Day 31 the one with the SOTU and a new Fitbit Ionic arrived

2018: Day 31 the one with the SOTU and a new Fitbit Ionic arrived
Word count 81,144 + 3,017 or 84,161 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Welcome to day 31 of my writing journey. Thank you for being here. Ok —- you may have noticed within the last post that I am a little bit behind my goal. It happens. Writing 1,000,000 words in the same year is hard. It turns out at the start of this blog post that I’m about 8,856 words behind my writing goal for the year. That pretty much means that after writing 3,000 words today I am going to need to sustain a new word target of 3,317 words per day in February. It would also be possible for one really good day of writing to help return my pacing to goal levels. Things will probably work out better if I have just a couple of days above the writing target to help catch up. You can imagine that worrying about that goal has taken the bulk of my energy tonight. Tonight I just need to knock out this blog post and be ready to start a new day at 5:30 in the morning. Something will have to give as I increase my daily word target. That something is writing a little bit more. It is really just 10 more minutes to push me over the edge each day.

I’m way behind schedule tonight. It is 9:10 PM Eastern and The State of the Union has started. I’m watch it on CNN. It is on in the background tonight. That may or may not help me along my way to 3,000 words. I suppose I could live blog the #SOTU, but that is just not my style. Political live blogs are probably not going to be a part of my daily writing routine. Setting politics aside I’m going to try to write about the things going on around me, the things that I know, and the things drawing my interest. Every year I watch most of the major political speeches. My mp3 collection is full of famous speeches of all types. I’m particularly fond of speeches from former Presidents John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. That is something that has held my interest since high school. People used to write deeply moving and exceedly well themed speeches. They were just better written. That is probably a function of the fact that somebody really spent a ton of time working on them. They were not drawn from the moment they were written to stand the test of time. Seriously, a lot of modern speeches do not live up to the standards of the past. I know that sounds harsh, but it is true. A lot of modern speeches are passing blocks of words put together to make an immediate point vs. trying to write something that holds up for generations.

The thumbnail for today is of my Nexus 9 tablet. That is the device I was musing about yesterday. I think the photo turned out well enough and you can enjoy the tablet’s majestic splendor as it sits on a phone stand. Update: I changed my mind and uploaded a photo of the Fitbit Ionic watch during setup. The photo is less majestic, but you might enjoy it more.

Topic 1: My new Fitbit Ionic arrived

I’m going to be honest about my Fitbit Blaze fitness watch. Overall owning it was just ok. The Ionic is my 4th Fitbit product. The Blaze was my third Fitbit wristband. It was not revolutionary. It lacked basic features and it just never really lived up to the potential it had. To be honest they needed my leadership or somebody with a similar level of skill to push their products to the next level. Somebody should have driven these products beyond deliver and into a special category of technology. Even my new fitness watch the Fitbit Ionic lacks inspiration and from a software perspective is a poorly coded product. Maybe they were going for some kind of disappointing minimalism, but it is still disappointing. The hardware that Fitbit makes is ok. It has never given me a rash or irritated my skin. For me the products work well enough and holds up over time. They eventually breakdown, but that is what happens with something that I wear every day. The software that is built for this watch is just so limited and uninspired. Consider this for a moment if the Fitbit Ionic had come out 5 years ago it would have been groundbreaking. Today it is the afterthought of what would have have been novel and innovative 5 years ago. I’m sure I could have chosen nicer or software language to explain my feelings about the Fitbit software, but hey it is honest and accurate.

All of the packaging for the Fitbit Ionic was designed and built pretty well. Unboxing the device was satisfying. Included in the box were both small and large wristbands. That is a plus. The device had the large wristbands connected. The box also included a very basic proprietary charging cable. I’m wondering if maybe it would be easier to buy some type of charging docking station for the phone. After getting all the items out the box it was easy to put the box back together. That was pretty much all that box is ever really going to do. Maybe at some point I might put it back in the box and sell it on eBay, but for the most part that box has done everything that it was ever going to do.

