Monday, September 11, 2023
The Gadsden Flag, 1775
now & forever
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
PREVIEW: META CONNECT 2023 - SEPTEMBER 27, 2023
This year's Meta Connect is now scheduled for September 27, 2023.
Meta Connect will have the latest news about Meta's Metaverse. News may include information about QUEST 3, and possible "pro" versions of their headset.
They will also probably announce new applications and games, and promote Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workrooms. Horizon Worlds may get an update to their (currently underwhelming) tools for building Worlds.
It would not be surprising if there is a lot more information about Meta's work in AI. They have been announcing important research results regularly, and have been positive about "open source" AI.
FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) has now given way to a new shorthand: "The Magnificent Seven, (TM7)" (Meta, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Tesla, Nvidia -- Facebook is now Meta, Google is now Alphabet, Add Microsoft, Tesla and Nvidia, subtract Netflix) which now comprises the darling movers of the market. The total capitalization of TM7 is (as of today, according to Bard) about $10.5 Trillion Dollars. Meta is about $580 Billion. At its peak, a few weeks ago, TM7 had a market cap of more than $13 Trillion Dollars.
The conference may be accessed virtually. It usually contains a keynote, a technical keynote, specific topic sessions, and a live talk by Carmack. (Carmack is no longer as active at Meta, and it would be a surprise if he is there again this year.)
In past years it has been possible to watch the keynote in the Quest 2, in Horizon Worlds. Disappointingly, that was mostly just a 2D screen in a (3D Virtual) theater, and it was easier to watch on a 2D computer screen. It would be great if Meta created a full 3D 360 experience for the keynote, and for sessions dealing with games and other inherently 3D topics.
For more information:
META CONNECT HOME
Saturday, August 05, 2023
iPHONE 15? 16? & 3D PHOTOS & VIDEOS
- take a 2D photo or video,
- create a depth-map,
- extrude the 2D+depth-map,
- recapture that in a 3D camera in an editor like DaVinci,
- and get a 3D photo or video from a 2D source (without a physical 3D camera).
Friday, June 23, 2023
APPLE VISION PRO SDK
Apple has now released the SDK for VisionOS, the operating system for the Apple Vision Pro (AVP), the new XR headset from Apple that was announced at WWDC and will be available next year.
The AVC is priced at about $3,500. Apple's reveals, and other reports, suggest the headset is more advanced in its technology than any other headset yet -- that actually exists. (Other companies have at least 6 months to catch up!)
The demonstrations and videos from WWDC (still online!) also suggest, however, that the current software ecosystem for the AVP is not well advanced, but that Apple has a very ambitious, and well thought out plan, for the future. They are courting developers!
The headset, appropriately named "Pro" is clearly intended for developers at this point, and not for consumers. It does not matter how many they sell in the mass market; the important metric is how many developers take it seriously.
Here is the link to more development information from Apple:
Monday, May 01, 2023
KERI RUSSELL, DIPLOMAT
"DIPLOMAT" - starring and Executive Produced by Keri Russell is a terrific new series on Netflix.
The story is interesting and exciting, surprising and well crafted, the acting by Keri Russell and everyone in the cast is excellent, the script, especially the episodes written by the Creator, Show Runner, and Executive Producer, Debora Cahn, are sophisticated, witty, and fast moving.
Keri, as Kate Wyler, is the new Ambassador to the UK, an out-of-water post for a speech-hating, gown-aversive, protocol-suspicious, war-wise operative, struggling with a troubled marriage, and on a short list to replace the current Vice President. She is suddenly in the middle of an international crisis with a global nuclear war looming if she, or the US, or the UK, or France, or Russia, or, well, anybody, gets it wrong.
I strongly recommend the series! Season Two was just greenlit today, and I'll be waiting eagerly.
Friday, March 31, 2023
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
GENERATIVE AI CONTENT CONSORTIUM
One possible solution (at least part of a solution) for compensating creators of the content used in Generative AI systems, would be a Consortium, sort of what is done for music by ASCAP, that would moderate the passage of content from creators to AI collections, and payments in the other direction.
Among the dangers of the present lack of a system is endless litigation over IP rights and value; and the threat that distributing content without compensating creators will destroy the entire ecosystem of new content creation.
(Fortunately, so far, the report of a weather thermometer restriction to eliminate frosts and heat waves by arresting thermometers, remains a joke.).
Monday, February 06, 2023
ChatGPT MAKES A BASIC ERROR IN ALGEBRA AND POLITELY APOLOGIZES; AND POLITELY CORRECTS AN APPARENT ERROR IN A PROMPT
In response to some questions inspired by the recent Chinese Weather/Spy balloon incident, ChatGPT had some responses that are worth noting (about ChatGPT itself, unrelated to the actual balloon incident).
First, in doing some algebra it made a very basic error. This calls into question using Chat GPT for math. At the very least, as in public school arithmetic tests, you must ask GPT to "show your work." so it can be checked. (One more piece of evidence that "black box" answers from AI can be risky.)
Also, when the error was pointed out to ChatCPT, it very politely apologized. It did not, however, perform or show a re-calculation of the answer.
It is very interesting that, from the prompt, it went back to its answer, checked that, confirmed it had made an error, showed the correct algebraic expression, and apologized. It has self-knowledge.
