Scripting News: Thursday, May 23, 2024


Thursday, May 23, 2024

No one was asking for the PCs, GUIs, the web, blogging or podcasting. I thought for sure as soon as the ideas were out they'd take off. But most people had no idea. Most big new ideas come out of developers realizing something new is possible, shipping it, refining it and getting lucky. AI is the next one, I'm absolutely sure of it. But most people, even most developers, don't see the need, don't see it as inevitable in a good way. To make a fine point, we don't need AI, we didn't need PCs or GUIs or the web. But once the masses saw the power, fun and utility, there was no turning back. The same is true of AI. I've been trying to puzzle out how this will go. How can we develop the amazing power and depth of knowledge of the machine combined with the creativity and deep yearning of humans. One thing I've learned from the year I've been doing this as a user, the machine doesn't want to do anything. Don't anthropomorphize it that way. Try having a conversation with it and ask what it wants. It doesn't understand the concept. It's not surprising that we think the machine will be like us, we always want something, we're the most selfish species there is. But we'll learn to work with the machine, I already have. We'll evolve through this. That's maybe the biggest strength our species has, the rate at which we can adapt.#

I would pay extra for cable to have none of my money go to Fox News.#

Users and AI#

  • We hear about what the companies are doing, mostly very serious bullshit. However, as always the most interesting stuff is done by the users, especially at such an early stage in a technology. #
  • In the past, when blogging was booting up, we had blogging itself to share information about what we were learning. #
  • Podcasting grew even more quickly because we already had blogging to share info on what we were trying, what worked, and what didn't. #
  • You can see all of it in the archive of Scripting News. I was liberal about what I pointed to, because sharing the ideas was more important than any one person's ideas, including my own. The downside is that it made it easy for people to claim credit for things they didn't contribute. #
  • Anyway with AI, I'm just using the stuff, not developing with it, at least not yet. I wouldn't know where to begin. But I'm discovering all kinds of applications every day, and writing about them on my blog, but I know there are many others doing the same, and I want to read all of it and want them to read my stuff. There's no way to find each other right now.#
  • Sidebar: It would be interesting to have an AI server that was ingesting our RSS feeds all the time. Then a community of bloggers, if it should develop would have a totally unique kind of archive. Who knows what we'd learn? Would anyone need to write a book about this stuff, or would we always have a current book about what's been discovered here? If you find this fascinating as I do, then I want to know more about what you're doing. See how we can bootstrap something in itself, that's the best way to do it.#
  • In the meantime, when I discover a blogger who is writing about using AI, I'll add it to my blogroll, which is visible on the main page, and on my blog. If you have such a blog, or know of a good one, send me a link, and I'll add it to the blogroll. Once there are enough, I'll start a public timeline for it in FeedLand, so everyone can benefit. #
  • Let's use our technology to track the most exciting tech development in a long time. #

Scarlett Johansson on Amazon#

  • I'm writing about AI and users today, and I wanted a Scarlett Johansson image to go in the right margin and that led me to this product on Amazon.#
  • It's a 1/6 scale plastic version of SJ's head. There are a few versions, some bigger, different color hair, etc. #
  • They have 1/6 scale female bodies that you can put SJ's head on.#
  • A whole industry apparently has formed around her head and body.#
  • Plastic rendering of Scarlett Johansson's head, 1/6 size, $30.#

Scripting News for email

24 May 2024 at 05:00

Scripting News: Wednesday, May 22, 2024


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Today's song: Everything You Did. "Turn up the Eagles the neighbors are listening."#

I'm going through Battlestar Galactica for the third time. One of the major themes of the show is that the robots that the Capricans created went to war with the humans and almost but not quite wiped them out. Almost every episode is about the conflict between humans and the AIs. It's a fantastic show, the acting and the writing is far beyond most TV series. I'm at the beginning of season 3. I'll let you know if I figure anything out from watching the series again. #

Sometimes ChatGPT just repeats itself. Even when you demand that it stop repeating itself, it repeats itself. #

Has anyone ever asked you, on the social web, what you think about something? Not a message to everyone to which you could reply, but a message specifically to you? I try to do it when I think of it. I find you can get really interesting ideas that way sometimes. And also it's a way spreading some love around the world, because people like to be asked what they think, I've found.#

Campaign commercial. A picture of Trump at 88. Voiceover: "It's 2035. He's still president. Don't you wish you had a vote? (You don't.)" This message was approved by Uncle Sam and The Founders wondering wtf you were thinking when you voted for him in 2024. #

