What Have I Been Up To??

Last time I posted to this, I had posted a progress report on the build of my ParallelPi supercomputer project. At the end of March, I gave a TEDxSMU Audition about the future of budget supercomputing, and how my build was going to bring parallel processing to students and facilities that wouldn’t normally have access to it.

At the same TEDx event, a lawyer from General Datatech in Dallas was speaking about how the Internet of Things was going to fundamentally change the way we collect data and metrics about ourselves, and a lot of people from GDT were there to support him. Immediately after I gave my talk, he leaned over to me and said “Some of my coworkers want to meet you”, and the trajectory of my life had been changed.

The members of GDT invited me to visit their offices, meet the engineers, and learn more about what the company does. It was the greatest Tuesday of my life. The next week, I got an email asking if I was interested in coming and working for them. I said yes without hesistating.

Next week, I’ll have been at GDT for 2 months and the week after I’m leaving for 6 weeks for AU and my cousin’s wedding. I’m still waiting to find out what GDT’s long term plans are for me, since I’m a physicist, not an engineer. In the meantime, I’m going to continue studying for my CCENT/CCNA certifications. I’ve basically already decided I want to continue down this career path.

As for the ParallelPi Project, I’m still having trouble getting mpich working. Since I won’t be using the cluster for anything remotely useful, or anything that I’ll need serious power for, I’m considering starting over using a barebones Raspbian OS instead of ArchLinux. It would make the configuration so much easier since I can just use a NOOBS network install to install it and save the time flashing 12 versions of the same OS using one memory card slot.

I’m also starting a new project to turn a spare RPi2 I have into a console emulator. I’ve been dying to play the original Super Smash Bros for N64 for a while now. The RPi2 is running a custom version of Kodi for video streaming which gets used very rarely. I’m about to let my aunt borrow it for a few weeks to see if she wants me to build her a similar setup.

A basic To-Do list for this would be

  • Find a powered USB hub
    • The RPi2 supplies a ridiculously low amount of power to the USB ports since the whole device is made to be as efficient as possible. This means that any USB controller I plug into it won’t work because there isn’t enough power for it. (initial tests show that the controller requires 1.5A and the RPi2 only supplies 500mA)
  • Maybe buy an RPi3?
    • The new RPi is more powerful with built in WiFi+Bluetooth and a 1.2 GHz 64bit ARMv8 processor. The only thing its lacking is a proper Gigabit LAN port but that’s a bottleneck I can live with.
  • Find time to build this
    • Between work, AU, and school, I’m not sure I’ll even have time to build this, but it would be a cool little project…

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