Tech Day 12/21/22

News with Richard Bleil

Today, as of the writing of this (about a week ago by the time it posts), was kind of a disappointing day technologically.  I missed the Superbowl with the Bengals some months back, which is not necessarily a bad thing because they choked the exact same way they did in their last two Superbowl games which I did see.  So, no great loss.  However, it did get me to thinking that maybe I should have basic cable.

The reality is that I am NOT a sports fan.  I will make it a point to watch the Superbowl if the Bengals play in it, which means, what, once a decade?  I tried to sign up for service with my internet provider, but although they give the number of channels and cost online, they don’t actually list the channels.  As it turns out, my debit card expired, so I called them up to update my automatic payment information, and as long as I had them on the line, I asked them about their channels.  I explained that I don’t want or need sports channels (I realize some will probably come with all of the packages), but I want news, science, and classic movie channels which, as it turns out, is the cheapest package.  My interests are so far off from what most people want that I’m not really surprised. 

Now, I’m more tech savvy than most people would assume because of my age.  I insisted that I can install the cable box myself, so they just dropped it off.  I pulled it in the house and was so excited that I just let it sit in my hallway for a few days.  Today, I hooked it up, and yes, I did it correctly.  It’s really not hard; there’s a connector that says, “from wall” and one that says, “cable out”, so I hooked up the box, and my wifi router.  But it never came on.  The box seemed to be okay, but the television only said “Not Support!” 

Okay, that television is at least twenty years old, so fine.  I swapped televisions, and still to no avail.  I called tech support, and they couldn’t fix it remotely so now I get to pay for a tech visit who will likely just say, “oh, it’s a faulty box.”  But that’s not the only disappointment today.

As it turns out, the laptop that was running a quantum calculation for my research updated and rebooted, killing the calculation that had been running for about a month and a half (and had a significant amount to go based on what I was seeing). 

The reality is that tablets and laptops are simply not designed to handle long-term continuous calculations.  You may find this strange, but performing these high-end calculations is apparently not common.  I decided that if I am going to do this, I need a tower computer and will have to turn off automatic updates.  But it is time for a reality check.

I know my research will never be published, and with my depression, am I really going to do it?  Is it worth the money for me to buy a computer for projects that won’t matter and is not likely to be completed? 

I spoke with my friend about this.  She has far more faith in me than I do.  She is not willing to give up on my getting my research published and has faith that I can actually do it.  She also pointed out that buying a tower would be my way of saying to myself that I do believe in my abilities, and a good way to motivate myself to keep going. 

Damn.  She’s right.

So off I go to the techy chain store, you know the one, that I’m disappointed in as it moves towards more home appliances.  They still have a computer section, and I have signed up for their high-end tech support program.  Looking at the towers they have in the store, as it turns out, they don’t carry high end serious computers.  They’re all gaming towers, with flashing lights, high-end graphics cards, but lower end CPU’s and memory.  That’s not what I need.  If I’m going to spend the money, I need a powerhouse.

I ended up configuring my own computer.  It won’t come pre-assembled, so I’ll have to put it together myself.  It won’t be here for another week, but when it does arrive it’ll have an Intel core 19-13900 K processor, 64 GB RGB DDR5 memory, a high-speed 2 TB hard drive and liquid cooling.  As it turns out, the graphics card will be low end because, honestly, these calculations don’t need high end graphics.  It’ll be a powerhouse that nobody would want.  So, yes, I dropped over two thousand more dollars on my own research

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