2018: Day 15 the one with a philosophical proposition and some thoughts on mining
Word count 41,257 of 1,000,000
For the next 100 days or so every day involves the same type of routine. Waking up is followed by very quickly checking the cryptocurrency mining rig in my office. Pretty much everything gets checked. The Windows 10 installation on this box is on a m.2 stick and is pretty stable. The CPU water cooler has pretty much insured that this CPU has never even been remotely warm. The huge fans on the Corsair water cooler for the CPU pull air across the RAM and the rest of the motherboard. That pretty much means the top half of the Storm Stryker case is cool to the touch. Examining the graphics cards is really about checking to make sure the wall of Corsair fans is still pulling air away from them to exhaust the case. Next I login into the NiceHash website and look at the uptime and CPU temperature in celsius. At some point, I should probably install something that will chart the temperate and let me look at a graph. I’m going to check the NVIDIA software shortly to see if it is already doing that. I’m sure it would be a lot of work for the NiceHash software developers, but displaying a graphic of the last 7 days of temperate for the GPUs would be a nice feature.
Those things are pretty much the first things that come to mind every morning. I’m compelled to jump out of bed and check on the mining rig. I’m not entirely sure that should be my primary daily concern related to starting the day. Based on my regular routine the first few minutes of the day are a wash anyway. Nothing really happens in that first 15 minutes of waking up and getting ready for the day. I have tried to recapture those first few minutes and that struggle was a failing effort. Things before coffee are bleak. That is sort of how it goes. In practical terms my first daily activity is always checking my phones for alerts. That is an exercise to see if anything is wrong or any action is required to get things back on track. You can imagine the start to my day is really just about gathering input and figuring out what direction to take. That might seem pretty basic and a just the fact type of approaching to selecting a direction to take, but it has worked out pretty well over the years.
That same question resonates throughout my day. It resonates throughout my writing. It plays a major role in my life. Based on all the available information at the time what direction should be taken. It all stacks up and that stack has to fall in one direction or another. That might just be the cornerstone of my inquiry into values for the day. We just might be engaging in an inquiry into why exactly the chips stack and in what direction they are going to fall. All of the noise may not reduce to that pure of a signal. Breaking things down into one pure stack or one pure question of things may not be a reasonable thing to begin the day with, but that is pretty much the direction we are going to strive to figure out. Welcome to the day of unreasonable inquiry. This rabbit has been 14 days and well over 40,000 words in the making. All of that to get to here to get to this moment.
Consider for a moment a proposition that we focus in the moment either internally on a thought or externally on a stimulus. Between those two states our proposition dictates and internal or external focus. Focusing a thoughtful reasoned set of logic on an external stimulus might just bridge the gap and breakdown the proposition. That is the conundrum of the stack. All of our problems, questions, directions, or theories rarely stack up neatly for consideration. Bringing together our jumbled mass of this moment right here right now is a hard enough proposition. Trying to pull all of our history and experience along with it just might breakdown any ability to process it together and understand the world around us. We strive to derive meaning in the world around us. That journey of looking around and striving one step forward in each moment describes the nature of our search. That inquiry is the basis of my inquiry this year. It is the reason that stringing together 1,000,000 words will have a common thread. My struggle in the moment to find meaning and move forward is always a part of the journey.
Topic 1: Writing using topic signposting
You may have noticed that each weblog post has moved into a format with an opening vignette followed by a series of topics until we reach the threshold of 3,000 words. The topic designation is just a signpost to let you know that we are going to be changing topics. It notes that one door just closed and another one is about to open. Sure some decent connecting thoughts and better writing could achieve the same type of outcome, but we should face the facts. One long 3,000 word weblog post with nothing breaking it up better be pretty compelling prose. Most of my thoughts on a subject are exhausted in 500 to 1,000 words. That means the idea of a single uniform essay delivering 3,000 words of insightful prose may not happen any time soon. That pretty much has to be ok and the way around that problem is to keep using topics as a signpost method to break things up.
