Day 17 the one where cryptocurrency values plunged

2018: Day 17 the one where cryptocurrency values plunged
Word count 43,257 + 3,013 or 46,270 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Just yesterday I was musing about how all of the NVIDIA Geforce GTX graphics cards have been purchased mostly by cryptocurrency speculators. Check out the thumbnail image of a retail store with about 10 square feet of empty shelves. They have been bought up by folks that want to engage in some type of mining. People have been building all sorts of wild mining rigs. You can search YouTube and see tours of all sorts of mining rigs. They range from very simple to hundreds of graphic cards. My mining rig is less adventurous. I pretty much just added some fans and two graphics cards to my Cooler Master (C.M.) Storm Stryker full tower computer case. Very quickly one of the graphics cards suffered a wholesale physical breakdown. Seriously, one of fans lost a blade and that blade must have crunched off around 6 other blades for a total of 7 broken blades. The conclusion of that long and scary computer hardware story is that my mining rig only has two graphics cards.

Running a mining test for 100 days with only 2 graphics cards may just be how we end up proceeding. It is possible that a new third graphics card will be picked up, but at the moment they all seem to be sold out online, in computer stores, and even in big box retail stores. The search is on, but it may not be successful. Apparently, the sale of graphics cards is a lagging indicator. People are chasing the hype. Today the values have been all over the place. The values themselves do not impact my test. They may cause the success condition not to be met. The goal of the test involves figuring out how to pay off my one new ASUS Dual series GeForce GTX 1060 DUAL-GTX1060-O3G 3GB graphics card. It would have been much harder to pay off two cards. Right now the one that was returned to the seller has been refunded. The experiment is really just centered around the one graphics card and how much time it will take to pay it off.

Yesterday I almost broke down and bought a Litecoin. That has almost happened for the last 2 days, but I have held off. Today is one of those days where my hesitation was healthy. Bitcoin plunged under 10,000 at one point today. Litecoin moved from around 250 down to under 150. The swings in cryptocurrency values are at times shocking. If the values keep plugging, then it is going to take more than 100 days to pay off my new graphics card. That will mean my experiment was not 100% successful. However, at worse we are probably looking at a cost offset. That works. Either way the cards will be switching over to doing Tensorflow based processing at some point. All of this adventure will swing back over to a study of artificial intelligence.

Between December 17, 2017 and today Bitcoin had lost about 42% or roughly 8 thousand dollars. That is an amazing percentage. It is equally amazing that the value of a bitcoin had gotten up to 20 thousand dollars in a meteoric rise that will be examined for years. It must have been a wild ride for those who got into the game at the start. My study of cryptocurrencies is more or less about two sides of the same coin. One side of the coin describes the ride and the other the technology. It was really fascinating to watch my small fraction of a bitcoin go up and down today. The swings in value are highly volatile.

Topic 1: That one shot of vanilla flavored espresso

I’m settling in for the even to sit down and write. Right now Top Chef season 15 episode 4 is on the television. This episode is sorta dragging along today. I guess they cannot all be full of drama and intrigue. Over the last year my diet has been moving closer and closer to fully vegetarian. I do some vegan meals, but those are always really hard to accomplish. We slowly made the move to eating more vegetarian meals. One of the ways we started to make the switch involved ordering vegetarian meals from Blue Apron. That meant that for 3 meals per week we were starting to walk down a different path. It worked out well enough. Now I scout menus in advance and know how to pick out vegetarian food for myself. I’m probably 90% or more vegetarian. Every now and again I might deviate.

It has really been a rather healthy switch in my lifestyle. Keep in mind that giving up french fries, onion rings, and other fried food is an important part of changing things up. It is really hard to give up fried foods. Sometimes you do not even realize how often you eat french fries or fried foods. Really thinking about what you are going to eat and managing your diet is a lot of work. I do not write about exercising or my diet very often. That is mostly due to the fact that it is not all that interesting or compelling. The last time I really wrote about a dietary change was when I gave up soda and energy drinks. That was way harder than eating vegetarian. Seriously, it was really hard. I have gone back to drinking a soda at a restaurant, but I do still feel slightly guilty about it.

