Day 10 the one where I daydreamed about cryptocurrency

2018: Day 10 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 26,546 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Mining cryptocurrency has become a cultural touchstone this year. The rise of bitcoin prices being shared by just about everybody in the media has changed how people view cryptocurrency in probably lasting ways. Today this weblog post focuses on how I ended up daydreaming about cryptocurrency mining. YouTube has so many videos about building cryptocurrencies mining rigs that it almost seems easy. Most people who can follow general instructions related to modular computer setup can probably build a GPU mining rig. Based on the sheer volume of videos populating YouTube from people who have done that it seems that the commodification of mining is now complete. Think about that one for a minute. Most of the thrilling mystery of how people starting mining cryptocurrency is now gone.

This computer that I am using right now has enough slots to expand from my one NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition graphics card to a 3 GPU setup. The idea of turning on a 3 GPU mining rig is what sparked this whole series of words and sent me spirling down the cryptocurrency rabbit hole this morning to a place that does not seem like wonderland. Today was a day that some time was wasted daydreaming about cryptocurrency. I even started to sketch out a short story about building out an AI mining bot that became self aware enough to steal cryptocurrency and upload itself to the cloud. I’m sure bitcoin related fiction is already a genre somewhere on the internet.

Some time ago I thought it was a good idea to install something called GUIMiner v2012-12-03 on my main deep learning computer. To help me work with and install TensorFlow I purchased one NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition graphics card directly from NVIDIA. That purchase was made on July 19, 2016 and it was all about wanting to work with the Pascal architecture. Deep learning was very exciting. The idea of setting up a home neural network was truly game changing and something that brought me a huge amount of joy. Initially installing GUIMiner was pretty easy to do on the Windows 10 operating system. It mines using that GTX 1060 GPU at 642.2 mhash/s and just hangs out in the background. Seriously, when your computer starts if no mining is occuring you would never notice the application unless you checked the icon tray. During the course of running an active miner my entire PC runs very slowly. I can only imagine what happens when multiple GPU cards are installed.

Surfing the web for NVIDIA graphics cards has been an interesting thing to do today. My buying expirecing from NVIDIA directly was easy peasy back in 2016. I logged on when the GTX 1060 cards first became available and ordered one of them. That is very different from the folks who are buying 6 or more graphics cards at a time and trying to connect them to the same motherboard. At the time, I used this service called BitMinter. I let it mine for some time, but it never really generated enough BTC to transfer out to and get paid. I would have written you step by step instructions on how to install and run GUIMiner, but since I have seen no actual money from it that seemed premature and probably generally unwise. For me it was just about learning and playing with a new piece of technology. It was interesting to play with the software and learn about mining cryptocurrency. None of my efforts required me to write any code or do anything other than allow something to run on my system.

Today was the day that I dumped GUIMiner v2012-12-03 in favor of NiceHash Miner Version which is basically for NVIDIA only. I may try to write a few more words about why AMD got booted from the current version. It has something to do with a giant antivirus kerfuffle. That is probably a topic to take on at a later time in more detail. Pretty much all day the NiceHash Miner has been running on my Windows 10 partition. My base rig is built based on an ASUS Z170-Pro motherboard running an Intel i7 chip. The board itself has enough slots for 3 PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 graphics cards. My Cooler Master Storm Stryker computer case is plenty big to support 3 graphics cards. I’m pretty sure the Corsair 850 watt power supply in the case can support the three graphics cards. You may have noticed some hesitation and speculation in the last paragraph. That is pretty much the case. I’m kind of curious if three GTX 1060 graphics cards will be able to run in the good old Storm Stryker case. That setup can be used for deep learning and building out cooperative and combative/adversarial neural networks like Google’s design of Bob, Alice, and Eve for testing encryption.

Educational purposes aside the main reason to get the extra cards would be to watch a mining rig run and learn about cryptocurrency mining hands on. Maybe that is something worse exploring. It does open the door to learning about some new things and being able to try some new technology out. Applied technology has always been one of the areas that has held my attention. Maybe today will be the day that I elect to pick up two additional graphics cards. They could be used for a variety of use cases. My main question right now would be around exactly how long it would take to make back the money spent on them through mining cryptocurrency. I would also have to intellectually accept the idea that Bitcoin probably is in a bubble and I’m rationalized ignoring that reality in favor of watching NiceHash Miner run on my computer.

