Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Feedback Project - How I Changed The Roads

What If Everyone Shared Their Feedback?

Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone shared their feedback? Yes, those website feedback questionnaires, and the telephone number at the end of your McDonald's receipt sometimes are annoying, but what if everyone filled those out, truthfully, all the time? Wouldn't every product, and service potentially be better? Wouldn't government work better with an engaged citizenry?

Motivating Example - How I Changed The Roads

Look at the Google Streetview image from September 2014:


Now, consider this image from April 2014


Can you spot the difference? Try this enhanced view:

When facing south on Strachan, at Lakeshore, the traffic light grew longer! It now has four lights, which allows a green arrow, for right hand turns without stopping on a red.

Every morning on my drive to work, I turned right at this intersection. On a red, I had to come to a full stop, even though sometimes there was a left turn arrow for opposing traffic, and because traffic was turning left, a green arrow on a red light would let me safely make my right on red without stopping.

This light was added, because of me sending feedback to my local city Councillor, who forwarded it to his assistant, who forwarded it to a traffic group, who agreed it was a good idea.

Here is my email to the city on 9/14/2012:

Councillor Layton:

I am a resident in your riding. It would speed up traffic if at
lakeshore and strachan when the eastbound traffic on lakeshore has a
green arrow to turn north, the southbound light at strachan could show
a green arrow for those making right hand turns to go west on
lakeshore.

Also, on a daily basis traffic backs up from the Jameson / Lakeshore
exit onto the gardiner. Not only does this slow things down, having an
exit backup on the expressway is dangerous.

Can you please have whoever is responsible in traffic please take a
look at these two items?

Thank you


I had to followup twice, but here is the eventual response I received:

Hello David,
Following up on this concern, I have had staff report back on the feasibility of adjusting the traffic control signals at Strachan and Lakeshore.
Based on their review, staff have no concerns with providing a concurrent display of a southbound right-turn arrow (SBRA) and the existing eastbound left-turn arrow (EBLA). The SBRA should reduce any excessive delay and queuing due to the heavy SBRT demand without compromising pedestrian safety. An exclusive southbound right-turn lane already exists and allows for right-turn traffic to discharge unimpeded during the SBRA display.
This request has been added to the hold list for future implementation. As there is a limited budget for this work to get done, Toronto & East York District Traffic Operations will reviewing and label this change in order of priority for implementation. How soon this can be implemented will depend on this process.
Thank you for taking the time to make this suggestion and I will be sure to stay on staff and get a firm commitment as to when this work will occur. For our records, might you be able to share your address with our office?
Best,
Marco Bianchi for

 
Ashley Da Silva
Constituency Assistant (South)

Office of Councillor Mike Layton

Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina

Conclusion:

Every morning, on my drive when I was trying to turn right on a red I knew there was a better way. As a "customer" who used this section of road everyday, and knew the timings of the lights, I knew there was a better way. By providing feedback, and following up, I was able to submit an idea for improvement and it was implemented.

For the next quarter, as part of Project Feedback, I'm going to be providing feedback on everything I can. The goal with this isn't to get points, or coupons, but simply to have the products and services I use become better and in a tiny way, make everything work better.


Monday, April 27, 2015

5 Minutes And A Stamp Can Save You $70-$160/year - Stop Lending The Government Free Money

 

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Taxman - Reducing Withholding Taxes At Source

Well, it's tax time again in Canada. There's many ads for different tax preparation firms and software, all advising the "fastest way" to get your tax refund.

What if instead of getting a refund, you got your money right away? As you earned it? What if the government simply took less off your pay cheque?

The True "Cost" of A Refund

By waiting to get your refund, you're missing out on interest, the opportunity to invest that money in stocks, or money you can use to pay down loans.

Let's look at two examples: an individual earning $60,000 and one earning $100,000 per year.

I used a SimpleTax calculator, and assumed each individual has no children, is age 30, the person lives in Ontario and no other income outside employment income.

Let's assume both manage the typically recommended 10% contribution to their RRSP.

Our $60,000 earner:
  • Owes $11,809 in taxes prior to RRSP (this is how much the employer would deduct)
  • After $6,000 RRSP contribution, owes $9,940
  • RRSP results in a refund of: $1,869
The $60,000 earner can get that in April 2015, or could get $71 every two weeks through 2014 if less was taken off at the source.

