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The Hero of Time

The Hero of Time breaks the curse on the Great Deku Tree... by focusing and improving his life

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Week 4, day 5 summary - Nov 22nd

  

I didn't really use time-boxes again. I worked on the computer build and story writing.

  

Target 1: write the fourth story

 

I got the rest of the story down. As usual, it was ~1,000 words at that point. During the rest of the day I was able to get the word count down and edit it to a point where I was happy to print out a copy for my wife. The story is more cheerful (and predictable) than those I've written in the rest of this challenge. She liked that and it even made her laugh a few times.

  

Target 2: Implement and test next selected part of the automation, or find a way to enhance the live automation

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Target 3: Make bug-reports to the Waistline app for ways in which usability for carb counting can be improved (for instance, when you add a recipe, the total calories and fat are shown but not carbs)

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Target 4: Read the Seven Countries study

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Target 5: Boot from the NVME drive

  

The NVME drive remained in read-write mode so I worked my way through some of the to-do list.

  • configure /var/log so that it no longer writes to disc (after doing some reading, I decided it wasn't worth doing this; I will have /var mounted on the mechanical hard drive when I move it across)
  • upgrade the kernel to 5.2 or 5.3 (5.2)
  • look at fan-speed control options 
  • buy drive bays for the case (the friend who donated the parts says he may still have some of these)
  • buy molex cables for the modular power supply (he says he may also have some of these)
  • see if I can overclock the RAM a little more
  • configure the graphics card for best performance
  • make a list of software installed on my current system and try to replicate that on the new system
  • make backups and exports of the security keys from my current system, import them to the new machine
  • transfer the mechanical hard drive from the old system
  • merge the configurations from the old system

Whole week summary

 

Writing this week's story was easier. I think this is due to growing confidence and experience. I didn't worry as much about spending time planning the plot. The new plot template worked well and I feel much more comfortable with it. I didn't worry about the word-count on the first write-through. I didn't think too far ahead of the sentence I was currently writing. I made lots of THESAURUS! notes rather than agonizing over word choice there and then. I was even able to relax the amount of time I spent on this so that I could work more on the computer-build.

 

The computer-build was frustrating and worrying. I spent a good deal of the week worrying that I'd bought a dud NVME drive and that I'd have to send it back. I felt a bit foolish for not sending it back straight away but now I'm glad I didn't. One of the main issues appears to have been that the drive doesn't support power-saving modes and I think that was responsible for a lot of the read-only states. I wish that disabling hibernate in the GNOME settings had been enough and that I hadn't had to go medieval on systemd. I also wish Debian could create a proper UEFI boot entry. Hopefully, Ubuntu's code will make its way upstream.

 

Everything else fell by the wayside. It's a shame that happened but it's a reflection of the real priorities. It could be argued that this is the result of my stubbornness in using (and booting from) an NVME drive. I don't need the NVME drive---it's just there to make things faster. I could have used a stage 1 bootloader on a USB thumb drive, which would have meant that I didn't have to care about the UEFI boot entries. However, the result of my stubbornness is that I now have a better understanding of some newer technologies (UEFI) and the components in the system (together with their limitations). I also have a sense of achievement for having battled through this mini-boss battle.

 

Fitness

 

We finally ate the last of the pasta in the house. If we find any more in a dark corner of a cupboard, it's going in the bin. This means that we should be able to reach level 5 of the NF diet on this coming Sunday.

 

My wife lost some weight, bringing her closer to her target BMI, but so did I (taking me further under my target BMI). My solution to this has been for me to start drinking protein shakes. I hope that this will allow me to convert the fat that remains at my waist into muscle, whilst allowing me to gain a little weight and reach my target BMI again. It's easier to do this with a protein shake without making my wife jealous of what I'm eating. I don't think either of us are going to reach our target BMIs this week.

 

I didn't do the interval training this week, in order to give my ankle chance to recover. It feels almost completely better now, so I plan to start the interval training again this week.

 

Today's plan

 

I can't quite believe it's week five already. I'll be limited for time because we're going to a friend's for dinner this evening.

 

I'll start work on this week's story. It features the same protagonist from last week's story (although the stories are self-contained) so that should reduce the work needed. I'll take a look at fleshing out the character profile a little more and, hopefully, start on the plot outline.

 

I'll make a list of the software installed on my current system and start making backups and exports of security keys.

 

If I can squeeze it in, I'll work on the invoice automation.

 

I'm not planning to use time-boxes but hope to return to that tomorrow.

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On 11/22/2019 at 2:27 PM, The Hero of Time said:

Given that games I write will probably be played on PC, I should think about keyboard-based control schemes. Can either of you think of games that do that particularly well?

There are actually a couple of the boys' games on PC, which you can plug and play with an XBox controller.

 

On 11/22/2019 at 2:51 PM, Jarric said:

They mouse does so much in PC games that it's hard to get the controls wrong I think. WASD to move and strafe, mouse to look around, left and right click for the main actions you are regularly doing.

 

I think the trick actually is to avoid the temptation to use every key on the keyboard.

