Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   entropic debt
Friday, March 12 2021
As I continued the slow but steady progress of cleaning up the laboratory for the first time since 2017, I realized that the entropy accumulated in it was a kind of debt, in the same way that a large amount of firewood in the woodshed is a kind of savings. Entropy, though, is more like the concept of technical debt, which is what happens when time pressures force a technical development effort to take shortcuts, such as failing to create documentation, or writing messy embarrassing code. As with other kinds of debts, entropic debt must be maintained via diminished lifestyle. If the debt is money owed to a creditor, the diminished lifestyle comes in the form of interest paid on a regular basis to service the debt. For me, entropic debt diminishes my lifestyle mostly by encroaching on my available space, making it harder and harder to start new projects. But as the floor opens up and I recover my space, I have no possibilities. For now, though, those possibilities are to be strictly applied to the current goal of tidying up the laboratory.
With that in mind, today I decided to see if an old desktop computer featuring a Socket-A AMD motherboard still worked. The technology dates back to 2004 at the latest, so there's essentially no use for such motherboards in the present day, not even for nostalgia. The electrolytic capacitors were all swollen, suggesting some of them had either failed or soon would. The last time I'd powered up this computer (that would've been probably nine or more years ago, it had worked. But today nothing happened at all when I pushed the power button. Strangely, it came alive when I lay the computer on its side, but no text ever appeared on a monitor attached to its VGA port. That was all the information I needed to decide to throw the whole thing out, including the old Gateway 2000 case. (I'd originally bought it as surplus from back when I was working there twenty years ago; I think it had cost me $50, though back then it had contained a Pentium II motherboard.) I never did like that case, which had a rounded top surface seemingly engineered to prevent things from being placed ontop of it. I'd removed that rounded plastic, but then it just looked ugly. Before placing the case with its motherboard in a hump of snow out in the driveway, I first stripped it of its CPU, memory, power supply, floppy drive, and CD burner, all of which probably work. It felt surprisingly good to get rid of that piece of crap. It helps to consider the question, "If I saw this at a thrift store, would I take it even if it was free?" If the answer is no, I should probably just throw it out. I could get rid of a lot of clutter if I considered things that way more often.


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