Day 12 the one where I installed 2 GTX 1060 graphics cards

2018: Day 12 of 365 writing 3,000 words per day
Word count 32,400 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

You may have wondered about the arrival of two ASUS Dual series GeForce GTX 1060 DUAL-GTX1060-O3G 3GB graphics cards. Maye the weblog post thumbnail should have included the text spoiler alert. Together they fit in the bottom two graphics card slots of my ASUS Z170-Pro motherboard. Thank goodness or some thoughtful engineers that the Storm Stryker case was designed with plenty of extra room for full length graphics cards. Slotting in three full size graphics cards seems a little intense. Both of the new ASUS GTX 1060 cards have two fans onboard and a lot of aluminum. They are heavy graphics cards. My NVIDIA Geforce Experience software picked up the cards and downloaded the right driver straight away. All of these graphics cards can be used for deep learning and other use cases, but for the next 100 days they will be mining away at on a cryptocurrency mining pool.

It took a bit of patience and some cable wrangling to get both cards installed. The hardest part of the installation was figuring out that that the LED/power plug extender was just a little bit taller than it should be. I pulled out the cable riser and quickly plugged in the power button cable, HDD LED, and power LED directly into the motherboard. The riser is now sitting on my desk with no real degree of usefulness in the foreseeable future. It will probably end up in my cable boxes waiting for a day of usefulness to arrive. That day of usefulness may never happen for the lowly riser. I’m afraid a lot of the cables that have been put in a box for storage may never be used again.

Getting all three cards situated in the case took a few minutes, but something strange happened when I hit the power button. It was the beeps of horror from the motherboard. Something was falting and a series of Motherboard beeps sent a shot of adrenaline to my system. Nothing good every happens when you hear 2 short beeps, a continuous beek, or some repeating beep sequence. I’m pretty sure that all motherboard beep codes are bad. I quickly turned off the power and started to look at all of the cable, fans, and other things that could be creating problems. Two of the PCI express cards had to be swapped. One of the USB card extender cables was touching the bottom fan of my NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition graphics card. Yes — that is emblematic of poor and lazy cabling on my part. A new pack of zip ties and some intense cable management activities are in my future. If you have looked at the weblog thumbnail image, then you probably know just how much cabling work needs to be done.

Everything booted up and things are humming right along. I’m a little worried that my Corsair 850 watt power supply might not be able to handle all of the power needs in my case, but things seem to be running well enough. I am probably going to have to start watching prices on Corsair 950 or 1000 watt power supplies. Having a backup power supply on hand is probably a good idea at this point. NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.6 beta picked up all three cards and is mining away. That is a slick little piece of software. At the point where the good folks from NiceHash transfer actual BTC to my wallet I’ll be sold on them as a company. Within the miner settings I disabled benchmarking on my CPU and looked over the benchmarks for my cards. It looks like the founder edition graphics card is benchmarked against mining 14 different cryptocurrency algorithms. The two new ASUS GTX 1060 cards only have 3 gigabytes of RAM onboard and hit the benchmark for 10 different cryptocurrency algorithms. Tomorrow will be an interesting day to see how many different algorithms get mined in the next 24 hours.

During my initial testing my founders edition NVIDIA card mined Keccak, NeoScrypt, Lyra2REv2, DaggerHashimoto, Decred, Lbry, Equihash, and Blake2s. You might be wondering if I had to look up all those different algorithms and types of cryptocurrencies. The answer is yes. Some of them seemed rather obscure to me, but if they found their way into the NiceHash Miner software they must be mainstream enough for people to be buying hashing power to use them on mining pools. Those are probably each topics for another day another weblog post. Based on my post from yesterday you are probably keenly aware that I want to dedicate all 3 cards to mining KodakCoin when it finally comes out. It was announced yesterday, but the wait already seems to long. That is probably a good example of where learning some patience would be a good strategy. At the moment all 3 GTX 1060 cards are mining NeoScrypt which is apparently used for Feathercoin, Orbitcoin, and Phoenixcoin. That seems nice. I do not know enough about any of those coins to know if that is what I should be mining.

