How to keep your phone battery healthy (and holding the longest charge possible)

how to charge your phone for long battery life
  1. When you get your new phone, unless it is fully charged, let the battery go to 0% before charging it.
  2. Except in cases of emergency, not little emergencies but very big unusual ones, DO NOT charge your phone unless the battery is under 5%.
  3. Except in cases of emergency, DO NOT unplug your phone from the charger unless it is at 100%.

Better Battery Life Also = Battery Life Quality

The key here is that you are not plugging or unplugging the phone outside of those rules more than 1 time per month. EVERY TIME you break rules 2 and 3, you are decreasing your battery storage capacity. So if you break the rules often, even 1 time per week, you can expect your battery to have crappy capacity, and erratically shut off, as we’ve all experienced,  after the first year of ownership. So don’t do it often! Like preferably never! Learn to leave your phone at home when you go out for shopping, or to meet friends, simply because it was still charging. Learn to tell people “I need to let my phone charge up fully, so I am leaving it at home.” For folks with flaky friends, or who are utterly dependent on your phone, this is a great opportunity to improve your life. Teach your flaky friends no to be flaky, or even marginally late. Life without a cell phone from time to time (because you left it at home like a responsible battery maintainer does) means you just go out into the world and make things work without the ability to change plans at the last minute, or google the product name you wanted to go shopping for.

Examples of when to break the rules

When to charge your phone example of a case of emergency: you need to take your phone with you somewhere, it is about to die, and you have to make that call/have that email on the phone/receive that text, etc. And there is no other way (have someone else get the directions), write down the info in the email, call back a missed call later.

When to unplug while your phone is still charging example of a case of emergency: you need to take your phone with you somewhere, it is about to die, and you have to make that call/have that email on the phone/receive that text, etc. And there is no other way (have someone else get the directions), write down the info in the email, call back a missed call later.

Waking Up

waking up

Each day we wake up. Leaving a state of peace and restoration. A state of being which is believed to be perhaps the first and only state of life. You see sleep is the original state. The woken state, it’s believed, came after much evolution, as a necessity for survival. As simple life evolved to seek out energy to consume, an alert state of being was naturally selected to prevent against attack, or to improve the odds of finding nourishment, however it’s probably too early to say which came first.

But the state of being awake has it costs. It is the destructive state, where more energy is used than produced, where contact is made with dangerous elements. Stress, UV, extreme temperatures of warm and cold, poisons, and predators. All pose great risk to us when we wake up and begin to move about. So then, it can be believed that the act of waking up is one of the most courageous activities made by living creatures, as little as it may seem. It is not to be underestimated or belittled. And it’s no wonder it’s not enjoyed by most. As we open our eyes, allowing the sleepy state to wash off our minds, and choose to become vertical, to go find food, water, and contact, we are making a daily ritual that has been practiced for at least the last for the last 5 hundred million years.

Friendship Framework

friendship framework - two guys sitting at the water edge

I’ve thought a lot about friends lately. Planning for my wedding last year required consideration about relationships in general. Both in who it was appropriate to invite from our families and in who from my friends it made sense to invite.

One result of moving from Palo Alto, to Boston, to New York, to Los Angeles, to Chicago, to New York, and finally Berlin where I live now, is that I have a lot of friends in a lot of cities. Keep in mind some of them have moved elsewhere since I left our mutual stomping ground.

Looking through that list of potential invites the friends at the end of the tail in Boston or New York are very distant. Friends from Palo Alto who didn’t maintain direct contact with me since high school are automatically passive friends. We look at each others family vacation photos. Occasionally share or disagree with points made on social media. We like each others instagram posts. But as time passes, the bonds between lose strength.

People who promised to stay in touch when I moved away, are also the people who stopped showing any indication that I’ve crossed their thoughts since I left.

Not an easy thing to realize. But it makes me more steady in momentum too as we’ll see ahead.

I made a lot of investments in keeping those distant friends by visiting my former residences. This was especially true of New York, and Los Angeles. I didn’t want to let those connections go cold over time. I’ve intentionally avoided this by making trips back to each of my haunts and making an appearance with as many old friends as possible. But as the lists of former places lived gets longer, and the lists of friends gets longer, it becomes less and less realistic to make enough rounds to see everyone. One can’t visit new places if one keeps visiting the same ones over and over.

The other side of this is some people have come to Berlin and visited, others come to europe and don’t tell me, ignoring the fact that it’s relatively easy for me to grab a flight to most cities in the E.U. for the weekend. It hurts to see friends coming, and not even get a note, text, or call. Nothing makes me feel forgotten more than this.

