Day 26 the one where I cleaned my office and moved my computer

my new computer door

2018: Day 26 the one where I cleaned my office and moved my computer
Word count 66,081 + 3,026 or 69,107 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Some epic office cleaning finally happened today. The folks over at Cooler Master USA shipped me a Trooper style case door for my Storm Stryker case. It fits great on the left side of the case. The only problem being that the Trooper and Storm Stryker cases have very different color schemes. The Storm Stryker case by Cooler Master is all white with some black trim. The Trooper case is black with red accents. To compensate for the mismatch on my computer case my office had to be cleaned. I turned the new Trooper door to face away from me toward the wall and now everything seems fine. For a regular gaming computer build the Cooler Master Storm Stryker or Trooper cases are very good. They have a ton of features and are well thought out.

The Storm Stryker case now has a working side door with a solid vent for my Noctua NF-A20 PWM premium-quality quiet 200mm fan from Noctua Cooling Solutions. You might be thinking that a 200mm fan venting out the side of the case is patently and markedly ridiculous. It is possible that your assessment is correct, but that is the only way I could manage to cool down my 2 GTX 1060 cards cards that are running at 100% capacity thanks to the NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.9 software. Cryptocurrency mining generates a ton of heat. Dissipating that much heat was not what the Storm Stryker case was designed to handle. It is a gaming case. These mining types cases use a totally different fan setup.

I’ll try to figure out how to merge two photos together to show you the before and after state in my office within today’s thumbnail. Thanks to the power of the Google Photos collage feature on my Pixel 2 XL android phone that brings together 2 to 9 photos you are going to get to see a sweet sweet thumbnail today. I managed to merge 4 photos together of the computer case. That one turned out poorly. I managed to get just two photos put together. It should give you a very clear idea of why my office had to be cleaned and why my Storm Stryker had to be moved. Cleaning my office felt pretty good. It will probably make me more productive. Ok —- it probably has nothing to do with my level of productivity, but it is better to have a clean office than a dirty office.

I just did a preview of that thumbnail in the blog format. The quality is not the best, but it does show my horrific cable management. The only drawback of the collage feature is the low image quality. It stiches the photos together, but it does it at a much lower resolution. I guess that is the price of using an app feature vs. opening a true photo editor and combining the photos. Objectively, my cable management needs to improve. Maybe that is what will be on tap for tomorrow. Using some zip ties to manage the cables is probably the right thing to do for my office. You have probably already guessed that those cables have gone completely unmanaged for over 3 years. You could question why now why tomorrow could be the day that these cables get managed. The answer is simple enough. That one photo made me really take a look under my desk and realize that those cables are just all over the place.

I spent some time looking at the Corsair Carbide Series Air 740 high airflow ATX cube case today. That would be my first time a case of mine would not have an external optical disc drive. It has been years since I owned an external CD writer. Now seems like the right moment for a few quick eBay searches. My searches did turn up a wonderful Xbox 360 external HD DVD drive for sale. You can imagine that seemed like an inviting purchase. I do have an entire shelf of HD DVDs. My one HD DVD drive is sitting in my Lian Li cube case. That case has a floppy, a zip drive, DVD, CD, Blu-ray, and HD DVD drives. I think the zip drive is a classic zip 250 unit. I’m not even sure my modern motherboard has all the IDE pin connections for those devices. The cable management on that setup is better. Apparently, when that case was assembled I cared about cable management.

Based on past experiences with computer builds it will take about 6 months of browsing to make a decision. That could very be an indication that I enjoy the hunt and putting together computer builds. Maybe the process of hunting for the right computer configuration is more appealing than the process of assembling it. My hesitation probably has to do with the price and just how much it costs to build a top of the line custom build computer system these days. Just buying a system that is manufactured at volume and solid in a retail store probably delivers a better value. That is not really how I go about building computers. They are generally built for coding and workstation type efforts mixed with a little bit of gaming. I drive my workstation computer builds pretty hard from time to time and that is not something that is going to diminish. It is probably something that is going to get worse based on the more advanced deep learning builds in my future.

