Woof! I Caught the Car. Now What? 


This is a Pine64 single board computer with a 7″ touchscreen and a Playbox case.

I sponsored the Kickstarter back in January. The Pine64 board came almost on time, but some of the peripherals were delayed, and I didn’t want to start until I had everything.  I think the last component arrived in August. 

But this term has been crazy busy, so the Pine64 and friends sat in their bubble mailers.

On the last day of work this year, I stayed up until almost 3 am assembling the Pine64, installing the operating system, and troubleshooting it until it worked.

It really wasn’t a hard build,  but it was my first project of the kind: my first mobile or laptop build (though I’ve built desktops and done some minor laptop repairs and upgrades).

I am proud to have done it, but honestly, I’m not sure what to do with it now that it’s finished. 

The Playbox case is neither durable nor protective enough to use as a real tablet. A large gap exposes the Pine64 to all manner of dirt and debris. 

The instructions say to secure the battery in place with masking tape. Really? I jammed it into place with a taped portion of bubble mailer, but still.

C4 Labs recently released a better case that might make the Pine64 usable as a tablet.

I could add a hard drive and turn it into an over the air DVR. But we don’t watch anything over the air anyway. 

It has the power to be a media station,  but we have smart tv and a Fire Stick already.

So, um, a project for the sake of a project?

Any ideas?

On TaskBar, But Off-Task (PC Distraction)


I just noticed a bad habit I have: whenever I’m working on something and I get to a tedious, annoying, or difficult part, my eyes glance away, looking toward the taskbar, seeking out something easier or more interesting. 

I physically felt it happen today, but I know it’s been going on for a long time. 

I know now more than ever that I really need to keep “up” (active)  only those things I am currently working on. 

If I need a break, I can take a break. I’m valued where I work, and my supervisors know that a lot of the work I do takes a lot of skill, focus, and mental energy. 

But I won’t be at my best if I’m constantly flitting from task to task, from analysis to email to course shell. 

I’m sure I’m much worse about it at home on my laptop,  when I’m on my own admission have video games, Facebook, Netflix, and other such entertainments to distract me. 

Maybe this is why George R. R. Martin and Dean Wesley Smith write on computers with no internet access. 

So here it’s my new role,  for work sends at home:  only keep those Windows up that are needed for the current task.  Finish it,  then move on. 

We’ll see how it goes. Maybe this trick.will help on my home laptop:

https://youtu.be/s-rPXMIiPjE

Shoveling “Stuff” (Getting My Life in Order)



 

If this is the year when I get my “stuff” together, well, I still have a lot of “stuff” to shovel and only 5 1/2 months to shovel it.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve done a lot this year so far specifically regarding myself:

  • Earned my Ph.D.
  • Gone Vegan, lost 20 pounds, and fixed some recurring digestive issues
  • Restarted this blog and posted to it faithfully five days a week

But there is still a lot to do.

There is SO MUCH wrong with the world. I can’t go on Facebook right now because I’m just overwhelmed. I find myself ruminating about so many things that need help, and then I end up not taking care of things in my own life.

Being fully present in each moment is a “big” thing and one that probably takes a lot of time and mental practice to do. However, I can start by

  • Not having a bunch of windows open at once on my computer
  • Turning my laptop off when I’m not using it, so I’m not tempted to pick back up at whatever I left off, especially social media and web pages
  • Dictating text as much as possible, using my wireless rig, not seated at or facing the computer.
  • Getting away from my computer unless I’m doing something that specifically requires it
  • Reading more print books and fewer articles
  • (Do you get the idea that technology is a problem for me?)

I’ll also try to more fully devote my time and attention to my daughter, and try to remove things that distract her attention (like cartoons). I work full-time, and I want to really have time to have a real relationship with my daughter, one that isn’t mediated through the TV. I also want to reserve enough time to talk to my wife and give my full attention to the aforementioned conversations.

Even if I don’t get to do some of the things I want to do, I think I need to prioritize giving full attention to both my wife and my daughter.

Swimming, dancing, running more (especially with my daughter)
She is only 3 once, and I won’t waste my limited time with her preschool self being subdivided and not really “there.”

Doing more things that require my hands, not just my fingers on a keyboard.
Like cooking. I like trying out new things, and new recipes.
That would be a calming creative outlet for me, and would help take some of the load off Katherine, too.

Finally, I need to turn my attention to more spiritual pursuits. I’ve always been a churchgoing, active, professing Christian, but I’ve recently learned about some spiritual practices that have ancient roots that most American protestants (myself included) have forgotten.

Three of these that I know I want to try are praying the hours (praying specific prayers at certain times of the day, though perhaps less specifically that the Catholic Church does it), following the church calendar and observing its seasons, and reading through the Bible following the Common Lectionary. The lectionary is used by millions, if not hundreds of millions, of Christians across the globe. In following it, I would be aligning my study with a host of fellow believers worldwide.

I need more sleep, more time outside, and more exercise.

I’ll get there. I’ve still got 5 1/2 months to go.