Introducing the Friend Framework

And so when the guest lists were made for our wedding I had to create a framework to help filter out all the names. I thought about not just who I’d seen, but who had made an effort to see me. The ones who somehow communicated before the wedding that they were making an investment in our friendship – thus establishing a two way investment.

Friends who maintained contact exclusively on Facebook didn’t count. I decided that an Internet friendship held very little weight for me. If there weren’t emails, text messages, postcards, or face to face time between us outside of those likes and comments on FB, it just wasn’t a real thing. Even one phone call a year counts for something. If I couldn’t remember the last time someone reached out to me, it was fairly easy to take em off the list. It also elevated my affection for the people who were invited.

Choosing friends who reinvest

The framework made some sense, especially in the context of a wedding invite because it was a two way street, for the wedding and for life. If someone didn’t want to come to the wedding, it showed they didn’t care about seeing what was arguably the most important moment in my life. And afterwards, when choosing which branches of this family/friend tree to continue supporting through investments of time (and money to see them), it only made sense to choose the ones that bear fruit.

Does this mean we’re not friends anymore? No. It just means that I’ve finally given up on using my personal time to see people who as far as I can tell don’t think about me or care fo know me anymore.

Some rules of the framework

Skipping past the wedding itself, I now have a mechanism not only for deciding who to reach out to when I’m making the rounds, I also have a filter for who to follow in social media, who to send cards to when traveling, or for the holidays. Last year I removed 200-300 friends from my facebook account, it wasn’t hard, if I hadn’t communicated with a fb-friend in two years, I unfriended. Facebook’s algorithm had probably already long-ago stopped sharing our posts across boards, recognizing much earlier than I, that these people don’t seem to care for each others content.

Now that I live in europe, I usually have less than two weeks in the US to visit friends each year. After removing any family events, and mandatory things to do in the US (i.e. renewing drivers license) I usually have about 8 days to socialize. I try to give the folks in the places I’m visiting lots of warning when I’m coming so we can plan ahead, but there is admittedly very little time. Making use of my methods in the past I like to try and string together 2-3 friend hangs in a day, if I’m in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, that’s pretty easy to do and a good way to see several people over a short period of time without zipping around too much. But if the schedule doesn’t work, I expect people to come my way, whether I’m in Venice Beach, Williamsburg, or Palo Alto, I just can’t waste my trip driving on freeways because someone doesn’t fully understand the gravity of it being the only chance of the year to see each other. This more than anything else has forcibly reduced the number of people I see with any regularity now.

At first employing these methods felt harsh, but when I looked at it from the reverse, how others had handled their friendship with me, it only seemed fair.

It’s depressing, at first

Only a year or so into this way of choosing who to focus time with, I often get sad. I miss a lot of my friends. I know how easy it would be to just make an effort to reach out to them, but when the opposite of that is the absence of any friendship at all, I feel empowered to focus on the people who are making an effort to be in my life. It’s working too. We’ve made new friends here, and some of our friends from the US and Poland visit, make skype/facetime calls, send postcards, etc. So we have a shorter list, but a stronger purer group.

And so now?

I still intend to reach out to the outer ring of friends who don’t make an active presence in my life. I still let them know when I’m coming to the US. But I know where my focus is, and who I’m planning to see first, most likely we’ve already talked about it a lot before I even got on the plane.

If you’re my friend and your reading this and you feel like you unrightly fell into the wrong side of this equation, I hope you send me a note soon. Or if luck has it, we’ll connect again down the road in one way or another when the time is right.

Your Smile Is Your Currency

A Young Girl Smiling Your Smile Is Your Currency

As people become more divided by technology – less willing or comfortable to make direct contact, the smile is given even more power. The unspoken action of goodwill, good intention, does not come so easily to many. And when two strangers meet, if only for a moment, it is the smile that extends intention, feeling, the initial moment of faith building. Even if that moment is fleeting and assumed to be gone just as fast as it came. This exchange builds warmth in the most distant and unlikely connections.

Communication Hacking

Was it always difficult to stay in touch? Or is this a new thing?

Perhaps it’a byproduct of the Internet. Email, texting, chat, video messages. It’s moving ahead so rapidly, the protocols are evolving faster than we can memorize the terms.

If you value keeping your relationships fresh, as I do. Then it can be a bit troubling to feel like it has become harder to just write a note to a friend or colleague and trust they’ll respond.

Lots of testing and analysis on this subject has concluded that people are too distracted. You can’t send an email with more than 5 sentences and expect a response. Chances are it was too long to read, so the recipient set it aside for later, and then 80% of the time the recipient forgets to reply. Probably because they got another 30 emails since they first opened yours, and there are already new emails to read later which will mostly be forgotten as well.

