Congrats on the newly acquired setup, very nice.
When it comes to HX machine temperature surfing this article http://www.home-barista.com/hx-love.html is an excellent start.
Without wanting to fire up the " if it tastes good do it " debate, I check my HX using a thermocouple now and then to see how much water needs to be flushed.
Make as many shots as you can. I sometimes make shots I have no intention of consuming just to try a different dosing, grinds, techniques etc. Ill taste them but it is more like wine tasting, sip, spit contemplate.