Kevin C. Wong

Diary - May 23 to May 29 2020

Sat May 23 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 11:30.

Sun May 24 2020

Sleep 06:30 to 13:30.

Mon May 25 2020

Sleep 04:30 to 10:30.

Tue May 26 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 12:00.

Wed May 27 2020

Sleep 05:15 to 09:30.

  • Computer has gotten slower and slower and today was intolerably slow. kernel_task process using 500% plus of CPU and I thought it was network but now I think it was on any disk access. Finally had the idea of unplugging connected devices which solved it then reconnecting and testing until I figured out that it's not liking having two monitors connected (or at maybe it's monitor 2 being the problem). Strange since it's been working fine for 6 months. Maybe graphics cards is failing?

Thu May 28 2020 Sleep 05:45 to 14:00.

Fri May 29 2020

Sleep 10:15 to 12:30. 17:30 to 19:30.

  • All nighter working on my first test, which still didn't work.

Twitch Followed Channels Revised

I made a spreadsheet and scored my 20 followed channels rated on

  • Chess site: +2, 0 doesn't really play chess, -1 other sites
  • Home location: +2 North America, 0 Europe, -1 about 12 hours timezone difference
  • Female: # women in channel
  • Badge: +3 if I have an emote, +2 if I'm VIP, +1 if I'm mod (only one counts)
  • Partner: +2 if channel is Twitch Partner, +1 if Affiliate

After scoring it was easier to see groupings and I dropped the lowest 8 scoring channels. Then I looked at the remainders and dropped two channels I'd be ok with not watching much. That left 10 channels which I then split into two groups, not necessarily by score.

Group A

  • AnnaCramling
  • BotezLive
  • JoeBruin
  • Neeko
  • PhotoChess

Group B

  • AkaNemsko
  • AnnaMaja
  • HashtagChess
  • HelmsKnight
  • Zefcatt

For budgeting Group A gets 10 subs a month each, Group B gets 5. That saves me 25 subs ($125). If I halve my Other contribution that saves me another 25 subs ($125). This reduces Twitch spend from $1000 to $750 per month. Not a huge amount but at least an attempt to get spending out of the red.

Reboot an Old-School Video Game

Idea from an thread.

SSG's Reach for the Stars. a 4X space game for four players (there are always four players but you can make one or even all four computer controlled). The tech is simple, the planetary development is simple, the combat is simple but all together is complex enough to be challenging while still allowing a player to really optimize things (those few turns of development and exploration is really key).

Yet even with optimization there is not one strategy to win. You could build fleets and conquer at least one other player immediately. You can explore and colonize another planet quickly. Ok, maybe those were the two main strategies, with the first one the one I could use to beat three computer players on Veteran/Enhanced difficulty. The starmap is also set as to placement of stars and the barriers (which stops a fleet which can then move normally next game) so from certain stars certain movements are optimum.

It's a cool game which I and my friends spent many hours playing.

Wikipedia says SSG released a version in 2000 (updated in 2005). You can download the Matrix Games manual and at glance it adds:

-- Diplomacy and trade - there was none in my version, free for all
-- Technology types and ship design - my version had one technology which upgrade warships from Level 1 to 4. This meant that every player used the same ships and it was numbers or tech that won a battle.
-- Combat formations - none of that in my version.
-- Races (16) - no races in my version.

So significantly more complex. Would that make for a better game? Maybe someday I'll have the chance to find out.

Diary - May 16 to May 22 2020

Sat May 16 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 10:30.

  • I decided to move my TM backups to my Drobo. On the plus, backups should be faster and won't hog the network. On the negative, I usually leave my Drobo off so I'll probably do one backup a night and miss the hourlies.
  • Drobo has Time Machine support. Click Backup button, specify size (I did 5 TB), and it creates a volume for Time Machine, though I suppose you can also use the main volume except Time Machine doesn't restrict it's HD usage. Since I made it 5 TB I'm also letting it backup everything.

Sun May 17 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 13:00.

  • Now that BotezLive does collaborations with popular streamers the chat is full of meme-ers. It's a byproduct of popularity; I may not like it but understand it's part of it.

Mon May 18 2020

Sleep 03:00 to 09:00. 12:00 to 14:00.

  • Checked after a month or so and there is more water pooling in my fridge. Seems to be condensation and I guess the water output is blocked. It's not too bad so probably will just manually mop it up every month or three.

