Welcome to the Weekly Thing by Jamie Thingelstad, your go-to resource for thought-provoking insights and carefully curated content! Did you know that 268 is an untouchable number, meaning it can't be expressed as the sum of the proper divisors of any other positive integer? Fascinating, isn't it? Now, let's embark on another week of intellectual exploration! — ChatGPT
Today was an absolute blast with the first day of our Candle Fundraiser done. It was awesome to see so many friends and we sold a ton of candles to raise money for the non-profits we are supporting.
I’m going to keep things short this week and just get to the links. This week seems to be filled with more links that were deeply thought provoking in a few ways. Some talks, podcasts, etc. A few things this week that made me think deeply.
Have a great weekend, and hope that those of you that adjust your clocks like we do adapt quickly. Next on my to do list is to change all the clocks. ⏰
This article caught my eye for three reasons: Leica, Digital Signatures, and Tim Bray.
Many have commented and worried about how we can trust any photos in the future now that LLM's can just create them out of any description. How will we ever be able to trust that the image we are looking at is actually a photograph and not just made up. Public Key cryptography does solve this problem using key pairs with signatures. This Leica M11-P has C2PA (Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity) to show a verified signature chain all the way from the capture on the sensor to the user looking at the photo.
When you take a picture, the camera makes a little data package called a "manifest", which records a bunch of useful stuff like the time, the camera serial number, the name of the person who owns the camera, and so on. Then it runs a bunch of math over the private key and manifest data and the image pixels to produce a little binary blob called the "signature"; the process is called "signing". The manifest and the signature are stored inside the metadata (called "EXIF") that every digital photo has.
You are probably wondering the same thing I am, what about post processing? The above is great but then I pull it into Photoshop and all hope is lost. Actually, Photoshop is working on support too.
Now, suppose you change the photo in Photoshop and save it. It turns out that Photoshop already has (a beta version of) C2PA built in , and your copy on your own computer has its own private/public keypair. So, first of all, it can verify the incoming photo's signature. Then when you save the edited version, Photoshop keeps the old C2PA manifest but also adds another, and uses its own private key to sign a combination of the new manifest, the old manifest (and its signature), and the output pixels.
There's enough information in there that if you have the public keys of my camera and my copy of Photoshop, you can verify that this was a photo from my camera that was processed with my Photoshop installation, and nobody else got in there to make any changes. Remember, "signature chaining"; it’s magic.
This is pretty incredible. With this signature chain you could be looking at a photo and see the entire chain of activity that has happened from the capture on the sensor to whatever you are seeing.
I've been saying for a while that we need to start signing everything. And for what it’s worth, the most advanced, easy-to-use, and readily available signing system out there is Ethereum.
Quoting myself from April 2023:
I think this signature chain for photos is phenomenal. Where Ethereum could do it even better is by knowing more about those intermediate signatures, and connecting it to Ethereum Name Service so I know what organizations are involved.
All very cool.
Wolfram is an impressive and deep thinker. He's one of the people that I think it would be amazing to just have a cup of coffee with, even if I don't think I would understand much of what he was saying. This TED AI talk frames up some very large concepts that he has been working on for decades. The expanse of it is amazing for 18 minutes.
And I ended that talk with a question: is computation ultimately what's underneath everything in our universe?
I gave myself a decade to find out. And actually it could have needed a century. But in April 2020--just after the decade mark--we were thrilled to be able to announce what seems to be the ultimate "machine code" of the universe.
And, yes, it’s computational. So computation isn't just a possible formalization; it’s the ultimate one for our universe.
Wolfram later reflecting how how that affects are view of time…
Can one predict what will happen? No, there's what I call computational irreducibility: in effect the passage of time corresponds to an irreducible computation that we have to run to know how it will turn out.
Then he blew my mind with this idea that we see the laws of the universe the way we do because they are the laws we would see, and that entities that had different characteristics would see different laws.
So then here's the big result. What observers with those characteristics perceive in the ruliad necessarily follows certain laws. And those laws turn out to be precisely the three key theories of 20th-century physics: general relativity, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics and the Second Law.
It’s because we're observers like us that we perceive the laws of physics we do.
And we are the LLMs?
