More on Raspberry Pi 4 testing, ventilation and throttling results

I continued to see the Pi 4 throttle regularly. Since the official Raspberry Pi 4 case was basically worthless I decided to use my 1” hole saw to poke a hole in the top. Normally fans are placed inside the case but since the fan needed a 1 1/8” opening and I didn’t have that size hole saw I installed the fan on top of the case.

This setup prevented throttling under my real-world loads which was good news. I then disconnected the fan and ran some of the same applications. Even without the fan running the Pi didn’t throttle. That is good news but it confirms my opinion that the Pi Foundation was foolish to produce an official case with no passive ventilation. Such a simple change would improve OOTB user experience.

I plan to post some more general observations on the Pi 4’s performance in the near future.

Tiny bubbles

A wall out the restaurant.

Question: has anyone used a multi-device Bluetooth keyboard they’ve particularly liked? I have an old Logitech K810 but it is showing some issues recently.

I.e. by multi-device I mean can pair to multiple computers and switch easily between them (Windows, Mac, Pi etc). ❔

The Raspberry Pi 4 is a step up in theory but in practice they’ve undermined the value proposition

When the Raspberry Pi 4 came out there was quite a fuss about how easily it had to throttle it’s cores due to heat under any sort of load. Throttling means it’s theoretical specs are not realized in the real world. The foundation issued several firmware fixes to address this over the past year.

Based on my experience this is still a major issue. The foundation is making the situation worse by some odd choices they took. First they don’t include a heat sink on the processor (or anywhere else). Having heard of the heat issues I ordered a heat sink with mine and installed it right away.

The second problem is the rather stupid decision they made to provide absolutely no ventilation in their official case. The top is completely solid. So they’re selling a CPU prone to overheating with no heat sink and no provision for passive ventilation in their case.

The very first app I ran (other than the installer and Chromium) resulted in a flashing thermometer on the display indicating the Pi was throttling. I removed the top from the case and felt the heat sink - it was hot enough to burn a finger. I removed the top from the case, exposing the heat sink to open air, and the throttling decreased significantly. Since this experience every time I have the top on and run something that stresses the CPU it throttles.

For comparison I have a Pi 3 B+ in the attic. In a case. In Texas. In the summers. And it doesn’t over heat.

I have a tiny fan I could use and to do something as suggested in this guide to install it in the case and implement automatic fan control. Of course in the vein of Murphy’s law this requires a 1 1/8” hole saw for my drill and the closest thing I have is a 1” hole saw. After measuring for myself I can tell that would hinder air flow from the fan. So I’d have to buy another bit in order to make this case work. Or for the same cost as the bit I can throw the official case away and buy a 3rd party case with ventilation slots and a built in fan. Hence my frustration with the decisions by the foundation.

In spite of having a 13” MBP that is less than a year old, I keep having this major urge to buy one of the 16” models. I have no need for a new MBP. Arguments with self continue.

I had to break out my old USB keyboard, and USB mouse, to set up the new Raspbery Pi 4. The keyboard looks and feels like a relic from the age of dinosaurs. Paired Bluetooth devices as soon as the OS was ready. 🦖

We left the kids at home while we went to a meeting at school. So this was the natural follow on, right?

Yes they have supervision.

_ Lost in a sea of leaves_

Saw this lonely dandelion blossom when I was exercising today. The only one on the whole trail.

We made good use of the cold weather outside to tackle a project indoors. My wife and I re-upholstered the bench we use in the kitchen. ✔️

The forecast had a chance of snow for this morning. Unfortunately all we’ve gotten so far is some graupel. ❄️

I ordered a Raspberry Pi 4 yesterday (it joins a Pi 3 B+ and a couple of Pi Zeros). I don’t yet have a specific project in mind. One thing I’m wondering is if USB I/O is much faster than the prior Pis.

