Day 80 the one with some soccer practice and Pandora streaming

2018: Day 80 the one with some soccer practice and Pandora streaming
Word count 169,503 + 1,140 or 170,643 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Well —- then again those things that were lined up managed to get unaligned. They managed to get totally unaligned. I thought things were getting pretty well sorted and managed. It turned out that I was wrong. Things were not managed. Today I’m sitting here at soccer practice in one of those folding chairs that fits in a bag for storage and hammering away at my keyboard. This time right here and right now seemed like the hour I could steal to write. I’m pretty much hammering at the keyboard and watching some type of soccer practice occuring on the edge of my vision. At this point in the evening, I’m just hoping nobody runs into anybody. People all around me seem to be having fun. That is probably a good thing. At this point in the year the grass is just starting to come back. You have a mix of dead and green blades of grass. All the snow has melted for the most part and people are ready to get out and about in Colorado. It seems like 5 different teams are out here practicing soccer in various states of what could be defined as an organized activity.

My thoughts are pretty fragmented today. They have been that way for a bit. That probably comes from a lack of being grounded to a clear purpose for today. Having purpose matters during the process of writing. My basic business philosophy rounds out to a simplistic mantra based on letting leaders lead, managers manage, and empowering employees to succeed. That pretty much means that things are lined up and people know where to go in the basic blocking and tackling that happens every day. Today I spent most of the day thinking about how to line things up. That as you can imagine is not the most ideal way to do things. You cannot hang out thinking about threading the needle when you are supposed to be sewing. It is getting colder out here on this field sitting in my chair as the sun is going down. I can feel the temperature dropping as my fingers hit the keys. The cold is making it a little bit harder to write. That happens I guess things start to lock up and the cold wins.

I’m back home now and my Warren Zevon Pandora internet streaming radio station is up and running. Despite all indications that would suggest the probability that I would pay to avoid advertisements that has not happened. I have held firm and just lived with them for now. That is helping me avoid a monthly subscription payment to the folks at Pandora. I went back and read the post from December 5, 2016. That post described why I gave up on my Pandora subscription. It might have taken a bit, but I’m back listening to Pandora and wondering about the future of online music streaming.

Today is the 80th day of this epic push to write more words on a daily basis. I’m not entirely sure that my overall quality of writing is improving. A few weeks into the process the overall quality of my writing improved and I’m pretty sure about that. Over the last 10 days I think the overall quality of my writing may have gotten worse. It seems more disjointed and the number of grammatical errors seems to be increasing. That is probably a side effect of being tired and lacking some degree of focus. Today I focused in long enough to order a new batch of espresso pods for my Nespresso Expert machine. Overall that machine has been working out pretty well. Ordering pods is sort of an annoyingly locked in experience. The only store that sells Nespresso pods in my area is over an hour away. Sure ordering pods from the Nespresso website is easy enough, but I would rather go buy them in person.

Topic 1: On writing topics

One of the things that I have been focusing in on is writing down writing topics as they come to me throughout the day. Sitting down and just expecting to write 3,000 words in a stream of consciousness mode may work out well enough sometimes. Other times I need to have a list of ideas to prime the intellectual and creative pump to produce some epic prose. I’m trying to decide if that means using Google Keep or writing them down in a notebook. Naturally writing things down in the notebook has a certain degree of charm to it. Writing that way involves a little bit of nostalgia. Using Google Keep is probably more efficient and overall easier to manage in the long run. For some inexplicable reason it is an application that I do not use all that often. Based on the last 80 days of trying to write 3,000 words per day it seems like having a list of 10 topics handy is a solid best practice.