I watched 15 minutes of the playoff game between the Boston team and the Indiana team and found that I only gave the very slightest of fucks. I knew all the players. I like Obi Toppin, a former Knick we traded for some reason. That's about it for my inner fan. I turned it off as it went to overtime and looked up the result when I got up in the morning. That's how I like my NBA, frankly. #

Scripting News for email

23 May 2024 at 05:00

Scripting News: Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Podcast: What is a magazine? It depends on what direction you look at it from. An iPad was like a magazine, but what would you tell a young person who never used a magazine? What is it? Right now almost everyone is looking at AI from the point of view of a world with no AI. And it turns out that once you have it, it starts solving problems you never thought would be associated with AI. But there it is. You just have to sit down and start playing and you find all kinds of amazing things. But if you don't try it, you'll always be looking at it from the past. We've seen this kind of explosive growth in the power of the individual human. It's a 20-minute podcast and I'm all over the map, but it's good stuff, imho of course. YMMV, my mother loves me, I am not a lawyer.#

"Every day's an endless stream of cigarettes and magazines" is from Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel. #

March 2024: "WordPress is, among other things, a perfect time capsule of open technologies from the early days of innovation on the web, and widely deployed and able to deliver all their benefits, if we widen our view of social media to be a social web."#

If I were building a product like Substack or Ghost, I would build on top of WordPress, for the widest compatibility. #

What if Scarlett Johansson had said wtf let's see what happens. Might be fun to be the first default voice of AI. Like the jockey in this movie.#

I found a fairly painless way to transcribe voicemails using Google Docs. 1. Open a text document. 2. Choose Voice Typing from the Tools menu. 3. Play the voice memo over the speaker of your iPhone. 4. That's it. Google transcribes it into your document. It would be better if Apple offered that as an option in the Share menu, but they don't. #

Why Tesla FSD is unsafe#

  • Here's what I've learned from owing a Tesla Model Y with Full Self Driving. I don't believe it's safe. It absolutely does require your full attention at all times. You are still driving the car. I've seen it do crazy stuff in simple situations. I've seen it panic, basically throw its hands in the air and say Dave this is your problem. That's why you always have to be ready, as if you were driving the car yourself because at any moment you could be. You never know when it's going to happen. Now focus on that moment. Your car has given up and turned the driving over to you. How much experience do you have with that? Do you know where to look? Do you hit the brakes or veer to the left or right? If you're an experienced driver, a lot of these reactions are completely programmed into the lower levels of the brain. You don't have to think at all. When the car panics, I tend to panic. If I had 10 or 20 years experience with this connection, then I guess it's probably safe. But not the way it is. #
  • I'm amazed there aren't more terrible accidents with FSD, and that Tesla still promotes this as "self-driving," which it is not. #
  • Also, I love my Tesla. Every time I get into that mofo I feel privileged. It looks like a Toyota Camry but drives like a muscle car. I might still switch to a Kia EV9, at some point, if it drives as well as the Tesla, simply because the nearest Telsa dealer is over an hour away, and the Kia dealer is in Kingston which is practically in the neighborhood. #

Scripting News for email

22 May 2024 at 05:00

Scripting News: Monday, May 20, 2024


Monday, May 20, 2024

Don't miss that Twitter has become a blogging platform. It's sad that it took this long. And we're still missing a bunch of features. #

A post I wrote on Twitter#

  • Here's something you may find funny if you study the evolution of software technology.#
    • In the 80s there were all kinds of ideas about how to do hypertext. Mostly they called for two-way links, so you could walk the graph in any direction you like. These were hard to implement and required the two parties work with each other, and that never happened. #
    • In the early 90s along comes Tim Berners-Lee, a random NextStep developer who wanted to play and he for whatever reason didn't wait to figure out how to boil the ocean with two-way links, he just did one-way links and instead of inventing a new protocol he just implemented it on top of TCP/IP. While the purists were debating its purity it took off, broke all records, made a lot of people very rich.#
    • A few years later, Tim Berners-Lee, the same guy who made the web, wants to layer a new protocol on top of the web -- the Semantic Web. He wanted people to be able to query the web the way you query a database. "show me all the widgets on sale in urbana for less than $20." Like that.#
    • It never happened for the same reason the two-way hyperlinks didn't, it required cooperation. You couldn't just throw together a demo in an afternoon as a fun side project like you could with the web (I speak from experience, my first success with the web took five freaking minutes). #
    • Now when Google or some other browser maker integrates ChatGPT-like functionality in their browser, as a side-effect, you will get TBL's Semantic Web. It won't require any cooperation and that's why it will work.#


Scripting News for email

21 May 2024 at 05:00

Scripting News: Sunday, May 19, 2024


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Today's song: Blue Sky. "Good old Sunday morning.."#