What a wonderful world.

This being the case, the best way to get a response to an email if a response isn’t received within 48 hours of sending, is to send a follow up. And if the follow up doesn’t get a response, or perhaps it does, but the response is just a “yes I plan to get back to you today” kind of message, then after 48 hours another follow up message can do the trick. And so it goes. After the 4th or 5th follow up an “ok I’ll assume you’re not interested or are in some serious trouble, should I call for help?” is probably an acceptable bow out.

See, the way people process the messages they receive is fragmented. If they get a message that requires more than a basic response like “[Message] ‘do you like ice cream?’ [Response] yes I like ice cream”.  The recipient will need to take more time to think about it. They will look at the email many times, even up to 20 or more if question in the email contains conditional issues.  And the more time that is needed [the more that is asked in a message] the greater the chance the message will never be responded to.

An email like “Do you want to meet for drinks in a couple weeks?” Is simple. This can be responded to almost immediately, spare maybe a glance at the calendar. It might take the recipient 3-5 views of the email to reply. Once to see it, once more after checking the calendar, but not yet ready to respond. And then finally a third time (we’d hope) to say yes “I am free, what day works for you?”.  If the recipient has multiple calendars, and possibly pending engagements with other people, the amount of views before being able to response increases, as does the likelihood they will ever reply.

Add more layers on complications, and the number of views increases, to the point where, unless the recipient is highly motivated to make the plan, you may have just overwhelmed them, and you won’t hear back unless they are worried about offending you, which generally might just create a “sorry I’m way to busy right now, let me get back to you”. This cop out, is really just a way of saying “It is too difficult for me to analyze your request and provide a respectable response back”. Sadly many people are too busy these days too, but they’ve just defaulted to not replying if it isn’t super easy to do so. Apparently, not responding to emails just doesn’t count as a diss in the modern world. It’s not a diss to ignore someone if we like their photos on Facebook right? (sarcasm)

In work settings: when dealing with these situations, there may be motivation to respond and work through complicated requests via email, from colleagues and potential partners out of the sheer desire to keep their jobs/business positive. But this context doesn’t automatically generate immunity to failure, and if the recipient has nothing obvious to lose by ignoring your message–even if they have nothing agains’t you–then you may also be out of luck, simply because they will have more time for other pressing issues by ignoring you.

This last topic, communicating with people who don’t have a strong motivation to respond, in fact we can say, they are the recipients who stand to lose time by responding to a pitch email, is the most difficult and a really big focus for me. A fool proof solution does not exist, however repetition, simplicity, and a positive manner can go a long way.

How do we keep the 2 way messages flowing? If single sentence emails are the most response friendly, yet least able to carry the information needed to get the next step.  How do we pitch and not scare?

I’ve taken to experimenting with automatic reminders. The idea is basic, I track all emails I’ve sent in the last two days. If I haven’t gotten a response on day #2, I write a reminder, or continuation of the last email, but always maximum 1 sentence in length, and the reminder shouldn’t somehow add information, this would add complexity, adding additional time for the recipient to process or decide not to at all. Then I schedule the reminder email to be sent in 2 days or less depending on the urgency of the communication, only if the recipient doesn’t respond to the original message first. 

This works. It probably wont work forever, in an ever evolving world of communication, we adapt to stimuli by decreasing our tolerance for interruption. And if too many people use the same method, the results will have diminishing returns. So then what?

What ever it takes.


Photos of the Names

Today, we discovered this little popup photo memorial for the residents of Choriner Straße 82 who are remember with Stolpersteine.

A Stolperstein is a cobblestone sized memorial to commemorate victims of Nazi oppression, including the Holocaust. They are installed outside the home where once lived the victim they name.

If you’ve visited Berlin, Hamburg, or any of the 1,000 cities in Europe where one of the 48,000 Stolperstein are installed in the sidewalks, you’ve probably seen them or took fascination in them. Thinking about those people, or just letting their name bounce around in your thoughts. What you don’t see everyday are photographs of the people named.

This was really nice. I hope to someday meet the person who put it together.

Chorinerstr_82_Door Chorinerstr_82_photos_4 Chorinerstr_82_photos_3 Chorinerstr_82_photos_2 Chorinerstr_82_photos_1 Stolperstein_Chorinerstr_82

New Best Friend Syndrome

Do best friends go to the same place as lost socks? Is there a planet somewhere far away where all of those people go. The ones I met on a random night out, who turned out to be “my new best friend”, but then never spoke to again? I’m calling this NBFS (new best friend syndrome).