Topic 2: Writing earlier in the day

Right now it is 20:16 hours and the whole writing effort for tonight has slowed to a crawl. I’m having a hard time locking in and focusing on the creation of words. I’m watching an Xfinity add to get one hour of uninterrupted streaming on my smartphone. Pandora algorithms suggested I may enjoy a 90’s alternative station. Throughout the next hour that is the station that will be powering the rest of the words that will be written tonight. Given that my word production today has not even hit 1,000 words this new radio station better inspire some epic prose generation. It is possible that tonight that like thundersnow the words will happen and be magical. I’m really amused at the moment that the word thundersnow did not flag the spell checker. I totally thought that was two words that I had combined as an ill conceived near portmanteau. I was going to keep mashing them together. Sure that was a plan that I have already given up on for the night. I’m not sure you can improve upon thundersnow.

Getting back into the groove of writing 3,000 words per day is going to require staying committed to producing an early morning writing session. It has been some time since that commitment was upheld on my part. For some reason that just does not seem to be happening. Maybe it is a motivation problem first thing in the morning. It is entirely possible that early in the morning writing is not a priority until I’m fully awake and thinking about the world around me. During those first few hours of the day thinking about the broader world around me does not really happen.

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

Day 79 the one where train tracks were built

2018: Day 79 the one where train tracks were built
Word count 169,071 + 432 or 169,503 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Today was one of those days. I just could not catch up to things. Normally I operate at or near real time. That is my modus operandi. Today things just seemed to be a little bit behind. Today started with such promise. That thumbnail attached to the blog post of the sunrise. It was a fantastic sunrise. You can see for yourself that it was beautiful. That alone was not enough to guarantee a splendid fantastic awesome epic day. Right now I’m listening to my Warren Zevon Pandora internet streaming radio station. My Bose Qc35 headphones sound pretty good. I’m wondering what the upgraded audio in the premium version of Pandora sounds like. I have not broken down and upgraded yet. That purchase of an upgrade I assume is looming.

This year has been a year of writing. In some ways that type of writing is like tapping into an on demand memory jukebox that produces one short story at a time. That type of writing takes a toll. Your resuivor of experiences to write about depletes faster than you can fill it. For example, one of my strongest memories is of waking up at summer camp in Missouri. The temperature was perfect. I can see things from a distance. The tent faced the vendor machines down the road. When things got quite you could hear them humming in the distance. The memory is so clear I could sketch it in almost perfect detail. Experiences like that from a lifetime of living do not stack up on a daily basis. They were formed along the way. That resuivor can be deep and exceptional, but it does not replenish itself without time and a journey.

Beyond those moments from the past that define how we view the world today are a series of moments that are happening now. They are not in the distance they are here and now. Earlier today I spent part of my evening watching some train track designs being built. Right now we have a board on the kitchen table. It has been wrapped in sandy green paper that imitates grass in some way that escapes me. That means the board is ready for train tracks. Picking the best possible design for that track is where imagination meets reality. A world of possibilities is going to narrow to the reality of what gets constructed.

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

Day 78 the one where I wondered about building a 3 level Go board

2018: Day 78 the one where I wondered about building a 3 level Go board
Word count 167,857 + 1,214 or 169,071 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Yesterday was a big day in terms of making decisions. Giving up on Amazon as a company was a difficult call to make. We are one day into my post Amazon world. All of my music has been downloaded. I’m back listening to the Pandora music streaming. We will see how long before I break down and pay for the premium Pandora service without advertisements. You might think that dealing with the loss of Amazon would be my primary worry for the day, but you would be completely wrong. I watched a ton of episodes of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda television show on Amazon Prime streaming. That was great, but the streaming journey has ended. My next goal from a creator or maker perspective is to create a frosted glass or plexiglass 3 level Go board like the one featured in the series. The idea of playing 3 level Go sounds fantastic. The game itself is pretty challenging on a large board. Playing that across 3 levels sounds like an epicly relaxing way to challenge my mind. I have already started on some designs.

