atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6059: Well, it's 24° warmer than it was last night.

A virtual heat wave. It has to get that warm for us to have "wintry mix" after all.

Plus side: I'm home, and Mrs. Fungus is home, and there's nowhere we need to go.

* * *

In the same vein as yesterday's link to Raconteur Report, I have an assignment for Fred: calculate how much concrete was used in the construction of Hoover Dam and compare that figure to those estimated for the Trump Border Wall.

Hint: Hoover Dam used 4,360,000 cubic yards of concrete. Fred says it'll take 704,000 cubic yards to build 2,000 miles of wall, about 1/6th as much. The dam took five years to build, in the 1930s.

But a border wall is "impossible"?

* * *

Related: if this kind of thing started happening more often we wouldn't need the wall, because there wouldn't be employment here for illegal aliens.

How odd is it that the majority of solving the problem comes simply from enforcing the existing law?

* * *

Today's Pearls Before Swine took me a moment.

...Pig is rejecting things because the people involved in them are sexual harassers and/or molestors and/or rapists. And, incidentally, Thomas the Tank Engine has recently been accused of being sexist or racist or some damned thing, which is the "ha ha how ironic" punch line.

* * *

Finally had a decent story from Black Mirror, about two people using a dating application. Every last story in this series is dystopian in one way or another; this was the least so that I've seen from them.

* * *

Friday night I bought a new cordless drill/driver. Has a hammer drill setting and everything, and uses a lithium ion battery instead of NiCd. I expect it not to have the same problem my old Black and Decker cordless has, of never having enough charge in it to finish a job. The battery is still good and holds a decent amount of energy, and it doesn't drain very quickly over time, but the leakage for lithium ion is so much lower....

Thought about buying a cordless impact driver, but I expect that I won't use that as much as I will a cordless drill. Particularly considering how much home improvement work I have left to do.

The nice thing about this one is that it has a dual-range gearbox to go with its variable-speed trigger. So you have "slow to really fast" and "slower to not-very-fast" which naturally increases the available torque while making low-speed operation much more controllable. No more having the phillips bit jump out of the screw head because it went from zero to "too-fast" right away.

* * *

Saw a mini-ITX motherboard made by MSI over at Tom's Hardware. It's got a single PCIe slot, and it seems as if it would be a good choice for a media PC. It runs AMD processors, and it looks as if you could throw a Ryzen 3 into it for not a lot of money.

During yesterday's doldrums I had a gander at my workstation. It's a Lenovo "thin client" PC. It's got a Core i5 processor running at 2.5 GHz, but while the model number seemed to be a certain kind, this one looked different--thicker, and with more ports; but the additional thickness didn't look like it was connected to anything. Yet the dongle for my headset comes out of that part.

Then I realized that it's got a "port expander" on it. Basically, a thing that bolts onto the computer and takes up two USB ports, but then provides several more USB ports and a serial port besides.

...unnecessary. The port expander costs $85-ish at retail, but there are more than enough USB ports for me to do what I need to do; and without the expander plugged in I'd have at least one spare USB port available, and probably two. Some Lenovo salesman really padded his bottom line with that thing.

If it were up to me I'd ditch the port expander entirely, and probably mount the actual computer to the underside of the desk. It's not up to me, though.

...but that MSI board is a nice bit of kit, though fully-configured it's about $150 for the motherboard, $120-ish for the processor, and probably another $100 or so for 16 GB of RAM. Not exactly a "budget build", but it'd be fast. That Ryzen 3 is pretty zippy, and it's at the low end of the Ryzen hierarchy. I mean, according to this it's in the same performance class as the i5-4570 in Floristica.

Incidentally, I think it's insane that you can spend $2,100 on a microprocessor in 2018.

* * *

Today is Sunday, and it's a day off for both of us. How lovely.

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