The Journal no. 2 – December 31, ​2017

Welcome to the second issue of The Journal. My goal with The Journal is to post once a week a list of everything that I found interesting. Here is what I found interesting this week:


Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain By Kai Stinchcombe -Hackernoon

How Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing apps are outmaneuvering Uber. By 13D Research

We’re Going to Need More Lithium By Jessica Shankleman, Tom Biesheuvel, Joe Ryan, and Dave Merrill – Bloomberg

The Year in Money By Laurie Meisler – Bloomberg

The future of grocery shopping has arrived in China By Karen Hao – Quartz

Who is Marcus Aurelius? The Last Great Stoic of Rome – Farnam Street

cocoon modules + coco-mat envision nomadic dwelling with a container house prototype – Designboom

yuan architects elevates housing in taiwan to provide privacy and outdoor activity space – Designboom

RIGI design renews a single family building in shanghai and lights it up – Designboom

All-Electric Morgan EV3 Will Go Into Production in 2018  -HypeBeast

Yamazaki USA Tower Magazine Rack – Cool Material

Kahn Design Flying Huntsman 6×6 Soft Top – Cool Material

Lift Standing Desk – opendesk


Mark Cuban In Conversation With Kyle Bass | Real Vision Video – 55 min

How Machines Learn – 9 min

Charlie Munger Commencement Address – USC – 33 min


Live Episode! The Home Depot: Arthur Blank – 33 min

Lessons from Bozoma Saint John — From Spike Lee to Uber, From Ghana to Silicon Valley – 106 min

Principles: Life and Work

I am currently reading Principles by Ray Dalio. I heard about Ray Dalio a couple of years ago by watching How The Economic Machine Works, a fascinating video. Since He is a private person, I was very excited when I heard that he has a book coming this year. Principles is a three-part book. The first part talks about Ray Dalio’s Career and what it took him to overcome his failure. The second part is Ray Dalio’s Life Principles, which is what I am currently reading, and the final part is Ray Dalio’s Work Principles.

Here are some interviews about the book with Ray Dalio:

Ray Dalio, Principles, The Evolution of Bridgewater Associates, & Meditation | #AskGaryVee 275 – 63 min

Tony Robbins interviews billionaire Ray Dalio – author of Principles – 66 min

Life Lessons from a Self-Made Billionaire: My Conversation with Ray Dalio – Farnam Street

Ray Dalio, The Steve Jobs of Investing – Tim Fessis – 128 min

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio – 31 min

Here is an excerpt from the book that made me think about the size of the universe :

“Through our own eyes, we are everything – e.g., when we die, the whole world disappears. So to most people (and to other species) dying is the worst thing possible, and it is of paramount importance that we have the best life possible. However, when we look down on ourselves through the eyes of nature we are of absolutely no significance. It is a reality that each one of us is only one of about seven billion of our species alive today and that our species is only one of about ten million species on our planet. Earth is just one of about 100 billion planets in our galaxy, which is just one of about two trillion galaxies in the universe. And our lifetimes are only about 1/3,000 of humanity’s existence, which itself is only 1/20,000 of the Earth’s existence. In other words, we are unbelievably tiny and short-lived and no matter what we accomplish, our impact will be insignificant.”  – p. 149

Thanks for reading, happy new year and see you next week!

Balal Rasool


iHealth Core Review

Since I started using Gyroscope to track different aspects of my life. Nowadays, I am looking to find new ways to add more data into the app. My goal is to track everything about my health and daily tasks.

I bought a body composition scale to track my weight, body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI) and lean body mass. Why these 4 measurements? Because these measurements can be added to the Apple Heath app to track my progress over time. The scale that I bought is the iHealth Core. The scale tracks more than the four measurements I mentioned. It also tracks body water, visceral fat rating, muscle mass, bone mass, daily calories intake.


Images from

The scale is well built and has a nice design. It blends with any decor of a room. It doesn’t pop up. It looks like a normal scale, it is not blocky event though it is a smart scale. The scale uses 4 AAA batteries to power. The scale has a beautiful glass cover. The scale display is well lit and easy to read. The scale is connected to wifi to upload the measurements to the app and the iHealth website.

The app has a nice design. It is not well designed like the Lifesum app but better than a lot of the health apps existing in the App Store. The app integrates with Apple Healthkit which was a must for me when I was looking for a new scale. The App can track up to 10 users.

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The scale initial set-up is not the easiest. During my set up, I had problems syncing my data to the app. One thing I don’t like is that the scale can’t be reset. During my set up I had a typo mistake when writing my email. I had to delete my user to create a new one. Now the scale has designated 2 users to my weight. This is a bummer because I have to change my user every time to upload to the app

I had to email iHealth to factory reset the scale. I had to send the scale QR code and they reset it from their office. It would be nice if I was able to factory rest by myself. The customer service was good and the respond fairly quick.

The accuracy of the measurements is similar to the smart scale on the market.

I would recommend the iHealth Core to anyone who wants to track any of the 9 measurements that the scale offers.




A beginner’s guide to investing – best resources – Infographic

A lot of my friends and family members ask what are the best resources for a person who’s starting to invest. So I decided to make this infographic. These are the best resources that I have found.

