Monday Tales (episode V)

Got a new toy

I bought new earplugs, after a year without a reliable one. The one I got in 2016 was a Multilaser model, which was just plain awful. Audio quality was pitiful, but what was really rage-inducing was build quality: essentially, it literally dismantled in my hands after just over a month. It wasn't one of the cheapest models either: I only buy earplugs with noise isolation and builtin mic, and it looked like the best one available at the store. Well, Multilaser earned its reputation for a reason, I guess.

The one I got this time is from JBL, a bit more expensive than the Multilaser one.  It's a Grip 200 model, red with details in blue:

Sound quality is reasonably good, with tiny bass but solid mids and treble, as most earplugs tend to be. What atracted me the most in these earphones was the funcional design. I'm a huge fan of innovative design, finding new shapes to tackle on old challenges, something incredibly hard to find in Brazil, where most customers are rather conservative and still see design from a marketing perspective (instead of an engineering one). The plugs are quite comfortable, likely the best I've ever used, and quite hard to fall (or even take it off) once settled in.

There are two downsides, however. This design makes impossible to fit the left plug into the right ear (and vice-versa). It might seem minor, but inserting them appropriately now requires me to actually pay attention to what I'm doing, a resource rather valuable for someone with ADHD. JBL did address this asymmetry by assigning the mic/button cluster to the right wire, a crucial usability approach to a plug with nearly unreadable labels, even under bright lighting.

The other one is the rubber-coated wire. At this price point, I'd honestly expect a fabric coating, known for being a lot more flexible and a lot less sticky. I'm going to chalk it up to being a product target at athletes, but still a disappointment. There are a few clips to make it easier to carry around, though.

Also, a much needed PC upgrade

My desktop is basically my #1 source of study, work, knowledge, fun, and motivation. I built most of it in 2013, when I used to live in Vancouver, Canada, and it has been fighting obsolescence like a champ. Still, after four years of intensive use, it's finally reaching its limitations. Most AAA games won't run in Ultra settings anymore, forcing me to fall back to High or even Medium, despite my Geforce GTX770 still holding on strong, solely because I was too cheap to get the 4GB model. It hasn't affected my gaming satisfaction, however, since I have barely any time left to play anything other than League of Legends, anyway. I will likely keep it for at least a few more years, since it's been doing exactly what I need at this moment: driving four monitors simultaneously without any hiccups.

My 120GB SSD and my 2x4GB memory cards are the ones trailing behind at this point. Turns out data science, when paired with web programming, has a hunger for hoarding data that I hadn't planned for. I uninstalled most applications to work off the 1TB HDD, but slower data transfer rates also result in slower task completion. My computer has been freezing for lack of memory available for months already and it's past the point I could tolerate, so I bought a new 8GB memory card while I evaluate if the SSD will also require an upgrade.

It wasn't easy finding a model compatible with my G.Skill RipjawsX pair, not because it is highly powerful or anything, but mostly because DDR3 memories with CAS9 latency aren't the standard anymore, with DDR4 already on the market. I ended up getting a single 8GB model, Kingston HyperX Fury, which is an intermediate offering from Kingston:

It didn't make those issues go away completely, however. With just the basic of coding environment, database viewer, web browsers, automated testing tools, email client and a couple of instant messengers open, I'm averaging over 11GB in use at all times, and over 20GB of commited memory, meaning there's a huge amount of data being paginated to an already fully-loaded disk:

The computer has stopped freezing, however, which was the main goal for that acquisition. I can focus on more pressing subjects now, and postpone any further hardware decisions to next month. Once school finally gets into recess, I'll have more time available to think what to do about it.

New job starting today

Speaking of time available, I've made a decision on which job offer to pick. The startup called me in this afternoon to negotiate a contract and made me an offer that I was satisfied with. While the offered pay was underwhelming (as expected), the flexibility of not having to commute several hours a day and, especially, the convenience of being so close to college made the option quite compelling. The work environment seemed way more formal than what I was expecting, with all partners exposing a rather complex burocracy behind their management. I've been promised full freedom to pick and install my own work tools as long as they're open source, however, which is a huge advance over a certain company I used to work for.

Let's see how it plays out. In the end, I'll still be building Python data analysis modules wrapped in web apps all day long, just like I used to do, but getting paid to do it from now on. It's also an opportunity to hone my skills and open my own company, if so I choose in next years.

Tomorrow, I'll call the remaining companies and inform them that I'm no longer available to fulfill the positions they have offered me.

Tags: monday 



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