We are under a major thunderstorm watch today with possible 🌪. Apparently the main chances start about the time our kids get out of school. Here’s hoping the storms don’t arrive until everyone is home. ⛈ 🏠

We’ve heard a lot about blue carbon steel cookware - supposedly the benefits of cast iron without the heavy weight so we bought a wok. We followed the simple seasoning instructions but when my wife used it last night the food stuck terribly. We’re going to try seasoning it again.

A warm start before a couple of days of rain ☕️ ☔️

Rest easy my children for soon you shall bud

Something old and something even older. These are two items I couldn’t part with when recently cleaning out a box of old cables and gadgets.

That device on the left is called a “telephone”, possibly unrecognizable to some. The one on the right is a TI SR-11 calculator.

One of my fave use cases for ApplePay is invoices from service providers that use QuickBooks. The email includes an ApplePay button and I can pay the bill in about 5 seconds. So freaking smooth, so much faster and easier than using other electronic bill pay methods… 💵

I think this keyboard protector on Amazon is the best thing I bought last year. One of our kids has a penchant for degrading keyboards (Apple Magic keyboards in our case). I finally thought to get a protector and this one is very thin and has been working out well. All for $7 US.

Wooden obelisk

A pattern change

Look, there’s 2020 on the other side of the bridge. Shall we walk into the new year together? 💥 🎉 🎈 🎊

I rejected diet and activity tracking apps and came up with this simpler and better(?) approach to meet my needs

For several years I’ve done those things people say you should to track and manage diet and exercise/fitness. For over a year I logged everything I ate in MyFitnessPal, logged my weight daily, and used my iPhone/Apple Watch to track standing, movement and exercise. Each was helpful, at least in short bursts, but after each of my pushes the outcome was pretty disappointing. Flaws, to me, include the information being disjointed across these apps even though I could pull it all into the Health app on my iPhone. The data was just that - a bunch for data with a limited clue as to compliance and history. It was hard to see trends and to see how these different aspects of my life interacted. And MyFitnessPal (and it’s ilk) are really tedious to do for any length of time. I also tried using automated tools in apps like Things and Day One to have me keep track myself and those didn’t “stick” and didn’t satisfy my complaints either.

Since I wasn’t happy with where I was health-wise and didn’t feel like these tools were working for me I decided to take a different approach. And, once again proving I’m a nerd, I decided a spreadsheet would better allow me to document my activity and dietary goals for each day and then to track compliance. So about a month ago I created a spreadsheet table with a column for each day and 4 rows of activities and 7 rows of dietary objectives. Even though it is a spreadsheet the cells are simply checkboxes. When I am compliance for the row I check off the box. Some items are positives like getting in my aerobic exercise for the day and others are negatives such as not eating a carb snack in the morning. The bottom row of the spreadsheet totals up the check marked cells. Achieving 7 is the bare minimum and earns a yellow status while 8 or more is good compliance and is a green status. I can quickly open and update the day’s status on any device and in doing so also get a reminder of what I am supposed to be doing and how today compares to previous days.

So far I’m really happy with this approach - it suits my style and personality quite well. Below is a an example of a one week snapshot. Wednesday’s is colored green because that was Christmas Day and I made that a complete cheat day. Friday and Saturday’s compliance is poor due to a road trip (noted in a comment on Friday). Monday (today as I draft this post) hasn’t yet met the objective (but there’s still time!). And Tuesday is blank because it isn’t Tuesday yet. Fortunately my compliance was better leading up to Christmas week!

The actual spreadsheet has more personal details about my objectives as well as having one tab for each month and one column for every day of the month.

N.B. I still use and value Apple’s health related apps for tracking the details and for it’s gamification of compliance but overall this spreadsheet is now the key for me. Also I considered making some items in the spreadsheet worth more than others. But I elected to keep it simple and also stay conscious of the fact that the core purpose was to come close to 100% compliance each day.

Broken infinity

Wall art from a local cafe

I’ve been using this set of questions for a couple of years now and find them quite beneficial. Thought it would be worth re-posting them in advance of the NY.

Sharing ten questions you might want to answer in a year-end journal entry. I’ve found these to be very beneficial.