2016 — 12 February: Friday

As gleefully revealed yesterday1 my next "newer, faster, larger" PC is actually going to be a "newer, not quite so fast, and much, much smaller" sixth-generation Skylake Intel NUC PC.


When I say...

... not quite so fast, its M2 SSD isn't limited to the 6Gbps of SATA III and should give me nearly double the read/write speeds of the SSDs in BlackBeast. The 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 2133MHz memory won't slow things down much, either. The weakest link is the dual-core hyper-threaded i5 CPU itself. And having seen how little2 my computing stretches the older quad-core i7 4790K in BlackBeast, I doubt I will notice much real difference.

It will be fascinating to see how the Skylake CPU performs relative to BlackBeast Mk III's i7 plus separate graphics card and soundcard, too. This all takes me back to 1991, when I bought Christa a house-brick-sized "Tiny" PC/AT clone at an Acorn User show...

... we await Christa's 9" VGA monochrome monitor to hookup to her Tiny PC/AT (it's actually made, or more likely imported, by a company called Tiny Computers Limited) and has 640Kb, 40Mb hard disk, 1.44Mb floppy all in a case the size of a PC/XT 10Mb hard drive...

Date: 24 May 1991

Christa's "Tiny" ran DR-DOS 5, and was, of course, utterly dwarfed by the huge case of the original IBM PC/AT. It was the first PC she had from "new" just for herself rather than passed along from me or Peter. After attending a 3-day course she became expert with WordPerfect and went on to earn its cost many times over, bless her.

It hurts ...

... to be reminded that Rushkoff's "Media Virus" came out so long ago, dagnabbit! (Link.) I bought my copy in Manhattan in August 1996.

Hard to see...

... how it could get much smaller:

The i5 NUC

And, if it did, it would be hard to see! Now, while I wait for its SSD, RAM, and video cable to arrive, I have time to think about a name for it.

(Housing) crisis? What (housing) crisis?

This is just too rich for words. I wonder if the boy Dave has started to wriggle yet? Source and snippet:

William Wragg, a newly elected member of parliament for Hazel Grove in Stockport, has admitted he has moved back in with his parents to save for a deposit, as he currently can't afford his own home. As a fellow 28-year-old working in London, I can feel some sympathy with his annoyance at sinking vast sums into a rented flat with no hope of ownership. Until I remember that MPs earn a basic salary of £74,000 plus expenses.

Dawn Foster in Grauniad


I can't help what makes me smile:

Borges's Library is ab aeterno and arbitrarily vast; our universe has neither the time nor space to generate it in its entirety, within our current understanding of physics. The Library’s 251,312,000 books positively dwarf the 1080 estimated fundamental particles in the observable universe, and even if all 1080 particles cranked out one book for every unit of Planck time (˜1043 units per second), that'd give us about 10123 books per second, or about 10130 books per year. Producing the Library would still take somewhere on the order of 101,833,967 years, at which point all matter in the universe will have long since decayed into clods of highly literate iron-56.

Tony Tulathimutte in The Believer

More (much, much, more) here.

The waiting game

I should have all the other bits and pieces that need to be stuffed inside my NUC (assuming there's actually any room inside the tiny case for them) by next Thursday. I need to think about my disk partitioning strategy. I'm hoping that having just the one (500GB) SSD and no other devices or cards to worry about should make the whole installation process reasonably painless, so long as I can figure out how to get to the BIOS in the first place. And, if necessary, change3 its default setting to stop it from disabling the M.2 PCI slot. If the NUC can't see this slot, my chances of future gruntlement are much reduced...


Given my lousy track record with the Gigabyte motherboard and its BIOS in BlackBeast Mk III, I shall be studying this NUC blog carefully. Very carefully.

Moless hatess BIOSss...

In between...

... bouts of further Kodification, and more mundane stuff like feeding myself, or blagging a cuppa and a biccie with Roger and Eileen, or drooling over the NUC, I'm romping through the five increasingly weird volumes of "Saga" that I bought on a whim, and which keep me pushing aside the copy of "States of Mind" that accompanies a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. (I heard about this on last Sunday's Jarvis Cocker programme when he was chatting to curator Emily Sargent. Very interesting stuff.)

It seems to be rather cold out there at the moment. The moment being 21:35 or so. Brrr.



1  And now awaited with childish impatience, of course, on this chilly morning!
2  The nearest I ever get to making the i7 "work" for a living is when I tell it, once a day, to update the index of my utterly indispensable desktop search program, Recoll. Doing this drives a couple of cores up to just over 30% for less time than it takes to make a cuppa.
3  The sticker on the base of the NUC says "01/2016" as the manufacturing date. The date of the v33 BIOS upgrade that disables the M.2 slot by default is 7th January 2016. Who knows whether that upgrade made it into my NUC? The initial production BIOS was only released on 27th October last year.