Sunday April 14th, 2024

When you misread the Apple Music icons

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When you misread the Apple Music icons, and accidentally buy the "clean" version of Beyonc�'s Carter Country. Damn it.

At the Oaktown 8s Tea Dance

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At the Oaktown 8s Tea Dance

Saturday April 13th, 2024

California Journalism Preservation Act

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Jeff Jarvis at Nieman Lab: The California Journalism Preservation Act would do more harm than good. Here’s how the state might better help news

“If there are resources to be put to work, we must ask where those resources should come from, who should receive them, and on what basis they should be distributed.”

Grok AI bullshit generation from Twitter

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Automated political bullshit generation

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Wall Street Journal: How I Built an AI-Powered, Self-Running Propaganda Machine for $105

I paid a website developer to create a fully automated, AI-generated ‘pink-slime’ news site, programmed to create false political stories. The results were impressive—and, in an election year, alarming.

I've spent the past two days deep in LLM territory, and I think our best hope for humanity is that we poison these things on their own output.

Friday April 12th, 2024

If I loathe LLMs for no other

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If I loathe LLMs for no other reason, the fact that so much energy needs to go into getting people to understand that they're experiencing confirmation bias, and it's just making up stuff, we can't base core features on that, is enough.

But mad props to Perplexity(dot)AI for returning different info from their API than from their front page, and giving me both dramatically wrong summarization and lots of bogus URLs, to help me make that case just a leetle bit faster.

Trying to walk some people through the

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Trying to walk some people through the realization that, no, LLMs are not actually useful for what they think they might be useful for is bringing me to some great 404 pages, but for some reason I'm liking the German Wikipedia's "this article does not exist" text....

Dieser Artikel existiert nicht.

Möglichst ganze Wörter eingeben, die im Artikeltext, insbesondere aber im Lemma vorkommen sollen.

prompt engineering is bullshit

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This prompt engineering is bullshit. We need more lackadaisical engineering.

Waiting at the dealer for warranty

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Waiting at the dealer for warranty service on the Bolt, and... I wonder how many of the inefficiencies here vs the shoi take my truck to are intentional. I think an interaction at North Bay Automotive takes me less than 5 minutes, we're headed for half hour for the drop off at Victory Chevrolet.

Someone recommended listening to Erich

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Someone recommended listening to Erich Jarvis on the Huberman podcast, and... The discussions of how he thinks language works are not resonating with me, and I'm totally experiencing this as "Really? That's how normies think and process language?"


Better to take a snack than to snake

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Better to take a snack than to snake attack.

a good time to mention that Firefox on

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This a good time to mention that Firefox on mobile keeps going non-responsive, viewing, and even downloading, PDFs on MacOS is giving me zalgo, or worse, documents which look legit but are wrong (hi insurance cards!), and they fucking moved the place I was downloading APKs to use Firefox on my Kindle Fire tablet?

Thinking today about how different

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Thinking today about how different history would have been if Mark Furhman and his fellow thugs hadn't tried to frame OJ, and had just done a straight up above-board investigation.

requirements in the frequency domain

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RT Shae Erisson</a


J: Fred Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month" paraphrased: the engineering manager is a low-pass filter over inputs to the development team.

B: I find very funny the implication that changes in project requirements should be viewed in the frequency domain.

Agile is an attempt to make the resistor in the RC network as small as possible.

Thursday April 11th, 2024

Ugh. Okay, I have some further technical issues to resolve before the next hybrid Know Before You Grow. I need a second monitor, and should probably not even be on site, which sucks, but....

high time for thigh-highs

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The 2024 Proceedings of the SIGBOVIK conference, of the Association for Computational Heresy includes Programming Socks: Is it high time for thigh-highs? An investigation into the perceived unreasonable effectiveness of Programming Socks on productivity levels in the field of Software Engineering by one Ian F.V.G. Hunter. From the "Results and Analysis" section:

From this data, we can only conclude that either: Programming Socks have become more main-stream and non-programmers wearing these socks are developing into programmers themselves — or that Programming Socks are so effective that the majority of wearers in our dataset simply finished their software and did not need to do any additional coding. Either way, this result is a clear endorsement of their usage.

The thing is... I have so many PDFs open right now, and have been reading so many papers of late, that even though this is an obvious send-up, the conclusion from the methodology reads as more legit than some.

That may just be based on how many of those are about "AI".

"AI" curmudgeonry OTD

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The LLMentalist Effect: how chat-based Large Language Models replicate the mechanisms of a psychic’s con By Baldur Bjarnason

Knowing Machines: Models all the way, a look at how the training sets for image data have been generated, and what sorts of very interesting biases are the basis for image selection.

The concepts of what is and isn't visually appealing can be influenced in outsized ways by the tastes of a very small group of individuals, and the processes that are chosen by dataset creators to curate the datasets.