Our $100,000 earner:

  • Owes $26,440 in taxes prior to RRSP
  • After $10,000 RRSP contribution, owes $22,099
  • RRSP results in a refund of $4,341
Again, the $100,000 earner can get that in April 2015 or could get $166 every two weeks through 2014.

So What? - The Time Value of Money

Hopefully, right away the idea of $71 or $166 every pay cheque over a year sounds better than waiting until April of the next year. If it doesn't, consider the value of that money if it was invested.

For this, I'm going to rely on some good old GoogleDoc Spreadsheets!

For the full spreadsheet, take a look here, but assuming a 7% return, the $60,000 earner, is missing out on $70 per year, and the $100k earner is missing out $160 per year.

How Do I get Withholding Reduced At Source

Remember: I'm not a tax professional. You should research this yourself or talk to a professional, but in the examples I used, if you're someone who is going to make an RRSP contribution, then simply filling out this form means you get money back during the year. Instead of next April. Here's a screenshot of the form, which should take less than 1 minute to fill out:



WATCHOUTS!!!

If you claim you're going to contribute $6,000, make absolutely certain you do. If you say you have no, or $500 of other income, make sure that's an accurate or conservative estimate. If you end up owing a lot of tax because you failed to make your contribution you said you would, or you have lots of other income you forgot about, then you will be in trouble.

Originally published 2015-04-27

Monday, April 20, 2015

Always Get Back Things You Lend



How Many Things Have You Lent, but Never Got Back?

From a very young age, we're talk to share. I can still remember the motto when I was in Beaver's: Sharing Sharing Sharing. Sharing things you don't use very often is great, because often the item can be used much more than you'll use it, without affecting it. The example that gets cited all the time, is a power drill is often only used for 13 minutes in it's lifespan, if only used by one homeowner. What if fewer of us bought a drill, but we shared it? Then we'd all save money.

Speaking from personal experience, I moved recently with a dolly I borrowed from my parent's and was amazed at how much it helped. Combining leverage with the wheel, dolly's are great! I borrowed it again to roll some furniture directly home from the store, avoiding the need to rent a van or truck! The dolly is not something I need regularly, nor do I have room to store it. Sharing one with my parent's, who have more storage room and also don't need it frequently, makes perfect sense.

What About Money? Would A Business Ever Lend or Borrow Without Tracking It?

If you were running a business, would you ever lend or borrow money without tracking it? You wouldn't even think of it! Business's track "Accounts Receiveable" (money that's owed to them) as well as "Accounts Payable" (money they owe). If this is something businesses always track, why don't you track these things in your personal life?

How Many Things Have You Lent or Borrowed But Never Gotten Back?

The downside to sharing, is when people don't return your stuff! Alternatively, you're a bad "borrower" if you never return items either. By (hopefully just) forgetting to return items you've borrowed, you may be hurting a friendship. Being a bad borrower may also prevent you from taking advantage of future borrowing opportunities, since a lender doesn't want to be burned twice.

Being Organized - Track All Items Lent or Borrowed Items With Remember The Milk

 

Clearly, you need to track what you've borrowed, and what you've lent. All borrowed or lent items need a due date on them, so you know when you should return the item, or at least  when you should contact the lender to ask for an extension. As a lender, you also want a due date so you remember to ask for the item back. When you record an item as lent or borrowed, you want that record to persist until you've returned the item or received it back - even if the item is overdue.

Whatever system you use, is up to you, but Remember The Milk is a great one and what I use.

I've created a "Waiting" list, which has all items I'm waiting for. By using "borrowed" and "lent" tags, I can mark an item in the list accordingly. RTM supports due dates, and I have items that are due show up in my daily 000_Today smart list. This smart list is my daily life dashboard, and shows any tasks or items that are due that day or that I'm working on. This is part of a Gettings Things Done strategy. I could also tag the items with the name of the person involved, but haven't found that to be required.

Whether you move your whole life into a full state of tracking with Getting Things Done, or not is one thing, but I hope you'll agree that borrowed and lent items need to be tracked, in a system you look at on a regular basis.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Preventative Maintenance Planning - Home, Health and Baby

Industry - Has a plan for maintenance, do you at home?

Do You Track Preventative Home Maintenance?

In my work at manufacturing sites, all plants that are resonably organized do preventative maintenance (PM's). These may be based on time (every 3 months, 6 months), runtime (after a motor runs for 10,000 hours) or use counters (after a packaging machine has processed 100,000 cartons). Doing preventative maintenance is supposed to prevent unplanned equipment failure, and hopefully reduce the total operating cost.

