Day 14 the one where I got my first ever BTC mining payment

2018: Day 14 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 38,291 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

We are racing toward paying off one ASUS Dual series GeForce GTX 1060 DUAL-GTX1060-O3G 3GB graphics card by mining cryptocurrencies. It is a 100 day race to mine some cryptocurrency. You can consider it my personal attempt to participate in the gold rush of our time. Along the way I’m learning about cryptocurrencies in general. Building some hands on knowledge is a great way to get a solid handle on the technology. To pay off one graphics card that pretty much means that earning $286.86 in bitcoins via mining is the goal line. That number was derived by dividing $573.72 or the cost of 2 of the aforementioned graphics cards, shipping, warranty, and a rush fee in half. To that end my journey into the world of using the NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.6 beta started on or around January 10, 2018. That seems like a long time ago, but it was just a couple of days ago. Things change fast in the extremely volatile world of cryptocurrency.

Yesterday my first actual payment came from NiceHash to my NiceHash wallet. Please keep in mind that was the first payment from a cryptocurrency I have ever managed to see in my wallet. Over the years I have messed around with miners, but never really tried to make money. Even this go round the BTC transfer was not a whole bitcoin in my wallet. Seriously it was not even close to a whole bitcoin. It was not even a healthy fraction of a bitcoin. It was 0.00118327 BTC with a fee of 0.00002415 BTC. I’m assuming you are not familiar with reading BTC. At the time this post was written that much BTC works out to about $17.16 in USD. That is not a bad start, but it is not a financial windfall. Initial investors in bitcoins did make some life changing sums of money.

Beyond mining cryptocurrency this morning, I’m watching the Kansas State Wildcats and the University of Kansas Jayhawks play basketball this morning at Allen Fieldhouse. You may be starting to understand that we watch pretty much every Jayhawks basketball game that is available via broadcast. It was an early tip off on ESPN today. The game started at 10:00 AM Mountain Time. That works out great for me. We ran some errands and made it back just in time for the game. The announcers are ok this time around. For how much ESPN spends on content you think they would manage to get decent play by play. Sometimes they end up with some questionable play by play and color commentary.

My go to snack for the game today happens to be salted in shell peanuts. I picked up a huge bag of them at Costco a few months back. Yeah — that means that I am typing right now and setting this ASUS Chromebook Flip C101P down to crack open peanuts and put the shells careful into a garbage bowl. We used to have a Rachel Ray garbage bowl, but it seems to have been misplaced. This one is an OXO bowl that clearly states on the bottom that it should not be put in the microwave. You do not have to worry. It is a very low risk proposition that I will put it in the microwave. The peanuts being consumed today have an expiration date of June 2018. They will not make it that long. Cracking peanut shells open always makes me think of attending sports events. It takes me back to watching the Kansas City Royals play baseball. That is probably why I associate watching sports with cracking open peanuts to this day.

Halftime for the game just came and went. We put ESPN on mute for halftime. It should be a decent second half to watch. Allen Fieldhouse is rocking with enthusiasm and James Naismith Court always looks good on television. Twenty minutes always seems to last longer in the second half of a basketball game. Wow —- that game lingered on way closer than it should have been. Bill Self just might note this year as being one of the best coaching efforts of a stellar career. Only playing 7 players seems to be an interesting strategy. It will be a different team with Preston and De Sousa eligible. The roster will be stretched out to 9 players. The way the game finished today it could have gone either way. It was good to see a Jayhawk victory.

Topic 1: I ordered Blade Runner 2049 on Blu-ray

Yep — I ordered a 4K ultra high definition Blu-ray disc version of Blade Runner 2049 today. My Xbox One S is 4K capable, but my Sony Bravia television is not capable of displaying a 4K image. That works out ok with my oder. The Blade Runner 2049 packaging includes both the HD Blu-ray and a 4K UHD Blu-ray discs. You can call it future proofing. We have plenty of bandwidth to stream 4K content, but I still prefer to buy physical media. I did some basic Googling of Blu-ray sales by year. Looking at a bunch of images of Blu-ray sales did not really give me a good idea of which direction physical media sales are going, but my guess would be they are not growing. An article from the LA Times January 6, 2017 caught my attention it noted that sales are declining, “Home video sales shrank again in 2016 as Americans switched to streaming.”