If the topic were to diverge into a weblog post of its own, then I will break up the content into two separate postings. A few of the posts have come close to reaching that threshold. I’m sure it is something that will happen soon or later. Any collection of words that passes about 3,500 words needs to be broken up into multiple weblog posts anyway. In those cases the amount of content has outpaces a reasonable reading session and should be broken apart just for readability in my humble opinion. Ok —- that opinion was probably not humble or restrained. That is probably just how things are going to be until we settle into a more regular rhythm of writing during this journey toward 1,000,000 words being written in 2018.
Topic 2: I’m thinking about watching every Borg episode of Star Trek
Breaking Star Trek episodes into clusters is always a fun thing to do. It is a huge universe full of amazing content. In this case the cluster of episodes I’m looking to consume relates to every episode where a Borg appears during Star Trek The Next Generation. Oddly enough the grand total appears to only be 6 episodes. I would have guessed that it was way more episodes. I would have been wrong. Right now my current belief is that 6 episodes make up this cluster and they include the following:
1. TNG – S02E16 – Q Who
2. TNG – S03E26 – The Best of Both Worlds, Part I
3. TNG – S04E01 – The Best of Both Worlds, Part II
4. TNG – S05E23 – I, Borg
5. TNG – S06E26 – Descent, Part I
6. TNG – S07E01 – Descent, Part II
You could probably watch all of these episodes in the same day. It could be a day with a pizza party and some popcorn. Given that both pizza and popcorn preferences are highly personalized you will need to figure out what works best in your household. You can tell this is my first journey into running a mining software on my main computer. I just had to disable hardware acceleration within Google Chrome for the first time ever. That was exciting it is something you can do if you want. Today it seemed like a good idea to start watching some Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes on my primary computer. That meant turning on Netflix and given that my preferred browser is Chrome something had to give. In this case it was hardware acceleration within my browser that had to go away to allow Netflix to stay. Right now Netflix is booted up and I’m ready to watch TNG “Q Who”. One of my favorite lines from Star Trek happened in that episode when Captain Picard said, “Well… perhaps what we most needed was a kick in our complacency – to prepare us for what lies ahead.” At about 45 minutes an episode watching all 6 can probably be accomplished today. Episode 1 of 6 has been consumed and I’m moving right along.
Topic 3: Do people day trade cryptocurrencies?
Today was one of those days where I started to think about what strategies people might be using to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. Based on my general understanding of the process it is not very fast for transactions to complete. Googling day trading cryptocurrency took me down a rabbit hole. It was an interesting and oddly emotion based set of postings and threads. Based on the amount of chatter on the internet people are doing some type of trading based on speculation. I bet some of them are just buying and holding in hopes that things go up. My strategy was completely different. Mining is really just an investment in hardware, time, and energy. It seemed like the best strategy to jump in and learn about how cryptocurrencies are generated and how the blockchain works.
Episode 3 of my 6 episode cluster of Star Trek: The Next Generation borg episodes just started. It may not have been the best idea to spend a few hours during the middle of the day watching TNG. Ok —- the first three episodes have now been watched. Writing is still ahead of schedule for the day. The word count is fast approaching 2,000 words and I was rather proud of one of the paragraphs written today. You can try to figure out which one it was. I’ll give you a hint it happened before the Topic 1 signposting. They could have made a lot more Star Trek. It would have been easy to follow multiple captains and crews. That probably would have a made for a richer and more refined Star Trek universe.
It does feel like more and more people are interested in cryptocurrencies. People are trying to figure out how to acquire them or invest in them or have a position related to them. Later today I’m going to read a little bit more about this bitcoin ETF that I read about called Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC). It is apparently traded on the Nasdaq. That seems interesting enough to read about. Full disclosure: I have made zero purchases of any cryptocurrency. I have no plan to do that anytime soon. Understanding the ever changing political landscape and the impact of Warren Buffett’s remarks probably need to be resolved to create stability. Obviously, I am engaging in mining using the NiceHash Miner software. That did result in my first ever BTC transfer. I’m pretty sure the 0.00118327 BTC in my wallet are not clouding my judgement. I’m just mining for fun. The process of mining does not really seem like wholesale speculation. My 100 days of mining experiment is really more about entertainment than an investment strategy. My mining efforts are about understanding what it takes to succeed at that task.