Anyone with a car, knows all about this when it comes to oil changes and other maintenance. Most car owners are religious about doing oil changes when they hit the required mileage, or for newer cars when the vehicle reports it's time for maintenance.

So now we agree it's important to do PM's, and important to track them, because without tracking them there's no guarantee you've completed them. The next step, is having a system to track them.

Step1: Developing a Maintenance Tracking System - Remember The Milk

I'm a big fan of Remember-The-Milk. I use it for personal, as well a work tasks. It supports the following features which are useful for PM tracking:
  1. Ability to create tasks, and share them with others
  2. Tasks persist and become overdue unless they are completed
  3. Ability to have tasks auto repeat on a set interval (ie. 2 weeks after completed)
  4. Ability to query for history of completed task
  5. Mobile as well as desktop support
  6. Fast and easy to use
  7. It's somewhere I will look at regularly, and not ignore
The last point two points are critical. Since RTM is something I use on a daily basis, if a household PM task comes up, I'll see it. If you find you set RTM up, but since you're only using it for seasonal or infrequent tasks, maybe it's not a good fit.

Point #2 is an important reason not to use a calendar. I myself use a calendar and would be lost without it, but if you mark a task on your calendar but don't complete it, you'll never know. A calendar is best for something that occurs at a specific time, and after that time you don't care about it again.

Step2: How to Setup RTM - The Basics

In Remember-The-Milk, you create lists, inside those lists you have tasks.

To track house maintenance, and baby maintenance, we have two lists: House Chores and 88_Reg_Daily. House Chores is shared between the two of us. A screenshot of the tasks is listed below.

v

This House Chores list is shared between my wife and I.
88_Reg_Daily is my list (named so that it sorts the way I want in my lists), and is not shared with my wife.










As you can see on the selected "Clean Out Coffee Grinder" task, it's set to repeat "after 2 weeks". This means that after the task has been completed, a new task with the same name is created and is due in 2 weeks.

Step3: Fancy RTM and Filtering

One of the best features of RTM is the ability to setup "Smart Lists". I have a smart list called "000_Today". The purpose of this is to have one central place to see items that are due today, that are personal (not work), and any general personal todo items without a due date. The complete query follows:


Not tag: zHide AND NOT tag: znat AND (dueBefore: Tomorrow AND NOT list: 60_WorkWaiting AND NOT tag: am AND (NOT tag: awork OR list: 07_Waiting OR list: 98_ping )) OR list: 02_PerNext


The key parts of this that are useful, are "... AND NOT tag: znat". Items that are tagged znat in the House Chores, do not show up in my 000_Today list. This means tasks that I don't do, like watering the plants, don't show up as due or overdue for me. This way, my wife and I can share a list, but also mark who is responsible for doing certain tasks.


Step4: Additional Uses

Shared tasks like this are great for house maintenance, but also health related tasks. I have a task on my own list to go see a doctor annually. My wife and I have a task to setup an eye appointment when our daughter is old enough, after that initial appointment we can set future tasks to repeat on the required frequency.

If you read the manual on your appliances, you may find many of them require maintenance. As you can see from the lists, my coffee grinder manual recommends cleaning with a wire brush every 2 weeks, and the espresso pump requires flushing one reservoir of water regularly. Hopefully, by following these recommended manufacturer guidelines, the appliances will last longer and perform better.


Data Analysis:

Of course, this wouldn't be my blog if we didn't somehow work in Kijiji ... RTM keeps completed task history, by doing a search on the taskname for my coffee grinder, and clicking the "completed" tab, we can see the following:





Scrolling down, I see grinder cleaning history back to October 27, 2012, over 3 years ago!
If/when I decided to sell the grinder, I can provide a printout of the maintenance history of it.

This also let's you easily see when I last did the task. If it's something that you might postphone like getting an eye test, now you can at least see when your last appointment was when you go to reschedule.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making Up Lost Time

Cool Dude Alert!

Sometimes, People Are Late

I know, it's not an earth shattering idea, but it happens. While there are many reasons that people are late (family, work, poor transit, traffic, zombie apocalypse), none of these reasons give back the time you lose if you happen to be the one that is on-time.

