Day 184 the one where I wrote this post before breakfast

Logitech K780 Keyboard

2018: Day 184 the one where I wrote this post before breakfast

Dear Reader,

Right now I’m testing my new keyboard. It is a Logitech K780 wireless keyboard. You may have guessed that from the photograph attached to this blog post. It has a pretty good amount of travel and feels ok so far. Strangely it feels a little bit heavier and a little bit more like a real keyboard than any of my other bluetooth devices. My Nexus 9 has a very quick screen timeout. It appears that in the morning before breakfast my rate of typing is a little bit slower. Some pauses seem to be happening. They are little gaps in my focus that tear me away from the moment. My big plan for the day was to write for an hour and produce 2,000 words. For some reason that did not happen. I’m starting to get used to typing on this keyboard. My other keyboards in my office are natural ergonomic style keyboards.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Logitech K780 Keyboard
Logitech K780 Keyboard

Day 183 the one with a better title about the end of compact discs

2018: Day 183 the one with a better title about the end of compact discs

Dear Reader,

Oh eBay. I’m searching for Nirvana DVDs right now. Reading articles about the end of compact disc (CD) sales earlier today really made me think. Part of that thinking was about maybe buying some Nirvana DVDs and CDs. some time ago I bought a deluxe edition of the Nirvana album Bleach on vinyl. Before my purchase of a record player getting compact discs was really a major part of my technology driven journey. Both buying music on CD and burning discs was exciting. Digital music was so much better than the tapes I had been putting in my Sony Walkman. I had one of those yellow ones that was water resistent or something to that effect. Being able to store data on a disc was super exciting. It changed the game. It democratized data storage in a way that until the cloud was inconceivable.

I cannot really overstate how exciting that technology was at the time. It was a sea change in storage technology. Even backing up music discs was exciting. It fundamentally changed the entire music industry in some unexpected ways. Corporate executives from Best Buy elected to stop selling compact discs this week. I did not expect to have any emotional reaction to that news. Strangely enough it did make me think back about CD of the month clubs and the joy of going to Best Buy to purchase new albums when they came out. Some album releases were a really big deal. They were talked about on the radio for weeks before the day when a new album could be purchased.

Right now I should be finishing up a class on Coursera. It turns out that a few labs for the, “Leveraging Unstructured Data with Cloud Dataproc on Google Cloud Platform,” course are taking me a little bit longer than usual. That was bound to happen at some point. Some labs are more interesting than other and the ones that hold my attention tend to go by much quicker. Maybe in a few minutes I’ll jump back into the course on this Chromebook and knock out a lab or two tonight before going to bed. Part of what it takes to knock out courses is the will to complete an hour or two of learning every night.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 182 the one without a title

a view from a mountain golf course

2018: Day 182 the one without a title

Dear Reader,

This weekend I spent a fair amount of time reading about microblogging. Perhaps the greatest appeal of that style of writing happens to be the implicit disregard for titles. Every day this year writing and coming up with a blog post title has been interesting. Perhaps the great joy of microblogging is not having to come up with a title. To that end the blog post for today will not have a title. It will be a post without a title and that is something that I’m completing ok with at the moment. Maybe tomorrow that will be something that displeases me. Right now I am watching the second disc of the 3rd season of Northern Exposure on DVD. For the most part the series really holds up pretty well.

I spent some time looking at reviews of the Logitech K780 wireless keyboard. They have it at the Best Buy not to far from the house. Tomorrow might just be the day that I go and pick up that keyboard. It easily can switch between my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone and my Nexus 9 tablet. The keyboard seems to have a solid design that would support a little bit of mobile writing. Sure you might be wondering why with this uber sweet ASUS Chromebook Flip C101P up and operationally why I would need any more bluetooth keyboards. The answer to that question is rather simple. I do not need any more wireless keyboards. Right now my office has at least three wireless keyboards. The Nexus 9 keyboard, an Amazon Basics bluetooth, and a Microsoft universal mobile bluetooth keyboard.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 179 the one where I pondered for a moment

a photo of a path

2018: Day 179 the one where I pondered for a moment

Dear Reader,

Sure the impending intersection of technology and modernity should be at the forefront of the public mind. That is not really the sort of thing that jumps out and grabs the attention of public. Maybe it would be to easier to download the audiobook for the 5th book in the Dune series and just relax. Spending the rest of the night just listening to a book is one potential way to go. Another way to go would be to focus in on finishing up my 7th Coursera class of the summer. I need to complete a couple labs to finish out the “Leveraging Unstructured Data with Cloud Dataproc on Google Cloud Platform” course by July 9, 2018. Alternatively, I could could listen to Pandora and spend the evening writing a few words down and pondering things. Just maybe right now the possibilities that will be pondered are the priority for the night.