Best resources.png

What makes a smartphone a smartphone?

The introduction of the first iPhone changed the life of our modern society. This was the introduction of the first ever smartphone. Nowadays, people can’t live without it from communicating with friend and family, searching the web, taking a picture, listening and watching all types of media and mush more.

What makes an iPhone an iPhone? Well, according to the economist Mariana Mazzucato, there are 12 key technologies that make a smartphone: a small microprocessor, a memory chip, a solid state hard drive, a liquid crystal display, a lithium-ion battery, a signal compression, an access to internet, an HTTP and an HTML, a cellular network, a GPS, a touchscreen, and Siri.

All these 12 key technologies that we use in our day-to-day life and cannot live without were not created by Apple. In fact, all of the 12 key features that make a smartphone were not event created by a public company. All of those 12 technologies were created by government agencies. Yes, government agencies were using all of this technology long before it was unveiled to the public.

Without the help of government agencies, we will not be able to have in our hand an incredibly powerful device more capable than a supercomputer of the past.

The creations and the agencies involved in their creation:

Microprocessor: DARPA
Solid State drive: DoE/DARPA
Liquid-crystal display: NIH , NSF, DoD
Lithium-ion batteries: DoE
Signal Compression: Army Research Office
Internet: DARPA
Cellular technology: US Military
Multi-touch screen: DoE, CIA/NSF DoD

I highly recommend the podcast from where I  learned about this. It’s called 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy from BBC World Service.

Source of the list come from

Marshall Acton: Best Home Bluetooth Speaker

Marshall Acton is the best home Bluetooth speaker on the market. I am an average consumer, I am not an audiophile, I repeat not an audiophile.

According to my testing, the Acton speaker can easily fill up an 800 square foot floor with no effort. The speaker sounds amazing and I never maxed the volume. Most of my time using the speaker, the volume is between 20% to 40% of the max volume. I love to control the bass and treble of the speaker to customize exactly how I want it.

I love the design of the speaker. It gives an old school look with the faux leather and the metal accents. The speaker is very nicely built with excellent feedback, especially the on/off toggle. It gives the feeling of using an old airplane toggle. I initially bought the speaker for its design. I didn’t know how it would sound even though I heard good thing about Marschall. There are no other speakers better designed on the marker than the family of speakers offer by Marshall.

The Acton speaker is the smallest plug-in model offered by Marshall at a retail price of $249 USD.


In the box, there is a Type A plug and a Type C plug, a manual box, a cloth, a 3.5 mm audio cable and the speaker itself.


The Acton is a Bluetooth speaker that need to be plugged into a socket to work. It has one ¾inc dome tweeter on each side of the 4-inch woofer which is in the middle.


On top of the speaker, from left to right, there is a 3.5 mm input, a Bluetooth and Input light, a volume knob, a bass nob, a treble nob, a source/wake up button, a pairing button and an on/off indicator.

The 3.5mm audio cable that is included is the box is the most beautiful audio cable I have ever seen. I paid over $25 for 3.5mm audio cable a couple of time, but they are nothing compared to what Marshall gives with their speaker.


The only con that I can found is that you need to manually change the bass and treble and can’t change through a phone or a computer. Maybe there is a way, but I did not find it.

I recommend this speaker if you are someone who loves well built and designed object. You can for sure find a cheaper or probably a better sounding speaker, but I don’t believe you will be able to find a speaker with a more beautiful industrial design.

Best app of 2016 – Gyroscope

A couple of weeks ago, I found Gyroscope, a health tracking app like no other. It integrates with several services to provide the most accurate report to the user. I strongly believe Gyroscope is the best app of 2016 and deserve to be on every phone. I tend to install a lot of apps, but I always end up deleting them. However, it was not the case for Gyroscope.

The app has a social part where the user can add their friends and compete with them even if they don’t use the same service that provides the health information. No other health tracking app offers to do that.

The app has the best UI design compared to any other health app with a clutter free and minimal design composed of a beautiful chart, card and summaries report.

Gyroscope can be connected to other services in order to have a better glimpse of your life. For example, it can be connected with services, such as Moves, Apple HealthKit, Rescue Time, Fitbit, Withings, Strava, Runkeeper, Instagram, Twitter, Jawbone, Google, Spotify, and Foursquare. I have never seen an app that connects with so many services easily.

When connected to other services, Gyroscope track steps, heart rate, location, time spend on the computer, running, cycling, workouts, and weight without the Pro version. With the Pro version, it can also track body fat, sleep, calories, music, meditation, and DNA.

The Pro version gives more information to the user such as a monthly report, annual report and much more. Here is everything the pro version offers.


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Currently, I am using the free version of the service and I am planning to get an annual membership soon. The price varies on iOS and on the Gyroscope site. For the cheapest price, go to Gyroscope site which is

I would like Gyroscope to add a couple of features. The first one is a way to tell the app sick days. The second one is to add a way to grade your day and the final is a way to integrate with a journal app such as Day One.

I highly recommend the app to every person who wants to track their health and have an overview of their life.

You can check out the app on iOS now.