Topic 1: Cut and paste changed between Google Docs and WordPress

Today is day 10 of my journey to write 3,000 words per day. You can imagine that means that a number of cut and paste operations have been executed. From the Chrome Google Docs I select all of the words that need to go over to the post. That content is then pasted into the text section of the post editing screen within WordPress. Today for the first time in my 10 day journey all of the carriage returns are disappearing. Having to go back and manually add each return to ensure that the document returns to the correct formatting before posting is super duper annoying. That is essentially an order of magnitude more annoying than it should be. It worked fine every other time. Things have been working so well that most of the time after hitting cut and paste I do not even go back to check and make sure all the content arrived correctly. It is a function of word processing that I have grown to trust and appreciate. I probably took it for granted until tonight. Now i’m sitting here writing words about lamenting my now failing copy and paste.

Topic 2: The Jayhawks play tonight in Allen fieldhouse

I’m watching the University of Kansas Jayhawks play basketball in Allen Fieldhouse on ESPN2. This is one of the best use cases for 4K content distribution. Sports fans all over the nation and the world would enjoy watching their teams in 4K. It does appear that over the air broadcasts of 4K content are possible. Local broadcasts moving to 4K could help increase adoption rates for televisions capable of 4K content. Joni has pretty much indicated that we will be watching our Sony Bravia HD television until the day that device fails or is destroyed. Apparently, the refurbished Sony Bravia television we received as a warranty replacement back in 2011 may last forever. It certainly has lasted longer than I expected. Televisions are not really something that can be upgraded. Upgrades to hardware that is already out in the wild does not really seem to be on the technology roadmap.

Throughout my entire lifetime watching the Jayhawks play basketball has always been more rewarding than watching the Kansas City Chiefs. It is very unlikely that is going to change any time soon. My current working theory on the Kansas City Chiefs involves a theory that they just want to be competitive as a franchise. The goal does not appear to actually win a championship. We may see some major changes in the Chiefs organization this year or things may just continue on in the same way they have for a generation. I read some very unflattering articles about the Chiefs today.
Topic 3: Understanding the world around us

Yesterday we started digging into the nature of my year long inquiry into values. Understanding the world around us is getting harder and harder. We face a world that is no longer narrated for us in a curated way. Our institutions of shared perspective have been fading away into algorithmic based social networks. The public mind used to share the experience of common national news broadcasts and newspapers. All of that seems to be changing no one thing holds that much of our attention anymore. Nothing really commands a very large amount of nationwide attention anymore. I put a book by Tim Wu on my wishlist the other day. It is titled, “The attention merchants.” At some point this year I plan on reading that book. Real true marketing that seeks to gain the attention of the people is getting more complex to achieve. Targeting has gotten easier, but mass communication has gotten harder. Mostly that is true due to the changing ways the masses come together.

Topic 4: Allergies and writing

Today is my second day of taking Zyrtec. Overall my reaction to the allergy pill is less pronounced today. It does appear to be working. I have been able to engage in an early morning writing session and an evening writing session this week. For better or worse I’m having to write the bulk of my 3,000 words in one evening writing session. That is pretty much what I thought would happen. Over the years I have written in spurts. Large outputs of writing have always been a part of how things happen.

This sitting down and trying to engage in 3,000 words of purposeful writing is a new wrinkle in my writing routine. At this point, I am pretty much writing during any spare moment that comes up. That means writing in Google Keep on my phone and writing within my daily Google Doc. I’m hoping this copy and paste challenge fades away shortly. Adding formatting to 6 pages of single spaced content for an entire year will be highly frustrating. I might even consider flipping the script by just writing in WordPress and cutting and pasting the content back into Google Docs.

I may move back to Microsoft Word later this week. On a hunch, I went ahead and moved back to Microsoft Word and it fixed my cut and paste problems. Something must be going on with Google Docs today. Maybe somebody changed something in the code and people are telling tem just how annoying the code change is within the forms. Google Docs is entirely web delivered and that type of conde can be updated very easily. I just changed the font in this word processor to Times New Roman from Arial. Most of the time I do not end up thinking about fonts or formatting. I just go with whatever the word processor uses by default and I keep moving forward. That is pretty much in line with my writing methods. The content is always more important than the packaging when it comes to digital writing. Formatting can change at anytime, but the content should remain the same no matter what. Maybe things will return to normal tomorrow.

The game is in the second half now and it is very competitive. This year games are going to be a lot closer than in previous years. It may be a combination of the league being better and of the Jayhawks only playing 7 players. It is going to be a very interesting year. Today I cannot seem to get comfortable to write. Sitting still and writing for 2 hours requires finding a comfortable position.

