Life stuff leads to Leaf EV

Life has been in flux since the end of March.  I thought I’d take April off and recharge, but life had other plans.  In very short order:

  • Death of a human family member in my extended family
  • Death of our canine family member in my immediate family
  • Death of a Prius via large Pothole and frame damage

Not going to dwell there.  However, the last one is launching me in the following directions:

  • Purchase of an EV to replace the Prius

This LEAFS me in a bind.  the EV thing is huge.  Do I blog about it? Do I tweet about it?  Does anybody care?  Do I just tell my friends?    Should I vlog?  ???

I’ve started a thread on Facebook – on a photo – where I’m taking questions.   https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156221680033444  .. if you have any questions, please feel free to ask there, leaf a comment comment here, or  tweet at me @sunjeevgulati.

I’ve got a spreadsheet going where I’m keeping track of charge-times and distances travelled.  I’m sure there will be a blog post on that later.

Overall, the map of what I’ve learned so far, thanks to draw.io.  Green = specific to me.  If you’re buying a LEAF, you will learn what these things are.

LEAF information

Gah, found a bug.  “S” Trimlevel also has a 3.3 Kwh charger.  And note, these are all pre-2018 LEAF’s.. they seriously upgraded in 2018.  Used price on those isn’t low enough yet, I needed a car payment under $300, which is also why no Tesla Model 3 Smile 

Enough for now.

I Spoke

This was such a big deal; and now it is such a little deal.   What is it really?

I spoke at a conference for the first time – Pics of Bling:

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Leading Up

Leading up to it, it was .. scary. 

  • Will I have something worthy to say? 
  • Will I be able to say it? 
  • What if I say something and I’m wrong?
  • WILL I BELONG?

Walking into the speaker dinner the first time ever .. as a volunteer, three years ago .. surrounded by these splendid specimens of technical trueness .. was both overwhelming and exciting.  Some of that is captured in this blog post:  https://geekygulati.com/2015/04/27/codepalousa-day-2-for-me/

And this year, at the prompting of my company … I took the plunge and I submitted a talk. (Well, technically, two talks, because @jstill did a talk together).    And it took a LOT of time:

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28 Hours, in powerpoint, to be exact.   A lot of this was after-hours.   There’s probably another 4-5 hours in there working on it in other apps (like looking for images, or looking up screenshots, or drawing things).   The above graphic is thanks to RescueTime, which I have on both my work and personal machines.   I also spent 14 hours on Youtube in March. 

Delivery

I don’t think there were any empty seats in the room.

Several people I respect were in the room.

Several of my former students where there!

One person was there because they had seen me talk about RSI.  (link)

I got nervous, and I got ready, and I started … at 3pm, 15 minutes early.  ABORT.   Continue with asking people what their challenges were.  A flow started to form in the room.   Got warmed up.

Once I launched into it, it was fine.  The slides had personal meaning for me, so the slide pulled the information out of me, in the grooves and paths that rehearsal had laid down before.   I had my comedic timing on the sloth slide, and the cat nap slide, amongst others.  I think I saw lightbulbs and people writing stuff down furiously at certain points.  There was drop dead silence as we talked about fears, and then laughter as we went to the van down by the river. 

And then

It was over.  I wish I had spent some more time winding down the presentation, and maybe asking people to give me feedback.  Maybe I could have had my twitter handle present in the slide master like the Storyteller Spellbook’s author talks about.   I did ask specific people what they got out of the presentation, and it was pretty much all on the fears side, not on the process side.

AND THEN

It crept up on me slowly.  At the Google Thursday Night Party.   I was a speaker.  I had crossed that bridge.

What is that bridge?  Who was I before, and who am I after?  And not much has changed, yet, something is different.

Before

After

Maybe what I have to say is relevant? Maybe not. My experiences have relevance
I wish I could help people I can help people.
I wonder if I’ll ever … Looking forward to the NEXT!  what will it be?

Possibilities

I could definitely submit this talk to other conferences for 2019.