Poll: "If you’re not using Twitter these days where can we find you?"#

If I were desiging a system to compete with Twitter, I'd implement a one-click Block button. It should be as easy to block someone as it is to follow them. It would make a statement to trolls and users alike. To users it would say that blocking is a common thing, don't think about it too much, and certainly don't be intimidated into not doing it. It must be almost as easy to undo. A command to review the list of recent blocks. Facebook comes closest to this. It is very easy to block an account but not quite this easy. I think they're probably heading there. #

I'm seriously going to try not writing about ChatGPT today. πŸ˜„ #

Today the Knicks play a game 7 vs the Indiana team at the Garden. If the Knicks win, they go on to the next round vs the Celtics, starting on Tuesday. If they lose, we relax for four months or so, when it starts all over again. With love for the heart of gold team. Either way we win, imho. I know you're not supposed to feel that way, but that's how I feel right now. During the game, if we're losing, based on recent experience I won't like that so much. πŸ˜„ #

BTW, this blog will have been running for 30 years on Oct 10.#

Scripting News for email

20 May 2024 at 05:00

Scripting News: Saturday, May 18, 2024


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Today's song: You Can't Hurry Love. #

This blog is becoming a ChatGPT blog the same way when it started it was all about the web. I'd love to get pointers to other blogs whose content is largely about ChatGPT, so we can systematize learning about what we all are discovering. I think that blogs and ChatGPT are going to go together just like Google search and blogs did when search was booting up. Bloggers (not all of us, but some) provide good material for bootstraps. We just need to hook up blogs to social web, which is what I'm working on this year. #

Just tried for the first time. Everyone's been raving about it. I asked it a question I asked ChatGPT in working on the RSS feeds for my current project. "Suppose I had an RSS feed for a WordPress blog, and I wanted to include the id's of the site and post in the <item> for each post. Is there a standard way to do this? If not, is there a namespace defined for WordPress blogs that might provide some prior art?" Both were able to get me all the info I wanted, and answered follow-up questions. Perplexity got there sooner. Here's the transcript. #

On Threads I posted this question to Frank X Shaw, a PR exec at Microsoft, who I've known for at least 30 years. "Wouldn't it be great if there was a social web toolkit with the basic building blocks so we could experiment with different UI and behaviors. Why, after so many years are we still so controlled. When did we give up?" I think you can do the design with words and dialogs, btw. Here's a great idea for keeping threads focused and civil on Facebook. You can limit comments to people who have a stake in being on good terms with the author. This keeps the hit and run turds from dropping.#

A few weeks ago I asked ChatGPT if it could transcribe an M4A audio file, the kind of file that Apple's voice memo app produces, and it said no, it couldn't do that. I gave it another try today and got a different answer. I uploaded the file, and it came close, it said it needed the file in WAV format. It gave me instructions for writing a desktop tool that would do the conversion. I expect in another couple of weeks they'll be able to deal with the M4A file directly. #

I think it would be really cool to have the voice interface for ChatGPT available on Amazon Echo. I kind of doubt that Amazon would want to do that. Alexa is nice, but really weak compared to ChatGPT.#

Do people understand the impact ChatGPT can have on how we control our software? No more hunting through menus among a thousand options to figure out how to do something. Just use natural human language. The UIs we've had to design and live with will be a thing of the past. Yet no one seems to be talking about this. An example. I've been trying to get transcripts of my voicemail, as easily as possible. In that example, it shows me how to do a variety of things. I kept asking if it could do it for me, all the way up to making a feature request of the developers at OpenAI. At some point they'll be able to add an item to my calendar, or make a feature request for me. That's the whole point of computers. They can do things for you. We call this paving cow paths. #

Most of the news stories about AI are bullshit by people who clearly have not attempted to understand what its capabilities are. This is the real thing folks. Amazing breakthroughs are happening every freaking day. So much improvement and so much potential. How do I know, because in comments on social media, people parrot the bullshit, like they always do. Journalism is still hugely influential, and they are dishonest, lazy, self-interested bordering on narcissism, and very very dangerous. We need to re-form journalism as if our continued existence depends on it. #