Admittedly —- I really thought that was a the thing I could buy on eBay or somewhere online. That does not appear to be the case. Sure I could just buy three go boards and set them next to each other. Alternatively, I could buy three go boards and build some type of shelf system for them to allow 2 players to engage in a 3 level go board game. That would probably be easy enough. It might be worth at this point to commission some type of construction project or maker team to build a repliclica 3 level go board from the Andromeda series. Chances are unless somebody responds to this post with a suggestion on how to get one of these boards my new hobby just might be assembling replica go boards. It looks like the project would require a base system and 3 boards of made of of something like plexiglass. The boards probably need to be made out of some type of transparent blue plastic. Making them out of glass does not not seem like a good idea. Some of the concept sketches I found show the overall board being about 14 inches tall and the 3 boards being 12 inch by 12 inch squares. The go boards shown on Andromeda seem so to be 10 by 10 game boards. That would probably be easier to build and play than a 12 by 12 game configuration.

We will see how long it takes to push things forward on the custom go board creation front. My first move here is probably going to be to figure out how to buy some plexiglass squares and figure out how how to drill into them and make the proper slot for attaching to the base. I assume drawing or etching the go board on them will be the easier part of the process. I’ll go to the hardware store and find something that could be the base. This is now seeming like a project that could be completed with an online order for acrylic blue transparent tires and a few trips to the hardware store. Maybe building those boards will be my new hobby. It could be a pretty solid little adventure. We will see how that goes or how long it holds my attention. I do know how to use eBay to sell some awesomely epic 3 level go boards…

Topic 1: My Pandora account

I logged back into my Pandora account on my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone today. It looks like the monthly service fee to avoid commercials is $4.99 per month. That is not all that unreasonable and I remember why I made that purchase before. I’m not the world biggest fan of listening to the same advertisements over and over again. My Warren Zevon radio station was till a part of my account. Throughout the last 30 minutes it has not played any songs by Warren Zevon. I pretty much hit thumbs up on every song by Warren Zevon, but the station for some reason just plays everything related to material by Zevon. That does not appear to be anything that I am going to fix any time soon. The only part of this whole paragraph that I could personally fix would be paying for the subscription without advertisements.

At some point along this journey I’m going to need to figure out a solution to my night music problems. I could just listen to Pandora streaming and try to ignore the advertisements. Just as I was about to switch to a new topic the channel finally played a song by Zevon. That screenshot I just took on my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone of my Pandora account was easy enough to capture. I’m hoping it gives you an idea of what the application experience looks like. Somehow I just watched an advertisement video for 1 gigabit speed internet from Xfinity and now I get to listen to 1 hour of uninterrupted Pandora. That was strange, but at the same time it will be nice to have an hour of just music to support my writing efforts for tonight.

Topic 2: A status on my new computer build

At some point this year the folks over at NVIDIA are about to release a new series of graphics cards. My new computer build is lacking a CPU, RAM, and a CPU water cooled fan. The build it self will be able to support up to 3 graphics cards and that is pretty much what it will do at some point. That type of GPU power could really power some deep learning using TensorFlow. At the moment, that sounds like a splendid idea. The waiting game is going to be hard. It would be easier to stay within the Pacal series of NVIDIA graphics cards. That however is easier in the moment and less fun in the long run. Those new cards are probably going to be epic and awesome for GPU accelerated TensorFlow efforts. I guess you could say the overall status on my new computer build is assembling slowly one part at a time. Maybe it would be easier to explain that two of the parts that will be included in the build are in flux. First, I’m pretty sure that the new Intel i9 processors are going to come down in price at some point. Second, I’m willing to wait a little bit to get one of the next generation NVIDIA graphics cards.

It does look like on the Newegg website a bunch of graphics cards from NVIDIA are back in stock. My search is for GTX 1060/1070/1080 graphics cards with sort from lowest price to highest price. The GTX 1080 cards look pretty awesome, but they were just out of my price tolerance when they came out. Oddly enough I never would have guessed that graphics prices would have gone up. Most of the time technology prices drop after release vs. steadily increasing before a shortage occurs. It seems like all the speculative cryptocurrency mining adventures decimated the normally oversupplied market for graphics cards.

