Guaranteed: Entropy

...that, and taxes.

Surprises can be fun. A birthday party when you thought everyone forgot about you lapping the sun? Exciting. Seeing a friend at the grocery store who you haven't seen in a decade? Awesome.

Suddenly losing a job? Yeah, not so much.

So as not to bury the lede, I'm once again gainfully employed. But last week, I got notice on Wednesday evening I had to look for another job. (I'll be honest, I'm pretty impressed with myself for still getting a newsletter out on Thursday, and you could hardly hear my sobs in the email!) It was, in fact, on Thursday when I received a job offer. The week since then has been shuffling and talking about the old job ramp down, the new job, transitions, and basically all the things that happen during a major life change. I don't exactly dislike big life changes, but they can certainly be scary. It reminded me of the the Byrds song, "Turn! Turn! Turn!"

Wait, this is a Byrds song?!?

Drastic changes are cool, because you get the opportunity to learn new things. Heck, even in the last paragraph I got to learn something new. I always thought, "Turn! Turn! Turn!" was a Beatles song. But nope, it's by The Byrds. And oddly enough, if I hadn't lost my job, I might have gone to my grave assuming The Beatles popularized a song which is 95% straight out of the book of Ecclesiastes instead of my brain canon being correct and attributing it to The Byrds.

So Whatcha Doing?

Right. So much for not burying the lede! Starting in mid-October, I'll no longer be a full-time Linux system administrator. I'll be going back to CBT Nuggets, where I'll be making training modules for IT stuff & things. I'm not being vague out of secrecy, but rather I'm a fairly flexible teacher when it comes to tech topics, and while I'll be starting with Google Cloud Platform training, it's hard to say all the various subjects I'll cover for them.

Thankfully, CBT Nuggets is quite lenient with what their employees can do outside of work. That means while I can't teach any topics for YouTube which directly compete with training I make for CBT Nuggets, I'm still allowed to make videos, do livestreams, blog, write books, send out newsletters, draw comics, etc, etc. Long story short, you can't get rid of me that easily. ;)

Are You Happy?

Funny you should ask. Yes, but I'd be lying if I pretended not to be nervous about the changes. It turns out life circumstance aren't all that important when it comes to what makes us happy in the long term. I recently re-watched a TED Talk by Robert Waldinger, which is already 7 years old and is about a now 80+ year old Harvard study.

Happiness, you elusive beast you...

It turns out, after following a large group of men over the course of their entire lives, the one factor that determined health and happiness was relationships. It wasn't careers, fame, money, or even exercise that tends to mold someone's life, but rather the close relationships they form with other people. That's both really great, and a bit unsettling, because relationships are hard! Still, it's good to know that whether you're a huge financial success or "just" an average Joe, the key to happiness is still within your reach. I find that comforting.

Cool. But This is NERDling News, Right?

Fair enough. And nerdery comes in many flavors. If you were at the livestream this past weekend, you might remember that I revealed just how ignorant I was about European geography. Not only was I unsure if Welsh was a language from Wales (it is), but worse, I wasn't aware that Wales was a country at all. This was particularly horrible, since one of the regular livestream attendees lives in Wales! (I'm so sorry, Mason, what a mortifying moment for me!)

Anyway, I did spend the rest of Sunday evening learning about the UK, and Great Britain, and how the idea of, "A Country of Countries" actually works. I even spoke with another friend who lives in England, and some of the nuances are a bit muddy even for her. She did clearly know that Wales was a country though, there's no saving face there. Anyway, while it doesn't include the nuances of Brexit, CGP Grey does a brilliant and entertaining job of explaining how it all works here:

Yes, the newsletter is heavy on YouTube videos this week. At least they're not all of me!

Next Sunday we'll have to talk about the United States and the various territories; organized, incorporated, and other. Actually, nix that, the American system is even more confusing than the UK. We'll just talk about Kool-Aid or something I know more about.

Can We Print This Newsletter?

Um, sure? Also: weird segue, but hey, I'll take it. The thing is, I really want a printer. Specifically a 3D printer. And with my penchant for having nerdy things and doing nerdy things with those things of nerd, it might be surprising that I don't have a 3D printer (or five) already. But I don't.

The thing is, apart from printing trinkets and doo-dads, I haven't ever really found a use case for buying a printer. They're a bit too spendy to buy just for the fun of trying things out, and since I don't have a single excuse reason to get one, I just haven't.

There's also the problem that I tend to research an absurd amount before buying anything, especially if that thing is a tech-related thing. And so I've looked into the 3D printer market for years, paring down the options to the exact model I want. Sadly, since printers keep advancing, that model of choice has changed. A lot. For example, I wanted an Ender 3 printer for a very long time. And now, I could get one for under $150! I should totally buy it! Except... the Ender 3 requires a bunch of fiddling and adjusting and maintenance to get good prints. A few years ago, that wasn't a problem, because it was the model with the fewest fiddly bits, so it was the clear choice.

More recently, I've been considering the Ender-3 S1 Pro, because the vast majority of fiddling has been engineered out. The S1 Pro is a really nice printer, with all-metal extruder, self-leveling bed, and tons of other features that I've never experienced myself, but are clearly upgrades to the older 3D printers. But see, the S1 Pro costs almost $500, and is beyond the price I can justify without a real purpose other than, "but it'd be so cool!" Still, when I finally got our tax return this year (in August!), I almost bought the S1 Pro. Then...

Bambu P1S 3D printer with 4 color filament attachment
Sweet multi-color glory, a purpose for which I do not have...

In my continued research, I ran across the Bambu P1S printer. Not only is the P1S an incredibly advanced printer in its own right, but it comes with an optional 4-color filament swapping system (upgradable to 16 colors!). It has an enclosure for temperature stability and fume filtering, an advanced slicing program which supports automatic color swapping, a timelapse camera, and so many other features that it's CLEARLY the only 3D printer it makes sense to purchase. And with the 4 color attachment? Yeah, the printer is just under a thousand dollars.

So I'm back to square one. I know exactly what 3D printer I want to buy, and have absolutely no reason to purchase it. If you have believable rationales for why buying a 3D printer is a good investment, I'd LOVE to hear them. Really. And while you're at it, if you could give me some really good reasons why I shouldn't consider the $1,500 X1-Carbon model with its lidar scanner and carbon fiber rail system, I'd appreciate that too. :)

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