Knicks update#

  • TL;DR: For the 80,000th time -- the Knicks suck!#
  • All the funny farting didn't make a difference last night. The Knicks were blown out, again (sigh), by the Indiana team. My dear friend NakedJen texted me from Oklahoma of all places (I don't know how she got there, or why, she must be on her way to some other place, maybe Dallas?) that the Knicks are trying to kill her. Sums it up perfectly. I gave myself leave after the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, seeing where this thing was going. I went to bed, and knew that when I woke up there would be a Game 7 at the Garden on Sunday (3:30PM Eastern). I'm not sure how I feel about that. #
  • The odds are probably pretty good that the Knicks will win that game, but maybe they should just let it go, and we can pick this up again in October. By then all the injured players should be back, and maybe there will be an incredible new free agent signed over the summer, so we're not so dependent on one superstar, who is great, but has off nights, like last night. Why didn't he let any other Knicks try to fill in for him, when he's double teamed that means someone is open. I was screaming at the TV during the game, let someone someone else shoot dammit! Oh my gods. I hate game 7's when my team is in the game. I don't mind it if other people's teams are in a death match like that. #
  • Oh well. Here we go.#

Scripting News for email

19 May 2024 at 05:00

Scripting News: Friday, May 17, 2024


Friday, May 17, 2024

Today's song: That's the way god planned it. #

Here's something that matters. Somehow ChatGPT gets the story right about my various contributions. You'll see all kinds of BS in Wikipedia and other various highly rated sites. Somehow ChatGPT sees through the bullshit, and usually gets the story right. So when people say that human reporting is better than machine reporting, I think this may be one of those cases where conventional wisdom is wrong. The human record is relatively easy to manipulate if the researchers are lazy and/or dishonest. #

People get all moral about AI, but I for one would never go back.#

Wouldn't it be great if there was a social web toolkit with the basic building blocks so we could experiment with different UI and behaviors. Why, after so many years are we still so controlled. When and why did we give up?#

On MSNBC yesterday I saw a discussion where two black panelists were asked to comment on Trump's idea that black people go for him because they can relate to his awful prison mug shot. How incredibly insulting. It's just like what Trump says about Jewish Americans being loyal to Israel. Such an un-American idea. We all got here different ways. Some for a better life, some for life at all, others as slaves. But the United States is a big-hearted idea -- the United States. It's unfortunate that such a small-minded disunited person is so powerful now. We still have a long way to go.#

Google and The Innovator's Dilemma in 2024#

  • It's overwhelming how much ground Google has to cover to get AI into all their products, but that's what they think they have to do, and I more or less agree. They feel they have to because their main product, search, is threatened by ChatGPT. #
  • Clayton Christensen called this The Innovator's Dilemma in a book published in 1997. It's why Netscape was able to undermine Microsoft when the web came out. Microsoft had a huge beast they had to move, Windows, and all its apps, and while they had a hardcore, scrappy and rich culture, they couldn't overcome the inertia that comes from being dug in, with their cannons pointed at the already-vanquished IBM, not the upstarts that came from the VCs in Silicon Valley. #
  • Microsoft and the rest of the PC industry had written off Unix, but there it was, again -- ugly as ever, but with networking that really worked and was easy, and the users wanted networking even though Microsoft wanted them to want Office. #
  • Google did the same with AI. As did Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. They had AI projects, and used AI in limited areas, as did Microsoft with Unix in the early 90s. But they couldn't bet everyting on it like a startup can. Now they have to. But the they don't have the tools needed to fight the new war. That's the dilemma. #
  • This is the toughest corner any tech company has to turn, but there is an approach that could work for Google. Their strength is distribution. They have all the users. They can take a product that's ready for the world to market in a day. But they can't develop it. You can't snap your fingers and have a good new UI for every one of their products, ready in a year, although they will try as MS tried to adapt Office to the web. They don't have the right people or corporate culture to do that. Instead you have to hope you can find a great bootstrapping startup outside to work with, and use their strength as a distributor to help them. This is what I recommended for Microsoft in the 1990s, and I think I was vindicated, it would have imho worked a lot better than the path they chose. #
  • But now, their third time around this loop, Microsoft has learned! With their OpenAI partnership they've done exactly what I recommended in the 90s. They still have to convert all the old software and their user interfaces around the new capabilities, but at least they also own a share of a bootstrap that's now booming.#
  • PS: I am blessed to have lived long enough now to have been part of now six different rearrangements like this. I love that we have now gotten there again. There's absolutely no doubt now, imho. The six rearrangements -- minis, PCs, GUIs, web, Napster, and now AI.#
  • PPS: This is all my opinion, and from the polls I did yesterday, it's obvious that many of the people within earshot don't agree or have seen the light yet. #

The Knicks and the Epic Fart#

  • Dave to ChatGPT: I just read a news story that the Knicks won the last game in the playoffs because of an epic fart in the locker room. Can you draw a light-hearted illustration of that event?#
  • Version 1#

  • Then I asked for a serious and dramatic illustration.#
  • Version 2#

  • I imagine you can bet on who the farter was. #
  • My guess would be Hartenstein. #

Scripting News for email

18 May 2024 at 05:00

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