Topic 4: We are watching Harry Potter tonight
Recently I tried to convince Joni that we needed the $75 special edition of Blade Runner on Blu-ray. My arguments included clear winners like it has a unicorn on the front and is clearly extra special. Joni demurred that we already own the Blade Runner Final Cut Blu-ray and that it was was already special enough. Aside from that conversation we settled on watching the first Harry Potter movie this evening. The Saints vs. Vikings game is almost over and that means it is almost time for some Harry Potter. It is hard to imagine that the first Harry Potter film was released on November 16, 2001. That seems like a long time ago. Maybe it was a
long time ago. The kids like Harry Potter. It could be worse I guess.
29 seconds left and a last second field goal attempt just changed who is leading the game. That field goal attempt split the uprights and was about as true a kick as you can hope for in a playoff game. Drew Brees is pretty darn good at passing the football. I may have a Drew Brees rookie card somewhere in the basement. You read that right Drew Brees was drafted in the same year the first Harry Potter movie came out.
Topic 5: One last 800 word burst of writing tonight
We started out today thinking about the path forward. We started with an inquiry into understanding the world around us. We may have hit some detours along the way. Sometimes the parts off the path are the parts worth remembering. That might be the case today, but I am pretty sure some of the first few paragraphs will be more memorable than these last few paragraphs. My mind is drawing a blank at the moment. This is the perfect moment to pick a direction and go with it. I’m pretty close to tabula rasa at the moment. My writing could go in any direction at the moment. Things are truly up in the air. That may be reason enough to stop writing for a little bit.
Ok about an hour has passed. Things seem to have returned to normal. A lovely shot of Nespresso may have helped kick start the writing process again. These moments right here are the ones right before my toddler falls asleep. It is a razors edge between sleep addled chaos and about 8 hours of peace. This room is dark. I have turned down the brightness on my ASUS C101P chromebook. Overall I have been really happy with the USB Type-C charging. I had meant to bring my Bose Qc35 headphones upstairs to watch another episode of TNG, but that did not happen. Every night I listen to about an hour of music and write before bed. That has been the closing chapter of my day for a long time. This little Chromebook reminds me of my Sony VAIO Laptop model VGN-T250P. Nostalgia for that little device kind of surprises me. I’m pretty sure that I wrote a cookbook on that thing sometime before 2008. You want to talk about long lost works that one is probably pretty high on the list.
That was back during the window when I was better about backing up my words on physical media. It is very possible that I can dig up that decade old tome of epicurean genius and share it with the world. It is also possible that work of nonfiction is lost to the ages. Based on a quick search of my weblog it appears that the VGN-T250P started to breakdown sometime between 2006 and 2008. That would seem more reasonable if it was not 2018 and those breakdowns happened over a decade ago. The strangest part of it all is that instead of thinking back to when the device stopped working I searched Google and then my weblog archive. Somehow a Google search was more efficient than using my own memory of the events. That is a little bit scary to think about. It is also scary to think that my weblog posts go back that far.
My archive itself goes back pretty far. I’m sure any of the documents are useful, but they go back to around 2000. I guess that means my archive has about 18 years of content. That is a little intense. Google indexed it all and I can search it. That is not something I do on a regular basis. I did try at one point to aggregate all my photos together, but that was problematic. Most of my photos were on Flickr and then they got offloaded, backed up, and stored on physical media.
My first digital camera was this very heavy Hewlett Packard point and shoot PhotoSmart C200. Apparently, you can still buy this 1.0 megapixel camera on Amazon for like $30 or on eBay for way less at under $10. Some degree of self control was exercised tonight and no really old cameras were purchased. Oddly enough, I did kinda want to buy one and put it on my bookshelf. It then dawned on me just how horrible those 1.0 megapixel pictures look on my stunning 4K computer monitor. Those photos don’t even look good on my Chromebook screen.
Dr. Nels Lindahl
Written on my Storm Stryker custom build PC and my ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs
P.S. In case you were wondering, I ended up watching 4 of the 6 Star Trek The Next Generation episodes with a Borg in them. All that is left to finish out the cluster is to watch Part 1 & 2 of Descent that spans the end of season 6 and the start of season 7. Based on the title I do not fully remember these two episodes, but hey that happens. Watching every episode of Star Trek Voyager with a Borg in it will pretty much mean rewatching most of the series. Maybe I will figure out a custer of episodes that include a Borg other than Seven of Nine.
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.