As a FindingOptimal reader, you are likely one of those people who strive to, and for the most part are, on time. By bringing a book with you, perhaps in a satchel, you can gain valuable reading time.

As a real world example, I was meeting some friends in a pub and showed up 2 minutes late. My other friends were 20 minutes late. While it may not have been "cool", the first friend to show up assured me it was not, I gained 18 minutes of reading time and had something to do.

When was the last time you read something? And learned something? Is it because you don't feel like you have the time?

How much idle or dead time do you have waiting to meet friends or family?
How much time have you spent waiting in dentist/doctor or professional offices?
What about when getting your drivers licence renewed?
Do you have to visit clients at work? How often are you early because you allow time so there's no chance you're late? What are you doing with that dead time?


Why not gain that time back, for something more serious than angry birds on your phone!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Make Your Job Your Hobby

The Happy Worker, Dreams of Being at Work

Don't Make Your Hobby Your Work - Make Your Work Your Hobby

Confucius says "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.". Forbes can provide Six Tips for Turning Your Hobby Into Your Job.

Looking at Google Search history for "Find Your Passion", shows a steady increase.



The Trouble With Passion Plays

Following your passion might be a great idea, and it might not. Your passion might not be something that lets you earn the amount of money you and your family need right now. Your passion also might not be something you can pursue without going back to school, or moving, and both of those take time.

There's also risk in moving somewhere, or trying a new career. What if you aren't any good at it?

More to the point, finding what your actual passion is, and then finding a way to "follow" it can take years. What if you never really "find" your passion anyways? Does that mean you're obliged to stay "stuck" until you can perfectly plan your passion?

Zero Risk, Start NOW and Get Immediate Results!- Re-Engage At Your Current Job

What if I told you, someone will pay you at your current rate, to be at a new passion? All you have to do, is change your passion to be what your current job is!

While this sounds silly, it isn't. Through mind-over-matter, you can certainly re-engage and start to love your current job more than you did before. There must be some reason you're doing what you're doing, reconnect with that original interest.

A Secret To Liking Something - Being Good At It

Even as a kid, haven't you always enjoyed doing things that you were good at? If you spent 2-4 hours a week, of your own time, making yourself "better" at work, won't you enjoy your job more? Won't you enjoy being better than your other co-workers and the greater respect you'll receive when it's obvious you know more than

Speaking from personal experience, it's very difficult to keep momentum going when learning skills that have nothing to do with your work. Whenever you get busy, or stop temporarily, you're losing those skills. It's also hard to stay motiviated, because sometimes it's hard to get over the initial hump from unskilled to at least novice/adequate.

On the other hand, if you're learning things outside of work, that you directly use at work, it's so much easier. Instead of spending time learning the basics, you're learning mastery or advanced topics. It's also a lot easier to stay motivated, because what you're learning can hopefully be very quickly implemented.

Conclusion

Making a concious decision to make your current work your work passion, and you're already spending 40 hours a week being paid to do your passion. Spending your own time outside of work, furthering your passion craft skills let's you move to mastery in your paid employment.

What are the obvious next steps? Are there industry trade magazines you're not reading? Training from vendors and suppliers? Improvement initiative ideas you have for work but haven't thought through fully then make a plan and follow through! Re-engage and commit to enjoying yourself, and you very likely will.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Retailer Charges Outrageous 148% Markup

Do You Know How Your Liquor Monopoly Prices Things?


This is a very Ontario-centric article, but the same is likely true in any state with a government run monopoly that sells any one particular product. Everyone knows monopoly's are bad and hurt consumers... except so many seem to be tolerated.


Many of us see stickers at the gas pump that explain the makeup of prices, but do you really know why alcohol costs what it does?

Consider the following, from the very informative LCBO Pricing Structure presentation


So, $6.11 goes to the supplier, but the price is $27.45. While any retailer is going to charge a markup from the manufacturer, a government monopoly that charges a 140+% markup is realistically like a tax than paying a .markup to a retailer.

If you don't like whiskey, here's the markup example for beer (from the same document), it's a little more complex:




Comparing Duty Free Express' price Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon - 1L is $28 USD.
Looking at the LCBO, it's $46.95 CAD, for 750mL, or $62.60 CAD for 1L. So clearly, there's a lot of tax going on here.

Even crazier than that, if Duty Free Express sold a 750mL bottle it would be $21, this is actually lower than the "floor pricing" referred to in footnote 1, which is in place to protect you from yourself.

