Day 18 the one where I rant about the YouTube Partner Program

YouTube letter

2018: Day 18 the one where I rant about the YouTube Partner Program
Word count 46,270 + 3,011 or 49,281 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Leading off the day is an email from the folks at YouTube. It seemed like an automated email from a generic mailbox titled, “Important updates to the YouTube Partner Program.” It was an email that contained some information about how the folks at YouTube were making some changes to the YouTube partner Program (YPP) this year. The whole thing basically boils down to this passage of the email that states my YouTube channel, “…is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.” Apparently, I have 30 days to go from 112 subscribers to 1,000 subscribes to my YouTube channel. Approaching this like a challenge is probably the right way to handle this notice. It may require a little bit of strategy and having a video go a little bit viral. I included a screenshot of the email as my thumbnail today. It was pretty easy to grab using the Windows 10 built in Snipping Tool. We will see how the quality turns out. It is a Snipping Tool capture of part of my 34 inch monitor. Most of the thumbnails I use are much higher resolution images.

I joined Youtube back on March 18, 2009. That seems like a very long time ago. I get it they have faced serious questions about their content partners and things are getting intense within the increasingly scare race for advertising dollars. A quick search of my email archive did not help me figure out exactly when my channel got monetized, but it was a long time ago. The internet was way different back then and get that YouTube executives based on an algorithm want to remove me from being able to monetize my channel within the YouTube Partner Program. They probably consider it to just be business. YouTube is full of micro creators who make a few videos and contribute to the overall catalog. Some of my content is useful and some of it is entertaining. None of it is viewed all that much.

Several times a month I want to figure something out and go to YouTube for help. I think that is a use case that a lot of people are familiar with or have participated in. Maybe it is figuring out how to modify the lighting controls on my Honda Pilot or understanding how to refill the diaper genie. Throughout 2017 I made content on YouTube it was viewed about 40,000 times. That seems decent for the type of content that I create. Talking about artificial intelligence every day and making vlogs does not appear to be bringing in millions of views. I have until February 20, 2018 to get another 888 YouTube subscribers. The best way to start addressing that challenge will be to start making a new video every day. That is going to be a challenge given my time is devoted to writing 3,000 words per day. Maybe this will provide the extra degree of motivation that i need to push things forward this month.
It does not appear that tonight will be my triumphant return to YouTube in 2018. Maybe tomorrow will be the day when that finally happens. I spent an hour assembling some type of desk for John Paul tonight. It was pretty simple and only required a screwdriver. It seemed pretty solid. I’m still listening to a playlist called the, “The 100 Greatest 90’s Alternative Songs.” Tonight we are getting deeper into the playlist. I have advanced to song 48 of 100. It will probably take me a couple of days to make it front one end of the playlist to the other.

Topic 1: Cryptocurrency valuations are wild

Watching the Coinbase dashboard will give you a sense of just how volatile cryptocurrencies are these days. This week has seen some very intense fluctuations. My Coinbase wallet has about 0.0022 BTC in it that was mined from NiceHash. Right now it has a total balance of ≈ $26.31. I watched it swing from extremes between 22 and 33. These types of wild swings are very interesting and distributing. I’m sure anybody that invested at the height of the bitcoin market is trying to figure out exactly what is going to happen. The mechanics of it are pretty simple. More people are selling at the moment than the number of people buying. Within the last week a bitcoin would have been worth between $9,477 and $14,446. That is a pretty wide range for any currency within a week. I’m sure some type of speculation and day trading is going on based on these huge swings in price. They are way larger than what you would see from a stock or bond. It really does seem like the world of cryptocurrency is a little bit wild wild west gold rush and a little bit pure wildness.

Topic 2: Going back to running some live streams

Getting into the habit of hosting a livestream on artificial intelligence everyday was interesting. It pretty much meant that I was reading content on my phone, computer, and tablet related to artificial intelligence during every spare moment. Riding each wave of information as crashing in the forefront of consideration takes a certain amount of time and effort. It also takes a certain amount of skill and energy. Keeping up to date and talking during a live stream are simple enough. Having all that foundational knowledge to be able to really explain and dig into emerging technologies is the part that requires a lot of groundwork.

