Weekend Reading — 👋 How many fingers to a hand?

This week we ask who’s responsible for technical decisions, dig into the origins of spaghetti code, discover a new dopamine loop, talk a lot (too much?) about generative AI, and wrap it up with a better chat UI.

Weekend Reading — 👋 How many fingers to a hand?

Fourth Eye Film Archive AI-generated posters for movies that could have been

Tech Stuff

Sardonicus Do tell me how you find your co-worker's spaghetti code impossible to debug …

Engineer Karen Leadlay working on the analog computers in the space division of General Dynamics, 1964 What if Zapier but for developers? Takes care of triggering events (API, webhook, cron, etc) and sequencing complex tasks, using code instead of ClickOps.

Chris Hartjes 😎

Not throwing shade at any particular person or group, but programmers need to understand that misinformation and attempts to manufacture consent happen in those communities too. A lot of us fail to recognize cult-like behaviour when we see it as we believe we are beings of pure logic and not susceptible to emotional manipulation.

publius 🔥

@swc/jest – SWC Hot damn. I just switched a project from using js-test to @swc/jest and now the test suite completes in 3 seconds (previously 30+). All it took is changing a couple of lines in the jest configuration.

Next, I need a replacement for ts-node.

2023 State of Databases for Serverless & Edge

There's been massive innovation in the database and backend space for developers building applications with serverless and edge compute. There are new tools, companies, and even programming models that simplify how developers store data. This post will be an overview of databases that pair well with modern application and compute providers.

Pandas Illustrated Helpful visual introduction to Pandas (the Python data library, not the cuddly-looking bear)

How to animate an element's height with CSS grid Interesting trick, using CSS Grid to animate an element's height from 0 to auto.

Forking Chrome to render in a terminal I'm going to tell the young ones this is what the internet looked like “back in my days”

Mark Wyner

Every hashtag on every post on every platform should ALWAYS be pascal case (a.k.a. camel case). I made this to illustrate how screenreaders read hashtags depending on whether they are lowercase or pascal case.

The same argument also applies to naming conventions. postURL reads better than postUrl (to screenreaders, also people who read out loud in their head).

CORS (check out Good Tech Things for more)

Eye for Design “Ready to work as a web designer in 2002” — Uphill. In the snow. Both ways.

Tad Carpenter

Design is easy. You just write 100 emails a day, attend 6 or 7 meetings and then start designing at 4:45pm.

Neurodiversity Design System Design principles and personas informed by neurodiverse users, focused on online learning.

Visual design rules you can safely follow every time

ranjit “time to post again the best user interface i've ever seen”


Artificial scarcity, artificial fatigue Some tricks for managing your mental energy:

"Effort, dopamine, relaxation, repeat" — exert effort before rewarding yourself with dopamine. This creates a self-imposed "artificial scarcity" that keeps you hungry & proactive.

"Artificial fatigue" — recharge with low-stim activities immediately after intense work, even if you're not tired.

Loop through 90-120 min sessions of intense work, then 30-60 min cooldown with low-stim activities like nature walks, meditation, etc.

Machine Thinking

Major leak reveals revolutionary new version of Microsoft Bing powered by ChatGPT-4 AI “Searching the web is about to change forever.”

This is what Alexa/Cortana/Siri tried to accomplish back in the day, except using LSTM, a promising AI technology for the time that just wasn't good enough.

So the question is: GPT good enough for people to use conversational UI? Is GPT:LSTM like iPhone:BlackBerry?

(* However, I'm pretty skeptical about search itself changing, when all we do is change the UI and keep searching from the same ranked content, or to paraphrase, "still SEO in, SEO out")

Large Language Models like ChatGPT say The Darnedest Things Collecting and documenting common errors from large language models (spreadsheet, submit yours):

We also see the collection as an important counterpoint to certain media narratives that have tended emphasize the success without a serious look at the scope of the errors.

New AI classifier for indicating AI-written text OpenAI: “We’re launching a classifier trained to distinguish between AI-written and human-written text.”

Please don't.

Quick math. According to OpenAI, the classifier has 26% true positive rate, and 9% false positive rate. Let's say a class of 100 people, and 10% submitted homework written by ChatGPT, then the classifier will flag 2 who did (use ChatGPT) and 8 who didn't.

That's right — 4:1 chance of being accused of cheating because some AI has been trained to write in a style similar to yours. Ouch.

Worse, the people who choose to cheat can find easy ways to avoid detection, while people who just write like that will have to change if they want to avoid getting randomly selected for secondary screening.

Extracting Training Data from Diffusion Models This research paper set out to show that AI models memorize images, and end up generating the originals. And it does show they managed to extract 95 originals (plus 13 near-copies) after generating … 175 million images … so less than 1 in a million.

Why Are AI-Generated Hands So Messed Up? I'm fascinated by this.

People also struggle with drawing hands. But AI doesn't technically draw anything. More like we get to see what it remembers.

AI has difficulty remembering hands, because it has difficulty seeing hands, and suffers from object impermanence like an infant. Let's see how fast it can grow out of the infant stage.

LAION-AI/Open-Assistant Open-source project to replicate ChatGPT.

Reinforcement learning is a scaling issue, the kind of problem that benefits a few large players with tons of cash (hint: you can name them all), but could also be solved by the community if we pooled together.

Hustle bros are jumping on the AI bandwagon We have finally reached the singularity: bullshit artists are using a bullshit generator to sell more bullshit:

As with all get-rich-quick schemes, each video raises an unanswered question: if your method works so well, why are you telling me? But if you’re an influencer, you make your money not by following your advice but selling it, through paid newsletters or video hits.


Jérôme Segura Be careful out there!

The #malvertising campaigns via Google Ads are not just about software downloads and scams. They also include phishing for popular password managers such as 1Password.

The differences are so subtle, most people will fall for it

Everything Else

Talyaa “Rock paper scissors.”

CrowdView An alternative search engine that searches through online communities (Reddit, Lobster, StackOverflow, HackerNews, et al) — higher signal to noise, less SEO polluted.

Dgar Not I understand the difference …

Let This Minimal Desktop Weather Display Point The Way

The electronics consists of a push button and two SG90 servos driven by a Raspberry Pi Zero W 2. The case is 3D printed including the pointers attached to the servos and the button brim of the switch. The Raspberry Pi Zero W 2 is programmed to automatically connect to the OpenWeather API to retrieve the latest weather conditions, with the latitude and longitude being configured into the update script during the configuration and assembly stages.

DoNotPay Promotes Itself As Helping You Get Out Of Subscriptions, But Keeps Charging Customers After Telling Them Their Own Accounts Are Closed It's a series articles, from which you may conclude that publicity stunts are there to mask broken product promises:

… throughout this saga, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that DoNotPay is smoke and mirrors, and very little is legitimate. Even Browder’s publicity stunts appear to be nonsense.

Chronophoto - Game Fun little game: guess the year a picture was taken?

Russ Garrett

Someone in Australia is currently very pleased that they got to use their fancy 360 degree gamma spectroscope camera device to find that lost radioactive source.

I want one.

"2001: A Space Odyssey" directed by George Lucas? and “Star Wars" directed by Stanley Kubrick?


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