Wrangling Linux Onto An Old White Intel MacBook

Several months ago, I picked up an old MacBook - one of the white plastic body Intel ones (model A1181, with 2GB RAM), running OS X Snow Leopard. I basically got it because I wanted to be a bit more familiar with OS X for my job, and the laptop was less than $100 - even I can cough up a Benjamin every once in a while for a good cause.

The laptop has been fine, but I quickly realized the "lock" Apple has on their ecosystem. The OS X version I had was roughly the Apple equivalent of (I'm estimating) Windows XP, and so was still somewhat useful to me in a general way, but not readily upgradeable and very much out of date if I tried to install any additional software - again, much like Windows XP.

The Flashing O' The GPU

I am not, by nature, an adventurous person; I am fundamentally risk-averse. However, every dog has it's day and once in a blue moon I will do something...daring.

In the past few months, I have actually been quite the rebel; first, I plunged into the world of cryptomining, and secondly I got another job - and I really do not enjoy job interviews. I am also not one who changes jobs frequently.
The mining part demanded an outlay of cash to get it started (again, quite unlike me) and was also fairly risky, in terms of being able to pay back the initial investment - never mind "make" some additional money afterwards.
My most recent character quirk also involves the cryptomining process; I actually summoned up the nerve to flash my video cards to try and get a few more hashes out of them. I know, right? Living on the edge, that's me.

Ethereum, Nvidia GTX 1060 And Windows 10 Clash

Following recent Windows updates, a bit of a problem has arisen for cryptominers using Windows 10 and Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB GPUs. 
The result of the update is that Windows 10 now uses more VRAM, and this affects the ability of those mining Ethereum to use the 3GB card anymore. Ethereum mining requires the ability to handle a large Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) file, which uses GPU memory.

Thoughts On Crypto Mining On A Smaller Budget

If I have learned anything during my short time mining for cryptocurrency, it's that the only constant is change (yes, that old saw remains true). 
My approach to mining is that it is an interesting hobby, not a retirement investment or a major wealth builder - and I am certainly glad of that, as I don't think my nerves are cut out for such volatility. 

Drone-Based Tree Planting

Of all the possible uses for a small drone, I confess tree planting did not occur to me - another reason I am not independently wealthy.
Apparently, it works pretty well, costs a fraction of traditional methods and can be carried out on rougher-than-normal terrain if needed.
Since trees appear to be the "lungs" of our world, and we cut down a lot of trees each year both for timber and to make room for other crops, they need to be replaced at a huge rate. 
Currently, there is an estimated annual net loss of 6 billion trees - yes, with a "B" - so it seems anything we can come up with to help would be welcome. A drone loaded with germinated seeds fires pods into the ground at a rate of one per second, or about 100,000 a day. Scale this up and 60 drone teams could plant 1 billion trees a year. WeForum 

Sia Coin Got Forked Up!

A little while ago, I posted about dual mining Ethereum and Sia using Claymore's Miner software. At that time, I also switched to a different mining pool, and was getting good results with the Sia mining.
Well, cryptocurrency being what it is, that did not last.  Sia just performed a hard fork and increased the difficulty quite a bit. So I now look to be mining 4 or 5 Sia per day vs 12-14 per day prior to the fork. Ugh.
Sia currently has a low value per coin (way less than a dollar), but the technology behind it is interesting and it seems that Sia is still worth mining and holding on to as a longer-term "investment" (and I use that term loosely in the crypto world).
At this time, Ethereum is still mining well for me, and is profitable on my small scale set up (3 low-to mid-range gpus).

Tractor Beams For . . . Kidney Stones?

The tractor beam, as it appears in science fiction, is usually applied to trapping or towing one spaceship from another (at least that's what they always seemed to do in the Star Trek TV shows). 

However, if we had real tractor beams what might we use them for - since we don't have a lot of space-going starships to muck about with yet?
Well, thinking of a drastic change of scale, how about something that could grab and move (for example) kidney stones inside the body without any breaking of the skin?
Researchers in the UK have a working sonic device that can levitate small styrofoam balls, and one of the applications they can forsee would be something like the above. [One of the researchers] explains that possible applications include trapping and moving kidney stones with medical imaging machines. Previously this wasn't possible due to the very small wavelengths they use to capture high resolution images. “Now, because we can trap particles larger than half a wavelength, …