The format was working out pretty well. Every news item that caught my attention was shared on Twitter via a tweet. During the livestream it was pretty easy to just review each tweet in descending chronological order. The whole process took about 20 minutes to setup and film each day. That would be something that I could go back to without a whole lot of difficulty. Finding the time to be able to do that and to write 3,000 words per day might be a losing battle. Carving out those few minutes per day should be possible at some point, but right now I’m having a hard time hitting the 3,000 words per day goal. I’m currently working from a morning writing session and an evening close out writing session.

Topic 3: Writing about the things you are passionate about

Each day involves writing an opening vignette. Picking a topic that inspires passion is a key part of writing something it is readable and building up a bulk of words. Really digging in and writing 1,000 words about something is about telling a story and telling it well. You have to begin to set the stage and drill into things with a little bit more. Part of the whole writing 3,000 words per day thing is about helping to improve my writing skills. In some ways being able to sit down and open the door to a complex topic is very important. Opening a door can be a very hard thing to do. Some topics are more approachable than others. I pride myself on being able to take some very complex things and make them approachable. That may not always work out the way that I intended, but hey we can only try our best to move things forward.

Figuring out exactly what moving forward entails can be the biggest part of the challenge. Certainty about what to do and how to move forward has always been easy enough for me to accomplish. That is not so much about Bushido or some other type of unwritten code it is more or less a summation of my beliefs vs. an external code. I’m sure in some ways the eight virtues of Bushido inform those beliefs. That should probably be a topic for an entire post at some point. I should scroll down and add that to the list of topics, but I would rather have it pop up more organically vs. having it be forced into a topic of the day post.

Topic 4: Owning the narrative

Each post on my functional journal (weblog) will always be in chronological order. That is how the system is setup to work. Posts are delivered and stored in chronological order. They can be added to categories or grouped by the month when it was published. Some other folks might use different methods to bucket posts, but that is pretty much how things are sorted here. Owning the narrative within the weblog posts is about driving daily content based on something. That something is probably at the crux of owning the narrative. It is probably about setting the agenda and sticking to it day after day and week after week. Part of the narrative throughout 2018 will be the march toward writing 1,000,000 words in the same year and my goal of writing 3,000 words per day. Beyond word counts and posting schemas owning a narrative is about ensuring that the events, themes, and stories from day to day flow together in a reasonable way. That is way easier to describe than it is to achieve. One general narrative thread here is about striving forward.

Topic 5: Learning TensorFlow

A book published in August 2017 from Hope, Resheff, and Lieder called, “Learning TensorFlow: A guide to building deep learning systems,” showed up at the house. The book is not as long as I expected. The last numbered page was a part of the index at 228. I’m started to dedicate a part of my bookshelf to weighty tomes on TensorFlow. I’m very curious to put this book through the paces and see what we can do with it. That does present a little bit of a problem. My 100 day cryptocurrency mining project is still up and running. That pretty much means that my graphics card will be tied up mining until Wednesday, April 11, 2018. That seems like a long time from now. If you only count weekdays, then it would be even longer spanning out to Monday, May 21, 2018.

For those of you who may have been following along on my YouTube videos you know the solution. The solution comes straight from Google. I’ll have to use the Google Research tool Colaboratory. It is web based and all of the work happens over on a virtual machine at Google via Google Drive vs. having to use my graphics card on my Windows 10 image. That is good news. That means I can start working through this Learning TensorFlow book. Given the amount of words that I am writing every day you may start seeing some commentary on my experience of digging into this TensorFlow book.

Thematically that means we will be juggling the 100 day mining journey, digging into a Learning TensorFlow book, and struggling with my quest to save my YouTube channel. As a collection of themes go those are all tied to technology in some way. Maybe they all contribute to the undercurrent of the intersection of technology and modernity. We are getting closer and closer to seeing major changes to society from the rise of technology. Some of the things we are seeing built out could induce medical advances that extend life and potentially increase the quality of that life.

TensorFlow as a language could end up contributing to some of that through advancing treatment and refining highly complex pattern recognition to offer earlier detection at reduced costs. The use cases for TensorFlow are numerous and some of them are exciting. You can use TensorFlow to focus on solving specific problems and you can tackle a number of use cases. That however does not translate to an advance in general artificial intelligence. At some point, we will be able to building all the use cases and have a library of examples that a more generalized AI can use to extrapolate and build on. The type of AI we see in movies that talks and can solve problems independently is not here right now. It could show up before we know it and advances in general AI are probably closer than we can imagine.