Setup took forever with the Fitbit Ionic fitness watch. It went through three waves of updates or installation. It was hard to tell exactly. A bar just sort of moved from left to right across the screen. It just kept going. The entire process took about half an hour and was mindblowingly slow. After the device went through all three waves of updates it started up and wanted to be plugged in and setdown on the desk for calibration of the sensors. The folks over at Fitbit need to figure out how to make the setup process quicker and easier.

That is where the Fitbit Ionic is right now. It is charging. At about 93% I’m not exactly sure how much longer it will take to charge. Instead of displaying the time remaining to charge like any modern device it just hangs out flashing basic information. Comfort wise the watch feels much better than the Fitbit Blaze. I’m going to wear it overnight and I’ll let you know how it stacks up over the next couple of days. My first take on it is that it is comfortable.

Topic 2: Mining more TurtleCoin

It happened again. Before I thought it through tonight my two graphics cards were devoted to mining TurtleCoin. Both of my NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics cards are mining using a pool in the United Kingdom. I guess the mining pool that I connected to last time is offline or unavailable. That does not really concern me. My mining efforts are already approaching 500 TurtleCoins. It should just be a matter of hours before my account contains more than 2,000 coins. I’m not exactly sure why I went back to mine more TurtleCoins. I’m thinking about mining abou 5,000 TurtleCoins. That is just an arbitrary number that I picked out of the air, but it will be fun and maybe with some luck the value will go up. Obviously, this mining effort is purely speculative.

Running the xmr-stak for mining TurtleCoin just grinds my computer to a halt. I tried to make a couple changes in the configuration file to slow down the CPU mining and to limit the GPU miner just a little bit. I’m not a fan of CPU mining. Through all of my mining efforts things have gone well enough. I have over 2,000 TurtleCoins at the moment. That is a far cry from the 5,000 I’m thinking about amassing, but hey it is a good start. I might engage in a little bit of TurtleCoin mining each day.

Topic 3: Another block of words

Ok my mind is reaching that point where I’m pretty well done thinking for the day. That is going to be an interesting challenge considering that about 2,000 words still need to be written. Maybe just hammering the keys for a few minutes will help spark some creativity to overtake the need for procrastination. Sometimes just getting in rhythm is enough to help move things forward. These moments where I am centered and ready to go in any direction open the door to some interesting possibilities. These are the moments where writing can just be about writing. That my thoughts can just move from thought to screen.

Ok it is 10:31 PM Eastern time and The State of Union is now over. It pretty much slowed down the pace of my writing. I have listened to decades worth of these speeches. Some of them are very good. Other ones are lacking. My favorite speech at the moment is the JFK’s inaugural address. We have to understand the world around us. Most of the time for me that is about thinking and considering the intersection of technology and modernity. Technology is changing society from the edges. We are on the verge of seeing rapid change across all sorts of health related technology.

It is getting late. My interest in writing is limited at the moment.

Topic 4: Revisiting my start to blogging

Apparently, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine has saved my domain 132 times between August 31, 2000 and September 13, 2017. Oddly enough that means that it has not save any of my 2018 writing extravaganza geared at producing 1,000,000 words in the same year. I remember sitting down and writing back in 2000. The captures from 2000 and 2001 are pure nonsense. I have no idea what that content is or how or why it existed. Some of the captures from 2002 are a blast from the past. My coding skills were less evolved at the time. It is interesting to see the themes that I had built out back in 2003. That Wayback Machine is wild. My current blog and archive pretty much go back to when I moved to Colorado. A ton of content exists from before that, but it did not get archived or imported.

Moving around from site to site and from different blogging software to another caused some stuff to get lost along the way. Perhaps that could have been avoided, but it probably does not really matter all that much. One of the things that I am considering doing tonight or tomorrow is going through my regular reads blog roll and figuring out if any of those folks are still at it blogging away. Those blog rolls from 2003 or 2004 go back far enough that some people still called it journaling. It is hard to imagine that all those years of my life and my online content are just archived away. Maybe that Wayback Machine will sweep back over and get this years content. I do like the idea in general of my content being around forever. At some point this domain will expire and all of this content will just disappear. That is how things work. I have prepaid for as long as possible, but at some point this will all just expire. That is how the modern internet is setup. Domains and hosting are not permanent.