A lot of doors are open right now and a lot of different topics have been pulling my attention in a ton of different directions. This ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P has been updated to the developer channel for updates. Part of that decision is to help speed my way down the path to being able to run Linux applications on this Chromebook. It looks like the ASUS Flip Chromebook they were referring to wasa the C213SA model vs the C101P. I guess staying in the developer channel seems like the right thing to end up doing. Extending the Chromebook ecosystem to allow the installation of Linux application is a pretty darn fantastic. Sure it would be easy enough to mess around with Crouton and force the issue. Waiting for it to be a native feature seems like such a strange thing to bank on in the would of cloud first web native applications, but it does seems to be one of those things that people are looking forward to having.

For some reason my spelling has been absolutely atrocious this week. Maybe installing a service to help proofread would be one way to go about helping double check my grammar and spelling. Yesterday I did write a blog post about getting new socks. That is probably an all time low for the year. It can only be up from that moment. That might be wishful thinking at this point. A review about reviews might be worse, but socks are pretty darn ubiquitous at this point. Today was one of those days that my walking desk got some usage. That was enough to help test out the new Bombas socks that arrived this week. The ankle length socks seemed to work out pretty well and were very comfortable. Well this blog post just devolved into talking about socks. For two days in a row that has happened. It seems to be a rather disturbing trend in my writing. A little bit more time pondering the moment and a little bit less time writing about socks is probably in order. Maybe just jumping into the next paragraph will help move things forward…

Tomorrow should be one of those days where a lot more doors open than close. Pondering the potential of tomorrow is always a lot easier than trying to spring into immediate action in the now. Maybe that is reflection of the procrasting that over planning allows. Sometimes the quickest path to resolution is to take action. It might just be the fastest path forward to switch gears and immediately make a change. That is what I’m thinking about at the moment. Right now in this moment that is the series of thoughts that are on my mind and driving my next steps.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 178 the one with some new socks

Bombas socks in a drawer

2018: Day 178 the one with some new socks

Dear Reader,

Today was going to be the day that I wrote something meaningful. My ASUS Flip C101P was fully charged and nothing was really standing in my way. Perhaps some degree of self-censorship still lingers in my writing. That is a hard thing to shake. Outside of that standard problem things started off well enough. Maybe it was the day that I should have returned to a daily blogging routine from years gone bye. For better or worse at times I blogged intermittently throughout the day. Writing in that way one bit at a time is something that has been completely foreign from my routines in the last decade. Most of my writing these days happens in one major lesson of production. Some days maybe have two writing sessions. On rare occasions maybe that stretches out to three writing sessions. That would be the absolute maximum. Sure the title of the blog post today probably gave it away. This post is not about writing or the best of prose. This post is about socks. Or at least this post is about the arrival of some new socks. That is essentially what happened today. After being inundated with advertisements from Bombas socks I gave in and ordered a few pairs. None of them have been tested yet, but they are now resting in a drawer waiting for tomorrow.

Bombas socks in a drawer
Bombas socks in a drawer

It seemed like a really good idea to purchase a Samsung 128GB FIT USB 3.0 Flash Drive for my Chromebook. Sales can make something look pretty darn tempting. It arrived this week and is plugged into my Chromebook, but I have no idea what it is going to be used for. My Chromebook simply does not need that much extra storage. Maybe loading my music collection to the drive or something like that would be the best way to utilize the storage space.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 175 the one where I snapped a scenic photograph

a scenic photograph of clouds

2018: Day 175 the one where I snapped a scenic photograph

Dear Reader,

Today my blog post will be a little bit shorter. Writing today has not been my priority. A couple walks happened today. Two episodes of season two of Northern Exposure caught my attention. That show really has grown on me over the years. Today was one of those days. On a walk just outside the house I snapped a rather scenic photograph. This week we have watched a hay baler clear the fields before the 4th of July. Attached to this blog post is a thumbnail of one hay bale sitten below a sky of clouds. My Pixel 2 XL camera is pretty good, but it could not capture the moment. Most of my writing is really just a conversation with myself. Last week I put some new stickers on my ASUS C101P. Really for the first time in my long history with technology I started putting stickers on one of my laptops. It was not a true Windows laptop. This writing device is a pure Chromebook setup in the beta software mode.

a scenic photograph of clouds
a scenic photograph of clouds

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 172 the one where I cleaned my office

cleaned up bookshelf

2018: Day 172 the one where I cleaned my office

Dear Reader,

This is going to be a very short post. A few hundred words are missing. They are simply not on the page.

