Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Ironically read at 00:37 during a classic bout of ‘Hell No, I’m not going to bed, rebellion”.

From the always excellent Dense Discovery newsletter. Please go there and sign up and support them. It’s really really excellent.

Geeking out on TikTok

I’ve been mucking around in a very rudimentary and pointless way with a few nerdy things recently. Instead of making sourdough and hoarding blogroll, the impeding lockdown v2 has got me futzing with RunwayML and Wav2Lip.

And god forbid posting the results on TikTok!

@vversed

I was playing around with RunwayML and this popped out. Thought it was fun. #blindinglightschallenge #blindinglights #ai #theweeknd #weird #geek

? Blinding Lights – The Weeknd

Why TikTok? I know, right? It’s pointless. I’m too old for it. I don’t get it. I don’t really like most of what I see on it. And I have precisely 0 followers (not even my own kids). But TikTok does have one thing going for it (that none of the other platforms do): the ability to use music freely. And being able to use big tunes might make my crappy hacks appear a little less crappy.

I’m not posting stuff because I want lots of people to see it (yet), but it forces me to finish things (at least to the point where they’re ready to upload in a quiet way). If I don’t force myself to put things somewhere – I just end up with unfinished junk littering my hard drive. So much better to have somewhat finished junk littering the Internet. Right?

@vversed

A bit of late night fooling around with WAV2LIP. The tech is well beyond my paygrade. #borisjohnson #deepfake #chooselife #ai #uk #politics

? original sound – Iain

By the way if you want to do the lipsync thing it’s not too hard. You just have to not be intimidated by lots of scary looking boxes of code. There’s a really really good piece about how to do lipsync deepfakery over on the Verge that tells you everything I wish I’d known before I spent 2 late nights struggling to do it the hard-er way.

I Love Internet Today

My faith in the Internet has been restored.

It’s Saturday morning. I was doing a little Reddit scrolling. And this live stream caught my eye. There was just something about the combination of a tech house DJ and a man drumming on a box that intrigued me. And is he really routing a wooden box through Fruity Loops?!?

It’s a genuinely amazing bit of internet. Two people from entirely different worlds jamming together to make something entirely new and pretty awesome. And there’s such a nice vibe going on!

If only the whole Internet was like this, always.

One day I’d like to jam with u/cajonsoftheworld

The whole session can be seen on Reddit here.

Proudest Father Moment

A couple of hours ago one of my daughters Rickrolled me. From a Google Slides Presentation about what she wants for her 11th birthday. Finally a sign that I’m bringing them up right!

Although I’m unsure about the Fizzy Wine on the first page, that might not be such a good sign…

Travis Scott vs The Girls

I posted a tiny snippet yesterday, but I went back into the video on my phone and pulled out some more insights from my primary anthropological research into Tweens and tech.

Or to put it another way, here’s some funny shit my kids said when watching Travis Scott in Fortnite…

Travis Scott x Fortnite

Took my kids to their first gig. I loved it. They thought it was cool. They’re not Fortnite players, but knew exactly what they were doing and how it worked with absolutely no instruction. YouTube videos and playground chat are great tutors when you’re ten.

Josie’s reaction to my favourite bit of the whole experience (visually at least)…

Lessons from Living in an Atomic Age

In the midst of all the craziness, the passage below seems to be doing the rounds.

I’ve seen it popping up in a few places, from a New York Times podcasts to The Spectator Australia. It’s from an essay written by C.S. Lewis, called “On Living in an Atomic Age.”

Man could write, even when there’s no lions or witches or wardrobes.

In one way, we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. How are we to live in an atomic age? I’m tempted to reply: Why, as you have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year. Or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night. Or indeed as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, and age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented, and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had indeed one very great advantage over our ancestors — anesthetics. But we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances, and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made. And the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds

I know we have to forget about the ‘friends over a pint’ bit. And we can’t huddle together like frightened sheep (even if we wanted to). But it’s a timely reminder to use our time spent in strange circumstances in wise and human ways.

Not sure if watching old Pathé Newsreels, like this one from 1946 on The Atomic Age counts exactly. But it is pretty incredible.

A blast from the past

I was stumbling through Google Drive the other day and this jpeg of a poster caught my eye.

About 12 years ago I spoke at a conference in Istanbul. When I submitted my photo I thought it would be “funny” to send a picture of me in a wig at Glastonbury. I think everyone was really disappointed when I turned up and didn’t look like a shit Hair Metal tribute act. Lesson learned.

Solar-Powered Low-Tech Website

Love this…

https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/

Not because of what it is. But because of what it brings into question. I found the site via an article in Backstage Talks magazine where the founder of Low Tech is talking about how much energy the internet uses.

And of course the more we use it, and the less care we take over how we engineer and build websites and content – the worse it gets.

His response: to build a super lean version of his website that runs on a power efficient computer that’s powered entirely by its own solar panel. So if there’s not enough sun, the site isn’t always there.

Things like this that help us connect with what’s going on behind the curtain feel necessary right now.