Tomorrow I may spend some time deep diving into the whole process of running my three graphics card mining rig. All of these efforts have been driven toward learning about blockchain and cryptocurrency. That is pretty much my prefered method of learning about new technology. I like to jump in and give it a shot. Some of my efforts are probably not going to work out and some of them may work out very well. Tonight it seemed like a good idea to have the NiceHash Miner work on some mining optimization for each card. The best mining optimization setting appears to be the precise setting. It takes like 20 minutes per card to run the precise mining optimization. I’m not entirely sure if it is worth it or not, but it seems like the right thing to do.

Topic 1: The taskbar displeased me

A change happened today. Within Windows 10 I have been using the auto-hide the taskbar feature. For better or worse, I do not need it to be displayed on my Dell UltraSharp U3415W 34-Inch Curved LED-Lit Monitor. It just takes up space and for the most part does not provide me anything useful. Today I had to lock the taskbar on the right and disable the auto-hide feature. It was not going back into a hiding position and therefore was eating up just a little bit of my window space. That became problematic when I could not mouse over a part of the window I needed to click on. You can imagine that was frustrating and I had to turn on the locked right hand side displayed taskbar.

Topic 2: A little espresso and a little writing

At the moment clearing my mind seems to be pretty hard to do. My mind is racing through a bunch of different ideas tonight. It seemed like a good idea to brew another one of these vanilla Nespresso shots tonight using my Nespresso Expert brewing machine. The shots really do taste like vanilla. John Paul has elected to watch some type of Pokemon movie tonight on our main television. That last sentence may not be entirely accurate or well written. We really only have the one television in the main living space. We pretty decided to only have one television in the house and that is how we have managed things. Tablets have made it easier to manage our strict one television policy.

Tablets really have changed how we consume media and stream content. My working theory about personal media devices is that we will either get augmented reality glasses or short throw projection systems pretty soon. I have seen both types of technology starting to show up. It seems like portable projects have really started to make some advancements. Some channels on YouTube are completely devoted to reviewing and talking about mobile projectors. They have gotten very small these days and they have built in batteries that are pretty decent. Some of the projectors produce some decent looking video on walls and other surfaces. I think projects will be the next wave of technology that people are excited about. Keep in mind that the projects will be interactive and probably have some type of augmented reality hook to them so people feel like they are a part of the projection.

Topic 3: Drinking more water each day

This 48 ounce Nalgene bottle sits on my desk. It is supposed to remind me to drink more water each day. At the time the goal was to introduce an extra 48 ounces of water into my diet. That seemed like a reasonable thing to do. It was better than drinking soda, water, or energy drinks. Water seemed to be the best way to just stay hydrated and enjoy the day. It is funny just how little attention I paid to what type of beverage would be in my cup next. Most of it had to do with whatever was in the refrigerator.

Topic 4: Trying to type really quietly

Messing around with my computer build cost me about an hour of writing time tonight. Everybody is asleep. I’m trying to type extra quietly on my ASUS Chromebook C101P. The keyboard on it is relatively quiet.The temperature spiked on one of my graphics cards and I started messing around with some different configurations. Ultimately I ended up pulling one of the ASUS Dual series GeForce GTX 1060 DUAL-GTX1060-O3G 3GB graphics cards out of my Storm Stryker case. That created a gap between the remaining cards in the case. They are both right now cooling to about 72 degree celsius. That seemed very hot, but for a graphics card it is par for the course. It is something that I am going to dig into a little more over the next week. All of the massive mining rigs that people build on YouTube with 6 or more graphics cards are air cooled and lined up next to each other on wood or aluminum rails.