I could do several things for CodePaLousa for 2019.  I could expand on existing things:

  • An expanded version of the RSI talk (instead of 10-15 minutes) …  although, learning to dragon dictate again will be annoying.  And I’m so unsure about the quasi-medical stuff that I unearthed. 
  • Zoom in deeper to dealing with Fears.  I skipped all the stuff from where you become aware of the fear to awareness/acceptance and DABDA before you can get to effective action. 
  • Zoom in deeper into prioritization.  I glossed over the Franklin stuff, I could look at GTD and other such things, I could delve into the not-perfection aspect of it, I could look at the swapping of spots in a queue, etc.
  • Zoom in more into tools.  I didn’t mention Rescuetime, Ditto, or Timesnapper.   Maybe.

I could also do some stuff that’s bouncing around inside, but hasn’t come out yet:

  • How I deal with Conflict.   (Non Violent Communication, basically, except I’m not certified in NVC, and usually walking through that leads to a breakthrough even prior to talking with the other party.)  I know @chadgreen has a talk and a series of blog posts about the same subject.
  • Patterns within Healthy Organizations – keeping this one vague, ask me in person and I can explain why. 

I wish I had technical things I could talk about, but I’m not at the forefront of technology anymore (was I ever?) — I just use things to get the job done.  

I’d love to cover some of my pet projects .. like 3D Printing My House, or making the Tree of Directions, or the as yet uncompleted Map of Best Routes.   Some of these projects are older now, and not very hip.   But hey, I could submit them, and whatever gets chosen, go have some fun with that.

Okay, enough ruminating.   Time to button up this blog post.  There are other stories from the weekend, like how @bryan_soltis helped me find my elevator pitch, and how @guyroyse came up with a perfect summary of @heyslingshot.   

Thank you @CodePaLOUsa for giving me this first opportunity.

What To Mine

I finally understand WhatToMine.com.

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This bit is which video cards you have.  The ones in Red are ATI cards .. the ones in green are NVidia cards.  Well, technically that’s just the chipset, but .. yeah.  You put in how many of them that you have, and you click the button.  Green or Red = on, Gray = not on.

If you hover over the button, you get this:

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The +150/+500 is the tuning you can do in MSI Afterburner:

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You can see the numbers applied .. I’ve also additionally limited power to 50% and temp limit at 60 because I don’t want to burn out my new graphics card…

So you put those numbers in, and then it tells you what it thinks you can do:

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This is where you turn on or off the various algorithms .. for example Ethereum uses Ethash and Monero uses CryptoNight.   Based on the graphics cards selected, it prepopulates the numbers, but you can change those numbers to reflect what you actually get. 

So far its been very accurate – with the tuning in place, i get 29.42 Mh/s for Ethereum, and 680 h/s for Monero (although Monero I get an additional +160 via CPU if I so choose).

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Then, there’s the list of exchanges.  Some exchanges deal in some coins, but not in others, and that narrows down the list of coins ..   join Exchanges to Algorithm.   My favorite exchange, Binance, is not listed.     And then that gives you ..

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  • The Profit is the estimated Profit per day based on mean difficulty and current prices.
  • The % is “as compared to Ethereum”.  The time period has to do with market fluctuations over time … looks like CRC is on a roll right now, so its way more profitable (that usually balances out pretty quick as everybody floods to it and then the algorithm stabilizes).

Looking at used graphics card prices … the break even for a card appears to be in the 7 to 10 month range.   The lifetime of a graphics card .. who knows?  I wouldn’t do it.  Plus proof-of-stake will probably flip a lot of things. 

Trying to come to peace with my inner butterfly

I went to CodeMash earlier in the year, and I came away with a desire to do some Machine Learning stuff in my spare time.  I needed a Plan, I said.  I’d get up at 5am I said, and have time in the morning!  

So I made this system for myself, using AirTable, something my wife had found:

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To further decrease friction, I broke each project into steps:

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See that 4th column?  I’m calling that my “Affirmations” column.  Its like listing a fear, but then converting it into an affirmation instead. 