I can think back over the years to many instances of NBFS. We met, became pals immediately, exchanged numbers, friended on facebook, took selfies – everything we said to each other was funny like some missing glove re-found of an all encompassing awesome bro-ship.




Going through the lost connections reminds me of hilarious moments and commitments to teach each other about all those great artists, parties, and food I’d never experienced. I felt lucky to have met someone who would graciously offer to share valuable information, with a smile and words of comfort and laughter.


Yet, somehow, we never connected again. The buzz wore off, the smiles were replaced by moans and blood shot eyes. Streams of texts from just hours earlier read like transcripts between two hilarious but impossible characters in a cheap production comedy flick. Photos of being passed out in bathtubs, or apparently even other new best friends in the making whom I really couldn’t remember.

Where do they go? How many other temporary bonds did they make to be unfulfilled? Friends are an investment. It takes time, commitment, finances, communication, planning, and dedication of memory. It would be no fun to give up on said new best friends, even when all the symptoms are clear as day, a positive diagnosis for temporary NBFS. Perhaps that’s why they usually appear after the 3rd drink.

Comfort and Heroin – part I

Daniel got a nice job and worked his way up the ranks.

He bought a nice home, has a lifestyle and great circle of friends with whom he has a certain cache of routines; meals, vacations, hobbies. He shaped out that picture perfect life.

It had taken (what seemed like) a lifetime to get there. In some cases the victories came quickly. Either way, at a certain point, he realized he felt good about where he was.

Maybe the remaining goals were smaller than those already achieved. But the warm feeling had set in. The effort needed to get things done at work had become smaller. Greater rewards started coming more easily. All that stuff he did to get where he was continued to pay off, each one a meteor of success with a tail that stretched endlessly. His CV was a track record that attracted recruiters far and wide for amazing career changing opportunities – which he humbly turned away.

At parties he could list a couple of his past titles and the point was clear, he’d made it. And why list his own track record? Other people told stories about him that echoed respect and fondness better than he could.

Without seeing it happen, there was this great big positive energy to ride on, and now it was all without doing anything. He was intoxicated. But at the same time, somehow something had slipped away ever so slightly.

Looking back at the challenges he’d fought through, the feeling they gave him were almost more exciting than the life they brought to his door. Things really had gotten easier, and with them, these comforts which sort of transformed into medals of honor.

In some cases the medals were like possessions, the relationships, the future plans, they almost became anchors. Things that couldn’t be moved easily , if at all – not without the proverbial pain of ripping off a band-aid.

As comfort set in, the landscape of ambition transformed, from hopes and dreams to strive for, to tangible pieces of his life sitting on the shelf for all to gaze upon, and something had gotten lost.

One day Daniel realized it was those adventures which got him where he was that he missed the most, he wanted them again. The dopamine may have been all that was laying under those moments to give him a rose tinted glass to look back through, the primitive neurological programming of positive reinforcement for getting off his ass and forming a shelter with safe surroundings to pass along his genes. All the same the rewards that came at the moment of putting in that effort, and the stories they created were the greatest moments in his life. The achievements which now sat around, were not so much, and in fact they had weight and required maintenance. The routines, relationships, home, possessions; it almost scared him to think about letting go of them or dismantling the solid life he had in order to make new great moments.

He was bored.

The uneasiness frightened Daniel, it kept him up at night. Normally a heavy sleeper (something Micah was truly grateful for), he now laid in bed for hours sometimes wondering how to get back to the heyday of kicking ass. He was barely middle-aged but already feeling stale, the static-ness felt like excess weight, like stickiness. Pulling him back towards his bed, or dining table. A spare tire forming around his midsection, getting heavier by the day. He no longer felt hungry, ever. Always eating as it was that time, or there was another dinner party to go to. Cocktails weren’t treasures to enjoy, they were an assortment of tastes he’d once discovered and delighted, which also came with symbol of status. The alcohol and calories had heavier implications than the joy of the experience and was starting to despise them.

Unsure of where to go, or what to do with all his belongings, how to explain to all of his friends what was happening, he started to consolidate.

At first it was slow, he would go through the garage late at night, pulling out boxes of old things, keepsakes and memories which were once hard to throw away, but now the thought of getting rid of them made him feel lighter. With relationships, he didn’t want to cut off anyone, and his head was so clouded he didn’t trust his judgement to hone in on those most important, so instead he started to distance, instead of actively connecting and staying in touch with the circle of friends and colleagues around him, now he waited. When his phone would ring, or an email came in, he would respond, welcoming social life, but not pushing it forward anymore.