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

Day 77 the one with some questions about how we take action

2018: Day 77 the one with some questions about how we take action
Word count 166,347 + 1,510 or 167,857 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

You may be in luck today. I’m in a certain type of mood. One of those moods that will either yield good things or extremely useful prose. My thoughts in the last 24 hours have been about what exactly sparks us to take action. So many different ways exist for us to take action. We rarely describe action in terms of a unit of value. I’m not talking about confusing money and action. This question purely is about how we elect to assign our times to the things that we care about. That is more or less a question of passion and managing the moment. The moment where we are locked in and focused on the present. In that moment where we are locking in and ready to go what part of it will be inspired by the spark of action. A lot of my time is watching for the spark of creativity to drive me to write some useful prose. This is a different take on that type of action. Writing for me is a primarily reflection action that is meant to help me focus on taking the next step forward.

Taking action to do something positive with my time is a different take on things. Maybe in any given day my capacity to take action includes 12 useful hours. If each of those hours represents one unit of action, then my day includes a possible 12 units of action. Most of those units are going to get consumed by work commitments throughout the week. Another major batch of them will get assigned to family activities. Throughout this year 2 of those units of action every day have been assigned to writing. My writing efforts can probably be summed up as a mad sprint to write some things down within the last 1-2 hours of a day. Trying to account for all those units of action involves a certain amount of effort. Most of the time it is not worth it to try to figure out where that time is going and for what reasons it is going where it ends up going. Maybe in this very moment I’m wondering what exactly it would take to compel me to take a couple units of action and contribute to something else. Some cause or issue that needs a lot more units of action to move forward.

That is pretty much where my thoughts have been percolating. I have been thinking about how we take action. My thoughts have not even ventured into the world of why we take action. Let’s take this article I read about a lost bicycle. That bicycle was the means of transportation the individual used to get to work. We as a society actively pay taxes to support law enforcement that hopefully would have prevented the loss of that bicycle, but otherwise are in the business of finding and returning stolen merchandise. Alternative, we have the capacity as a society to replace the bicycle. A lot of charity based initiatives exist to help connect people with donated bicycles. Either through government or non-governmental organizations this problem of the lost bicycle could be solved. That example really happened and is very solvable. Some of the other examples out there in the world can also be solved. A lot of problems are more complex and would require some type of agreement between people working together to solve. A subset of those problems are so complex that even a solid group of folks working together are not going to be able to solve the problem. That is the point at which I have been wondering about. Some of the other smaller downstream points deserve attention, but that is not where my mind is focused at the moment.

Topic 1: Writing a perpetual literature review

I’m seriously thinking about abandoning all of my current writing efforts and start some new artificial intelligence, deep learning, machine learning, and neural network literature review bibliographies and papers. Even the basic parts of the literature review writing would be covered in detail. This blog format could be adapted to have 4 new pages associated with the previously enumerated topics to house living and frequently updated bibliographies. That could be a good method to go about writing about the process of putting together a high quality and comprehensive literature review. My take on the process is that a certain amount of foundation and exploratory literature exist. Somewhere between the foundation and the exploration a review of the relevant literature enhances an academic article.

That is about clearly showing the intellectual pedigree of how we got to this point and where we are going to move forward. That is the essence of why people used to write papers. To say hey everything we knew up until this point got us to the start point of this paper. That paper then opens the door to something new that can make a contribute to the academy. I would say putting those artifacts together and keeping them up to date would be a good use of my time. That will probably also set the foundation for a solid return to daily updates on YouTube. I strongly believe in helping people learn about and understand artificial intelligence. I think that making high quality videos may be the best way for me to do that beyond brining together rock solid bibliographies.