I even created a view that filtered things down to just things that were actionable at the moment:

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This worked well for about 3 days, and then … I no longer woke up at 5am.  Instead, I woke up at 5, then at 6, then at 7am, with just enough time to get to work.  And  when the day is done with me.. and we’ve cooked and cleaned and the day is winding down.. its 10pm, and its time to go to bed, if I want to wake up at 5am.

But, I don’t go to bed at 10pm either.  Right now, its 10:30pm.  I should be writing this post in the morning.  But I know, at 5am, my morning-self … just doesn’t care.  F-U he says to my evening self.  And its COLD outside the covers, and the damned dog is sleeping on my sweatshirt.

No happy ending yet.  But I also know I need to get back to running, because the progression of miles is coming up soon.   So… yeah. Smile  Some decisions get to be made.

No Post in October??

Wow.  I didn’t post at all in October.    Things I could have posted about, in no particular order:

  • My Birthday Present — Android Tablet in my car — configuration, usage
  • Trip to Las Vegas — 360 video
  • Segmenting work into Interruptible vs Focus vs People.
  • Further experiments in remembering every project I ever worked on and classifying them in various ways.
  • How much I’m liking how my workplace is developing.
  • Water leaks
  • Trip to Morgantown – 360 video of PRT.
  • Stranger Things
  • Running in Teslagear shoes — did a 5k in them!
  • Diagnosing, analyzing, and processing old emotional pain

But yeah, … its been crazy, and I haven’t had the bandwidth to do a proper post.

I did, however, update the … tagline? second line? of my blog.  Having watched Stranger Things Season 1, I really liked Dustin’s Line: “Why Are you Keeping This Curiosity Door Locked!”   … so yeah, inspired.

More time in the future.  Lots of things I could write posts on.   Later!

 

Upgrading my ReFS

I got a larger capacity drive to upgrade my ReFS (Resilient File System, Windows 10 “RAID” array) with.. also, most of my drives are >5y old, and I’m running low on capacity, so I better start upgrading before the world starts upgrading me.

Here’s what it looked like before the upgrade:  (“Manage Storage Spaces” are the magic words to Start->Search for):

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Now I’m going to save this draft post, open up the computer, and unhook the 931G drive (if I can find it) while the machine is running to simulate a fault.

DANG! I have two 1TB disks.  Oh wait, one is a WDC and the other is a Seagate.   Cool.   The WDC is the one to unplug.

The WDC is unplugged!  It hasn’t figured it out yet.. Opening up the drive … drive opened..  WinDirStat to exercise the array .. 

there we go.  “Reduced Resiliency”

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Okay, cool.  I’ll power down the machine and swap out the drive.

The Storage Spaces UI is unchanged – the (now removed) drive shows up with the yellow icon.

I have a new drive in regular Disk Management:

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First, I click Change Settings .. I tried to find a way to remove the old drive, but I couldn’t find one.

So I went with adding in the new drive first.  I clicked “Add Drives” —

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Once it was happier with the drives, the option to remove the errant drive showed up. 

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I clicked “Remove”, and it asked me to confirm the drive that I was removing ..

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This took a LONG time.   From 7:20pm to  9:38pm, so about 2 hours.  Opening up a second Storage Spaces UI, i could see the drive listed as “Preparing for Removal”, which I think meant “I’m going to find all the stuff that was supposed to be on this drive and make sure it is elsewhere”.    (Confirmed – the % used started dropping slowly.) 

The other thing I didn’t realize is I had to increase the size of the storage space to use the new free space in the storage pool.

And… I’m going to post this before its all done.  But basically:    I now have about 3TB of Mirrored Space.  I’m also Resilio-Syncing the important bits to an off-site backup.  So, any two of three things could die, and I should still be good.

Switching from iPhone to Android (Samsung S7)

img_20170903_110354_847I wanted to write a nice detailed blog post with pictures and screenshots. Would take too long to get it “Perfect” so I am punting.  (I did write this using the WordPress app on the phone)  ** I continued this from my laptop later.