He took a new job, one that wouldn’t require a car, and so he sold his car. The job wasn’t very good so he saved up and put in his notice. From now on, like his friends, he would only take work he wanted to do, instead of always being the proactive team member confident a crappy project could be made great.

He moved twice in one year, each time selling more of his furniture, finding smaller and smaller apartments, until his living space was so tiny he could barely even have a table and sofa in the living spaces. All the fancy home decor that he’d bought from show rooms and antique markets were gone now.

As his property footprint became smaller, something started to change. His connection to some people started to diminish. The way he looked at their things and clothing had less of an affect. Feeling more like an observer than a participant; when conversations nearby included raves about new restaurants or a the latest night spots to grab a drink, he felt his interest was more from an anthropological perspective than a community perspective. Trying yet another cocktail with a slight variation at an inflated price didn’t have the same gravity it once had.

He was becoming free.

Months went by, Daniel put all his things into storage and moved to Europe. He focused on connecting with the locals, seeing how they lived, and what brought them joy. There were still bars and parties and eager cliques of socialites queuing up at the club on the corners after dinner, but



To be continued

Wandering Between Lines

People like definitions. They like things that they can relate to, it helps to create a world that can be understood. A world without mystery is a world without risk; by removing risk we remove fear. In some stretch, this has a lot to do with common getting-to-know-you questions, like “what do you do?”. When someone poses a question like that, issues arise when you can’t say in straight terms what you do. Maybe you do a few things, maybe you do one thing that people are familiar with, but you really do something else too and it’s just hard to explain. In that case do you explain the second less familiar occupation? Do you avoid it to keep the conversation smooth, to avoid being seen as a strange one? Not having one home, not having one occupation, this is were it gets crazy. Try telling someone about the way you don’t live in one box, see how they react. It may just open doors of discomfort.

Most Common Regrets of People on Their Deathbed – Reinterpreted

This post documents the findings of a nurse in palliative care; who takes care of patients in the last 3-12 weeks of their life before they pass away. When the patients were asked about their regrets, the 5 things she heard repeatedly were:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Going over them one by one, I think you can easily draw some conclusions about how to live your life better, at least by the advice of those who offered their feedback from the days before theirs would end. Deducting the take away, you can make pro-active rules for yourself. I’ve recapped those here:

1. Have courage to know what you want and live the way you want, not how others expect you to.

This is a challenge for a lot of people, be it from our family, friends, society, or spouse, we feel pressure to live according to others expectations, even when they go agains’t our own personal aspirations. Do what you believe is right for you, it is not always so simple as just heading in the direction your heart tells you, but be clear with the people around you what that direction is, and if you ever feel held back, take note and free yourself from that obstacle.

2. Don’t work so hard. Focus on making time for your self outside of work.

Obvious but illusive; many people love what they do for work, and many people pour themselves into their work, but is it for the expectation of their peers, or for their own satisfaction. I think a lot of the time it’s for the former. I’ve found that the goals of my job, aimed for something I wanted to achieve, but eventually kept me from other things I wanted in life that I couldn’t get through work. Know when your work life balance is out of balance. Make the free time gaps in your work life that can be filled with your hobbies, passions, relationships, and life that you would never achieve through work.

3. Have the courage to express your feelings. Avoid people who don’t accept your true self.

If you can’t tell people how you feel. You will never feel understood. Because no one can understand you when you thoughts are unheard. It’s easy to slip into a life where you feel different from others and don’t see the need or place to share your feelings with them. But this is a habit that grows and grows until it’s normal to not share your feelings. Ultimately no one wins when you do this. People you interact with are being mislead, believing you want something else, and therefore wasting their time on you and supporting interests that aren’t yours. And you are wasting your own time, being with people who don’t understand you, or don’t want to understand you. Just imagine how fulfilling it can be to know the people around you support you and love you for who you are, not some carefully crafted image of the person you think you need to be.

4. Stay in touch with friends.

Perhaps work has something to blame here, perhaps not expressing your feelings does too. It’s easy to lose touch with friends, especially when you start investing your friendships in people from work, or the friends of your spouse rather than your own. In the end we all only have a select group of true friends. They are as important as family and it’s your job to keep them close, even if they aren’t good at it.

5. Let yourself be happier.

Since all of the above issues lead to a life of happiness and fulfillment I think it’s easiest said that if you don’t share your feelings, if you don’t keep your friends close, if you don’t make time for your personal life outside of work, if you don’t have courage to do what you truly want… you won’t be happy. And you aren’t letting yourself be happy. So start doing what you truly want to be doing, make it know how you feel to others around you. Keep your friends close and work, but don’t let it take away from the rest of your life, and have the courage to not work in the name of being happier and more productive when you are working.