Stored elsewhere they are not here and probably won’t be stored here until maybe tomorrow. I took a photo of my bookshelf and edited it. Those bookshelves on the far wall had gotten a little bit out of control recently. My extreme lack of uploading videos to YouTube has limited your view of just how out of control those bookshelves had become. Today was the day that I focused in on them and ensured they were fully clean. Right now the last step in the process will be cleaning up the top of the bookshelves, but that is always a tricky thing to do. Storage is a necessary part of things, but a mess is a mess. Calling a mess storage is really taking things in the wrong direction. That is something that I simply do not have time for. Apparently, I have not had time to either live stream or make videos to upload to YouTube. That is probably something that is either going to continue or to get much better.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 171 the one with some thoughts on giving up fried foods

2018: Day 171 the one with some thoughts on giving up fried foods

Dear Reader,

This post might not hit the 1,000 word threshold. It might just end up being a very short updated or aside. A number of my meals each day have been replaced with Soylent. That meal replacement product happens to be vegan. For the most part both breakfast and lunch have been replaced with Soylent. Dinner pretty much happens and is usually vegetarian. Throughout the week that leaves me with a mostly vegan diet. None of that helped me give up fried foods. Onion rings and french fries are pretty awesome. Giving up onion rings was a really hard thing to do. It was strangely much harder than it should have been. It has been over a week now and I’m doing ok with my plan to give up fried foods. Part of that plan will involve trying to avoid even baked chips. Not only will my plan focus on oil fried foods, but also the plan will have to include protections against buying an air fryer.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 170 the one where I signed up for 5 more Coursera classes

3 hot sauces

2018: Day 170 the one where I signed up for 5 more Coursera classes

Dear Reader,

It took me about a month to finish out the last specialization from Google Cloud on Coursera. This week I signed up for 5 more Coursera classes. Another specialization from the Google Cloud team called, “Data Engineering on Google Cloud Platform,” caught my attention. Some of the videos from the, “Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform,” specialization were really pretty good. Based on that and pretty much that alone it seemed like a good idea to jump in and do another 5 courses. That pretty much means that every night before going to bed I’m going to spend an hour or more learning about data science from the Google Cloud team. Maybe it was the idea of thinking about data structures that pulled me into another cycle of learning. Last year I did not do enough professional development. This year I’m off to a good start and we have not reached the halfway mark yet.

Everything on the Coursera website and Android application are pretty easy to use. Throughout the last series of courses I had less time to write every day. This time around I’m going to try to keep producing words and engage in a healthy amount of learning at the same time. Speaking of learning about things. Over the last year I have been sampling a variety of hot sauces. To that end, I had signed up for a Hot One’s subscription box. That monthly subscription includes a service that picks and sends out 3 hot sauces at a time. One of them this time was really beyond my accepted tolerance for spice. It was made by the folks over at Hellfire Hot Sauce and it happens to be called the, “Fiery Fool Hot Sauce.” Normally, I do pretty well with hot foods. The aforementioned sauce is one that I strongly dislike. They were not kidding about it being a very hot sauce. All of The Last Dab sauces had better flavor and were more palatable. The thumbnail associated with this blog post includes all 3 hot sauces that arrived.

I’m not sure how this post went from being about online learning to discussion hot sauces. That is one of the quirks of stream of consciousness writing. Things can change very quickly. Here shortly I’m going to click publish and start learning on Coursera. It is raining outside and the weather is pretty dreary. That is a good recipe for spending some time watching videos about data engineering. One of the things about listening to courses with my Bose Qc35 headphones is that it is very easy to focus in and enjoy the content. Locking in and really focusing on the content is something that is easier to do right before bed when things have slowed down in the house. Historically that time has been reserved for listening to music and writing. Technology is rapidly changing and staying at the cutting edge of things requires being a lifelong learner. To that end my nightly routine has to change a little bit to help me continue learning.