Topic 2: Captain Pickles squeaks

We have had Peppercorn the dog for about 12 years. During that time we have seen all sorts of noise making. Peppercorn took a vow of silence for the first three years. To this day I have no idea how or why that happened. The dog never really barked or made very much noise of any kind. That all changed. Our 55 pound australian cattle dog (blue heeler) mix barks at just about anything worth barking at. Captain Pickles our recently rescued about 8 month old labrador mix squeaks. Yeah I know you might think it is more or less whining mixed with some yelps, but to me it sounds like a squeak. It is somewhat endearing and at the same time offputting. In time we will see if it is a phase or just a part of the dog’s personality.

Topic 3: My playlist for tonight

I’m listening to a playlist called the, “The 100 Greatest 90’s Alternative Songs.” I’m on song 19 of 100. Obviously, the playlist will not be exhausted before my writing journey ends tonight. Yesterday I only ended up producing 2,000 words. That means a little bit of catching up is in order. I really only have to average 2739.7260274 words per day throughout the entire year to hit the 1,000,000 word target. That is why the 3,000 word per day goal is so important. You have to get ahead of the overall goal to avoid any setbacks along the way. The flu season this year seems to be extreme. That could derail my writing efforts for several days. The last time I tried to write when feverish it did not turn out very well. That weighty tome was achieved to never be read again. My dreams are always so surreal when I am sick.

This week I meant to spend more time cleaning up my office. Cleaning did not really happen this week. Maybe tomorrow I will clean up my desk. That would be a good first step to getting things organized. Overall I have gotten used to writing on this ASUS Chromebook C101P. Over the years most of my writing has happened on laptops, notebooks, and now Chromebooks. Sitting down and writing on my main workstation has not really felt natural. That is not the primary place that I spent my time writing. Right now for example. I am laying down and writing with this Chromebook sitting on a pillow. It does not really get hot or have heat problems. I’m not even sure it has a fan. I just picked it up and looked all over. It does not appear to have a fan. It does appear that people Google Chromebook fans enough for it to have suggestions when I was typing out my search.

I’m going to have to get better about writing set pieces each night or start to really focus in on delivering a higher quality of narrative. Before all of this started I knew that having a list of topics was going to be very important to help me move things along. Sometimes you just need a little bit of guidance to get going when you are not inspired. Based on the amount of global hype and against related to bitcoin you think I would be able to write more compelling prose about the topic. I have been able to describe my journey. I’m still a little bit irked that one of the graphics cards had to be sent back to the seller. Mining with three graphics cards would have been more interesting.

Speaking of interesting mining problems. The folks over at the NVIDIA website are selling a Star Wars Jedi Order NVIDIA Titan Xp collectors edition graphics card for a little over one thousand dollars. The website includes the note, “It’s driven by 3840 NVIDIA® CUDA® cores running at 1.6 GHz and packs 12 TFLOPs of brute force.” That is a lot or processing power for one graphics card. It also glows in either red or green depending on which side you pick. Obviously, I want to get one of each and let them battle it out in terms of mining power. A lot of the graphics cards are listing a limit of 2 per customer on them. That probably has to do with the secondary market for graphics card where people have marked up the prices even higher.

Building a second computer with a few more graphics cards in it sounds like an interesting proposition to think about. I would probably stay with the Storm Stryker case. I’m sure some other types of full size cases are equally epic. Searches for cases are kind of interesting. Maybe I miss being able to go to the Micro Center in Kansas City and look at all the cases before picking the right one. Picking the right case this time around would be more or less about maximizing cooling capability. The one thing I have learned building out and maintaining a mining rig is that graphics card heat is very real.

I’m going to price out a new computer on Newegg real quick and see what it would cost me. The ASUS homepage is very keen on the Z370 motherboard. I’ll probably use that as a base to build out my speculative system tonight.

The costs would add up: the motherboard looks to be running about 200, CPU 400, ddr4 400, CPU cooler 100, m.2 stick 100, and case 200. My computer spend before graphics cards would probably end up being around $1,500 to $2,000. That is probably on the very high end of what somebody would spend on a mining rig setup. It is probably closer to a high quality VR or gaming custom computer build. Based on my research it would almost be worth it to buy one of the custom built computers vs. assembling a rig on your own. I remember back a long time ago when building out an Alienware computer was the height of computing fun.