In the case of Midjourney, by a handful of esoteric nerds, and by a 65-year old mechanical engineer living in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Today I learned about GCC XML.

There is one open-source C++ parser, the C++ front-end to GCC, which is currently able to deal with the language in its entirety. The purpose of the GCC-XML extension is to generate an XML description of a C++ program from GCC's internal representation. Since XML is easy to parse, other development tools will be able to work with C++ programs without the burden of a complicated C++ parser.

Emphasis mine...

(It's been superceded by CastXML)

Wednesday April 10th, 2024

Feminist City

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The "to read" queue is currently way too deep, but... Feminist City — Claiming Space in a Man-Made World by Leslie Kern should probably go on there somewhere.

Slapped a dark mode on my sites

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Slapped a dark mode on and Not sure I like it.

And at some point if the tuits align I could stand to re-skin all the things, but... yeah... web content is kinda down on my list of things to fight these days.

Hoodline "local news" generated by LLM

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Gazetteer: Hoodline using AI to generate news stories and journalist profiles

Following a Gazetteer SF inquiry, the neighborhood news site publicly confirmed its use of artificial intelligence to power an 'In-House Writing Collective'

Broke Ass Stuart: Hoodline caught using AI generated writers to make AI generated articles

To be fair, it seems like maybe they're feeding it things like police press releases and getting overly flowery summaries out, and unlike some other recent breaks, don't appear to be outright spreading lies.


But this sure is a consequence of the Google created SEO environment.

Anyone else play with XKCD 2916: Machine and flash back to the Mary Walton book on W. Edwards Deming, about sorting balls?

An open letter

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This is powerful: Walter C. Long: An Open Letter to Richard Linklater on Our Texas Death Penalty.

There are Linklater films that I love, like the "Before" series, I found Boyhood[Wiki] stunning. I don't know if I could manage God Save Texas: Hometown Prison[Wiki], usually when I turn to the screen I'm looking for light escape, but it sounds like it's powerful. This essay sure is.

Tuesday April 9th, 2024

Elon Musk predicting AI

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Well, maybe some humans. Like humans who believe that AI will be smarter than them... Elon Musk: AI will be smarter than any human around the end of next year.

The AI Zeitgeist

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From back in February, but totally pertinent right now: Andrea Grimes: The AI Zeitgeist is for Alpha Dudes Who Love to Be Wrong. I'm just gonna use a small pull quote because there are so many awesome bits in here.

The AI zeitgeist is rooted in white men being so worried that they are on the verge of having to trust the expertise of people who aren’t just like them that they would rather get their information from a wrong robot./blockquote>

Via ErosBlog: The Gender Nuanced View of AI

I had to verify the eyes hurt Google

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I had to verify the "eyes hurt" Google trends theme for myself, and, sure, the graph is eye-rollingly worth a giggle, but the map... Sigh. I weep for humanity.

As a Modern Western Square Dance

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As a Modern Western Square Dance caller, I approve: All music must be 4/4, 126BPM.

Limited exceptions may be made for cued round dances on a case-by-case basis.

Chechnya bans all music deemed too fast or too slow

“(I) have announced the final decision, agreed with the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov, that from now on all musical, vocal and choreographic works must correspond to a tempo of 80 to 116 beats per minute,” Dadayev said, according to TASS.

Well, shit.

Climate doomism of the day

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RT Jeff Spencer

Tar sands oil producers in Canada get to self-report their own greenhouse gas emissions. It turns out their emissions are 60 times greater than their official estimates.

Scientists “noted that the total oil sands carbon emissions were larger than those from all human-made sources, from chemical products to cars, in megacities like Los Angeles.”

Perhaps this practice should change.

RT Benjamin Carr, Ph.D. 👨🏻‍💻🧬

It could well be a blockbuster #hurricaneseason, and that’s not a good thing #Atlantic #Ocean is on fire right now.
The Colorado State forecast calls for 23 named storms, more than 50% higher than a typical season of 14.4 named storms; and 11 #hurricanes, above a normal total of seven. Additionally, the forecast predicts that the season's accumulated #cyclone energy—a summation of the duration and intensity of storms across the whole basin—will be 70% greater than normal
Ars Technica: It could well be a blockbuster hurricane season, and that’s not a good thing

Yeah, sorry, next generation, y'all are fucked.

Monday April 8th, 2024

A review of Cowboy Carter

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A review of Cowboy Carter by a certified hillbilly son of the South from the streets of Nashville

This matters because most of us down here know this, and it has shaped the character of our community. This is what it means to be be country, fighting together for our neighbors, and we keep on winning. The South didn’t lose, the Confederacy did. The South won the right to stay part of the Union. This is essential to understand because it not only a critical <emn>formation of what it means to be country but it also explains why it has remained important to Beyoncé not to let us forget that she is from here too.

Oh dear, I've done a little more screwing around with You(dot)com, and, functionally, it appears to be a GPT layer over Reddit. This... uh.... does not improve the quality of the information presented vs straight up Google search results.