Topic 2: Canceling Amazon Services

Back in 2003 my journey with buying things from Amazon started. Today all of that came to an end. It was a decent run, but I realized that Amazon was basicly taxing me on purchases of goods and services. Given that I have no representation with Amazon that relationship had to end. Enough was enough. The types of things that I bought on Amazon were not really items that I would consider necessities. Waiting for shipping on everything is just disapointing anyway. The things that I actually need I will purchase locally or buy them from the seller online. That will be model going foward. Imagine that Amazon as a company was like a broaker or a realestate agaent on every purchase you make. They just take a slice and that is how they go about things. For the most part as a company Amazon employees do not produce anything that I need. They simply take my spending power and profit by my purchases. Enough is a enough. I’m done with that company.

Probably the hardest part of the whole equation was uninstalling Amazon Music on my phone. Listenign to music is a huge part of my day. Given that both Amazon and Google are in some kind of streaming war I cannot access Google play from my Alexa services. That pretty much means that the Amazon Echo I ordered back on November 18, 2014 is pretty much useless. I may sell it and my Amazon Echo dot on eBay or just put the in the basement to gather dust. For the most part they are now completely useless to me. Rigth now I’m listening to some music on my Google Play Music account. You can imagine that the Amazon Play Music app is already tryign to get me to subscribe to access 40 milion songs on-demand. Right now I’m wondering if I should load my digital music collection on my phone and use some type of player. I did a quick search of the Google Play story for “music player” and found a few options. The last time I used a music player other than Amazon Music, Google Play Music, or the Windows Media Player was probably Winamp. Now that thougth was a blast from the past. Unfortunatly it does not appear that Winamp is in the Google Play store.

I’m going to try to export the music that was important and purchased from Amazon Music here in a few minutes. Those tracks will need to get backed up the cloud and loaded to my phone. My Google Pixel 2 XL smartphoen can hold 128 gigabytes worth of content. That should allow me to have a rather large music library with me on the go. Maybe now would be a good time to go out and back some more bands on Kickstarter. That is a great way to support indepednet music and get some new music for my traveling. Listening to vinyl records on the go is not really an option. After downlaoding all of my music that will pretty much complete the breakup. I’ll probably miss being able to stream Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda television show via Amazon Prime streaming. Yeah —- that is probably the biggest thing that I will miss second only to being able to listen to music during the hour before I go to sleep. This might be enough of a reason to go back to Pandora and my Warren Zevon station that never plays any Zevon.

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

Day 76 the one where Kansas won some basketball

2018: Day 76 the one where Kansas won some basketball
Word count 165,014 + 1,333 or 166,347 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

I wanted until 19:44 hours to get going today. That was purposeful. It seemed like a good idea to just avoid writing for a bit and try to enjoy some college basketball. We elected to keep our subscription to YouTube TV until the end of basketball season. Right now a Chromecast Ultra is connected to our main family room television and it is being controlled by a Google Home Mini speaker. That configuration works out really well. I have been able to tell it to rewind, pause, and switch channels. Sure a remote control would probably do the same thing, but it is nowhere near as awesome as talking to my computer like something from Star Trek. Advances in technology like the ability to surf channels during the NCAA tournament are pretty cool. Sure they are not advancing society toward civility, but I do not think they are hurting the broader social fabric.

Today at Costco I totally meant to take a photograph for my blog post today. I’m not sure if it is the after effect of traveling or something else, but I’m rather tired right now. Maybe I am fighting off a cold of some type. That is very possible. Both today and yesterday I ended up taking an allergy pill. Either way my writing has not been living up to my expectations the last few days. The words should have been easier to come by and the quality should have been a lot better. Today I spent a few minutes thinking about some short story ideas. Part of that was thinking about just how much I enjoyed that first Camel Club book by David Baldacci. It is hard to believe that was back in 2005. A really good mash up of something like The Camel Club mixed with a space opera is probably my literary sweet spot at the moment. I’m not sure if that brand of fiction exists out in the market. It may very well exist and I have not stumbled upon it. A lot of my short story ideas are related to either spycraft or the ethical questions artificial intelligence is beginning. Sure —- the phrasing on that last sentence was a little off at the end, but it captured what I was trying to say. I think the real questions related to the ethical considerations of artificial intelligence are opening now.