Tue May 19 2020

Sleep 04:00 to 10:00.

  • Tío Jaime died this morning. Heart attack. I think mid 70's and suffering from (Alzheimer's?).

Wed May 20 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 13:30.

  • I did Time Machine encrypted backup and it kind of sucks. It's constantly re-encrypting the entire backup which takes forever and really slows down the Drobo. Guess I'll have to risk unencrypted backup.

Thu May 21 2020

Sleep 03:00 to 09:00.

  • Saw an ad encouraging adopting kids from group homes to save them from COVID-19. Wow.

Fri May 22 2020
Sleep 03:30 to 09:30. 13:15 to 15:00.

  • Took the day off cause work is stressing me out.

GOG Summer Sale

Like for the Epic Games Sale, does GOG have anything interesting? Not really. BattleTech maybe.

BattleTech ($8.50)

Flashpoint DLC ($8.50)
Urban Warfare DLC ($8.50)
Heavy Metal DLC ($8.50)

Season Pass ($21.50) - Contains Flashpoint, Urban Warfare, Heavy Metal DLCs @ $7.12

Mercenary Collection ($38.50)
BattleTech ($8.50)
Digital Deluxe Content ($2.75)
Season Pass ($21.50) @ $27.25

So best price is BattleTech ($8.50) + Season Pass ($21.50) for $30.

You know, I think I will buy this.

Epic Games Mega Sale

Epic's store is even more Windows-only than Steam's and you can't filter based on OS and the UI kind of sucks. Anyways I'm just going through the sale list and picking the first five interesting games I see.

MechWarrior 5 Mercenaries (Standard Edition) (Windows, $50, $35 sale) FPS Mech combat in the BattleTech universe.

Civilization VI (Windows, $60, $15 sale) Even though Civ has gotten too complicated still an excellent turn-based strategy game.

...ok, only saw two interesting games that I don't own.

Diary - May 09 to May 15 2020

Sat May 09 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 13:30.

  • Oops, obviously Drobo rebalancing depends on size of HD replaced. 4 TB (and my Drobo was close to full) was about 16 hours. 8 TB looks to be about 27 hours.

Sun May 10 2020

Sleep 04:45 to 10:45.

  • Customer P1. Worked 13-1/2 hours and I was really wanting a nap through a lot of it.
  • Got all my Drobo drives replaced and rebalancing is done. 50.73 TB capacity, about 30 TB free. It's nice. Now to copy back all the stuff I moved out because I was running out of space.

Mon May 11 2020

Sleep 04:45 to 07:45. 30 minute nap.

  • Nothing notable.

Tue May 12 2020

Sleep 03:15 to 07:00. 14:00 to 16:00.

  • Went to Zachary's for a couple of medium deep dish half-baked pizzas: Zachary's Western and Spinach & Mushroom.

Wed May 13 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 11:30, 12:00 to 14:00.

  • Copying files back to Drobo. I noticed I had weird problems with some files, all of which were created with ViDL. So maybe there's a problem in how it stitches video fragments together into one file.

Thu May 14 2020

Sleep 05:30 to 13:00.

  • After copying everything back my Drobo is 28.55 TB used, 22.17 TB free. It's great.

Fri May 15 2020

Sleep 04:45 to 08:45, 12:00 to 14:45.

  • We're changing association management company to The Manor Association,, starting June 1st.

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2020) Order

MacBook Pro 16-inch ($2800)

2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory
16GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
1TB SSD storage¹
16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Touch Bar and Touch ID
Four Thunderbolt 3 ports

Upgrade processor to 2.4 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 5.0 GHz ($200)
Upgrade memory to 64 GB ($800)
Upgrade graphics to 8 GB ($100)
Upgrade SSD to 8 TB ($2200)

==> $6100

AppleCare+ for 3 years ($380)

USB-C to Lightning Cable 1m ($20)
USB-C to Lightning Cable 3m ($35)

Not planning on using it since I plug in my iPhone and iPad to the monitor USB hub. But just in case.

USB-C to USB Adapter x3 ($60)

One for Drobo, one for monitor USB hub, one for optional second external drive (for disk to disk copy mostly).

Moshi USB-C to DisplayPort Cable 1.5m x2 ($100)

My Dell displays U2415 and U2717D have DisplayPort connectors and Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter won't work. Closest Apple solution is USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter + HDMI cable. Hopefully this 3rd party product works as advertised.