That is one of the reasons that archives and publishing parts of my work are so appealing. Preserving things is really about making the available. I remember getting my domain setup and building out websites. It was fun to test them and to build code. Some of my layouts are probably better and more involved than what I have right now in 2018. It is amazing to think about that. Things were different. We went to meet ups and worked together to share and exchange links it was a real community. Today it seems like I just write to engage the habit of writing. That has been true for years now. I have not attended a blogger meet up since we moved to Colorado. I’m not sure that is really something that would be as interesting now as it was a decade ago.

Topic 5: Closing out the night

Today has been a weird day. This post is somewhat disjointed. That happened based on the number of time that I have started typing and stopped. Things all around me have been happening and catching my attention. Each of those moments of distraction makes the prose less structured. Keeping things well structured is about finding a solid writing flow and allowing it to kick in and just riding the wave to completion. That just did not happen tonight. Maybe tomorrow will be a better writing day. The next post will be for a different month. February might bring a new wave of productivity.

The brightness has been turned all the way down on my Chromebook. I’m locked into this whole writing thing. Maybe it was that last shot of espresso kicking in or maybe it is my 2nd writing wind for the night. Reading a few of my older blog posts was kind of fun. It is interesting to see how my writing style has changed. It has probably changed for the better over the years. I can at this point pretty much sit down and write without a whole lot of editing and tinkering. In fairness to my past efforts they were not really edited or tinkered with either. I think if it had been possible to just live blog and have things post as they were typed that is the direction I would have taken. It would have been epic. People could have just watched the words appear on the screen in real time. Maybe that is something that could be built out now. I think Google Docs sharing does something like that when multiple people are in a document.

My focus today has not be on one topic. I have not sat down and taken one good topic to task by looking at it from a ton of angles and just breaking it apart. In the past I would have started to breakdown the topic in terms of form, function, structure, and assumptions. That framework has been the basis of how I attack topics for years. I used to just sit down and write observations and post them. That is how the functional journal was born and it has continued over the years. This year may be a little different. This year should be a little bit different of a narrative. It should be more involved. Overall the size of my posts had increased a ton and I am covering some interesting topics. Some of the topics are not interesting and are pretty much just a starting point. They are just surface considerations.

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

P.S. The month of January is coming to an end. We are marching along the journey to writing 1,000,000 words in the same year. Blog, blog, and away I guess. This process of writing has been working out well enough. No day along the way during this first month was missed. That was a good measuring stick and I’m glad things have moved along. I have learned that the whole writing process has to be broken up into sections. My writing productivity tends to produce about 1,000 to 1,500 words in a sitting. That means that when I sit down to try to write more than 3,000 words in one sitting it creates problems. Writing in bulk is really about channeling passion for a subject. When i’m just sitting and writing for the sake of writing I’m going to hit a point where I am just done. That is going to happen based on what I have seen and known so far during this writing journey.

At the start of this journey I was wondering if it would be sustainable. Writing at a pace of 3,000 words for the weblog every day is not something that I have done before. I write all day and most of what I end up writing does not get published as a blog post. That means that on top of everything else that is written I’m going to need to produce 3,000 words. It turns out that it is possible and I can manage to keep writing every day. We are now as I’m writing this last paragraph 31 days into the journey. That means 1 out of 12 months are now complete and in the books. Things are looking up and my plan to catch back up is in place. It should be easy enough to push forward and to start really thinking about things in a deeper way. The process of writing and getting all of the basic writing out of the way is now over. You can tell that my writing has morphed and is in some ways evolving throughout the process. I’m hoping that the final product ends up being readable and entertaining.

I did backup my blog today. The file is pretty large these days at over 10 megabytes of XML. I did end up looking at the ports on my computer today and it does not appear that I have an active firewire port. It does look like some firewire to USB adaptors exist. That may be one way to go about downloading some of my older videos. I know somewhere around here I have a firewire pci card.

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.