Conclusion and Best Practice

Best practice is to convert your alcohol consumption to spirits which have higher density, and are more easily purchased at duty free airport stores.

When you buy alcohol under a government monopoly, you are voluntarily paying more taxes.

At the very least, when you're at a duty free store, use your smartphone to see how ridculous the prices are at home, and try to comparison shop when you can escape from the monopoly.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

How To Rationalize a $1,000 Coffee Machine

My Current Setup - Overly Manual...

Justifying an expense coffee machine... it's payback time!

A Seattle Times article about the rise of single cup brewers, Single-serve coffee revolution brews industry change, states 1 in 5 Americans are using Single Serve brewing machines like Tassimo, or K-Cups.

These machines are convenient, fast, and reduce waste by allowing you to only make as much coffee as you need. The ability to quickly switch between different drinks (espresso, bold, vanilla hazel nut, tea, decafe) is also a strong differentiator between these machines an other alternative ways of making coffee.

What If I Want Something Fancier?



While single cup pod machines that cost $100-$200 are good, there is a whole world of $600-$4,000 fully automatic machines that take whole beans, grind them and turn them into coffee. One example, a $1000 Jura fully automatic machine. At the push of a button, these machines take whole beans and make coffee or espresso. Some of the fancier models allow settings to control the drink strength, and even better, have internal counters for statistics like how many cups they've made!

While most people would consider $1000 an outrageous amount of money for a coffee machine, through the power of math, I will convince you this is not true and these machines are comparable to pod machines.

Assumptions

To calculate the difference between a machine that takes whole beans as input, versus pods, I'm using the following assumptions:

  1. Coffee consumption is 1 cup per weekday, 3 cups on a weekend = 11 cups per week. This is rather low for a household, but is what my consumption is currently at.
  2. Whole bean coffee is $15.99 / KG. I've seen it at my local grocery store as low as $10/KG for Lavazza Rossi, although I often buy one that is $30 per KG Gran Orno and delicious. .
  3. A 1KG bag of coffee will make 85 cups of coffee - I reached this by tracking the 
  4. Pod coffee are  $0.54 per pod.
  5. Maintenance on either machine ($100 pod machine or $1000 whole bean super-automatic) is not required.
  6. Excluding cost of electricity.
  7. Excluding cost of cleaning kits for a fully automatic machine, since any nominal cleaning cost would be made up for by superior taste.



The Power of Math Compels You

Fancy grinder machine: $16/KG = $16/85 cups of coffee = $0.19 per cup = $2.09 per week
Pod machine = $0.541 per cup = $5.95 per week

Price difference per week = $3.86
Price difference per year = $200

So a $600 machine has payback in 3 years.
A $1000 machine pays back in 5 years.

If your consumption is more than 11 per week, then the payback is even faster. If you have 22 coffees a week, your payback on a $600 machine drops to a very reasonable 1.5 years.

Conclusion

The primary advantage of a pod machine, is the ability to make a variety of different drinks. If you're always making the same drink, namely one variety of coffee that isn't flavoured, then for a comparable cost you can have an automatic grinding machine which freshly grinds beans and makes coffee or espresso at the push of a button.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Analyzing your Netflix usage

How Much Netflix Are you Watching?

It's a simple enough sounding question, how much Netflix am I watching?
How much is my wife watching?
Are we getting our $8 / month worth? I think I am, but how do we know?
Am I spending too much time watching Netflix? Or no?

All of these questions occurred to me. I wanted to be able to analyze whether I was watching too much, this proved to be much harder than I originally thought.

This Calls For A Spreadsheet

What I really wanted, was a Pivot Table, something that would let me see:
  1. How much am I watching per year? per week?
  2. How much of this is movies?
  3. How much is TV shows?
  4. What are the top shows or series that consume my time?

If one year looks like it had a lot more viewing, why? What shows was I watching that year which drove up viewing?

Step 1: Get the Data From Netflix

Sign into Netflix and select the "Profile" that you want to see results for.
Click "Your Account"


On the account screen click "Viewing Activity"

Netflix shows you what you've watched, but unfortunately doesn't indicate how long you spent watching it, if you finished it and what the duration is. This makes our work much harder. For example, I started watching "Transformers: Age of Extinction" but stopped after 2 minutes. I realized I didn't have time to start it. This is a 2 hour 45 minute movie. If I count that I completely watched it this will wildly skew the data.



