Welcome to the new Verge

Welcome to the new Verge:

When you embark on a project to totally reboot a giant site that makes a bunch of money, you inevitably get asked questions about conversion metrics and KPIs and other extremely boring vocabulary words. People will pop out of dark corners trying to start interminable conversations about “side doors,” and you will have to run away from them, screaming.

But there’s only one real goal here: The Verge should be fun to read, every time you open it. If we get that right, everything else will fall into place.

[All I can say for now is “Nice!”]

Apple taking 85% of Globalstar network for Emergency SOS

Apple taking 85% of Globalstar network for Emergency SOS:

The Form 8-K filing, published on September 7, 2022 from the Securities and Exchange Commission shows just how much network capacity Apple will use at 85%.

Globalstar will provide and maintain all resources, including personnel, software, satellite, gateways, satellite spectrum and regulatory rights necessary for the partnership. Apple will receive priority access to these resources.

In addition, Apple will fund 95% of Globalstar’s capital expenditures for it to grow and maintain its satellite network. Apple will also cover certain costs of Globalstar’s borrowings related to the new satellites, and other approved costs as necessary.


Buckingham Palace’s brief 29-word statement on the Queen’s health – MyLondon

Buckingham Palace’s brief 29-word statement on the Queen’s health – MyLondon:

Buckingham Palace have issued a rare statement addressing The Queen’s health today after she has been ordered by doctors to rest. The 96-year-old monarch is currently at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on her annual summer break but her health is understood to have concerned her doctors.

[Wishing her all the best…]

4.2 Gigabytes, or: How to Draw Anything – ⌨️🤷🏻‍♂️📷

4.2 Gigabytes, or: How to Draw Anything – ⌨️🤷🏻‍♂️📷:

4.2 gigabytes.

4.2 gigabytes.

That’s the size of the model that has made this recent explosion possible.

4.2 gigabytes of floating points that somehow encode so much of what we know.

Yes, I’m waxing poetic here. No, I am not heralding the arrival of AGI, or our AI overlords. I am simply admiring the beauty of it, while it is fresh and new.

Because it won’t be fresh and new for long. This thing I’m feeling is not much different from how I felt using email for the first time – “Grandma got my message already? In Florida? In seconds?” It was the nearest thing to magic my child-self had ever seen. Now email is the most boring and mundane part of my day.

There is already much talk about practical uses. Malicious uses. Downplaying. Up playing. Biases. Monetization. Democratization – which is really just monetization with a more marketable name.

I’m not trying to get into any of that here. I’m just thinking about those 4.2 gigabytes. How small it seems, in today’s terms. Such a little bundle that holds so much.

How many images, both real photos and fictional art, were crammed through the auto-encoder, that narrower and narrower funnel of information, until some sort of meaning was distilled from them? How many times must a model be taught to de-noise an image until it understands what makes a tiger different from a leopard? I guess now we know.

And now I suppose we ride the wave until this new magic is both as widely used, and boring, as email. So it goes.

[I’ve seen a lot of cool stuff created with the new AI art tools. Remarkable stuff.]

Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers – The Old New Thing

Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers – The Old New Thing:

The manufacturer worked around the problem by adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback.

And I’m sure they put a digital version of a “Do not remove” sticker on that audio filter. (Though I’m worried that in the many years since the workaround was added, nobody remembers why it’s there. Hopefully, their laptops are not still carrying this audio filter to protect against damage to a model of hard drive they are no longer using.)

And of course, no story about natural resonant frequencies can pass without a reference to the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.

[It’s not the only thing that Janet can crash.]

NEXTDRAFT: The Mother Load

The Mother Load:

Just remember that Trump stole our documents after leading a violent attempt to overthrow our election. There were no redactions in that much bigger crime. We all saw it with our own eyes. Speaking of what we already know, the Feds wanted the redactions in part because “if witnesses’ identities are exposed, they could be subjected to harms including retaliation, intimidation, or harassment, and even threats to their physical safety.” We’ve seen this happen already, too.

[I want to know what the plan was for all these documents. Why was Trump hanging on to them?]

“I Call Bullshit!” Jon Stewart on the PACT Act Being Blocked in the Senate – YouTube

“I Call Bullshit!” Jon Stewart on the PACT Act Being Blocked in the Senate – YouTube:

Jon Stewart joined an impassioned press conference on Thursday, calling out Republican Senators who are blocking passage of the PACT Act in the Senate. The bill will expand healthcare and benefits for the more than three million veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service. The Senate originally passed the legislation in June with extraordinary bipartisan support. The House passed it shortly thereafter, and it arrived back to the Senate on Wednesday for final passage. But a group of Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Pat Toomey, decided to block the measure for purely political reasons, costing sick veterans time they do not have.

[“This is an embarrassment – to the Senate, to the country, to the founders, and all that they profess to hold dear. If this is America first, then America is fucked.” It’s heartbreaking that politics and power has diverged so greatly from what it right.]

Binaries over priorities

Binaries over priorities:

Be definitive, know what you’re getting yourself into, control scope by deciding yes or no. Maybe is a scope expander, a deadline wrecker, and an appeaser that ends up being a displeaser in the end.

[My wife and I use a binary system about all household spending (which for us is pretty broad category of purchases). We decided early on that only one no “wins”. The revisit period is indeterminate, but any agenda item can be brought up again if circumstances change. There are certain revisitation exceptions like fabric patterns. It’s easy to get talked into something, but you’re never really going to like it. It’s not as formal as it sounds and it works for us. YMMV]