It really is amazing that the Google Cloud team has spent so much time putting together all this content related to machine learning and data engineering. Courses like this open the door to a wide audience to learn and do practice exercises. Working on actual hands on labs and practice exercises really does make a difference and is an amazing addition to traditional lecture style videos. Learning has changed a lot over the last couple of years. Deliver methods that allow for online collaboration and complex lab projects are really changing how learners are able to interact with the material. Throughout the computer science space that type of learning is really changing just how people are able to grow and develop their toolkits. My focus is about to shift to the first course, “Google Cloud Platform Big Data and Machine Learning Fundamentals.” I’m sure the courses will be a major part of my writing efforts over the next 30 days.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado

Day 169 the one with some rain and some Northern Exposure

captain pickles sleeping

2018: Day 169 the one with some rain and some Northern Exposure

Dear Reader,

Today has been a day of rain in Denver. It has been a welcome change in the weather. Being inside tonight has been ok. My adventure into watching Northern Exposure DVDs this summer has officially moved from season one to season two. Overall the show holds up well enough for being a creative output of the early 1990’s. Having to suspend my disbelief to a point in time before smartphones became ubiquitous really dates the show. Technology was not at the center of the particular television based drama. For better or worse the show was primarily driven by interpersonal relationships and commentary. That is probably has pulled me back into watching the episodes this summer. Streaming Northern Exposure is challenging enough so it seemed like a good idea to just order a full set of the season DVDs. Somebody on eBay sold me every season in a nicely shrink wrapped package. The disks were flawless and they have played well enough on my Xbox One S paired with my Sony Bravia television.

At some point, we are going to upgrade to either a 4K short-throw laser based projector or a television. One of the benefits of going to a short-throw project is that when it is not in use we would have no screens larger than a computer monitor in the house. While that might not seem like a victory it really does seem to be on in my mind. Curiously we have tried to limit television watching and at this point we do not even have a cable television subscription. One of the things that I have started doing recently is watching some of the cable news channel shorts on YouTube. We do not have enough bandwidth to stream 4K content on a television or short-throw projector. Our cable subscription has a bandwidth limit and it is draconian enough to limit my usage of 4K on a monthly basis.

One of the other factors that is limiting my ability to get a short-throw projector is price. The one that caught my attention was from Dell. Specifically the Dell Advanced 4K Laser Projector model S718QL which costs about five thousand dollars. Writing the number out makes it feel less daunting. Seeing the $4,999.99 in print just reminds me that is not something I’m going to buy any time soon. My best guess is that by this time next year the price will have come down substantially or competitors will have entered the market. Based on the YouTube review videos I watched it looks like a pretty fantastic piece of technology. A host of projects exist at much lower price points. This one just happened to catch my eye and make me wonder how it worked and what it was truly capable of displaying. Given that my Northern Exposure disks are DVD quality trying to upscale to 4K seems unlikely. Based on a few internet searches it does appear that a Blu-ray version of the show does exist out in the wild.

We still buy physical media. The merits and intrinsic value of my vinyl record collection aside. I still purchase movies when they come out. Based on every indicator I have seen online sales of physical media are diminished. I was looking at Blu-ray sales data for 2018 year to date and the top 10 movies are not over 1,000,000 units. Just the top 5 movies in the list solid more than 1,000,000 units. People are not going to Blockbuster anymore. I guess those Redbox movie rental kiosks are kind of like a very compact Blockbuster. Aside from that interesting observation it is entirely possible that the distribution pattern of movies has fundamentally changed. Back in 2017 the top 17 movies has passed the 1,000,000 unit mark. The year 2016 included 17 movies in that sales category and 2015 had 19. Seriously, I almost started to make a series of infographics. That is probably not needed at this point. I have spent enough of my night wondering about the future of physical media. A lot of folks do not have the bandwidth to stream 4K movies on a regular basis. That probably means that movies with a resolution of 4K and above are easier to access via physical media.

It seemed like a good idea to use a discount code Google provided to buy an audiobook today. I now own the first 4 books in the Dune series by Frank Herbert and can access them from my Google Play Books application. At some point, in what seems like the distant past I read the fourth book in the series. Now that I’m listening to the start of the book tonight I do not entirely remember reading it. My memories of reading those books really falls off after the first couple of books. Given that the audiobook includes more than 15 hours of audio I will probably not be able to finish the book before the NBA draft on June 21, 2018. I’m not sure what channel the draft will be on this year, but we probably will not be able to watch it unless it is streaming online. It does appear that CBS will have a free live stream of the event. That is probably how I’ll end up watching it this year. We do not have any subscributions to ESPN video content. Sure I don’t really need to watch the NBA draft, but for some reason that really seems like what I want to do.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado