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Showing posts from 2016

Overheating fanless Scooter Computer

A few months ago, inspired by The Scooter Computer, I bought a fanless Intel Broadwell 5257u computer. I set it up as a Core OS Docker host, but quickly discovered that I didn't actually have much use for Docker or Core OS. Recently I tried to repurpose it as a low-end Windows 10 game box. That unfortunately ran into heat-related stability issues. Windows 10 worked fine as long as I didn't try playing 3D games. Playing 3D games like Counterstrike GO would crash after 10 to 15 minutes, with a very hot heat sink. Fiddling with BIOS settings and drivers didn't make a difference.

I guess the lesson to learn from this is, when buying a fanless computer, not to get the highest powered available CPU. Safer to get the lowest power CPU that meets your performance needs. Or just get a fan. :-P

Family Computers, 2016 edition

As the summer of 2016 draws to an end, it's time to plan my family's IT setup for the 2016-2017 school year.
My current setup
iPhonesMacbooksiPadsApple TVChromecast AudioPrinter/scanner.Apple Time CapsuleNo-name "scooter computer" for playing with docker. Phones for kids The big change this year was that my youngest kids got their own phones. The process went well. I'm glad I spent the extra money to buy refurbished iPhone 5s's instead of cheaper phones. The iPhone 5s's have been reliable and easy to administer. The 16 GB of storage has occasionally been a problem.
I restrict my youngest kids' phones so that they can't install apps. It's tedious to have to unlock and then relock the phones to install apps for them, but I like being able to have a say on which apps they have on their phones.
I bought Otterbox cases, which worked well at protecting the phones. So far all the phones have survived. One phone did get dropped in the water briefly, bu…

Two thumbs up for DigiPen ProjectFun

I sent my kids to the DigiPen ProjectFun summer camp this year.

It's expensive ($1400 for 10 days). It is very well run. My kids loved the experience, and they learned a lot about the topics (animation and game programming) they took.
The classes were structured as 7 days of instruction, 2-and-one-half days of final project, and then a demonstration on the afternoon of the last day.
FWIW I am well versed in both animation and game programming. I've tried to teach my kids these subject. They learned more from these courses than when I tried to teach them at home.
The instructors emailed me a detailed "what we did in class today" letter every day. I found it helpful to read the letter and use it to prompt discussion with my kids.
A nice side benefit is that my kids were exposed to relatable role models in the game industry, through the many DigiPen students who are helping run the camp. "Dad, everybody has nose rings."
Only drawback: my kids now think less of…

Scanning old documents

That which is resisted, persists. I'm going paperless in my home office. Over my 30+ years of adulthood I have accumulated 20+ filing cabinet drawers of paper records. Plus there's a ton of unsorted bills and junk mail piled up.
My strategy is to tackle the filing cabinets first, then work on the unsorted bills and junk mail. My reasoning is that doing the filing cabinets first will help me set up my taxonomy on Google Docs, making it easier to file the new documents later.
My strategy for scanning my filing cabinets is: Go through each file cabinet drawer and storage box, one at a time.Sort docs into 3 categories: scan & keep, scan & shred, shred.Scan documents to PDF files with a Fuji ScanSnap ix500.Store the scanned documents in folders (with the same name as the original folders) on Google Docs.Put the "keep" documents back into the same folder and cabinet drawer that they came from.Make a backup copy of the scanned documents to a USB stick. My strategy fo…