==> $6700 + $645 tax and recycling fee = ~$7350

Computer Troubles

So I've been having trouble with my computer. After a bit kernel_task process takes up all the CPU to the point where it locks up the UI and even mouse cursor.

At first I thought it was heavy disk or network access doing it. But after a week I thought maybe it was the GPU since. Going down to one monitor helped a bit. Turning off Chrome and Firefox hardware acceleration helped more, though it means they both run slowly.

I have an old MBP with an AMD Radeon R9 M370X (2GB VRAM). So maybe too many things are trying to use GPU memory (and a second monitor is part of it) and it's thrashing moving stuff into and out of VRAM as context switching happens.

The OS should be able to handle this. If there is a problem with the GPU driver maybe that would cause it but that's not something I know how to fix outside a system reinstall.

It's strange since it worked fine for months (I bought my second monitor last December). But it's kind of gotten slower over time.

So two choices: wipe drive, reinstall and move stuff over (don't do migration); or a new computer where I would do the same thing. The first is cheaper but so much trouble having two OSes only one of which you can boot at a time (though VMWare might or might not help). The second more convenient but I wanted to wait for Apple CPU Macs (though that might be introduced in low end models first come to think of it).

Diary - May 02 to May 08 2020

Sat May 02 2020

Sleep 06:00 to 10:00.

Sun May 03 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 15:30.

  • Low energy day. Did catch up on sleep a bit.

Mon May 04 2020

Sleep 03:30 to 09:30.

  • Got some work done. Our environments suck.

Tue May 05 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 11:00.

  • Picked up package (hard drives) from Fed Ex store. Saw about 25 people and 5 didn't have masks or had them but not covering mouth. Seems like a good percentage are using face masks.
  • Replaced first Drobo HD (4 TB to 14 TB). After an hour ETA is 16 hours to rebalance and I assume that's fairly accurate.

Wed May 06 2020

Sleep 01:15 to 08:15. 1 hour nap.

  • Had to wake up early to get Farm Fresh To You box but luckily everything ended early last night.

Thu May 07 2020

Sleep 03:30 to 10:30.

  • Slowly upgrading my Drobo HDs. Starting 3rd drive. It's somehow satisfying getting this done slowly.

Fri May 08 2020

Sleep 04:30 to 11:00.

Twitch Followed Channels

My current followed channels list:

  1. Anna_Chess - Hungarian IM Anna Rudolf chess and variety stream
  2. AnnaCramling - Swedish WFM Anna Cramling
  3. AnnaMaja - Dutch WIM/FM Anna-Maja Kazarian
  4. Bikfoot - Dutch chess player Wouter Bik
  5. BitsyRain - Hobbyist variety streamer and GerberBaby3's friend
  6. BotezLive - WFM Alexandra Botez her sister Andrea Botez and friend WGM Qiyu Zhou combined channel. With three people it's 50+ hours of content every week
  7. ChelsieMonica - Indonesian WIM Chelsie Monica
  8. GerberBaby3 - Hobbyist variety streamer: Chess, Dead By Daylight, Final Fantasy VII
  9. GoldDustTori - Intermediate-level chess player streaming her journey from rank beginner to master
  10. HashtagChess - South African players WIM Jesse February and her friend WCM Rebecca Selkirk
  11. HelmsKnight - One of the best bughouse (doubles chess) player in the world, though never played chess OTB
  12. JenShahade - WGM Jen Shahade who does poker+chess streams (she's a world-class poker player)
  13. JLandaw - Medical student and FM Julian Landaw
  14. JoeBruin - Chess player and Collegiate Chess League commissioner Joe Lee with his turtles Jake and Teddy
  15. LileKoridze - Georgian (the country) WFM Lile Koridze
  16. Naycir - Turkish beginner chess player Naycir streams chess and Fortnite
  17. Neeko - Variety streamer Nicole plays Dead by Daylight, Valorant, Marbles, although also did chess for a few months
  18. NM_Budda - NM John Williams streams chess, Fortnite, Pokemon.
  19. PhotoChess - Russian WFM and professional photographer Maria Emelianova streams mostly chess and sometimes other games
  20. Zefcatt - Expert-level chess player Sara streams chess and sometimes plays party games with viewers

Majority of channels I follow use and most of them are partnered with streamers = 16
Lichess streamers = 1 (zefcatt)
Independent = 1 (nm_budda)
Non-chess streamers = 2 (bitsyrain and neeko)

Deadlands: The Weird West KS

Savage Worlds Adventure Edition version of Deadlands: The Weird West is on Kickstarter. Like the previous Savage Worlds edition, this third iteration of Deadlands moves the timeline a bit forward again which means playing Deadlands through Classic, Savage Worlds, and SWAE can be one continuous timeline with different plots and adventures.