Here are crib notes instead.

Summary: it’s good, it’s functional. It’s less pretty on the watch side, and MMS is subpar, but better voice recognition, LastPass integration, wireless charging make up for that. I’m going to stick with it for a year.

Addendum: it’s frustrating to learn a new ecosystem. And because Android has so many variations it’s hard to know what information applies. For example – getting that screenshot in this post – there is probably a better way but I had to use Google voice to take it, send it to WordPress media library, then include it in this post.   (Addendum to the dum:  Turns out there’s a “swipe left with your palm” gesture for my phone, but I still can’t save the screenshot to my camera roll)

Stuff I like:

  • Chat heads – if I use FB messenger for SMS.  They pop open over any app, and let me continue a conversation without switching apps.
  • Voice recognition is better – especially in the car.  It seems to want to use the phone’s microphone, rather than the 3 second delay switching to bluetooth through the car microphone.
  • Can choose default apps – like which Messenger app to use.    Thank you “Intentions”.
  • Widgets – Not going crazy with this, I only have two or three.
  • Not all apps on home screen – I can leave some in the drawer.  I don’t have to force myself to choose a position for EVERY FRICKING APP, just the ones that matter.
  • Always on screen – specific to my Samsung S7 device?   Shows time, date, next calendar appointment, etc before I hit the power button.   Major phone use case.
  • Number row – by default, turned on, on the keyboard.  Also a swipe keyboard, very nice for one hand use.
  • Better large screen shrinking – for single hand use.  Much more usable than Apple’s double-finger-home-button thing that never worked for me.
  • Last pass for apps – incredibly useful, when I’m in an App, Lastpass can integrate in and provide passwords.
  • Wireless charging – Coworker Steve gave me his old wireless charger.  I’m hooked.  No plugging in.  I bought one for the car, and I need to buy one for home.
  • Workout app has better sharing options – Pretty pictures, square format, straight to instagram, YES.
  • S2 watch can control which notifications go to watch and which dont.
  • Way more watch faces – This is also a curse.  I could not find a decent watch face which had battery, calendar, date, time, and actually worked across my multiple calendars.
  • I can put any icon anywhere on the page – I don’t have to plan from the top.   Thank God.  Clusters are easier to cluster.

What I miss:

  • Miss pretty emoji – I’m used to the iPhone and Slack emoji sets.  I don’t know for sure when I send my wife a kiss-with-eyes-closed emoji that its showing up the same.
  • Hue / OK Google integration misses things – I’ll say turn the lights off, and it will say “I got 18 of them, three not responding”, but only 8 will change.
  • Miss overcast podcast player with it’s auto silence trimming – For this reason alone, I have my de-SIM’ed iPhone living in the car, being an iPod for playing podcasts.
  • Group messaging wierdness interacting with iMessage – I won’t get pictures or video.  My entire family is iOS based, so I’m at a disadvantage.
  • Miss sharing position easily (find my friends) – Wife and I used to use this in passive always-on mode.  i can do Glympse for limited engagements.  I think Google has a solution for this somewhere.
  • Text selection wierd no magnifying glass for fine control – it took me a while, but I finally (with writing this post) got a handle on the text select stuff.  I have to take this back – I prefer the Android one.  I can actually drag the little draggers around, and they snap intelligently.   But I do miss the magnifying glass.
  • Miss square Apple Watch – It was smaller, looked better, and seemed more functional – especially the voice command part.
  • Miss scroll to top.
  • S2 battery life not great.   However, if I turn on Airplane mode (the S2 has its own 3G connection that I haven’t activated), its very comparable – down to 50% at the end of the day.

Btw, the screenshot is my second screen, not my home screen.