We keep buying physical media in the form of Blu-rays these days. They are sitting on my rack next to my HD DVD collection. We have a disc player that is capable of playing HD DVD and my older computer case has an HD DVD drive. We are probably not going to use either of those things at any point during 2018. I’m sure that 4K will not be the last standard for distributing movies. We are probably a stone throw away from 8K movie technology out and being used in the wild. People have adopted 4K content distribution and development on YouTube and other platforms. Some folks with advanced smartphones can record, edit, and distribute a 4K film all from their phones. To me that means that the standard is here and ready to go. It would require a big leap in smartphone technology to have 8K video capture. Leaping into editing 8K video on a phone is probably beyond the current hardware capabilities.

None of that is meant to justify my purchase of Blade Runner 2049 on 4K UHD Blu-ray today. That purchase was for me and based on what entertains me. It may also be somewhat related to my need to collect things. That is a plausible reason to why I still buy physical media.

Topic 2: Remembering to take interesting photos is hard

Snapping unique and interesting photos used to be a skill I utilized effectively. Now it seems that even remembering to take interesting photos is giving me problems. Setting a thumbnail is part of writing 3,000 words per day and the journey to writing 1,000,000 words this year. You can imagine the processes of getting 365 relevant and interesting photographs lined up and processed every day is a real challenge. Maybe remembering to stop and look at the mountains or the sunset is a good thing. Capturing interesting moments is about more than just thinking about the shot it is about figuring out how to capture something unique.

Topic 3: I figured out how to check my GPU temperature online

Managing heat is a part of mining crytocurecies. I figured out how to check my GPU temperature online using the NiceHash website. Now it is something that gets checked hourly. That probably is not the best use of my time. Being interested in the temperature of my GPU is relatively new thing to even think about. The better cooled my cards have gotten it seems the more work the NiceHash Miner has sent over for hashing. It seems like profitability is up, but overall the temperature is down. It was interesting to figure out how to plug in 4 additional motherboard driven case fans. The folks over at Corsair are very serious about making fans. Managing the heat seems to be an interesting part of the whole mining process.

Topic 4: Watching some of The X-Files

Episode 2 of The X-Files Season 11 is on the television right now. Based on the ratings it looks like they dropped from episode one to episode two of the season. I’m hoping that Fox keeps things going for a couple of seasons. It does appear that the hashtag #TheXFiles is going on Twitter. This second episode of season 11 does seem a little more X-Files than the first episode. I must say that Mulder and Scully are a little more action based this time around. Things are speeding up in the world of the X-Files.

I’ll admit that on my DVD rack is a copy of the Lone Gunmen TV Series (2001). For better worse I have consumed a lot of X-Files episodes. Getting to see some of the spinoff boomerang back into the reboot of the series. It also came in an interesting form of intellectual and physical questions about the nature of ascendance and computer models of human thought. Overall I think the episode was starting to get back into the groove.

Topic 5: The 100 day cryptocurrency mining challenge

For the next 100 days I am going to endeavor to keep my cryptocurrency mining rig operational. At a minimum that means keeping the system up and running. In practical terms that means that the NiceHash Miner software will be running on the Windows 10 instance of my Storm Stryker custom built computer case. Somewhere between one and three graphics cards will be mining and the financial will only be tracked based on payouts from NiceHash to the wallet. In the world of cryptocurrency all of your private keys have to be kept in a virtual wallet. For the purposes of our 100 day experiment the value of the cryptocurrency in the wallet will be compared to USD and reported as the outcome or result of the experiment.

My writing lost momentum their for a few minutes. It may have actually been about two hours. This Chromebook got charged for a bit and we watched a couple episodes of the television show Young Sheldon (2017). Off in the distance my cryptocurrency mining rig is working its magic by hashing. I spent some time looking at water cooling options for my GPU. Back in the early part of 2016 I put a Corsair water cooler on my core i7 processor and it has worked out splendidly. Things have worked out just fine with that water cooler. Maybe just maybe the folks over at Corsair can help figure out the heat problems related to mining.

Based on a few searches of YouTube videos it does appear that people do that type of cooling, but it does not seem to be the standard. A wide variety of builds exist. Some of them seem to be better than other builds. Most of the videos are all bright and shiny at the start of mining season. I have been looking for videos of what happens when mining goes wrong.

Topic 6: Motorola Moto Insta‑Share Projector

The other day I was musing about the realities of projector technology. One real world option that does exist is this wild Motorola project to attach things to their cameras. One of the things they want to attach happens to be a projector. The videos look pretty fun and they were talking about a 70 inch projection. I am very curious about how people are using mobile projectors. It seems like a good use case. Being able to put a movie or YouTube on a wall could be fun.

