Weeknotes #216

in weeknotes

  • I mucked around with Google Gemini for a bit, trying to get it to design a logo for Pondent. If I tried to ask it directly to draw a logo for me, it would refuse but if I first asked it to come up with some logo ideas and then draw some of those, it was happy to do so. I was pleasantly surprised by one of the results and decided to see whether things were better with Gemini Advanced (which is the ‘paid’ version). The result was fine but it doesn’t seem at the moment much of an improvement over the free version. Fortunately, I’m on a 2-month free trial so I can wait and see whether this is an going service for which I want to pay actual money. I do very much wish Google had a dedicated app for it on the phone rather than hiding it away behind a tab in the Google app.

  • Of course, once I’d broken the seal on paying for one AI service, I then signed up for OpenAI’s ChatGPT 4. I appreciated not having to finesse it to generate images but I didn’t like its results as much as Gemini’s. OpenAI doesn’t have a trial (or at least I didn’t discover it), so I’ve given Sam Altman $20 of my hard-earned cash right up front. Don’t spend it all at once, Sam.

  • Due to a scheduling conflict, I didn’t end up seeing the doctor at all in February for my post-operation check-up and then when I did see her on Friday (i.e. in March), she told me she’s happy with my progress and that I don’t need to return until August. I do still need to organise my sessions at the hair removal clinic (which I should have been doing from January and yet, here we are in March, and I still haven’t begun them).

  • Emma had a playdate on Sunday with one of her classmates from Yoyogi Chapters, a girl who’s grown up in both the U.S. and Japan. Both of the other girl’s parents came and it was nice to compare notes on raising bilingual and bicultural children. I found it especially interesting to talk to the mother who herself grew up bilingually. She did suggest that to be fully proficient in two languages you will need to put in a large amount of ongoing effort (which is beyond what Eri and I are doing at the moment).

  • Freddie deBoer had an essay about the New York Times last week where he quipped that the Times ‘[stays] alive and solvent by selling people Boggle-but-for-sophisticates’. I believe the phrase for this occasion is ‘I felt seen’.

  • I’ve been trying not to get stuck in a Cat Stevens song and so have done my best to set aside time to let John watch me play Jedi: Fallen Order (one of his favourite things to do at the moment). Unfortunately, the game keeps crashing on the Steam Deck. I’ve tried various fixes but all to no avail. So that’s how I found myself spending a silly amount of time last night trying to set up Xbox Cloud Gaming on the Deck before I stopped myself—I don’t need another subscription. For not the first time, I wished I’d instead shown him me playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild like James had the brains to do.

  • I had a girlfriend in the early 2000s whose mother had a couple of CDs of chill-out music put out under the ‘Café del Mar’ brand (Wikipedia). I’ve found that compilations like these are where the streaming era is really disappointing. Apple Music has newer albums but none of of the collections I remember. People of course have assembled playlists that are basically what you’re looking for but it’s often not quite right: the tracklist isn’t the same or there’s a remix that isn’t on the service you’re using. It’s an inadequate replacement but I’ve been making do with the Ibiza Chill Essentials playlist (Apple Music).

Michael Camilleri inqk.net