Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
Their indices bedecked from one to _^Hn,
Commingled in an endless Markov chain!
-- Stanislaw Lem, "Cyberiad"
I assume most of you didn't already know this, so I'm going to clarify it up front. One of my favorite sci-fi trilogies is comprised of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Obviously they weren't meant to stand alone as a trilogy as they are three movies plucked out of a larger group of films, but I don't care. They share a coherent story arc between them which begins with the second film and is resolved at the end of the fourth film. There are parts of these movies that inspire much debate among Trekkies, but as a whole, short of a few exceptions like the Matrix trilogy, they are my favorites.
One of my favorite parts of the movies is a scene in Star Trek II where Kirk, McCoy and Spock are discussing the Genesis Device after watching an introductory video on it. For those of you not in the know, the Genesis device was a missile that was capable of bringing life to an otherwise lifeless planetoid. It effectively represents the transcedence of human beings from inhabitants of the universe to masters of it. The trilogy of course revolves around how wrong and short sighted this belief is and explores that theme in quite a bit of depth and from a variety of angles. In any event after watching that video, the following exchange ensues between Spock and McCoy:
Anybody who has spent any amount of time reading my content over the past few years knows what my small server project is. For those of you not in the know, it was basically my attempt to stop using an old desktop as my home server and transition all of its duties to SBCs (Single Board Computers) which are smaller, quieter, cooler, less performant and most importantly, use way less power. That project was a success. I eventually ended up with four ODroid XU4Qs handling various tasks. After I finished that project I started to get more ambitious. Could I actually take this project to the next level and curtail the power usage of my home office?
Now to be clear: This was a much harder nut to crack than small server was. Namely because when it comes to my work, I need a particular level of processing power as I'm a software developer and there are additional compatibility performance concerns that hinder my ability to curtail power usage. I spent a lot of time at the beginning of this project trying to figure out a way to move my workflow over to various Raspberry Pi units, namely the 4th gen units with 4 gigabytes and 8 gigabytes of RAM. Sadly, it just wasn't doable. I still need too many things that the Raspberry Pi platform just cannot provide.
Namely and depressingly, I still need the ability to use Windows. Despite how far and wide I have spread my hatred and disdain for Windows as a platform, even I cannot escape the ghosts of Christmas past which force me to interact with it. Without some ability to use and interact with Windows, I would not be able to keep my current job. Let me assure you all that outside of work related tasks, my interaction with Windows remains non-existent and I would have it no other way. Nonetheless the long and short of this is to illustrate that as much as I wanted to make a low powered ARM device work in this situation, It just wasn't in the cards, no matter how much time I pissed away trying to make it work.
So I could've just stuck with one of the many cheapo Intel / AMD laptops I keep in reserve. However I didn't want to do that either. It turns out that x86 laptops are generally noisy little beasts and I really wanted my office to be as quiet as possible. So I ended up getting two ODroid H2 single board computers. They have large heatsinks and low RPM fans on the top that when configured properly stay on all the time and generate next to nothing in terms of noise while keeping the internals quite cool. The first one of these (box with the blue power button on the right) was purchased by a current employer of mine and natively runs Windows 10 for the express purposes of doing their work. This was an original ODroid H2 unit, so it has an Intel Quad Core J4105 Celeron processor. It also has 16 gigs of RAM installed, along with a terabyte and a half of SSD disk space. The second unit (box with the blue power button on the left) was very similar except it was a later revision of the ODroid H2 called the ODroid H2+. It is basically the same as the first revision except it has a slightly faster J4115 processor instead and has dual 2.5 gigabit ethernet ports instead of dual 1.0 gigabit ethernet ports. It of course is entirely my own, so it runs Pop OS 20.10 and is my primary workstation.
Like most of the sane people who read this blog, I have spent the past few weeks experiencing the joy of Donald Trump not being our president. Biden's greatest promise has already been fulfilled, as a sense of normalcy is beginning to return to our political process. Of course today will mark a radical departure from that as the first reunion special, in what I'm sure is going to be a long series of them, is scheduled to begin today for the Trump cast and crew. To be clear, I am referring to Trump's second impeachment trial. May he be convicted and barred from holding office for the rest of his days.