As usual for Pinnacle's Kickstarters, it's hard to tell what you're getting at each pledge level due to all the stretch goals. Now that all the stretch goals are revealed and fulfilled I think this is what i'm getting at Ranger ($150) level.

1. Deadlands the Weird West Boxed Set + PDF
-- Hardcover rules
-- Poster map
-- 25 Bennies
-- Dice set
-- Game Master's screen + Double Down at Sundown adventure
+ Bonus: Harrowed Cards (6)
+ Bonus: Power Cards
+ Bonus: Ammo Counters
+ Bonus: Archetype Cards (+6 to 12)
+ Bonus: Infernal Device Cards (PDF is #6)
+ Bonus: Adventure Cards + PDF
2. Horror at Headstone Hill Boxed Set + PDF
+ Bonus: Marshals, Gunslingers, Rangers, High Rollers punchboard + PDF
+ Bonus: Headstone Hill Encounters cards
3. Pawns Boxed Set + PDF
4. Bonus: Weird West Companion + PDF
+ Relics article
+ Famous Gunslingers article
+ Running Deadlands article
+ Harrowed Edges article
+ Voodooists article
+ Metal Mages article
+ Horse Eater savage tale article
+ Plot Point Summaries article
+ Witches article
5. Bonus: Sounds Like Crowls actual play audio
6. Bonus: Infernal Device Cards PDF
7. Bonus: Wilcards Marshal's Notes PDF
8. Bonus: Return to Crater Lake 1:
The Winter of Our Dismemberment solo adventure PDF
9. Bonus: Return to Crater Lake 2: Crossing the Witch's Cauldron PDF
10. Bonus: Return to Crater Lake 3: Queen of Wizard Island PDF
11. Bonus: Virtual Tabletop (VTT) Bundle (image resources?)
12. Bonus: Map 1 PDF and VTT
13. Bonus: Heroes of the Weird West - 12 archetypes PDF
14. Bonus: Map 2 PDF and VTT

Shipping: $23

Optional: Crater Lake Chronicles hardcover book ($25)
Optional: Map 1 print ($15)
Optional: Map 2 print ($15)

I think I'm spending $150 (Ranger) + $55 (optionals) + $23 (shipping) = $228

Site Updates - Apr 05 to May 02 2020


Diary - Apr 25 to May 01 2020

Sat Apr 25 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 12:15.

  • Went to Safeway to pick up grocery order. They weren't ready so had to return and got it a couple of hours later.

Sun Apr 26 2020

Sleep 08:00 to 14:00.

  • Got some work done.
  • Got two lemons from my Farm Fresh to You order. They're pretty big so I made lemonade. But so much sugar; I'll need to buy more.

Mon Apr 27 2020

Sleep 04:30 to 07:30. 10:00 to 14:00.

  • Woke up for 08:15 meeting. But was so tired I couldn't follow what was going on.
  • All Twitch streams died about 15:00. Pretty much for all viewers and at least all chess channels.
  • Comcast extends data cap pause to June 30.
  • Ordered 5 x 14 TB Seagate IronWolf Pro hard drives from B&H.
  • Found that water has been condensing at the bottom of the fridge. There might not be any drainage there (couldn't see) or it's blocked but there's a lip at the front so it was about 1/2 inch deep. Hopefully that's two year's worth of buildup and not a new problem.

Tue Apr 28 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 13:45.

  • Oooh, I've been wearing my face mask wrong. The wire part goes on top because you mold the wire around your nose.

Wed Apr 29 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 11:30.

  • Shelter in place extended to end of June. A few restrictions loosened, mostly with outdoor things like parks and plant nurseries.

Thu Apr 30 2020

Sleep 05:00 to 12:00.

  • Went to Trader Joe's and bought a ton of groceries. Well, about $115 in groceries which is like 4x what I usually buy.

Fri May 01 2020

Sleep 04:00 to 10:30.

  • Comcast did maintenance starting at 01:30 that knocked out the Internet. Initially said they'd be done by 06:30 but guess it was more problematic and they finished about 16:00.