prius to a pickup. Sliding sideways into the truck vs dropping down into the car seems like a luxury every time I get in, and it's been 2 years now.

Bought a chef's knife. I had tons of kitchen items from parents/grandparents, but somehow never had a chef's knife. It gets used every day now.

Fifteen years after having my house built, I installed a ceiling fan in the bedroom and that has been wonderful.


Hmmm Model Y then?


Tell us how you built your house.


Same here. So fast it's more of how fast do I want to go, where do I want to be instead of working the clutch, shifter, and trying to plan ahead in a much slower car. I quite enjoy waking up each day with 300 miles of range instead of trying to figure out when/where to add a gas station to my errands. My Subaru was quite needy, oil changes, checking the oil, head gasket problems, gas filling, brake pads, engine maintenance, warming up before pushing it, taking it easy before you turn it off (because of the turbo) etc. I'm at 14,000 miles on the Tesla, and I'd have done 4 oil changes, 56 gas fill ups, and I suspect a few other scheduled maintenance trips already.

I moved to a new city and a nice big map has been a great way to visit a city and the being able to speak my music selections, destinations, etc has been a pleasure. I now regularly visit 3 nearby cities (all within 30 minutes) for entertainment, tasty food, and hiking. I look forward to time in my model 3, I wish everything worked as well. I'm surprised at how primitive other nav systems are, is it really that hard to match top of the line Android/IOS touch screens and graceful handling of things like pinch to zoom?


> The M3 ...

this confused me because I thought you meant the 328i is the BMW M3...


Sry, corrected it, thanks.


My own car. I had a driving license all my life but never bothered to buy one because public transport in switzerland is cheap and good enough for a single person. The situation changed now: I am not alone anymore and Corona happened. I do not plan to use public transport on regular basis in my life anymore. It is unimaginable to me how we did groceries before. Also we can save some money by buying more in bulk. It's something simple, many people have it and it's just insanely useful. I hope this will be my first and last ICE. I hope the next one in 3-7 years will be a (self driving?) compact(?) Tesla.


FWIW, I also live in CH in a smaller town (not Zürich or Lausanne sized). I don’t own a car. Doing groceries with the bus was a MAJOR pain. And took for ever because I had to wait around for two buses and then climb a significant hill back to my place with all the groceries. So much fun.

I built myself an ebike (just a regular bicycle with a TSDZ2 engine (runs open source software) and a 52V battery. I added Ortlieb paniers so I don’t need a backpack when running errand (well worth it especially in the summer). And I bought a Burley trailer. That trailer can haul around 40kg worth of stuff and with two big crates strapped on it I can do the weekly groceries easily. The ebike takes care of the extra weight and hill climbing.

This setup has saved me SO much money!! Owning a car would cost me over 100.- per month just for parking whether I use it or not. Plus maintenance, gas, insurance, the occasional ticket... the ebike saves me around 200.- or 300.- a month because it also replaces taking the bus. And you can park for free easily and virtually anywhere you’re going, right in front of the door. The bike cost less than 1600.- to build (including the tools and the actual bicycle) and is virtually free to use (a charge is less than 1.- and I can go around 75–100km on a charge, maintenance is not that hard and done by myself for free) The trailer cost me around 230.- And the lock for the bike was less than 100.- (I used to live in North America so I was a bit paranoid about lock quality and locking the bike). The rain gear (overpants and shell) cost around 200.- from Patagonia.

I also occasionally use the trailer to bring back ikea flat pack furniture, it’s fine.

Plus I get free exercise.

And when i absolutely need a car I can use Mobility or a similar service. But I haven’t needed one for over a year so I canceled my membership.


Just beware: owning a car is linked to less physical activity and weight gain ...


Yup, ideally commute on bike (or e-bike), and use cars for bigger errands/trips.


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