Once fully scrolled down, press CTRL+A and then CTRL+C (on a PC) to select all and copy the data. It can then be pasted into Google Docs (what I used) or Excel.

Step 2: Getting The Data Into Google Docs

To paste, and get better rows, I had to Paste Special -> Paste Values Only


The data then looks as follows:


  1. Some unnecessary text
  2. Rows with the viewing history, containing
    1. A column for date, in dd/mm/yy or dd/mm/yyyy
    2. A column with the title
    3. two more columns with some un-necessary text
  3. More unnecessary text

Step 3: Spreadsheet Magic

I then proceeded to spend quite a bit of time, too much time according to my wife, creating various Google Sheets formulas to process this data.

In short I did the following:

  1. Cleanup the date, by using =ARRAYFORMULA(split(A8,"/")) to split the date text into three columns
  2. Use ImportXML command to query a website to Movie runtimes, where available
    • Q8 = http://www.omdbapi.com/?t=TITLE&plot=short&r=xml
    • =importxml(substitute(Q8,"TITLE",P8),"root/movie/@runtime")
  3. Check if the title has "Series:", "Season" or "Vol." in it. Usually this determines the row is one episode a TV show or not. Unfortunately this doesn't always work, but if you've spent more of your time watching a few different shows, it'll get you close.
  4.  Building a Vlookup, that looksup the duration of a show, if it isn't a movie. This lets me do one entry in a table (ie. Star Trek: The Next Generation: is 45 minutes long) and have many rows pull that for their duration
  5. Create PivotTables and do some analysis!!
I've shared my GoogleSheet file, with my Netflix history removed. This is not completely refined, but it'll give you some information. If you're interested in a copy of this, simply send me an email at: findingoptimal AT GMAIL DOT COM.

Known issues with this approach are:
  1. You have to enter the time of each TV show, and some (like Doctor Who) don't have the word Season or Series in them, this requires entering the time for many many episodes
  2. Sometimes there are multiple movies with the same title, ie. Aeon Flux from 2005 with Charlize Theron is 93 minutes whereas if you query OMDb for just "Aeon Flux", it comes back with a movie from 2006 that is 21 minutes long
  3. Sometimes certain episodes are twice as long as normal, using a vlookup with the series name saves time, but ignores these

Step 4: Analysis!

Even with some of the data analysis issues previously mentioned, this spreadsheet still gives good directional information.

Looking at consumption, by year, by week, with COUNTA of Show/Movie - showing the number of episodes/movies started and SUM of Dur Hour showing the sum in hours of time spent watching, we see the following:




I've added an average calculation off the side, but you can clearly see 2015 is on pace to have much higher viewing than 2014. In 2014, there were 235 items watched, with an estimated 217 hours of content. Only 1/3 of the way through 2015 I'm at 165 (or 70% of 2014) items watched, for 117 hours of content (54% of 2014).

Consumption is definitely up.
The question of value for $8/ month is pretty easily answered, since I have had anywhere from 200 to 350 hours of viewing per year, (not including other family members who use separate profiles) for  $72, which works out to $0.20 to $0.35 per hour.

By Grouping by Show/Movie Title the sum of the time spent watching it, sorted descending, then by year, we can see which shows have taking the most time.







My wife, who never saw the original, and I are watching all of Star Trek The Next Generation, from the beginning. Not surprisingly, this is a lot of television.


A look at previous years, show that our movie consumption (the Is Movie = 1) has collapsed compared to previous years. This is in part due to Star Trek TNG crowding out other viewing, and with a new baby around it's harder to want to watch, and keep watching something that's more than 45 minutes long.

Looking at just most recent, the viewing is as follows (note, items with a 0 under SUM of Dur Hour, are shows where I didn't populate a time for the vlookup due to not watching it all the way through or because there just weren't many views.



Conclusions

While there are some definite accuracy issues, directionally this reviews the pace of TV watching.

Netflix is absolutely worth the money. Given the vast number of hours of content I'm viewing, nevermind what my wife watches by herself, it's definitely worth $8.

Typical weeks are averaging 9 hours. The original goal of one episode per day, equating to 5.25 hours per week. This viewing has been nearly on target, sometimes going over. However, adding a movie or two on top of this drives viewing higher than previous years. One should be careful when starting a new TV series, because it is very difficult to not just keep watching another, particularly after Netflix launched the auto-play next feature.