SAD FACE SNOWFLAKE, with good reason. My main computer decided to call it quits today, so this image was edited in my mobile platform, a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and so was this text! View large!
My main computer is a powerhouse. I’m a tech geek at heart, so I personally built a dual-CPU Xeon E5-2697 v2 CPU based system with 128GB of RAM and a custom water cooling loop with two radiators, one for each processor. It was a thing of beauty, until this morning when I approached my always-on computer to find some motherboard lights on, no fan activity and no way to restart the system. PANIC.
After unplugging all peripherals and testing the power supply, it seems good. Plugging in components worked well one at a time until I hit a failure, and followed the cable to the destination: a voltage regulator on CPU1. I was sunk. Unlike workstation/server motherboards of yore, the voltage regulators are no longer “modules” and cannot be swapped. A new motherboard is required, and let’s hope that it didn’t fry the processor in the failure!
I’ll take my propeller hat off now, and describe the process of editing this image on a tablet PC. I’ve loved my Surface since I first bought it a few years ago, and it has aged gracefully. The Surface Pro 4 is the current model, with a version 5 on the horizon, but I’ve for version 3 and the proof is in the pudding. Complex editing can be done on such a platform, but it’s not as elegant as the beast of a computer that I rely on for my daily work. Sigh…
A smaller screen means less can be seen at any given time, and I didn’t have an adapter to plug my 32” 4K display into my Surface, if it could even handle it. The small screen sufficed for this small hexagonal snowflake, but 12” vs. 32” is a dramatic difference. I remember playing video games like Doom 3 in high school on a 15” monitor and was amazed, but how a 12” screen, sitting directly in front of my Asus ProArt 32” display, seems silly.
For those curious, the voltage regulator failed on an Asus Z9PE-D8 WS. I’m a fan of Asus hardware, but having this motherboard fail just a few months out of warranty… ugh. It feels like a slap in the face. I’ll be evaluating other manufacturers for my next workstation board, as there is a growing competition in this area!
[Enough about the tech talk!] Okay, so this snowflake? It shows a beautiful arrangement of three-fold symmetry with subtle showcases of thin film interference. It’s not complex, and it likely grew within minutes, which would have been a brilliant thing to see from a camera angle fixed as we currently see it. Imagine this snowflake growing from the very middle outwards, and how fascinating the transitions would be as the features developed. It’s a goal of mine to show you that personally, but there are many levels of technology in the way. Maybe someday.
If you want the insight on how images like this are made, and how snowflakes like this come to be, pick up a copy of Sky Crystals: https://www.skycrystals.ca/book/ - and be inspired. You’ll also help me afford my current repair bills! That’d be nice. :)