Hey, if you are a user of Steve Bogart's awesome Sankeymatic Javascript library (and if you need to generate Sankey diagrams on the web, it's definitely worth looking at), he's got a Patreon:

And, eeenterestingly, Google Firebase seems to be having load problems today. Wonder if this is eclipse related.

Got a Facebook ad for "You(dot)com"

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Got a Facebook ad for "You(dot)com", decided to check it out. "AI" is going just great.

RT geekysteven

The most relatable part of the Star Wars sequel trilogy is the characters’ problems stem from terrible decisions made by their grandparents' generation.

I'm reading Jensen Huang talking about

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I'm reading Jensen Huang talking about a marketplace for NIMs, and I honestly can't tell if there's useful application for LLMs somewhere in here, or if I'm being told with great enthusiasm that I can use multiple slurp juices on a single ape.

Cannabis users report less subjective cognitive decline

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*Takes toke*... "Well, I don't think I'm losing my cognitive faculties": Current Alzheimer Research: Association Between Cannabis Use and Subjective Cognitive Decline: Findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Results: Compared to non-users, non-medical cannabis use was significantly associated with 96% decreased odds of SCD [Subjective Cognitive Decline] (aOR=0.04, 95% CI=0.01-0.44, p<.01). Medical (aOR=0.46, 95% CI=0.06-3.61, p=.46) and dual medical and non-medical use (aOR=0.30, 95% CI=0.03-2.92, p=.30) were also associated with decreased odds of SCD, although not significant.

Via Boing Boing: Boomers find brain boost in bong rips: slashes risk of self-reported cognitive decline by 96%

Souring on Arc

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Relevant to work discussions: Keith Kurson: Souring on Arc Browser

However, my once unwavering loyalty to Arc Browser has started to waver, all due to the introduction of new AI features that have left me unsettled. While I’m no stranger to using AI tools (I’ve got a Claude and OpenAI subscription!), I find myself at odds with the way Arc now aggregates sources from various areas without regard for my preferences. In a world where trust in news sources is paramount, the inability to curate the content that shapes my browsing experience raises red flags. ...

Ben Werdmuller: I tried Tesla Full Self Driving:

So would I pay the money for it? Fear on this level seems like a pretty poor use of $12,000 or $199 a month. You can rent a horror movie for $2.99, and paying attention to America is free.

Hearing people asking for things that

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Hearing people asking for things that terminal users have had in their toolbox for decades kinda wants to make me say "how about using tools that respect your intelligence, rather than buying crap from vendors who prioritize the shiny over use".

Unrelated, Microsoft is making it harder to use non-Edge browsers...

Dear FireFox all I want is a stable

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Dear FireFox: all I want is a stable url from which I can download an APK for my Kindle Fire.

Okay, that and better PDF handling on Mac and a few other browser parity issues, but that's the big one this morning.

Sunday April 7th, 2024

Today in not really a productive use

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Today in "not really a productive use of my time", but they're decent condiment dispensers, just gotten a little grody over the years. It's fascinating to see what color lies under there. The ones on the right have been sanded down and given a couple of coats of walnut oil.

One Bicycle Per Child

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RT lenazun

years ago I annoyed some people saying that the one-laptop-per-child project would be better if it was one-bycicle-per-child in terms of usefulness, local repair potential, economic activation, production costs, electronic garbage, learning curve, access to school and overall happiness. I WAS RIGHT fuckers.

Saturday April 6th, 2024

Thinking this morning about software

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Thinking this morning about software bloat, how we just keep adding features and let hardware take care of the interim stuff, what I actually end up using on my computers, and what libxz is actually used for.

There doesn't seem to be an energy or efficiency argument for cleaning up our software and systemic technical debt.

Just a reminder to those expecting to

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Just a reminder to those expecting to whip up general categorization systems that are broadly applicable in an afternoon: The Dewey Decimal System is a 2 semester course.

Friday April 5th, 2024

I like much of the Strong Towns

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I like much of the Strong Towns message, and that they've been successful. I've enjoyed talking to Chuck Marohn the couple times I've met him. But there's often something just... off... in the messaging, some "gold standard" stuff in the original book stood out.

The latest email from them links to Bari Weiss talking with Jonathan Haidt, and I'm happy that several times when people have discussed stronger ties between organizations I've said "uhh, take a step back".

Prompt engineering for humans

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Giggle: Ars Technica: The fine art of human prompt engineering: How to talk to a person like ChatGPT

RT Kee Hinckley

@daviddlevine Why does this sound like Neuro Linguistic Programming?

Which is kind of funny, because both are NLP.

Ransomware Futures

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RT Matt Blaze

I've taken to calling the Bitcoin price ticker "ransomware futures".

Walkable Cities

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RT Catbus

for Godzilla, every city is walkable