At some point this year, I’m going to dig back into building the Bob, Alice, and Eve adversarial cryptography problem set. That is something that I think is worth my attention and is worthy of a lot more study in terms of understanding and replicating exactly how spontaneous communication rules changes would be hashed out between Bob and Alice. That is a problem space that has drawn my attention before and is worth a little bit more evaluation.

Topic 1: NVIDIA webinars are pretty great

The folks over at NVIDIA really wanted me to attend a webinar called, “Develop and Deploy Deep Learning Services at the Edge with IBM.” It was during the day and that just did not happen. They just sent over a link to the webinar with a sweet “Watch Recording” image right in the middle of the email. Oh my, the content was pre-recorded. That means I’m watching a recording of a pre-recorded webcast. They did host a live QA that I missed. Their work in AI is one of the main reasons that I bought an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition graphics card directly from NVIDIA. I ended up paying more than I normally would for a graphics card back in 2016. Part of that was knowing that I was buying into the NVIDIA echo system and all of their efforts to advance deep learning.

I still don’t really use my Bose Qc35 bluetooth headphones with my Chromebook very often. They are mostly reserved for the hour before bedtime. That hour is spent listening to music on my Pixel 2 XL android powered smartphone. The first time I got TensorFlow up and running on an instance of Ubuntu with my GTX 1060 was exciting. I may or may not have literally taken a victory lap around the house. Yeah —- I totally did that. It happened. Sometimes the battle to get software to work is really taxing. You end up engaging in some dangerous Googling to solve the problems. You hope maybe that watching one more YouTube video will provide the answer. The honest truth right now is that YouTube really is full of some awesome step by step guides from people. The amount of information and guides we can access right now is astounding. The first time I installed Suse linux I read part of a manual in German.

Topic 2: Cleaning my office

We are back to the topic that dominated today’s vignette. During the course of typing tonight my mind wandered to questions of both how and why I have so much stuff in my office. Maybe it is time to just simply move from one quadrant to the next and get rid of everything that does not need to be in my office. Most of that stuff has no reason for being in my office. A lot of it should probably either be sold or thrown away. It might be time for the great eBay purge of 2018. Most of the time my eBay usage is related to purchasing sports cards. A lot of those purchases are professionally graded and encapsulated George Brett cards. That is a topic for another day. The only real drawback of selling a bunch of stuff on eBay is the process of having to drop stuff in the mail every time it sells. All that packaging and mailing of stuff will be a lot of work. That may be the price of doing business in this case.

A lot of the junk in my office just adds to what I would call a general state of clutter. One of the purposes of buying a tempered glass desk was to avoid clutter. I remember buying this Studio RTA executive desk. That desk is made up of a 56 inch executive desk section and a 44 inch computer desk section. They have a middle connector that allows them to form up into an executive L shape in the proportions described above. That desk from Studio RTA will probably outlast everything else in the entire house. Seriously, they made it pretty much indestructible. It is hands down the most durable piece of furniture I have ever owned. I remember buying it, but I do not remember exactly when that was. That is one of those things that seems to be lost to the ages. I have had it for at least 12 years. Back in college I had a door on top of two filing cabinets as a desk in my last apartment. That worked out pretty well from what I can remember. That was a rabbit hole that I just tumbled down. I started looking back at my photo archive to try to figure out when that desk was purchased. That is thirty minutes that are going forever.

Topic 3: Backing up my files

I used to be really good about making weekly backup discs with all my files on them. That was back when they would all fit on a CD and eventually a DVD. I have been wondering if those files are still valid on the discs. Every optical disc has a shelf life and some of them are hitting 10 years. That probably means it would be a good idea to go back and check on them. Some of my camcorder tapes are even older. I wonder if they are all still working. The problem with those tapes is that they are all standard definition. Even the thought of working with standard definition files on my computer makes me sad. I’m sure at some point even the thought of working with sweet sweet 4K video will feel the same way. We have made some amazing advances in content over the years and upscaling helps, but sometimes the original content ends up being pretty far behind.

Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll try to plug a firewire card into a pci slot within my Storm Stryker case. I’m hoping that maybe just maybe the firewire cable is in the bag with the camcorder. However, if my memory serves me correctly the majority of those tapes might be wedding footage. I have been a videographer at a number of weddings. To the best of my knowledge we have never actually watched our wedding video. We have some pictures up on the walls of the house so those got some use out of them. Wedding videos always sound like a good idea, but who really goes back and watches them all the time.

Topic 4: Closing out the night

Tonight I’m listening to some music by the band Halestorm. That seems to be working out well enough. My writing efforts started off strong and are fading fast. I’m trying to avoid shutting down my Chromebook at 2,000 words. That type of act just causes me to fall behind my writing goal. It has been taking about 1,500 words to reach what now feels like a tipping point. It is a point where the things that needed to be said are long since written and something else is starting to happen. My efforts are normally driven by a very pure stream of consciousness style writing effort. Now we are following this somewhat moe structured stream of consciousness. The end result as you can tell is this rambling prose. Most of it has simply been written without any editing. That is interesting in and of itself. My writing skills are improving to the point where my efforts are readable even without extensive editing.

Today was one of those days where the new puppy Captain Pickles barked a lot. Maybe now is the time to stop calling the dog new. We have had the dog for like 4 months now or something like that. It took some time, but I think the dog considered this to be home. Throughout the day the dogs mostly just nap in my office. I got them a new bed at Costco the other day. It kind of has shag carpet and an L shaped edge. Peppercorn the dog our 12 year old australian cattle dog/blue heeler mix really seems to like it. Over the course of the years we have seen Peppercorn sleep more and more each year. I guess that is how it works.

Today after cleaning my office I did notice that the heat appears to be climbing with the new configuration. It probably has to do with putting the computer up on some wooden blocks. You can kind of see them in the thumbnail. The resulting inch or so of separation between the carpet and the bottom of the computer allowed one of the case fans to work better. Right in front of the power supply I had installed a Corsair Air Series AF120 LED quiet edition high airflow fan. That little fan with a little more space was able to cause a lot more heat to leave my computer case. It is pulling a ton of air from the floor up into the area directly below the graphics cards.

Yesterday before going to bed I used the MSI Afterburner program to turn down the power limit on each card to 75%. That allowed the cards to run at much lower temperature overnight. It appears the NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.9 software ran fine overnight with the graphics cards running at 75%. It probably lowers the overall hash power per day. I’m going to do some analysis to figure out what type of hit my mining effort is taking.

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

P.S. Friday is going to be a very interesting day. You may have noticed that each of these blog posts is about 24 hours behind real time. I worked very hard initially to write enough words in the first couple of days to ensure that a blog post could occur every day. All of the noise that kept me up on new years eve did not hurt that process. Each day I try to make sure that 3,000 words are ready to publish in the evening. My goal is to make sure that each day before the end of my morning writing session a blog post is ready to publish. That is pretty much how the mechanics work.

This morning I had a lungo pull of coffee from my Nespresso Expert machine. It looks like today I’m going to need to order some more lungo style pods. At the time of purchasing my Nespresso machine I did not really understand that the pods could not be purchased anywhere near me. They have some boutique stores and an online store. You can get the pods from a few different places online, but you better plan to have more on the way before you run out of pods. The real benefit of ordering the lungo pods is that it takes one of them to get 3.75 ounces of coffee. I prefer to use one pod to make a lungo vs. two pods to make a double shot of espresso.

Today I’m going to devote some time to cleaning up my desk. Underneath my desk is clean. The top of the desk needs some work. Today is the day that is going to happen. Maybe during cleaning up the top of my desk I will manage to zip tie all the cables. Today will be a day of cleaning and working to get everything in order. That just might involve playing a few Warren Zevon vinyl records. I’m going to start from one edge of my desk and just clean from left to right. I’m setting a timer of 1 hour to get that done this morning.

This one last sentence was writing to drag this blog post up over the 3,000 word threshold. I’m not sure if that is good or bad or if it is just how things are now. Maybe it is an epic conclusion to a wild day.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— Write an open letter for students on the first day of college
— Some thoughts on my sports trading card collection
— A complete ranking of the hot sauces that I have tried
— 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.