To that end I might just go out and build an Alienware setup that might work for mining with a couple graphics cards. Keep in mind that people who set up mining rigs use air cooling and have 6+ graphics cards tied to the same motherboard. That type of effort is a little extreme for my needs. I just like to build computers the same way that has always worked for me. My massive Lian Li cube case still sits next to me in my office. It is much louder than I remember, but that is probably due to the age of the hardware. Maybe at some point I’ll get it booted up and plug in a monitor this week.

The Alienware Area-51 case does look pretty cool, but the brand does not have the same meaning to me anymore. It used to be having an Alienware computer was the gold standard for gaming. I never had one. Pricing them was really as far as I ended up going during my quest to build a computer. It was always cheaper for me to get the parts and put them together myself compared to having somebody else build the computer. I feel like that script has been flipped sometime during the last few years. I went out to the Alienware website. It links in to a Dell base URL. Trying to build the most expensive computer possible was not as much fun as it used to be.

Topic 4: Closing out the night

We all make choices about how we want to move forward. Finding a working routine and repeating it over and over again does not seem seem to be a viable model. People want to experience new and interesting things. Doing the same thing daily may not cut it for most people. I approach each day by staying positive. My efforts are always focused on trying to move forward and learn as much possible about the world around me. That is pretty the name of the game. A game based on learning about the outside world.

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

P.S. Yesterday was another slow writing day. We need to kick it up a notch and make sure the vignettes are stretching out to over 1,000 words. To balance out my writing strategy. Every morning about 1,000 words need to be generated before breakfast. That makes it easier to crank out about 2,000 words in the evening and hit the target. This is a big year for my writing endeavors. Getting close to 1,000,000 words will be a fantastic accomplishment. I might even put a plaque up on the wall to celebrate that victory over procrastination. That might seem like a silly idea, but people put all sorts of things on walls. Instead of a talking fish Sopranos style I’m hoping for a big writing year plaque. That seems reasonable now on day 17. We will see if that is the case when we hit the Major League Baseball all star break. The all star game this year is on July 17, 2018. I’m hoping to have cracked the 500,000 word barrier well before the all star game.

We all have to have goals. That half way point marker will be a test of my writing skills and of my commitment to writing 3,000 words per day. I’m going to get close today, but that is a function of how long this post script is turning out to be today vs. my original writing effort. At the end of my writing session usually after some time has passed I try to come back and put together some words. They can at times end up being a little bit meta, but that is ok. They are intended to be reflective about the process or the content. My ability to go back and edit my work is a little bit limited. At this point the grand total of words for the year is nearing 50,000. Even with my best intentions some espresso and a bag of popcorn I could not chew through 50,000 words of editing in one session. At this point, I could still manage to read it all in one day. That is probably going to stop being an option sometime soon. The amount of prose being generated will be larger than I can reasonably consume or edit.

That pretty much means that only one option really exists at this point. The option to press on and keep writing. Maybe next year will be a year of editing and reflection. It is also possible that the journey will just keep on rolling at that point. My writing skills should be at their height and the habit of daily writing should be very well reinforced after 365 days of making it a priority. At the moment, my thoughts have wondered to thinking about writing on a beach somewhere nice. That might be due to the heat of my mining rig warming my office or it could be due to the snowy weather we have seen here in Denver. Either way the thought of sitting on the beach and writing has come to the forefront of my thoughts. That is probably a good goal at some point. The idea of having enough calm downtime to sit and write on a beach is strangely appealing. The waves crashing, the sand, and maybe some type of on demand snacks.

That might very well be the key selling point. Most of the beaches I have visited and sat down to write some words have also had on demand snacks. People brought them on a pretty regular basis. Being well fed and sitting on a beach writing might be what I am really thinking about. It just might be a daydream expressed in written form within this weblog post. That may have just happened. Thanks to that little bit of daydreaming we might have just hit the 3,000 word writing goal for the day. This postscript with about 800 words really helped round things out for the day. It might be a good idea to focus on getting ahead of the target vs. this constant trying to catch up.
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.