We have seen a proliferation of tools for artificial intelligence research. One of these new frameworks will end up being the basis for generalized artificial intelligence or maybe some type of fork from one of them. So many people are working toward advancing the ball right now that I am almost expecting the next wave of innovation to arrive at anytime.

Topic 6: Mining away…

It seems like a lot of folks are getting mining software setup and are hunting for cryptocurrencies. For better or worse it does seem to be the gathering acorns of our time. I spent some time yesterday trying to figure out how to locate another reasonably priced graphics card for my 100 day sprint toward Wednesday, April 11, 2018. I was looking for a GPU in the Geforce GTX 1060+ range under $300.00. It turns out that getting 2 ASUS Dual series GeForce GTX 1060 DUAL-GTX1060-O3G 3GB graphics cards was probably just luck. They all seem to be sold out. Sure it would have been better and maybe more profitable to get something with more onboard memory. People in the mining community do not appear to be very excited about 3GB graphics cards. Their capacity for hashing cryptocurrency is limited compared to something with more resources. It would have worked out for my purposes. I just wanted to watch 3 graphics cards mine cryptocurrency and evaluate what it would take to optimize their efforts.

Throughout the last two weeks I have had a number of conversations with people about mining and what setup they are using. People can setup NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.8 (they upgraded from v2.0.1.6 recently) with relative ease and even with one NVIDIA card can start mining away. Maybe that is the most interesting part of the process. You have this highly bimodal split of users with 1 to 3 graphics cards running in standard computer case and you have folks who either have specialized hardware or mining rigs with 6+ GPUs running. The other day I watched a YouTube video with a miner who had a shed full of 192 graphics cards titled, “5.6GH 192 GPU Ethereum Mining Shed tour.” That thing is probably a fire hazard. My only thought when watching the video was not about how powerful that mining rig happens to be. It was about how easy it would be for bugs to get into the shed.

Topic 7: Today was a day of many topics

Today was one of those days where settling into a grove and staying on topic was hard. Things really got disrupted today. Having enough time to really engage in writing and some deep thought would have provided a little bit of continuity and maybe just a little bit more focused prose. Really locking in and writing about a topic is what this extended writing project is about. My focus has been on really digging in and thinking about the topics that catch my attention. Every one of those topics is dragged back into my basic framework to understand the form, function, structure, and assumptions of the topic and how that framework relates to striving forward.

Each day we make choices about how we want to move forward and what we want to do to learn and grow. That presumption is based entirely on the assumption that people want to grow, to learn more, to move forward. I can clear my mind at anytime to the point of almost falling asleep. That state of pure rest has never been my version of enlightenment or pure zen. My interest has always been on the opposite side of the spectrum. I want my mind to be alive with thoughts and questions. For me the fictional words of West Wing President Josiah Bartlet,”What’s next,” always come to mind. That has to be the question. It has to be the basis of the things we consider in the current moment. We have to decide what is next. That is at a very basic level what we do throughout the day. We do it throughout the moment. It happens all the time. Even right now you are wondering what’s next.

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

P.S. A package of Red Vines just might be sitting on my desk. They were not a necessary purchase. Apparently, they are made in the United States. That surprised me. I knew that the folks at Red Vines claim to make a, “deliciously rewarding treat,” but it was surprising to find out it was made in California. Yesterday was one of those days where I wanted to stress eat a couple Red Vines and move on. You never really know how stress will drive writing. It cam at times be the motivating factor to push things forward very rapidly. That is why a deadline can be a motivator. The fear and stress associated with missing a deadline can help some writers jump in and get going. My undergraduate advisor frequently said I was a first in the pool kind of kid. That is a very true statement. My drive to understand things has always driven me to be a first adopter. My technology related interests have always been on the bleeding edge of what is possible. Some of that drive is fueled by Red Vines today, but for the moment part that drive is something that has always just existed. Maybe it is an innate curiosity to understand the world around me that just got overly focused on technology.

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.