Maybe a good use of an artificial intelligence algorithm would be to predict when I should go to the Oliver Garden to get dinner without running into a 45 minute wait time. Yeah I know that getting a bunch of Olive Garden breadsticks is not a required part of my existence, but they are probably as close to my own personal szechuan sauce obsession. They just bring joy to my world and for that I guess they should be a part of my dinner. Naturally, a 45 minute wait time just crushes that joy and turns my happiness into sadness with the utterance of a few previously enumerated words. That is right hearing somebody say the words 45 minute wait time is enough to just make me shake my head. The idea of waiting that long with exceedingly wild children is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Topic 1: Watching the Jayhawks

The game today was hard to watch. Things were just so close throughout the game that one good run would have taken it either way. Those are the types of games I enjoy watching in the abstract. Watching then with a truly invested passion for one team makes them somewhat stressful. Today was one of those stressful games. I kept wondering if the Seton Hall Pirates were going to go on a run of draining 3 point shots late in the second half. College basketball is very interesting during tournament time. One really hot shooting streak can push a game one way or another. Sometimes you ride that wave and it is exciting beyond measure. Other times you watch some other team find the wave and ride it with a degree of reckless abandon that you just start hoping some good defence might slow it down. It is one of those things that if defence was going to solve the problem, then the problem probably would not have existed in the first place. You can tell the problem does exist and based on that you are pretty sure that whatever defence occurred was not the answer.

We did notice that watching YouTube TV is a little bit slower than the actual real time event. The websites ended up being a little bit ahead of the game we were watching. That is something that I just ignore, but when somebody else in the room is watching a feed that is more up to date you are constantly trying to read the micro-expressions to figure out what is really happening. That process detracts from the experience of watching the game. Tonight the game went down to the last minute and the Seton Hall Pirates were draining late 3 point shots. You can only go 2 for 3 so many times before a lead evaporates. I’m sure you want to read a ton more about basketball coverage today, but I’m probably about to jump to the next topic.

Topic 2: Thumbnail for today

Most of the time my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone takes pretty good photographs. Sometimes things get a little blurry for some reason. That mostly happens when the subject or something in the frame is moving really quickly. Today was one of those days that I was going to snap a few photographs to stock up for the week. That did not happen at all today. For some reason I had to go back to the well and grab a photograph from the beginning of my trip. That was a few days ago. It does not really have anything to do with the words being written today. It was a filler thumbnail from stock photographic images that would otherwise just take up space on a cloud drive somewhere. Explaining to the people that the cloud is a hard drive somewhere that is not here takes time. I did read about this new method of crystal based storage that could change that paradigm a little bit. I would not be able to say it was a drive somewhere else as a crystal would be a storage medium and not strictly a drive.

Topic 3: I’m thinking about returning to YouTube

My efforts to make YouTube videos last year are well document. You can watch hundreds of videos that cover that topic. This year has been different in terms of my aggressive focus on writing vs. creating videos. That may change up here a little bit as we hit the 100 day writing mark in this year long writing journey. I’m not sure abandoning all other creative outlets will help me get to 3,000 words per day of writing. Based on all available empirical evidence it does not appear that giving up making YouTube videos helps me be a more productive writer. That means maybe now is the time to get back into the routine of recording daily videos. Maybe being a little bit more busy will be enough to help kickstart a second wind for this whole writing endeavor. I think YouTube does some auto captioning of my posts. Maybe I could take that transcript and adapt it to a blog format in some way. The last time I looked at the captions that YouTube produced automatically they were pretty bad in terms of accuracy. I would say that my speaking pattern and articulation should be pretty easy to caption. My videos are normally just me talking. That should be like the ideal use case for automatic transcription. No background noise and it is pretty high quality audio.

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