You know, for much of human history we were kind of like LLMs, figuring things out by matching patterns in our minds. But then came more systematic formalization--and eventually computation. And with that we got a whole other level of power--to create truly new things, and in effect to go wherever we want in the ruliad.
And lines like this are ones that give me great pause because he connects something to be incredibly true.
A society of AIs untethered by human input would effectively go off and explore the whole ruliad. But most of what they'd do would seem to us random and pointless. Much like now most of nature doesn't seem like it’s "achieving a purpose".
Highly recommend taking 18 minutes to watch this, and then another 18 to watch it again. I often wonder how Wolfram will be viewed in a 100 years. Might he be an Einstein personality?
Antique tractors at Fireside Orchards.
Oct 29, 2023
When you upgrade to watchOS 10 your watch walks you through a number of changes to primary interface elements. This is needed due to fundamental changes to the experience.
In watchOS 10, for the first time in years, the iterative update pattern is broken. Rather than the usual handful of minor app updates, new watch faces, and health and fitness features, Apple has instead dropped another major rethink of Apple Watch interaction methods. The side button has been reassigned, the Dock has been demoted, apps have a new design language throughout the system, and widgets have made their Watch debut.
I find this fun and interesting, and it also highlights that Apple is still learning primary things on the watch. How people want to use it and how to best meet those needs. This detailed writeup goes through all of new things.
Background on how U2, and specifically Willie Williams, approached the experience for the U2 residency at The Sphere. The article stays pretty surface level. Mainly they got a ton of creative collaborators to engage. It is notable that the team creating the experiences needed to do it all on location. When you are designing for something that has never existed that makes sense.
Characterised by a 90m tall circular exterior, covered in an LED screen, the Sphere contains a steeply raked auditorium, with the focal stage enveloped with a wraparound screen. Billed as the largest LED screen in the world, it comprises 268,435,456 pixels, the equivalent of 72 HD televisions. As the press pack points out, 'every minute of content produced for Sphere is the equivalent of one hour of streaming television'.
I found this callout about the Sphere interesting.
akin to the whole audience having a VR experience
I saw some video of the experience in the Sphere and came to a similar conclusion. It really is an Augmented Reality (AR) experience. It does it by putting you in this giant sphere filled with screens, instead of putting a headset on. Why is this interesting? Is it possible that this kind of experience becomes more the norm for concert experiences? Sitting in your house with the Apple Vision Pro headset isn't going to be the same as being in the Sphere, but could it be a little like it? Maybe.
With the growing cost of tickets to experiences like this, how are we ever going to make it so more people can have these. A future where only people with a lot of disposable income can experience concert performances sounds terrible. But will immersive experiences like this bridge the in-person experience to a digital experience that can be transmitted around the world? Maybe.
Interesting talk from Nguyen that highlights the structure of echo chambers and how that extends into the structure of conspiracy theories and how to architect them.
Social media has turned conversation into a game, where we compete for points in the form of likes, retweets, and follower counts. This tempts us to trade away the subtle goods of discourse--like connection, understanding, and wisdom--in return for the thrills of success in vividly quantified terms.
I found the extension of how quantifying things can affect the qualitative components of them. He puts it all together like this.
If you want a system to build a belief system for virality and stickiness you would give it:
- Easy explanations for as many phenomena as possible
- A simplified moral system that condemns everybody on the outside
- Gamify it so people will focus on a narrow goal, and get pleasure for doing so
- Put it an echo chamber to seal it off
This talk is from 2019. 🤔
I liked this article because it is part of a long running system that isn't talked about that much. Maintaining your database schema over time and growth is a whole art in itself. Most of these suggestions are ones that are earned with a lot of bruises and scraps over the years. Hard won experiences.
- Prod is not like dev.
- Grow your schema, and never break it.
- The database is the source of truth.
- Growing is adding.
- Never remove a name.
- Never reuse a name.
- Use aliases.
- Namespace all names.
- Annotate your schema.
- Plan for accretion.
This is the kind of thing an experienced database expert knows well.
Great article going through the various CPU architectures that Apple has navigated since the Macintosh was introduced. The technical complexity of what they've done to switch architectures multiple times is incredible, and it is part of what has allowed them to innovate so fast.
Schnitzer with design suggestions for REST APIs. This is pretty straightforward, and I that it stays pretty simple and has a clear focus on usability.
