§ Some seriously smoky steak searing prompted me to check on my smoke detector. It turns out it doesn’t work and probably hasn’t for years.

I ordered a new one. Thanks smoky searing!

§ In other food news, I had three—count ‘em three—different soups for dinner this week. Chili verde, chili con carne, and kapusniak. Is this a sign that autumn has truly arrived?

§ I am beginning to realize that I enjoy creating objects, structures, and opportunities that facilitate self-directed learning more than I enjoy traditional teaching (“direct instruction”). This is all sort of a vague abstract notion at the moment but it was an interesting realization nonetheless.

On a very related note, the jungle gym turned 100 this year. I would love to design a playground sometime.

§ I’ve once again subscribed to a month of ChatGPT Plus. Initially, I was primarily excited to to try their new voice feature. It is indeed impressive. I might try to make use of their recently announced text-to-speech API for article narration.

The new image uploading and analysis feature is even more incredible. It can act as a completely passable art critic.

Finally, the custom GPTs feature may have provided the most tangible, real world LLM use-case to date. I uploaded my health insurance policy’s 100 page information booklet to the GPT’s backend knowledge-base, started up a new chat session, and then was able to ask the custom GPT to explain the charges on an unexpected medical bill I recently received. Is it dumb from a privacy standpoint to upload all of this medical information to ChatGPT? Unequivocally yes, but the utility is unmatched.

§ The way Matt Webb describes his approach to learning and making really resonates with me.

For the last decade or so, the way to bring new products into the world was to think carefully and make PowerPoint decks and cover the walls in post-its. No longer. The landscape of possibilities is unknown so the appropriate approach is to roll your sleeves up. Things-which-are-made teach you about the technology, open up new thoughts, and (vitally!) let you work with people who aren’t as close to the technology as you but probably have better ideas.

I’ve always found that the best ideas arrive when a group of people come together around a physical prototype. Abstract brainstorming sessions all too often breed passionate opinionated disagreements while prototypes inspire solutions.

§ It is a weird new feeling, being proud of my state like this. I have to hand it to Ohio though because time and time and time again recently the state defied my pessimistic expectations in the polls. Great job!

§ I know last week I said something silly like the daylight savings time change will encourage me to “embrace the night”. In actuality I’ve been going to sleep earlier than ever but waking up early enough to watch the sunrise. It has been nice.

§ Links