Agree with the basic keys, and so much this^^^ with regards to NOT using too many keyboard keys.

R usually for reload of anything. TAB for inventory of something you use regularly (backpack or such). M for map. Space for jump. C for crouch.

 

Nice going on the weight loss, the computer build, and the stories.

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Week 5, day 1 summary - Nov 25th

  

I worked on the computer build and story writing. I didn't manage to do anything on invoice automation.

  

Fifth story

 

I fleshed out a few more items on this protagonist's character profile. I then worked on the plot outline---there are a few details to sort out but I made good progress with this.

  

Invoice automation

  

I'd hoped to do something on this but ran out of time.

  

Carb counting

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Cholesterol studies

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Computer build

  

I worked through a bit more of the to-do list. We had dinner at the friend's house who had donated the parts. He had kindly dug out PSU cables and drive bays. It appears that the drive bays are for a different case but I no longer have to buy the Molex cables.

  • configure /var/log so that it no longer writes to disc (after doing some reading, I decided it wasn't worth doing this; I will have /var mounted on the mechanical hard drive when I move it across)
  • upgrade the kernel to 5.2 or 5.3 (5.2)
  • look at fan-speed control options 
  • buy drive bays for the case (the friend who donated the parts says he may still have some of these; he gave me some but they appear to be for a different case)
  • buy molex cables for the modular power supply (he says he may also have some of these; he did let me have them)
  • see if I can overclock the RAM a little more
  • configure the graphics card for best performance
  • make a list of software installed on my current system and try to replicate that on the new system
  • make backups and exports of the security keys from my current system, import them to the new machine
  • transfer the mechanical hard drive from the old system
  • merge the configurations from the old system

  

Today's plan

 

I plan to use time-boxes again. I feel a little less pressured with the story-writing so I'm going to cut that back to one hour again.

  • story-writing - one hour - finish plot outline
  • invoice automation - one hour
  • computer build - one hour - find drive bays on ebay, look at fan speed control options.

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15 hours ago, ElizeElvinFoxRyder said:

There are actually a couple of the boys' games on PC, which you can plug and play with an XBox controller. 

 

I did make a simple 3D game (you push balls into holes) just to see if it would work with a game controller (a Chinese PS3 controller in my case). It did work, and using the analogue stick is quite nice with this, but I don't suppose many people would actually do this on a PC. I suppose I could provide it as an option.

 

15 hours ago, ElizeElvinFoxRyder said:
On 11/22/2019 at 12:51 PM, Jarric said:

They mouse does so much in PC games that it's hard to get the controls wrong I think. WASD to move and strafe, mouse to look around, left and right click for the main actions you are regularly doing.

 

I think the trick actually is to avoid the temptation to use every key on the keyboard.

Agree with the basic keys, and so much this^^^ with regards to NOT using too many keyboard keys.

R usually for reload of anything. TAB for inventory of something you use regularly (backpack or such). M for map. Space for jump. C for crouch.

 

Thank you, both. That's good advice and gives me an insight into PC game controls that I didn't have.

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Week 5, day 2 summary - Nov 26th

  

I worked on the story, invoice automation, and the computer build. I used time-boxes but they were a bit loose.

  

Fifth story

 

I developed the plot further and made lots of notes. I plan to start writing the actual story today.

  

Invoice automation

  

I did work on this, although it mostly involved trying to work out how I could avoid duplicating code that works out time worked on tickets.

  

Carb counting

  

I made notes on some foods for which I haven't specified carb info and fixed one of them this morning. I also looked around for the "basic [carbohydrate] counting system" at which Steve hints in the Nerd Fitness diet, but didn't find it.

  

Cholesterol studies

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Computer build

  

I worked through a bit more of the to-do list.

  • configure /var/log so that it no longer writes to disc (after doing some reading, I decided it wasn't worth doing this; I will have /var mounted on the mechanical hard drive when I move it across)
  • upgrade the kernel to 5.2 or 5.3 (5.2)
  • look at fan-speed control options (I looked at available sensors but the CPU fan speed doesn't appear to be one of them)
  • buy drive bays tray for the case (I've managed to shoe-horn the donated drive-bays in, even though they're only held in by one screw; I still need a drive tray for the DVD drive)
  • buy molex cables for the modular power supply (he says he may also have some of these; he did let me have them)
  • see if I can overclock the RAM a little more
  • configure the graphics card for best performance
  • make a list of software installed on my current system and try to replicate that on the new system
  • make backups and exports of the security keys from my current system, import them to the new machine
  • transfer the mechanical hard drive from the old system
  • merge the configurations from the old system 

  

Today's plan

  • Story-writing - one hour - start writing the actual story
  • invoice automation - one hour
  • computer build - one hour - find drive tray on ebay, look at fan-speed again.
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Week 5, day 3 summary - Nov 27th

  

I worked on the story and the computer build. Time boxes were loose again.

  

Fifth story

 

I started getting the story down. I didn't get as far as I would have liked.