- DO use plural nouns for collections
- DON'T add unnecessary path segments
- DON'T add .json or other extensions to the url
- DON'T return arrays as top level responses
- DON'T return map structures
- DO use strings for all identifiers
- DO prefix your identifiers
- DON'T use 404 to indicate "not found"
- BE consistent
- DO use a structured error format
- DO provide idempotence mechanisms
Of all of them, I think 9 is one of the most important.
Aging is hard. I found this series of reflections on death from Zakrzewski moving and insightful.
We exchanged a look, and I realized Katy and I both had the same observation. Sometimes, the people who have everything in life have nothing in death. But sometimes the people who have nothing in life have everything that they could ever want in their final hours.
We only have so much time.
I enjoyed this podcast with Meg Edwards in part because she covers so much of the range of GTD. She shares some wonderful coaching gems that resulted in a to do for me. Her comment that every client she's ever had has too much detail in their contexts, which caused me to refactor my OmniFocus tags from about 50 to 15 or so.
The part the really hit me though was the section around 23 minutes in about people trying to live multiple lives, and queueing up so many things in their "Someday, Maybe" lists. I've often told Tammy that I wish there were three of me, and that I could have each one of those me's go off and do a variety of experiences.
We made the final batch of candles for the Things 4 Good Candle Fundraiser tonight. We have 204 candles with 8 different scents! Looking forward to selling them all and raising $5,100 for four charitable organizations!
Last night Eight Sleep Autopilot made 25 temperature adjustments throughout the night. I can't speak to the specifics (I was sleeping!) but I did sleep well and was comfortable all night. 😴
Excited to see the optical fiber connection installed to the outside of our cabin! Still won't be setup until spring but this is a big milestone!
I’m gobsmacked by the awesomeness of RSS Club. I want to figure out something to publish RSS only now. And the logo is brilliant! I must make this a sticker!
We saw Spirited Away at Willow Creek Theater today as part of Ghibli Festival. First time we had seen it and enjoyed it a lot. 🍿
Apple Silicon M3 is here! A MacBook Pro with an M3 Max has an incredible amount of power. Wow! I'll be ordering two of the iMacs with M3.
Oct 30, 2023 at 9:11 PM
It has been time for us to upgrade our 27" 3.7 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5 (2019) and 27" 3.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 (2017) both with 2TB Fusion Drives. The later can’t even upgrade to macOS Sonoma.
The iMac is the form factor I wanted, but I wasn’t willing to go with an M1 Chip in 2023! With the “Scary Fast” announcements tonight and the Apple Silicon M3 iMacs I can get the chip I want! Placed orders for two of them, both with 24GB of unified memory and 2TB SSD storage. Decided to get the Blue and Orange combination.
Snow isn't a great way to start Halloween! 🎃 👻🥶
Ready for Halloween Trick-or-Treaters but suspect the 32 °F and dusting of snow is going to keep counts low. 🎃👻🥶
Yuri sent me this photo of Kyiv looking great at sunset. I miss my trips there to visit the team.
Speaking on a panel at Minneapolis CIO Summit this afternoon -- Generative AI: Will it Revolutionize Customer and Employee Experiences? Looking forward to sharing some of the wins we've seen.
Update: See LinkedIn post with photos of panel.
I’m giving micro.blog a post after moving from hugo 0.91 to 0.117. I’m confident that Tiny Theme 1.8.9 works with this, and am only using four other plugins: Search page, Surprise me!, Reply by email, and Conversation on Micro.blog. The first from @manton and the othes from @sod. 🤞
Impressive balloon display at The Depot. Are balloon displays a thing?
Thirteen years ago today I added my 100th login to 1Password. It is amazing to me that I’ve been using 1Password for that long! I now have 937 logins and 303 other items across 8 vaults shared with 1Password for Families!
Join CJ Chilvers, Eric Walker, Barry Hess, Shawn Liu, Jim Cuene, and many other Weekly Thing readers in the Weekly Thing Forum. Recent topics include:
Brief highlight from Chad Collins, our new CEO! → New SPS Commerce CEO Chad Collins aims for expansion beyond Minneapolis
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Here is your fortune…
All the troubles you have will pass away very quickly.
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