Topic 5: Top 5 books by reading frequency

Ok this is a hard one. You have to separate out what you consider to be the best books in your opinion. This question is just about the top 5 books you have ready in your lifetime based on total reads. This would be a maximum count of the number of times you picked up a book and read it. For the purposes of this exercise I’m going to exclude the bible. I have very rarely picked it up and read it from cover to cover, but it is by far the book I have picked up the most in my lifetime. Ok that aside complete let’s dig into my top five books by frequency of reading…

1. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)
2. Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)
3. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM) by Robert Pirsig (1974)
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1980)
5. Executing Your Strategy: How to Break It Down and Get It Done by Morgan, Levitt, and Malek (2008)

You might have guessed that that list was sorted by year of publication. It was not sorted in that way. That is just a pattern without purpose. I started to wonder if a list like this would start to let you get ot know me a little bit better. The books we come back to are the ones we treasure. I still think it is interesting that the older books are the ones that I have spent the most time reading. It is a close contest between The Hobbit and Dune. I’m pretty sure that at some point within the next decade ZAMM will end up being number one on the list.

Revisiting this list and really digging into my reading habits over the year could probably be a weblog post in and of itself. That will probably happen at some point this year. Thinking about and understanding the things we read is an important part of growing and moving forward. We strive to move forward in our own ways. I would have a very hard time following the same routine every day. Following the same step by step guide to my day every day would be banality incarnate. Things in the real world are full of chaos and intrigue. Being a lifelong learner has taught me to look for the tides of change and lean into the process of understanding them in near real time.

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

P.S. This postscript might be the longest one I have written so far this year. Dream Theater is booted up and i’m ready to go. Today was the day that I finally tried the Starbucks blonde espresso roast. It was not a life changing event for me in the least. It reminded me of getting espresso at some random place along my travels and thinking it was not very strong or flavorful. The richness that brought joy to my palate and excitement to my world was lost. That rich and creaming froth followed by a degree of smooth robust coffee flavor was not present. To that end you can imagine that the new Starbucks blonde espresso shot will not be purchased again. I’m not entirely sure I would drink it if they were giving it away for free. That pretty much describes the end of last night and the start of today. My writing path to 3,000 words was not working out. Today for better or worse a little bit of catch up is going to have to occur. You might be wondering exactly how much catch up needs to occur to get back on track from yesterday’s hardware related problems. The number is pretty straightforward. This postscript needs to include about 828 glorious and purposeful words.

That could be accomplished in a variety of ways. One way would be to make an epic list of the weblog posts that should make up the rest of the month. Another way would be to just go into grind it out mode and make it happen one word at a time. That is probably the most plausible way to move things forward at this point. Today has been a day for coffee and espresso. Things started off with a wonderful Nespresso lungo style pull of espresso from a single pod. That was the start of the day and it was wonderful. Based on the marketing materials from Nespresso it seems like a lungo coffee is about 3.75 ounces or 110.90 milliliters of joy. That worked out just fine and I am trying to figure out which lungo pod from the starter pack is my favorite to help facilitate the inevitable reorder.

Tonight’s writing session is going to be rough. This morning was devoted to closing out and catching up for the previous day. Writing 3,000 words per day is about having a routine and ensuring that the right amount of time is being set aside to write and that writing is happening during the right times. I seem to be experiencing and seeing enough things to react to on a daily basis. Reactions help me produce words and get going on longer pieces of prose. None of that helps ensure that the words being written are meaningful. As we move to strive forward and to grow and develop writing is one way to do that, but that may not guarantee that the writing process that inspired growth is inherently good or epic.

It has been almost two weeks since the start of my writing journey toward producing 1,000,000 words in the same year. Thinking about the prospect of being 2 steps down a 52 step path is interesting. Strangely enough even writing that last sentence did not cause an emotional reaction to the whole process. That is probably a good sign that this journey is possible. My big writing year is already more than 30,000 words complete. In and of itself that is an achievement for the first two weeks of the year. My inquiry into understanding meaning and value has started. These are the days that we spend looking at what we are doing and where we are going. That path toward the future is the important outcome. In this moment we elect to move in some direction.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— 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.

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