 


First time at Forecastle

imageThanks to volunteering for the Denny Crum Foundation, I got to spend some time at Forecastle.   Having known nothing, this is what I would tell myself in the future:

  • There is plenty of space if you’re willing to not be near the music.   Shade can be found
  • Sunscreen, definitely.
  • Bring an empty water bottle or Camel Bak (or buy a souvenir)
  • Bring a thing to cover up your nose and mouth if you’re at a dusty stage.
  • Yes you can bring a backpack.  
  • I personally did a Lyft in, can also bike in, and I’m sure that parking garages within 15-30 minutes walking distance were available.
  • Lots of food choices
  • Pay $10 for 10 tickets to the Bourbon lodge, and use their A/C and better restrooms.   Hang on to one ticket as a way to get back in whenever.
  • People were very nice!

What I would expect to pay for a day:

  • $65-ish for a day pass.
  • $20 for a meal.   So $40 for two, Lunch and Dinner.   That’s assuming you love food like me and don’t just get one thing.  (LOTS of food choices omg)
  • $10 for the Bourbon lodge (or spend $30 for the mug if you are there multiple days) for the better bathrooms and occasional AC relief
  • $15-$40 in parking / Lyft
  • $10 for a fancy water bottle souvenir
  • ??? for alcohol, sorry, i didn’t do that. 
  • $20 for a locker with charging.
  • Grand total: $170 for a day.
  • I probably wouldn’t go for VIP the first time around.  Granted, I didn’t see the VIP areas, and maybe for headliner bands you’d want VIP to get close.  But for a first-timer who doesn’t know any bands, I wouldn’t.

What I would pack in my bag / on my person, assuming its not raining:

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat/Cap
  • Bandana / face guard
  • Shades
  • Favorite water receptacle
  • TP, hand sanitizer
  • Wallet (only need ID and card and cash)
  • Cellphone
  • Battery pack and cable (if not getting the locker)

I would dress in:

  • Cargo shorts with at least 1 zipper pocket
  • Athletic moisture wicking shirt
  • Sandals or Sliders – best for sweat control. (but I’m pretty good at walking in those, you may want to upgrade to shoes for lots of walking)

============

I had a blast.  I stood in the shade, and old-man-danced, and carded people and lovingly put wristbands on them. 

Standard line:  “1973 .. Great year!” “Why?” “Because you were born!”.    (watch person melt)

I could hear music from two stages from the Bourbon tent, and it was some good stuff.   Jonathan Israel worked tirelessly .. 13 hours each day on his feet .. directing the volunteers and being the guy to direct all awkward questions to.   Once I learned the 3-5 pieces of info that people needed to know, it was very easy to engage my inner extrovert. 

Will definitely do again.  July 13-15, 2018.

Miscellany 17.7.0?

imageSometimes, I feel like I’m failing this blog.  This blog was supposed to highlight all the awesome new stuff I was learning .. on my job, mostly. 

That is not what I’ve learned from, lately.

Its only been 15 days or so since my last miscellany post.   In those last 15 days, my work has been:

  • Images and CSS and javascript, small changes.
  • “Why did X happen?” .. let me check the source code that we didn’t write .. trace it through 3-4 layers … here’s why that happened.  Your options are A,B,C.
  • How to route network cables neatly (Actually.. this is huge.  My 20yo self wishes he knew this).
  • Lots about door security systems.  I might have covered that in another post.

The rest of life has been interesting –

  • Refining my Rubik’s Cube skills.    I’m considering memorizing the Ortega method.  It brings back some magic.
  • Arranging a Disc Golf outing with some friends.   Researching form, practicing, getting better at it. We have 3 courses to choose from!
  • After way too long off, went out for a run again .. this time in FitKicks.  2 miles.  Maybe not such a good idea, i think i need a size smaller maybe.  Next race in less than 2 weeks!
  • Considering signing up for the triple crown and Derby Half-marathon for 2018.  Because Goals.  Also, a membership to the YMCA.
  • My grandson does just about anything and I melt.
  • Bose QC35 Headset.   Forking expen$ive, but yet…  the best tool for its job?  I was in a loud urban environment, and I could participate on a conference call without any problems.   Connecting to two devices at the same time really works for me (laptop + phone), and .. I find myself no longer dreading phone calls.   I’d rather do a phone call with these on than any other way.  Here’s a negative review for some contrast.
  • Mozza Pi – new place in Anchorage.  Worthy of a visit.  They’re not open for dinner yet, want to get their process honed before they ramp up.

