Day 16 the one where I made my first Coinbase transfer and it snowed

2018: Day 16 the one where I made my first Coinbase transfer and it snowed
Word count 43,257 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Here we go again. Today is a day full of ice and snow here in Denver, Colorado. We faced the most dangerous combination of roads being icy before snow fell on the ground. I’m hoping everybody stays safe on the roads today. Conditions were certainly hazardous this morning. It is in stark contrast to yesterday when I was wearing a t-shirt. Weather is amazing, powerful, and capable of creating extreme conditions. Our new puppy Captain Pickles is just getting used to winter. That little puppy has just abridged 50 pounds and is getting bigger every day.

You probably guessed that we would be talking about mining today. My 100 day mining challenge is in full swing. Very early this morning the folks over at NiceHash made a second payment to my cryptocurrency wallet. You may recall that my very first cryptocurrency payment ever of 0.00118327 BTC with a fee of 0.00002415 BTC occured on January 13th. This second payment occurred very early on January 15th and included 0.00105970 BTC with a fee of 0.00002163 BTC. For those of you who do not really read BTC values that means that my 100 day mining effort has been worth about $31.66 or 0.0022 BTC. One of the challenges I have faced as a writer involves avoiding transactional prose and trying to stay on the functional side of things. That is after all why this weblog is called a functional journal.

Thanks to the increased value of my NiceHash wallet this was the first time it was possible to transfer the 0.0022 BTC to my Coinbase cryptocurrency wallet. That is an important step in my journey into the world of cryptocurrencies. Coinbase is a digital currency exchange capable of buying and selling a few different types of cryptocurrency. That means it would be possible to exchange my 0.0022 BTC for USD. My strategy for at least the next 100 days is to allow the NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.6 to run on my Storm Stryker custom built computer. At the end of 100 days I’ll either sell my BTC and pay off my ASUS Dual series GeForce GTX 1060 DUAL-GTX1060-O3G 3GB graphics card or keep on mining.

It appears that they are now sold out of the ASUS Dual series GeForce GTX 1060 DUAL-GTX1060-O3G 3GB graphics card. Seriously, it looks like most internet stores are sold out of anything less expensive than the NVIDIA GTX Geforce 1080. I’m guessing that has something to do with the mass frenzy currently sweeping anybody that knows how to install a graphics card. The cryptocurrency hysteria is everywhere. I physically visited like 6 stores last week looking for a graphics card. It was pretty obvious from the reactions of the employees that lots of people were coming in and asking about graphics cards. A refund for one of the graphics cards is coming my way. That means my 100 day mining challenge is now only featuring 2 graphics cards. That makes paying off the one graphics card a lot more likely to happen during the challenge.

Based on my initial research it really does appear that people are buying graphics cards to engage in cryptocurrency mining. It seems to be having a moment. Obviously, I purchased two graphics cards to see what this whole mining thing is about. One of those graphics cards failed out very quickly. The remaining cards are mining away. I’m curious just how many people are engaging in mining worldwide. This is for sure the peak of the hype. Pretty much everybody I know is thinking about mining or buying cryptocurrency. That massive amount of hype is very real and coins are at the forefront of the public mind.
I learned something new today about how to manage my graphics cards. Today I downloaded the MSI Afterburner software. It works great. You can look at a bunch of statistics for your graphics cards and you can limit the power consumption of a graphics card. To reduce the overall heat of a graphics card you can reduce the power limit to something like 85%. Reducing the power will also reduce the mining power, but that may be a worthwhile tradeoff. Managing heat is a major part of figuring out how to setup and maintain a mining rig. The NiceHash Miner software does not really have any heat control settings. That makes the MSI Afterburner software or something like that software a true necessary.

My mining journey is well underway. Downloading the NiceHash Miner software was pretty easy. I already had an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Founders Edition graphics card. Starting the mining software was easy enough. Mining with one card was pretty straightforward. Most of the forums seem to have a very negative opinion of the founders edition card cooling capabilities. I have been using it since 2016 and it has worked very well for gaming, streaming, and pretty much everything else it has been asked to do. Maybe based on mining benchmarks some of the aftermarket cards outperform the founders edition cards. That is fine. My efforts are not about being the absolute best at mining cryptocurrencies. They are about learning and understanding the process and technology. Today was a big day. I finally used Coinbase and had enough funds to make a transfer. A very very small fraction of a bitcoin is mine. It could go up in value or down in value based on the market for bitcoins. I find that very fascinating. Probably not in the same way Warren Buffett does, but hey I’m not an institutional investor.

