As far as I can tell, one of the main measures that a typical person has for inflation is the price of gas. Many complaints I read about Biden are related to gas prices. I don’t think there is an honest understanding of how gas prices work, in my opinion gas companies take advantage of every opportunity (wars, disasters, oil refinery issues) to bump up prices that rarely return to prior levels for any length of time. Do you think we will ever see gas below $3 per gallon (on average) again? Is this the fault of the President of the United States, or is it the fault of greedy corporations? How gas is priced may explain the disconnect between the graph shown here and general opinion.

Forty years go today the Chicago Cubs signed Rick Sutcliffe and the team would go on to the NLCS for first time in my life. Unfortunately, in 1984 the Cubs blew a 2-0 lead of a five game series against the San Diego Padres, losing three straight in San Diego, so they did not go on to the World Series when they would likely have lost to the Detroit Tigers.

Matt Webb has a different take on AI that appears to be a polar opposite to mine that aligns with personal computing. Webb sees the potential for better collaboration.

The main reason why I have invested in and use Google’s hardware, mostly phones running Android, all these years is that I believe the idea of “organizing the world’s information” best aligns to how I think about personal computing. Years ago I wrote about these ideas and how I saw the emergence of smartphones and tablets as the true, real, personal computing moment. I defined personal computing as hardware + software (apps) + Internet + intelligence and believed then that Google was closest to meeting this definition with what was emerging as Google Assistant. I think now that Apple’s description and implementation of Apple Intelligence is closer to actualizing what I imagined back then.

A People's AI

Over the last year we’ve seen Microsoft, Google, and now Apple demonstrate what they are doing with AI. As a somewhat casual observer, it seems to me all of these announcements fall in what I will call a “me too” category. Microsoft added a ChatGPT bot to Bing so Google had to add Gemini chat to Search. Microsoft added AI features to Office and Google did the same to Gmail and Docs. The problem with this matching of functionality is that both companies are focused on each other rather than their customers.

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I am so old that I know who is the person who does the speaking part and laugh in Thriller.

On this date the Chicago Cubs' record is 32-35 and they are 7 games behind Milwaukee for the NL Central division and a half game behind the last wildcard spot. In short, about the same record and standings as they had last year. The Cubs didn’t need to make Craig Counsell the highest paid manager in Major League Baseball to achieve this level of mediocrity, they did that fine under David Ross. It should be obvious by now the real problem is the front office.

I created a notes outline of the Apple 2024 WWDC Keynote while watching the stream of the keynote. I will make updates to the outline as I read articles about the keynote.

Forty seven years ago today Apple launched the Apple II and basically at that point really started becoming the Apple we now know today. I doubt that the WWDC today will be as seminal, but I am looking forward to seeing what they announce.

I wish that my RSS feed reader could filter out items behind a pay wall, or at least flag them in some way. It would also be nice if bloggers either didn’t link to stuff behind pay walls or at least indicate that a subscription is required. I think it is ironic how Dave frequently argues against the burden of pay walls and also frequently shares links to stories that are behind pay walls.

The reviews of last nights Michigan Central live concert that I have read do a good job of describing the moment. The concert was free for the little over 20,000 who were able to attend and streamed on Peacock. I believe there is a replay of it Sunday night at 7 PM on NBC, although I do not whether that is nationwide.

Over the years I’ve seen so many deer and wild turkey within our condominium that they no longer surprise me, but the appearance of new wildlife within my urban environment is always surprising. Last night as we were watching the Michigan Central Station live concert on TV we saw two coyotes amble past our patio window. Apparently coyotes are not uncommon to our township, per this picture posted by the police department. About twenty minutes later we saw a deer run by in the opposite direction and we expected to see the coyotes in pursuit, but did not. Maybe I need to create a wildlife bingo card.

I realize that category archives of this blog has pages in a manner similar to how Old School creates monthly pages, so I decided to create a notebook in NotebookLM and provide it the URLs for all of the essays I’ve written here. Essays in the context of this blog are blog posts with titles. Next, I had the Notebook Guide create what it calls a Timeline of Events that I then copied in to Drummer and formatted to create this page, which is a timeline with short summary of the essays.

On a whim I decided to give NotebookLM the RSS feed to the essays (titled posts) to this site, and it ingested the feed and does answer questions I pose correctly. One problem though is that the source(s) it cites for responses is to the single, large, file, and not the specific location in the file, which tells me (obviously) that it doesn’t know the RSS XML format but it still handles the text within the feed.

Google Updates NotebookLM

Google has released an update to NotebookLM that allows one to provide specific sources to Google’s Gemini LLM, store the results from questions about those sources, and write and store your own notes. I first learned about NotebookLM from Steven Johnson who advised Google in its development of this product. Johnson is the author of several books such as “How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World” and has used DEVONThink for is research and writing. Johnson describes NotebookLM as the type of tool he would find useful in his research and writing, suggesting that NotebookLM is intended to fill scholarly and writing type use cases.

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The author of this article, AI Alignment Is Trivial, is overlooking the lessons learned from the Internet. The real concern is not with the technology, but rather knowing our own flaws as humans. The author seems to be saying that we humans have control over the situation because all we have to do is not “program” AI with things like ambition. Unfortunately, we know there will be people who in fact will “program” AI to do these things in order achieve their own ambitions. All of technology, and AI in particular, is an amplification of humanity’s strengths and weaknesses. One of our weaknesses is not knowing that there are things that even if we can do them, we should not do them. AI alignment is not trivial because human alignment is impossible.

The State Of Sports

In the Atlantic there is an article (subscription required) that is an ode to the one-hand backhand, which is how I was taught to play tennis, but is rarely used today because tennis, like most sports, has devolved into all power. The author extends this point to basketball and the three point shot and he could have also made the point with pitching in Major League Baseball. All are examples, in an innocuous topic as sports, of how the ends now justify the means.

Even an unguardable move such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s iconic “skyhook” would lose its luster in today’s money-balled NBA, where the statisticians have proved that the smartest way to play involves enormous quantities of three-point shots. There have perhaps never been more talented athletes and marksmen and less variety of gameplay. Everyone leverages the same generic (if often impressive) step-back three.

I don’t think there is a more fitting example of how Detroit is rising up than the restoration of the Michigan Central Station. I hope to see it in person soon.

If something like inflation starts going bad during a President’s term, and then under that President that something improves or is better than when he started, should that person not be re-elected? What is more important, that it got bad or that it got better?

Currently reading: Naming the Powers by Walter Wink 📚

I think this is a good book (series of books actually) for those who desire to follow Jesus to read at this time. The quote below is just one example:

The Weather Underground correctly criticized the U.S. government for its barbaric violence in Vietnam and then mirrored the very barbarism it condemned by adopting violence as its means. Whenever we let the terms of struggle be dictated by the Power that we oppose, we are certain to become as evil. Nothing about this insight is new. It is written for anyone to read in Rev. 17:15-18. There the Beast on whom the Harlot (Roma) sits turns against her and shifts his allegiance to the ten enemy kings. These will hate the harlot and burn her up with fire. The Beast can shift loyalties precisely because he knows that the means employed to overthrow the Harlot will make the kings every bit as much the children of hell as she. (Emphasis added)

I assume that in the above Wink is referring to the Weather Underground as known as The Weathermen. The Weathermen emerged from the campus-based opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War and from the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Wikipedia