Topic 5: Working on being more active

Right now in the basement my walking desk is just hanging out. Tomorrow I need to make sure to spend an hour or two hours working from my walking desk. Controlling my weight has always been about walking more and my walking desk is one way to make that happen. Sitting for more than 8 hours during the day is a terrible idea. I need to move around a little bit more. My goal for this year is to drop about 27 pounds. Adding about 3 to 5 miles per day of walking to my routine will probably make that happen.

800 words to go and fading fast. The Jayhawks beat the Cyclones of Iowa State tonight. The game was pretty much the only television that got turned on tonight. Maybe I should have spent more time reading about cryptocurrencies. I know how blockchains work and the other day I read the paper that started it all. Not only did I learn about the mechanics, but also I even read a conspiracy theory that Elon Musk invented bitcoin. Maybe at some point we will find out more about Satoshi Nakamoto. Naturally, I would not count Elon out of the race, but I am surprised the secret has lasted this long. I think it is interesting that an anonymous contribution could have such far reaching impacts.

Topic 6: Oh NiceHash

I’m pretty sure that the using the NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.6 – Beta software is not going to make money fly into my bank account. My NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition graphics card is currently estimated to mine about USD 3.93 per day. That is enough to probably buy a taco (or a taco equivalent) everyday. After searching my archives I discovered that the graphics card from NVIDIA cost me $331.10 with tax and shipping. At the current rate of payout from NiceHash assuming all other things stay equal it will take about 100 days to pay off my 2016 graphics card. That payoff is just looking at cost of the card vs. money received.
Today I’m probably going to plug in my electricity calculator into the wall and figure out the cost of running my computer with NiceHash on and with NiceHash off. That will pretty much calculate the cost of running my GTX 1060 graphics card at full speed all day. Figuring out the payoff horizon will be a lot more accurate after the electricity costs are removed. This computer runs every day using either Ubuntu linux or Windows 10. The only electricity cost that needs to be removed will be from the difference between the standard operating level and the NiceHash operating level.

Topic 7: Some guitar renovations

It appears that the bridge on my Jackson Kelly custom guitar has rusted. That probably means that that either it was exposed to a harsh chemical or the flooding in my parents basement finally manifested. All of my guitar equipment was flooded out at one point. We are talking a classic Kansas City basement flooding event. My guitar amplifier was submerged and all of my guitar pedals bit the dust. The guitar may very well have gotten wet in the case. To the best of my recollection the guitar was in the case in the basement. Obviously, it did not get thrown away like the amplifier and other equipment. I can prove that hypothesis by simple observation of the case and guitar. The case is in the basement and the guitar is sitting on a rack next to me.

Secretly I have wanted to replace my Jackson Kelly neck with a removable soloist neck. And probably replace the hardware on the guitar. At that point it would probably just be a better idea to get a cheap previously owned Jackson soloist guitar. Taking the easy road is not always the road that gets taken. If this project happens one part at a time, then it could very well be a multiple year journey to bring together a new guitar. That probably will not be the cheapest way to go in totality, but it might be the best path forward.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker Custom Build and ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

P.S. Today seemed to be a day where two new things have been introduced into my daily writing routine. First, I’m probably going to spend the next 100 days mining cryptocurrency. That is part of an applied research project to better understand that industry and the people involved within that industry. People be advised that I do not believe it will be a way to get rich quick. Additionally, for those of you who have watched my YouTube videos you are probably aware that I believe the current value of Bitcoin is a bubble. Second, I’m going to try to figure out how to drop 27 pounds to get under 200 pounds this year. Both of those things will probably figure prominently in my writing for the next 100 days or more. Like anything else that catches my attention we will see how long it can hold my attention for. We may be facing a different state of the weblog discussion at anytime.

Sustained writing toward producing 3,000 words or more per day is changing my writing output and in some ways forcing me to go beyond the surface of things. That is a good start toward beginning a solid inquiry into values. Some of that inquiry is about trying to figure out what things matter to me and help me find purpose. Other parts of the inquiry are focused on trying to understand the values in place around me. Understanding the changes to civil society, to civility, and to our communities is probably as profound as reconciling the eight virtues of Bushidō to modern society. Alternatively, we could spend the rest of the year trying understand the intersection of technology and modernity. Bringing things together in a way that can be shared makes sense, but being concise and clear takes a level of understanding where brevity rings true to show the heart of wit.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— Recap of all the video camera equipment I have owned
— All the promise and failures of my first Sony camcorder
— That one with a roadtrip to Florida
— Applied AI: A use case based exploration
— My ode to minor league hockey
— Progress within general AI vs. specialized use cases
— My review of the ASUS C101P Chromebook
— On leadership and the modern workplace
— The best way to archive digital content

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section.

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