I’m getting pretty excited – past the 50% mark on studying for the AWS Solution Architect Associate exam.   The last course on VPC’s really dialed in some stuff that I was wondering about. 

I don’t know that I’m going to get any time for my personal projects .. not for a while.  I think “exercising my body” has taken over for the summer.   And that’s okay.

Cheers

Miscellany 17.6

imageBusy busy .. we’ve had a house getting interior painted, and interior carpeted, and most of my home time has been spent tearing down and putting things back.   Not much time for projects.

At work, though, several new skills.  I’ve done a lot more infrastructure stuff, which has included:

SSL stuff

  • Dealing much more with SSL certs.  I now know PFX vs CRT vs PEM vs CSR, etc.  I had to rekey a cert because the person who requested it didn’t know how to get me the private key they used, and .. AWS Elastic Beanstalk builds CPU’s on the fly, so you have to shove the PFX in after the build.  
  • Using openssl to move these things around.. running from bash under ubuntu under windows, the official one.

Building and Network stuff

  • Dealing with a Card / Fob / PIN system for building access.  They break it down to:
    • The doors (and readers)
    • The “timezones” (actually sets of T1..T2 timeslots unioned together)
    • The Access Levels, which are a combo of DOOR: (Readers) x Timezones
    • The card, which is a union of Access Levels
    • And there’s other shit like multi-panel transfers, and web admin accounts, and stuff.
  • Helping with an office move .. odds and ends.  I’m the backup to the main sysop.
  • Figuring out easy ways to do patch cable management.    And cleaning up cables in general.  My 20-y-o self would squirm, but I finally have the patience now at 45.  Or am I 46?  I forget.

AWS Stuff

  • The learning curve continues.    40% of the way through the course.  I’m delaying taking quizzes till several days after listening to the material, to verify that I’m doing things from long term storage.
  • I really want to program with the stuff, but that’s not my scope right now.

Billable Work

Nothing terribly exciting.   Except the ones in bold.  Its been a splattering of things —

  • SSL Certs in an AWS EB site
  • MVC website carousel updates
  • Tracking down why some stuff blew up (in code we didn’t write)
  • Some lost source code.  Decompilation to the rescue!  Updated some SQL that has started to fail.
  • Some .Net custom code for Peak21 ERP system – testing and rewriting and proving that an API was broken.
  • Oracle ERP system moves, changing connection strings and testing things
  • Adding Fedex shipping to a website instead of UPS, via Shippo.  Some refactoring to get things more configurable.
  • Using Feature flags a lot more, because that way the code can get out there, and then await other configuration to catch up.  FSGD!

My biggest challenge is not feeling rushed, feeling the weight of everything in my list bearing down on me, along with the craziness of learning things on the fly.

Changing Schedules

I’m trying to wake up earlier .. so that I can spend time at Starbucks .. do a little journaling, keep track of bills and fiscal transactions, write an email to my recovery sponsor.. start my day off right.  Hit rate: 60%.  Benefit: 200%.

Diet Experiments

https://www.jimmyjoy.com/products/plenny-shake is delicious.  It does clean me out a bit, but the energy curve on it is nice and stable.  When I’m on it, I crave sugar way less.. I get full faster.  I will be reordering it.   Tastes way better than soylent, IMO.

Running

Two 5k’s done.. several more to go.   I have heart rate, date, and pace information .. should make for an interesting plot.  

Home Office Organization

I made an inventory of stuff, and sorted it by:  Visibility, Usage, Importance, Replacement value, Sentimentality.  And used that to figure out what went on which shelves, etc, and what to release.

 

 

That’s it for now.  I expect my world might clear up a bit around July.