Aug 10, 2022

outside lands 2022, ranked

Saw 28 artists in three days. Bonkers weekend. Here’s my ranked list of performances.

  1. Green Day
  2. Disclosure
  3. Local Natives
  4. 100 Gecs
  5. Purple Disco Machine
  6. Cassandra Jenkins
  7. Dayglow
  8. Del Water Gap
  9. Sam Fender
  10. Sampa the Great
  11. Mitski
  12. Franc Moody
  13. Jack Harlow
  14. Jelani Aryeh
  15. SZA
  16. Lil Uzi Vert
  17. Petey
  18. Weezer
  19. Inner Wave
  20. Benny Sings
  21. Duckwrth
  22. Unusual Demont
  23. Larry June
  24. Post Malone
  25. Wet Leg
  26. Michelle
  27. Role Model
  28. The Beths
Jul 28, 2022

thread of stones

Saving this here, because a machine will autodelete it in about 14 days time.

I had the wildest telemedicine experience today and I just had to share. (Over share? I don’t really share much on this app. Whatever. Here goes.) 🧵

I had a minor kidney stone incident in March, and then another, more serious one, in May. Kidney stones suck. Do not recommend. Stay hydrated, kids.

After the May incident I had surgery - shockwave lithotripsy - to blast a stone. Coolest name for a procedure, but really not fun. Also? It didn’t work! Stone is still in there, like a little ticking time bomb. 😬

Got referred to a doc at UCSF for a second opinion on what to do next. First appointment was today, over Zoom. Wasn’t sure what to expect! (I mean, 23 years into this global pandemic I’m obviously still learning how Zoom works.)

Logged on 5 minutes before the appointment. Waited. Meeting started on time, got put into a Zoom meeting. And there was the doc, along with a team of like 7 other people. (!!)

Two scheduling people, someone dealing with medical records, two other doctors, and then probably some med students along for the ride.

It was a crazily efficient call. Doc had looked at my images and my chart ahead of time, asked great questions, let me ask questions, told me what his recommendation was, helped get the ball rolling on next steps. Along the way called on his colleagues for ideas and help.

I’ve had in person doc visits where they walk in with a team, and it’s really nerve wracking. Who are all these people? Are they judging me? Are they all going to ask questions? Are they just here to stick needles in me? (I hate needles.)

But this first visit today on Zoom didn’t feel that way at all. It felt like I was showing up and there was instantly a team there to support and help. They were on it and it felt great. Like “Hey, we’ve got you. Don’t worry.”

It’s just one little reminder that even though things have changed with this whole everything, there are moments you can engineer to take advantage of new ways of doing things to make the experience feel better for people.

Now, if only they could blast this remaining stone remotely over Zoom, that’d be cool. Alas. (The end.)

Jul 20, 2022

DALL•E rolls out pricing

Super interesting pricing model from OpenAI for DALL•E. Each image request is costs one credit; you get 50 free credits your first month, and 15 free credits every month after that. Buying 115 credits costs $15, and can be shared across an organization. Also, this:

Starting today, users get full usage rights to commercialize the images they create with DALL·E, including the right to reprint, sell, and merchandise. This includes images they generated during the research preview.

I think we’re going to see a lot of competition in this space, and a bunch of creativity around different types of asset generation with different constraints on the input training set, different pricing models, different target audiences, etc. Weird times ahead. Also, it might be time to check out the DALL•E 2 prompt book, an 85 page guide on how to craft useful prompts for the big image making machine in the sky.

Jul 14, 2022

those office feelings

I love working from home, but I also love all the friends I’ve made working in offices over the years. In other words I love not commuting, but I miss…humans. A lot. This piece from Emma Goldman in the New York Times, “The Magic of Your First Work Friends,” is hitting me hard today…

There’s an electricity to forming that first close friend at work. It’s the thrill of staying too late at drinks to keep giggling. It’s the delight of darting to someone’s desk and dragging her to the bathroom to gossip. It’s the tenderness of showing up to work on a rough morning and realizing a co-worker will know instantly that something is wrong.

I wrote a thing back in 2015, titled TFW, office edition that I’m still really proud of, despite its dated reference to email threads. It’s essentially a love letter to my first work friends. Here’s a graf related to the one above…

That feeling when you’re running late on a Friday morning, having had maybe a few too many the night before with your work crew, and it took you longer than usual to find parking and the elevator’s late and you’re hustling to your desk because you’re worried the CEO is going to look at you askance and wonder where the hell you’ve been and you get there and she’s not in yet.

Good times.

Jun 19, 2022

even if it's fake it's real, tom cruise edition

I’ve yet to see the new Top Gun, but I honestly can’t get enough of the takes about the movie, and Cruise, and his career. The one from Alex Pappedamas in The New Yorker is my current favorite.

Last year, the visual-effects artist Chris Umé and the actor Miles Fisher used deepfake technology to create a series of somewhat terrifyingly realistic TikTok videos of Fisher as Cruise, doing things such as biting into a Blow Pop and remarking, “Incredible—how come nobody ever told me there’s bubblegum?” They’re effective in part because the actual Cruise’s own affect has become so indistinguishable from the way an advanced artificial intelligence might go about talking to reporters. Cruise’s own laugh is the best Tom Cruise impression you’ve ever heard.

The original “Top Gun” came out in 1986, 36 years ago. I’m looking forward to the third in the trilogy 36 years from now in 2058, when that perfect Cruise smile and that perfect Cruise laugh are fully powered by deepfake tech.