Category Archives: Life Journal

PC upgrade: The 2020 edition

Fractal Node 202 mini-ITX PC

I like building my own computers. Why do I do it?

I enjoy customizing my computer, setting the specs, and selecting the parts. More importantly, I like understanding what’s going on under the hood. If something goes wrong with the machine, there’s a better chance that I’ll be able to fix it.

I built my first PC in 2005. It worked well and lasted over 8 years. In fact, had it not been for Microsoft ending support for Windows XP, I probably would have kept the machine a few years longer. You can see the parts list for that first machine along with that of its replacement by clicking here.

I’ve built several computers since then, both for myself and family members. I doubt that I will ever go back to buying an off-the-shelf desktop PC again.

My latest build is a compact PC in a mini-ITX form factor, which is what I’ve used for my last few builds. Unlike in the past, you don’t have to compromise on performance when building a machine with a small footprint. To see just how far things have come, here’s a rundown of the new machine and a comparison to the one it replaced.

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San Francisco: Coffee

Inevitably, whether for business or pleasure, I end up visiting the city of San Francisco at least 2-3 times a year. While I’m not the biggest fan of Northern California, I love the city. The sites, the history, the restaurants, the hiking – it has it all.

Like most big cities, San Franciscans take their coffee seriously, which I appreciate and enjoy. I’m always adding a place or two to my rotation of favorite coffee shops when I’m in town.

This past visit was no exception. I found two more places that are sure to be regulars in my San Francisco coffee rotation.

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Off to new adventures

Lisa, Courtney and Gregg Borodaty

To raise a child who is comfortable enough to leave you, means you’ve done your job. They are not ours to keep, but to teach them to soar on their own.

It’s a saying I first heard last year at Brad’s wedding. His wife’s father spoke those words to everyone at the reception pointing out that while he was sad to see his daughter go, he was happy for her because she was not his to keep.

Those words stuck with me, and they’ve been ringing in my head over the past few weeks as our third child prepared to head north to start her new job. While I’d love to keep her with us at home (along with her older sister and brother), it’s not the right thing to do. We spend years working with our kids so they can venture out of the nest to live on their own. While it’s hard to let them go, when they leave it means we’ve done our job.

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Transhuman

There’s a new term that I expect will soon become a regular topic of conversation – transhuman. It sounds like a new gender category, but it isn’t. It’s far from it.

Transhuman is the integration of technology into humans. It’s similar to genetic and cell technologies like CRISPR or stem cell therapies but much more invasive. A transhuman refers to someone who has integrated technology into their body in a way that substantially augments either their mental or physical capabilities, or in many cases both. Perhaps you’re more familiar with the term cyborg, the mix of man and machine, although becoming transhuman doesn’t necessarily require embedding a machine in one’s body.

While it sounds like an amazing thing to happen, and in some ways it can be, it’s also quite scary. Here are some of the benefits that could result from being transhuman and why I also thing it could be a cause for alarm.

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And then there was one

Gregg and Courtney Borodaty at her graduation get together

Earlier this month, Courtney completed her coursework and officially became a graduate of the University of California, Davis. The event would normally have resulted in a gathering of family members in Davis to celebrate her accomplishments over the last four years. But with the pandemic and restrictions imposed on large gatherings, she had to settle for an online ceremony and small get together at our house. So instead of having pictures around campus in all of her graduation regalia, we had to settle for a less subdued picture in our family room.

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Memories: June 1977

Raymond and Debbie Castner wedding photo - June 1977

My Aunt Debbie and Uncle Raymond celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary this month. Somehow, some way, a picture of their wedding party made its way to me.

Yellow tuxedos, fat bow ties, bridesmaids hats, plenty of hair. Yup, it was the seventies all right.

I was the ring bearer, front and center, and my sister, 5 years younger than me, is the flower girl on the far left. My mom and dad were also a part of the wedding party – bonus points if you can pick them out!

Congratulations on 43 years Aunt Debbie and Uncle Raymond! Thanks for including me in your special day – and don’t look back, Lisa and I are only 16 years behind you!

Strive for excellence, don’t demand perfection

I used to believe that perfection was the goal in life. Everything had to be done just right with no room for error, no time for mistakes.

Maybe I’m getting older, or maybe just more experienced. I certainly have the gray hairs to prove it. Either way, one thing I’ve learned on my journey through life is the difference between excellence and perfection. While these two words seem so similar, they could not be more different. And understanding the difference between the two is critically important if we want to grow and move forward.

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Discovering light in the darkness

If the first half of this year is a sign of what’s to come, 2020 is shaping up to be a difficult year. While it feels like the challenges we face are unique, it’s not the first time in our country’s history that we’ve encountered tough times, nor will it be our last. And while it may seem like this time will never end, there’s reason for hope – that we can, and will, discover light in the darkness.

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Rebooting Startup Lessons

I set a goal five years ago to blog regularly about my day job running a software company. I setup the Startup Lessons category and managed a handful of posts that year before things stalled. Since then, most of my Startup Lessons have been about related books or riffs on interesting posts.

So after a lengthy hiatus, I’ve decided to reboot Startup Lessons. My (new) goal is to write at least one post a month sharing what I’ve learned running a business over the past 15 years.

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