Weekend Reading — 😎 Software is believing
This week is loaded with AI. We use it to summarize and de-summarize, help us SQL, spoken words, and handwritten notes. We also settle a semantic debate and cure our Python envy.
Code lifespan I can't believe this xkcd did not already exist!
Replacing a SQL analyst with 26 recursive GPT prompts The GPT feedback loop:
- Generate a candidate query
- Quality check the SQL with GPT itself, asking it to spot common errors (NULLS LAST, for instance) and produce a correct version of the query
- Run the SQL against the tables
- If there was an error or no result, ask GPT to fix the query to produce a correct result and repeat the loop
- Otherwise, return the result
You might not need an ORM Another look at AI-generated SQL:
AI changed that for me and I have already started to incorporate SQL queries into my workflow. Concretely I build an admin dashboard with various useful statistics from the database. I used AI to generate the SQL queries (would have been much more cumbersome doing this through an ORM).”
koskimas/kysely SQL but no AI this time. Kysely is a type-safe TypeScript SQL builder, with adapters for common SQL databases and also couple of edge databases (PlanetScale and D1).
One thing that came up in the Rails Performance slack this morning (https://www.railsspeed.com):
Efficiency vs Resiliency
If you hyper-optimize a system to run at 100% utilization, almost any future change to that app will cause a problem. Imagine a bug which adds 10% more CPU load, now you have CPU thrashing.
Even Google runs their machines at 80-90% utilization because that 10-20% is the slack required to safely absorb most changes.
summarize.tech Summarizes long YouTube video, like tech talks, lectures, etc
ElevenLabs This is the most realistic text-to-speech voice I've heard. I could listen to an entire book narrated by one of these voices. This is the reading Alice in Wonderland
npm version majorbecause the observable contract changes 🤓
aleixrodriala “Tunneling Internet traffic over Whatsapp”
I just saw the title and immediately thought “free airplane wifi loophole?” and turns out that yes you can:
This can be usable in different situations, for example network carriers that give unlimited whatsapp data or airplanes where you also get unlimited social network data.”
clem109/lgtm-chrome Who said code review has to be boring? This Chrome extension will help you write a better LGTM.
There's something satisfying about emulating a 45 year old $17 million mainframe on a $75 piece of hardware that peaks at 8 watts.
TFW you go to a conference and a developer from company X gives a presentation on how they practice Y and it's the Best Thing Ever, and then you get a job at company X, and …
Eye for Design
Tips on UI/UX design for a code guy That's one way of saying “start humble” but also seriously good advice to practice the basics:
Start from CRAP (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity) rules. Seriously, spent time on it. This is the single most valuable mindset to learn for any non-designer.”
Screen Readers support for text level HTML semantics I think this closes the debate on the semantics of
<i>. Screen readers handle them correctly, browsers style them by default, and more people know what
<b> means vs
Back in the 80s, Peoplesoft's marketing team came up with a fascinating slogan for their print ad campaign:
"Every piece of software has a set of beliefs built in. Make sure the one you pick believes in the same things you do.“
“Did You Miss My Comment or What?” Understanding Toxicity in Open Source Discussions
Fake meat: Food’s future or a fad?
One of the biggest industry names and the star of a blockbuster IPO in 2019, Beyond Meat, has been struggling. A drop-off in sales and lackluster results from a McDonald’s test run of its McPlant burger have sent Beyond’s stock tumbling more than 70% in the past year.
Not a surprise … they called it McPlant instead of calling it McBeyond
In roughly the past half-decade, Microsoft went from nowhere to overwhelming dominance of text editors with VSCode, ownership of majority of code hosting (and open source dev) with GitHub, ownership of the dependency stack used by most devs with npm, control over the most popular single language with TypeScript, and is trying to position copilot and ChatGPT as inevitable parts of the future dev process. Nothing negative for the ecosystem will come of this, as the last half century teaches us.
Who Owns the Generative AI Platform? A16Z mapping out who/where/how to make money in the generative AI ecosystem. Their conclusion:
Based on the available data, it’s just not clear if there will be a long-term, winner-take-all dynamic in generative AI.
I think that's a good thing. I'm not a VC, though.
I don't think that's true though. There are economics of scale around managing models, and I fear it will get dominated by the big players (Microsoft, Google, et al). And that's not necessarily a good thing.
jmill shares the reversed engineered prompt from perplexity.ai, which blends ChatGPT and Bing search results.
I think the biggest PR win for OpenAI is not the buzz around ChatGPT/DALL-E — they did get a ton of buzz, but the hype only lasts so long — it's getting developers to prompt their AI like they're talking to a colleague.
The long-term PR play is humanizing AI.
The money in AI is in automating mundane business problems, the business buyers are not adventurous — they need to feel confident around any new technology.
I don't know if they designed it or stumbled upon it. Many of the GPT prompts I've seen are conversational (even way before ChatGPT), in contrast with DALL-E prompts that are very direct, commanding.
Dare Obasanjo “The endgame of everyone using ChatGPT to automatically generate and summarize professional sounding emails.”
We collectively decided that you can't just say “you're hired”, “needs improvement”, or “we made a mistake”. In the business world, it takes ~100 words to convey each of these concepts.
We finally have machines that can convert straightforward ideas into high-ceremony low-density messages suitable for business exchange, and in reverse, extract meaning out of long-winded memos.
Maybe the next generation will skip AI altogether and just get to the point.
Meanwhile, the astute reader will notice this week's issue mentions two services that use AI to either summarize or de-summarize content.
The math of brewing a better espresso 🤔 “It sounds counterintuitive, but experiments and modeling suggest that efficient, reproducible shots can be accessed by simply using less coffee and grinding it more coarsely”
Macroeconomic Changes Have Made It Impossible for Me to Want to Pay You just about every layoff announcement:
There’s no easy way to say this: I have made the difficult decision to lay off over six thousand of you. In the past two years, we have achieved huge wins together. But unfortunately, the macroeconomic environment has shifted in ways none of us could have foreseen, from an economy in which I did feel like paying you, to one in which I’d rather not.
"I take responsibility" is the new "thoughts and prayers“
bleeptrack “Deeply in love with these AI powered spam bots by @email@example.com !“
Scientists Create Shapeshifting Humanoid Robot That Can Liquefy And Reform This is exactly what we're missing. Shapeshifting human-like robot that can turn liquid and back so it can squeeze through bars. Don't scientists watch any of the Terminator movies?
Calligrapher.ai Realistic computer-generated handwriting. Can write text in different styles, and with different legibility levels (should be labeled, “wedding invite” and “Dr's prescription”).