That is the first chapter of my mining journey. It was about getting started and setting up the right tools. The entire second chapter may very well be about finding a third graphics card. All of the GTX 1080 varietns seem to be in stock, but they cost about one thousand dollars. The most I have ever paid for a graphics card is about $300. At the time, I thought that was expensive. The market for graphics cards has gotten more expensive since 2016. At some point, NVIDIA will release a new iteration of graphics cards. That will probably be the 11 series. It will feature a performance improvement. The Pascal architecture changed the game. It was enough to make me want to buy a reference card back in 2016.

Topic 1: The Kansas Jayhawks vs. The Mountaineers

Tonight in Morgantown, West Virginia the University of Kansas Jayhawks are playing a basketball game against the West Virginia Mountaineers. All of this full court press based defense is interesting. Kansas is down by a ton at halftime tonight. Tonight was a night that I wanted to sit down and watch the game and really enjoy it. This brand of West Virginia basketball is frenatic and at times frustrating to watch. Overall, I have not really enjoyed the first 20 minutes of this game.

That for the most part has to do with the lack of Jayhawk offense. Winning is great. This first half of basketball was not case study in winning. Maybe the second half will be better, but if the last four tripps to Morgantown have been any indicator it may not be satisfying to watch. Spoiler alert —- I was wrong about the second half. Those Jayhawk basketball players proved more scrappy in the second half.

Topic 2: Writing with speed and purpose

Today has been a very slow writing day. Maybe it is the change in the weather that has slowed things down. A big snowfall mixed with some ice will always makes things interesting. It probably has to do with writing transactional prose. Today it felt like my initial attempt to write were stilted and moved from fact to fact without telling a story. Those first few paragraphs needed some ethos, pathos, or logos. They needed an appeal to something a reader can connect with. Be that ethics, emotion, or logic. Crafting a really good story is about bringing the reader along for the journey.

Most of my writing efforts are a pure exercise of self-exploration and are not really written for outside consumption. Every one of my posts this year starts out with the salutation, “Dear reader.” That has been done on purpose to acknowledge that these posts have been written with the reader in mind. That might not seem like a novel idea. It may feel like a necessary one. Each opening vignette has been written in a purposeful way. They should have been approachable and shared some type of information or story. With any luck they have been at minimum interesting.

Sometimes writing with speed is about filling in the details a well thought out outline and pushing through block by block of a paint by number exercise. That is pretty far away from the ways that I spend my time writing. A purposeful writing sessions feels like a great headwind is pushing me forward making the creation of words almost effortless. That usually happens in waves and is for better or worse a get on the bus and go kind of moment. Outside of having a headwind we end up facing the type of writing session that is happening tonight. I’m self-aware of the words that are being written. It feels like a steady amount of typing, but the pace is off and lacking.

Topic 3: A GPU shortage?

NVIDIA has some links to places that sell Geforce GTX graphics cards. I checked out all 6 online stores and it appears that people bought all the sub GTX 1080 graphics cards. That seemed to be right earlier today. My research has pretty much confirmed that to be the case. At the moment, my only real option to add a third GPU to my Storm Stryker mining rig would be to purchase a Geforce GTX 1080 based graphics card. They are really great cards, but with great power apparently comes a great cost.

Topic 4: This one fell a little short

Today’s weblog post will probably fall short of my 3,000 words per day goal. Things just did not go well enough this morning to knock out an extra 1,000 words. That is going to happen from time to time. Rebounding from a poor days writing efforts will be key to get back on track. Ok I just had a donut and two shots of espresso. That will probably help push me over the 2,000 word barrier. Donuts really are pretty awesome and mixed with the goodness of espresso that is a combination that probably is one of my favorite breakfast meals.

Watching the snowfall was peaceful. Within the last day it has been melting. That is always the most interesting part of the process. Things every so slowly fade away and it is almost like the snow never arrived. Nature in and of itself can be very beautiful and very chaotic. Winters in Colorado are more interesting than the ones back in Kansas. They also have less ice which is a great step forward in the weather department. Ice on a road or a hill or anywhere really makes things a lot harder.

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

P.S. Tomorrow’s writing session has to go better. I feel like somehow it is related to watching all that Star Trek The Next Generation. That cluster of 6 Borg related episodes was decent viewing, but maybe that time could have been better spent fully focused on writing and moving forward.

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.

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