Second, when information was missing / false in a prompt, ChatGPT made assumptions about what was meant. Sometimes ("black box warning" again) it may not be explicit or correct about its assumptions. In this case, it explicitly corrected the error, very politely.
Third, although not shown here, because it was a tedious process, I began with a simple question that required a multistep calculation. ChatGPT at each step explained in words how to do the calculation, but needed one or more separate prompts to get it to actually do the calculation for that step.
Fourth, (FYI), I also tried Wolfram Alpha. Because it does not sustain a multi-step conversation as well as ChatGPT, and other limitations, getting the answer from Wolfram Alpha would have been much more cumbersome, requiring separate queries for each part of this kind of "research".
Below, prompts and responses related to the "errors" are flagged in red.
does a helium balloon at the ground support the same weight as the same balloon at 60000 feet?
if the balloon has a non-rigid shell, so it expands as it rises, so it displaces more air, will it still support less weight, or will the expanding radius compensate for the thinner air?
1- Using average temperature, pressure, and composition of air at 60000 feet, and 2 - average composition of air at ground level with a temperature of 15 Centigrade and normal summer air pressure, what is the weight of a 100 foot radius sphere of air in kg and pounds.
Again, using the same values, and assuming ideal conditions, if a round balloon has a radius of 100 feet at an altitude of 60,000 feet. what would the radius of the balloon be at ground level if the outside is completely flexible and adjusts to the different air pressure. What would the weight of that sphere be in pounds and kg?
since PV = nKT and V1 = nKT1/P1 and V2 = nKT2/P2 isn't V2 = V1 * (P1/P2) * (T2/T1) which is different from your formula: you wrote V2 = V1 * (P2/P1) * (T2/T1)
Using the approximation that air is 19 % Oxygen, 78% Helium and 3% carbon dioxide, what is the average molar mass of the air
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
CREDIT CARD CRAZY
As the Fed has increased its rates, Credit Cards have generally followed suit, raising their interest rates.
Credit cards that were once reasonable, may now charge rates of 20% and more. If you have been late just once, your credit card rate can go to 30% and more. That means in about 3 years you pay as much interest as the amount of the original balance! 1! 2! 3! That is absurd.
If you pay your bill in full each month, there should be no interest on the amounts you charge during the next month. Be sure to check that!
Some credit cards are now offering loans on your available credit at a much lower rate than the usual, regular credit card interest. CHECK THE FINE PRINT! But it might make more sense to buy a $10,000 item, say, on an 8% loan, than on an 18% credit card, and it might be billed the same way !?!?!
Terms, rules, and rates on these loans and credit cards vary dramatically, and often change, so research before you take a new card (if you can figure it out from the fine print in the loan agreement), and check the interest disclosure on the monthly statement every month if you have a card already. It can help to have more than one card: use the card with the least current interest.
In some cases, your credit rating may improve if your average usage of available credit goes down. So, contrary to what you might expect, taking out a new credit card and spreading (the same level of) expenses over more cards, can sometimes improve your credit, by increasing your available credit while not using more of it.
Charges keep changing. Research and awareness are important to manage them! The ideas here are just a few suggestions of issues to consider.
Tuesday, January 03, 2023
THE AMERICAN MULTIPARTY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
Update> Feb 6, 2023 >> Defaulting on the debt would be terrible for the US. Caving in to budget reductions to pass the debt bill would be terrible for the US.
If there are just a few Old Republicans left in the House of Representatives, they should unite with the 212 Democrats to pass the debt bill. Better, if they join the Democrats that voted for Jeffries as Speaker of the House, form a coalition in the House, and create a moderate, pro-democratic, pro-republican, pro-American leadership for a coalition Speaker of the House, we can create a Congress capable of passing the laws that will help the US and Americans prosper.
Jan 3, 2023
The United States does not have a two-party government. There are currently at least three parties in government:
(1) the Mainstream Democrats, led by President Biden;
(2) the very conservative, right-wing Republicans, led by Kevin McCarthy; and
(3) the Extreme Right, anarchist, anti-democratic, anti-republican faction represented by GOP characteristics (Greed, Obstruction, Prejudice), currently opposing McCarthy in the vote for Speaker of the House.
There are several other parties in the US. There are the independent and progressive Democrats, who have been supporting Biden to pass moderately progressive legislation. There are the conservative Democrats, who have also been supporting Biden so that moderately progressive legislation could pass. There is also the "Old Republican Party", that believes in a republic and democracy. They are mostly business (including international business) friendly, socially conservative, and supportive of the military. They are currently not a strong force in the current “Republican” party.
In addition to specific parties, there are also interest groups for every demographic, and every geography. The interests of the coastal states tend to be more international, more technical, and more social welfare supportive than the interior and southern states.
Many democratic countries have coalition governments. For much of US history, there have been coalitions which grouped themselves into two "Party"s . Sometimes a Party would split, creating a year or a few years with a significant minor Party.
The "Republicans" are having trouble managing to create a working Party coalition. They could split into two Parties.
Right now, to create a House of Representatives that can function to support the needs of America, the Old Republicans should form a coalition with the Democrats to elect a Speaker of the House.
If there are six or more Old Republicans left in the House of Representatives, they should unite with the 212 Democrats that voted for Jeffries as Speaker of the House, to form a coalition in the House and create a moderate, pro-democratic, pro-republican, pro-American leadership for a coalition Speaker of the House.