  

Invoice automation

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Carb counting

  

I took a moment, yesterday, to check that all of that day's food, in the Waistline app, had carb data. They did. I ate about 120g of carbs. That's fine for my current level in the NF diet but is too high for later levels. I plan to have a look through and work out which foods had the most carbs (I suspect bananas).

  

Cholesterol studies

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Computer build

  

I worked through a bit more of the to-do list.

  • configure /var/log so that it no longer writes to disc (after doing some reading, I decided it wasn't worth doing this; I will have /var mounted on the mechanical hard drive when I move it across)
  • upgrade the kernel to 5.2 or 5.3 (5.2)
  • look at fan-speed control options (after fiddling with settings, it turns out that the motherboard does a perfectly good job of controlling CPU fan speed when Q-fan control is enabled)
  • buy drive tray for the case (I ordered a couple of DVD drive rails from ebay that I hope will fit) 
  • buy molex cables for the modular power supply (he says he may also have some of these; he did let me have them)
  • see if I can overclock the RAM a little more
  • configure the graphics card for best performance
  • make a list of software installed on my current system and try to replicate that on the new system
  • make backups and exports of the security keys from my current system, import them to the new machine
  • transfer the mechanical hard drive from the old system
  • merge the configurations from the old system 

  

Today's plan

 

I think the time-boxes will be fairly fluid.

  • Story-writing - I want to get the whole of the story down and start work on editing
  • carb counting - I've fiddled with the Waistline app settings enough that it's now easier to check for incomplete carb data
  • computer-build - use cable-ties to pull cables out of the airflow, see if I can push the overclocking a little more.
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Week 5, day 4 summary - Nov 28th

  

A friend popped 'round so my time on this was very much truncated. I worked on the story and did a little bit of the computer build.

  

Fifth story

 

I got the rest of the story down. Of course, it was >1000 words so a lot will have to be cut out to get it down to 500. It always seems impossible, at this stage, that I could cut out so much and still have a story, but it's worked every time so far.

  

Invoice automation

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Carb counting

  

I was going to do something on this but I didn't get to it.

  

Cholesterol studies

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Computer build

 

I stress-tested it at 4.6GHz with the Q-Fan controls in place. It was fine again, but this was just meant to be a base-line for testing at 4.7GHz. My friend's visit put pay to that (instead we did some audiophile listening tests with his Raspberry Pi 4 as a source). I plan to test at 4.7GHz today.  

  

Today's plan

 

The fifth story is the priority. I plan to finish editing today.

 

I plan to do some stress-testing with the new computer today. If I have time, I may look at GPU performance configuration.

 

If I still have time, I'll look at the Waistline app carb data.

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Week 5, day 5 summary - Nov 29th

  

The main objective was to finish the fifth story, which I did. Also, I managed to spend time on the computer build and look at some of the carb data.

  

Fifth story

  

I edited this down to 500 words. It's amazing how much of the story remains implied even when you have to cut it out. This one was meant to be humorous and it made my wife laugh---she's one of the few people who understand my sense of humour but that's a good start.

  

Invoice automation

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Carb counting

  

Somewhat unexpectedly, my wife reached her target BMI. This makes the carb data completion more urgent and I did spend some time on this. However, for reasons I don't understand, she's decided she wants to lose another half a stone (3kg/7lb). This postpones the carb counting for now.

  

Cholesterol studies

  

I didn't do anything on this.

  

Computer build

  

I did some research into maximizing GPU performance with the nouveau driver, discovered I could do some re-clocking by writing a pstate value under sysfs, and confirmed that GPU fan speed will adjust automatically.

  

Whole week summary

 

The story-writing went well. I wasn't scrambling to finish within the time and I put this down to growing confidence and experience, as well as flexibility with the time-boxes.

 

The computer build made good progress but I'm frustrated with how the NVME-related issues have had a knock-on effect.

 

I recognized the fact that the other quests were of lower priority and didn't really spend time on these. They still need to be done but something had to give.

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Whole Challenge summary

 

My conclusion from my Level 1 Challenge was that I was more capable than I realized. For this Challenge, I think I have to conclude that I was too ambitious.

 

Some of the obstacles were beyond my control---such as the delay in receiving the PCIe/M.2 adapter, the lack of power-saving support in the NVME drive, the difficulty in disabling power-saving in Debian 10, the inability of the Debian installer to create a UEFI boot entry, the size of the cholesterol studies, etc.---but I had the feeling I'd taken on too much and I should have listened to that. It's only fitting that I didn't level-up.

 

The main priority was to get the stories written and I did that. I should see that as a win and it continues to take me down a road that I didn't really think was possible.

 

The second priority was the computer build. That proved to be filled with obstacles. However, the computer is built. I need to install some more software, but it is just about ready for me to start using it as my daily machine.

 

I'm disappointed that I didn't get further with the other quests but I recognized early on that these would have to be put on the back burner.

 

Thank you all who encouraged me when things weren't going so well. It really did make all the difference. Thank you @ElizeElvinFoxRyder for the proof-reading. It's been invaluable.

 

Time, now, to regroup. Time to defeat Queen Gohma once and for all.

 

Queen-gohma-Ocarina-of-Time-by_sulamoon.

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