Top 10 reasons why we can’t squeeze more “life” from a 24-hour day

I sometimes wondered why I’m so unproductive, as compared to what Jack Bauer can do within 24 hours in the hit TV show – 24. Time seems to fly by so fast that I didn’t know what has happened. Only if I can live a fuller life and squeeze more life out of a 24-hour day. Well, I often use the following reasons or excuses:

10. My computer/network is too slow.
9. I’m stuck in traffic all the time and the traffic just wears me out.
8. There are simply too many emails to read, sort and file.
7. The house chores are killing me – it’s cleaning, cooking, taking care of others in the family. I never have time for myself.
6. The coffee is not strong enough; I can’t seem to be able to focus.
5. I’m not paid enough; why should I push myself that much at work.
4. My life is boring anyway.
3. Window shopping online is more fun. There is no commitment to buy and I can always imagine how happy I can be using the product though the product may turned out to be crap and it often does.
2. Watching TV has the calming effect on me – I can doze off without guilt.

And the #1 reason….

1. Is there more to “life”?

“Contact Resistance Estimation for Time-Dependent Silicone Elastomer Matrix of Land Grid Array Socket”

After spending 7 years managing an engineering organization that designs Sun’s CPU LGA (Land Grid Array) socket, I have accumulated lots of hands-on knowledge about this LGA mechanical “beast.” It’s a “beast” because it has some interesting behaviors that are difficult to predict due to its “system” nature, encompassing the contacts, CPU package, socket frame, heatsink attach, PCB and etc. The following IEEE article that I co-authored with the scholars from CALC of University of Maryland is a good manifestation of the knowledge.

IEEE Article “Contact Resistance Estimation for Time-Dependent Silicone Elastomer Matrix of Land Grid Array Socket”

Book Review: “Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach

As a practitioner of his principles on being a homeowner, I didn’t feel I got that much out of this book. This book is really for the people who’re still renting. But I did learn something about the latte factor (getting out of the habit of spending on small luxury items like latte, cable TV and etc.) or the definition thereof. The bi-weekly payment plan was not new to me but a good reminder for me to look into as I was debating it’s worth the extra processing fee. One major take-away for me is to put everything (payment, saving and etc.) in auto-pilot mode (thus the phrase “automatic”) just because most people are not disciplined enough when it comes to financial matter. This is true especially when it comes to paying bills.

Some of the ideas about taking out the equity and buying a rental property may not work very well here in California, as the house prices here are very high. You’ll need almost every penny to buy the next house if you want to upgrade at all. I also believe that the housing boom may be coming to a grinding halt, which David Bach did warn about and encourage people to be prepared for it. Perhaps, all those extraordinary housing wealth accumulated for the last few years are simply a deviation from the norm. The correction could be very painful for those who are not careful and buying into homes at their peaks.

The fact that there are some people who are simply not disciplined enough to be a homeowner; they don’t want to deal with leaky faucet or toilets and regular maintenance of the house. It’s a lot of work. Some of the renters don’t even want to pay rent on time.

Overall, this is reasonable book for someone who’s renting and don’t know how to break away from that habit and commit to being a homeowner and becoming the “automatic millionaire.”

Automatic Millionaire Book

Book Review: “John Adams” by David McCullough

This unabridged audio books was 30 hours long. It took me over 3 weeks of listening in the car on the way to and from work. The amazing thing is that the story was quite captivating – all the way to the end. The narration was excellent as if the original character were speaking the words – which is rather rare for audio book unless it’s narrated by the author himself/herself.


As an immigrant to US in my teen, I was exposed to very little American History and I didn’t do that good in the history class because I was still struggling to “understand” English much less appreciate the contents of the American History textbook. This book goes into great details of the life, ambition and sacrifice of John Adams and his love affair with his wonderfully witty and understanding wife, Abigail. I speculate that John Adams wouldn’t be the accomplished John Adams as we know him today or even John Quincy Adams (John Adam’s Son), without her wife Abigail.


David McCullough, the author, portrayed John Adams more of a stubborn, visionary patriot than a politician, which is quite understandable as the country was still fighting for survival from British military force and then French military force. He didn’t want to play the bipartisan game because he feared the division it may cause to the country. This may have spelled the end to his one-term presidency (2nd US President). He was definitely no contest to the sophisticated, conniving Thomas Jefferson, an Adam’s on-again, off-again and on-again “friend.”


Here are a few interesting contrasts of the life in 1776 today’s life :

  • Mails going from USA to Europe can take months. Today’s email can travel in milliseconds. And a phone call is almost instantaneous.
  • Travel from USA to Europe can take months in the ocean. Today’s travel takes less than a day.
  • Educated people like Adams wrote a lot in mails and journal those days so historian like David McCullough can trace John Adams’ entire life. Today, people don’t write as much but we have lots of emails, digital photos, and video. This is going to make future historian very difficult to trace a person’s life. Hopefully, the new blog trend can change that somewhat.

  • The intimate, eloquent love letters between John Adams and his wife Abigail were especially moving. Their fidelity to each other though separated by the Atlantic ocean and years at a time was unimaginably long and difficult by today’s standard. Both made great sacrifice for the greater good of this country.


    Overall, I utterly enjoyed this book. A great book if you want to understand the heart and soul of a true American patriot in the purest form. We American owed a great deal of our prosperity to John Adams, who shepherded the birth and the first critical toddler years of this country.

    Book Review: “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls

    Wow! I never knew there are parents out there that are so irresponsible for their children. They have so many issues of their own. Being children to those parents got to be tough when the basic food and shelter are not certain. I don’t know if that can be compensated or made up for by having an exciting life – constantly on the move as if it’s one big adventure. Moving around or having to adapt constantly does make one receptive to changes. Furthermore, it’s amazing how resilient kids can be if left to their own survival and how readily they accept the status quo without much complaint. It’s when they finally grow up they realize how different they are. I also wonder how much we’re influenced by our childhood experience. Sometimes being tough growing up could develop good virtues, common sense and good gut feel (street smartness). The author’s youngest sister did not subject to the same level of survival issues, thus did not fare well as she grew up. Children do look up to their parents as it’s the only way to look at life. Having a broad perspectives and teaching them accordingly can help develop their well roundness as the author’s parents have done.

    Without judging, there are certain kinds of people (like author’s parents) out there that simply do not conform to common sense. Being normal is not real “life.” Perhaps, the issues are related to alcohol or personality or something else but I must say they have “character.”

    The author wrote the story with very little emotion except at the end when she had to deal with their homeless parents. Perhaps, I speculate she has been traumatized such that they would not have children of their own. She did blame herself for not being there for her younger sister.


    What a wonderfully-written memoir! The author did a great job capturing the details of her childhood and yet wrote in an almost journalistic approach, allowing the readers to make their own judgement.

    The Glass Castleat Amazon.com

    Hello world!

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    This is Derek Tsai. I enjoy reading, experimenting, and creating. By sharing and blogging about what I have learned and experienced, I can impart my knowledge to the world in this Internet age but more importantly I’m able to internalize my learning even more – the learning by teaching/doing approach. I hope to make an impact or legacy in my life. Hopefully, this would be beneficial to you readers as well.

    Learn by Blogging (and Sharing) – Derek Tsai's Personal Blog