I watched a ton of videos about portable projectors on YouTube throughout 2017. Some of them looked really good, but the price tag would make me nervous. I really believe that the next generation of projection will include some interactive augmented reality components. I do not want to miss out on that generation of technology. Maybe some use case will inspire me to make a purchase who knows. Right now we have one main television capable of presenting a 65 inch picture in 1080P. Everybody has tablets and phones that present a much smaller viewing experience. Maybe that is all that is necessary and it will go the other way with foks using highly immersive VR headsets. Based on my experiences that does not seem likely. Every time I put on my Google Daydream headset either one of my dogs or kids interrupt the experience. Trying to sit down with a headset on is a surefire way to cause the dog to want to play.

Topic 7: The New England Patriots are playing

These commercials about scrappy startups are interesting. They don’t really tell me anything. I guess sometimes people just waste advertising dollars. I’m watching the AFC divisional game on CBS tonight. It mostly just makes me sad that the Kansas City Chiefs could not hold a lead and ended their season early. We are right back to where we ended up yesterday. John Paul is watching the same Pokemon movie. The Patriots seem to be rumbling along. Interruptions abound in the household today.

I’m gearing up toward some type of word extravaganza tonight. Picking a topic to write about today has been a real challenge. Nothing has really stood out. Nothing has really caught my attention. That happens sometimes. Being able to sit down and write for hours a time probably means the author has something to say or is just an incredibly gifted writer. This weekend really has to involve a bit of catch up. My productivity this week has not been up to par. It probably has to do with how much energy it required to get my cryptocurrency mining rig setup.
Two full weeks of writing at this pace have been changing my style a little bit. My style has been pulled into a little bit more of a narrative tone mixed with a conversational style that I hope is relatable. Without question writing 1,000,000 words in the same year will help to refine and probably define my writing style in different ways. As prominent sports commentator Jim Rome would say, “Have a take, don’t suck.” Getting to the point of writing with a perspective and being able to voice that pepsective in an effective way is an important part of learning how to write. Jim Rome might have been more succinct, but you probably have gotten the point I was trying to make.

That is really what it is all about. Writing with purpose. Building on idea and putting thoughts together in ways that help lift the conversation. That might seem like a lofty goal, but hey why not strive for the betterment of all things. Figuring out how to drive things forward today was a challenge. Throughout most of 2017 my learning target involved figuring out and understanding artificial intelligence. For the most part that goal has been achieved. I know enough about artificial intelligence to speak on the topic for hours extemporaneously. That is probably a good start toward being able to help others understand the finer points of artificial intelligence. That was the goal of my 2017 journey. I wanted to be able to taken on complex subject matters and present my reactions and insights in a way that was relatable and easy to share regardless of previous subject matter expertise. I guess the best way of saying it would be to explain that helping others jump in and learn about artificial intelligence was the goal of my efforts.

I really do intend to start up my daily or maybe a weekly live stream again to tackle artificial intelligence and maybe talk about my writing journey. That was a fun and exciting part of my previous routine, but it did not translate into writing a ton. This year is about writing. It is about having a big writing year. My goal is to have a truly big year. A 1,000,000 word writing year. That would be a true achievement and probably an interesting journey. Both the result and the journey will be valuable. I’m not expecting the journey to change my life, but I do expect it to improve my writing skills and help me focus in on delivering high quality content on a consistent basis. It will probably end up being highly entertaining in parts.

Part of writing 1,000,000 words in the same year is working toward breaking down self-censorship and the things that limit us. Writing with a certain degree of freedom of spirit helps renew my passion for writing. It may very well help renew my passion for life and encourage me to appreciate the things that come into focus and receive my attention this year. That is probably the best outcome. It would be the best way to round out such a long journey. With two weeks of writing complete. It very much is like taking 2 steps forward on a journey with 50 steps remaining. At the end of the path is not an end but the start of a new and exciting journey. One powered by an entirely new degree of experience as a writer, thinker, and public intellectual.

That may just set the stage for the rest of the year. I’m not sure if each week should be treated as a chapter or how these weblog posts relate in the grand scheme of the journey. This inquiry is not intended to be published as volumes or taken apart in slices it is a journey with a start and a finish. Each step is taken with the knowledge from the previous step behind it. Each step builds from the journey of the last. Step by step along this journey we will get to see and experience a world of new opportunity and adventure.

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

P.S. Before working on a postscript addition to my weblog posts I need to really focus on hitting the 3,000 word target in the main section each day. These little asides or tag along sections should be insightful and in addition to the base 3,000 words per day. That was the case today, but it has not been the case for the majority of my posts. I feel like so far they are my return to the weblog post to help push the word count up to a respectable 3,000 or so. Some of them have been below the target and that is part of changing up my routine and working on writing at length in a longer form of prose.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— A post about my top ten favorite science fiction television shows
— 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.