Running errands with the 10yo this morning:

  • Picked up the Olivetti Lettera 22 from the repair shop
  • Stopped in at the library
  • Went to the comic shop

And we haven’t even had lunch yet!

Doom Rules Eternally by Distorted Reflection

I guess these guys are from Greece but I don't know much else about the band. I read a favorable review somewhere recently and threw this album—their only release—on my list of stuff to check out. It is pretty straight-ahead metal with operatic vocals, some pretty great heavy riffs, and a few quieter, slower interludes as well. There are parts of this album where things teeter on the edge of the ridiculous—"Cassandra", I'm looking at you here—but it always manages to pull back from the brink just in the nick of time.

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While I am generally not the conspiracy-minded type, I can’t help but notice that the term “Generative AI” that everyone is now running around using to refer to this current crop of LLMs is suspiciously similar to “General AI”, the term that computer scientists have traditionally used to denote the very different and entirely theoretical concept of an actual artificial intelligence.

🔗 Did Slack Actually Reduce Workplace Email? – Email is good.:

Certainly email isn’t perfect, but to pitch a well-designed private chat room the perfect alternative to email feels like a bit much. It’s just different! Of course real-time has distinct advantages. Of course open conversations are sometimes ideal. I’m a Slack fan (and Discord as well, as they are really quite similar, and any other tool that facilitates team chat). But the kinda email is dead tends to fall flat with me since it’s so clearly not true. For one, Slack is expensive and invite based and obviously I don’t share a Slack with everyone on the internet. The fact that anyone on the internet can email me, to me, is a huge strength of email.

Hard agree with all of that.

I’ll also throw in that even to this day, I still find it pretty rich that Slack continues to push this notion that they created some groundbreaking new product rather than simply putting a business-friendly shell and an easier administrative interface on top of what is basically Internet Relay Chat.

Buildings and property should be owned by the people that live and work there.

🔗 The Work Of Restoration - by Addison Del Mastro: I often wonder why it is that pretty much no town or city ever seems to just permit the old process by which the original city grew. This is so rare as to suggest that it is basically impossible. Is it? Maybe it doesn’t really matter, but my hesitation is that these projects—especially if they remain under the purview of a single private management company—could one day turn out to be strip malls in urbanist clothing, presenting the same problems of unresponsive management, land speculation over maintenance, and physical deterioration, all at the scale of multiple urban blocks which could, in the best of times, house hundreds of people and dozens of independent enterprises.

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The core problem with large language models and the companies developing them is that they are an extractive business.

They would not be possible—and they will not be sustainable—without a constant supply of human-generated text, sound, and imagery to mine, but they are destroying the systems that have allowed for the generation of that raw material they depend on.

Trisagion by Ethereal Shroud

There are three tracks on this album, the shortest of which—and by a significant margin—runs nearly fourteen minutes, but none of them ever gets boring or feels like it overstays its welcome. It is epic, atmospheric black metal, with lyrics exploring loneliness, isolation, and finding human meaning in a harsh and alienating world. This album got a lot of great reviews when it came out in 2021 and it deserved them.

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A black and white cat lounging on a yellow chair

Mr. Beans approves of the new (to us) chair.

Telling stories in an established fictional universe

I was watching the first episode of The Rings Of Power with the kids a few days ago. It is the second time through the series for me. I watched the whole thing not too long after it first came out but I was sick at the time and barely remember any of it. I recall liking it then, though, and I am enjoying it so far this time as well.

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Are you f%#$ing kidding me, New York Times?

screenshot of the book review section of the NYT

Who the hell thought this was a good idea? another weblog yet another weblog