Posts tagged ‘Thanksgiving’


Woot woot!

Graphs from NaNoWriMo, showing a steadish 2,000 words per day from the 1st to the 25th of November.

Kept the ol’ 2,000 words per day pretty constant during NaNoWriMo, except for a couple of days off that I made up for on the next weekend, so I made the goal of 50,000, and not by coincidence the end of the story, right there on the 25th (which was, let’s see, yeah, yesterday!). A nice feeling.

I think I like this year’s rather a lot. The little Midjourney pictures at the start of each Fling (where “Flings” really turned out to be Chapters) was fun, but I think not ultimately transformative; not a big deal. A few plot elements, some important, (the libraries, the plants, the fast sharp ships) came from the images, but without the images something else would I expect have sprung to mind and perhaps carried the same basic ideas, about meaning, and communication, identity and the symbol-grounding problem.

As a reminder; the whole thing can be read in order by clicking on the cover page here, and then clicking the bold link at the bottom of each Fling. I may be going through and fixing a few errors between now and the end of the month (although the relative inconvenience of doing that in WordPress may limit how much I do).

In other news, I’ve been on Twitter less, and on Mastodon / Fediverse more, prompted by the gross antics of the billionaire narcissist, but continuing just because it’s a more interesting place, with (so far?) more interesting and less upsetting communication going on. (It could be argued that given the State of Things, one ought to be upset; but so far I think the argument is flawed.)

I’ve been making tons and tons of images on Midjourney still (getting up near 20,000, the system tells me!) and they are still constantly improving the engine(s), which is very cool. I’ve been posting some of them on PixelFed (roughly, PixelFed is to Instagram as Mastodon is to Twitter), and also still on Twitter (the same ones, mostly). I have enough pictures that I love to fill many, many weblog posts, and I’m sure such posts will appear.

Here’s just one image for now that’s a total favorite; it’s called “Accord”:

A woman with a very long neck in foreground just left of center, looking to our right. Her hair extends fractally into infinity upper left. An infinite line of smaller women in dark clothes, all looking in the same direction, extends from her shoulder to the right, where a tower is dimly present through fog and insects. Two more of the smaller women stand behind her, eyes closed.

Is that amazing, or what? He said modestly.

In the legal domain, there is talk of a class-action suit against Microsoft / GitHub / OpenAI / Copilot, on something like the claim that training an AI on a piece of code requires the appropriate license from the owner of that code (or equivalent, as for public domain code or code you wrote yourself). The possibility of implications for AI art tools like Midjourney, and AI text generators like NovelAI, is clear, although there may also be significant differences. For instance, there seem to be various examples of exact plagiarism by Copilot, whereas as far as I’m aware no such thing exists for say Midjourney or NovelAI.

(There was at least one person persistently spamming Twitter and Reddit with a copy-pasted claim that GPT-3 plagiarizes, pointing at various things on the web that did not actually show, or generally even claim, that. I can’t find them today; perhaps OpenAI’s lawyers sent them a letter. Similarly I’ve been told by one person on Twitter (and at least one other who agreed with them) that for “[a]lmost all pieces I’ve seen thus far, I can point at and name the elements that came from individual artists, and often individual paintings or works”, but when I expressed interest and asked for a concrete example, they said roughly “I’ll get back to you tonight” and then went silent.)

It will be interesting to see what happens with this lawsuit. Somewhat sadly, I think that:

  • The most likely outcome is that they’ll just lose, because Microsoft is rich and individual Open Source contributors, even as a class, aren’t rich,
  • Second most likely, Microsoft will give some symbolic amount of money to something that will benefit some Open Source contributors a little and some lawyers a lot, and there will be no precedent-setting court decision,
  • Less likely, after some long wrangling process, something like the Private Copying Levy might be worked out, which is sort of like that last bullet, but more codified and involving more money, and possibly a precedent that there is a copyright violation at least potentially involved,
  • Even less likely, there would be some kind of opt-out process whereby a creator could indicate they didn’t want their stuff used to train AIs, and makers of AI engines would have to like re-generate their neural nets annually without the opted-art works,
  • And at the bottom, perhaps fairest in some sense but also least likely, a straightforward finding that AI Engine makers, at least ones that make money, really do need the right to copy and/or prepare derivative works of the things they train their engines on. So we’d get engines trained on just public domain works, things out of copyright, things posted under sufficiently permissive licenses, things they explicitly license, and so on. I would be fine with this, myself, but I wouldn’t bet on it happening.

We’ll see!

What else? That’s the main things I can think of. Oh, yeah, Thanksgiving was very nice; the four of us and the little daughter’s SO. We were (I was) especially lazy this year; beyond the HelloFresh pre-planned ingredients that we’ve used the last couple of years, this year we got the pre-planned pre-cooked just-needs-warming version from FreshDirect (ETOOMUCHFRESH). It wasn’t bad! And certainly easy. :) We also bought pre-made apple and pumpkin pies. I resist feeling guilty!!

Also my Windows laptop is broken (I’m not sure why or how; it behaves like a bad storage device, but both the HDD and the SSD seem perfectly readable when stuck into external USB things). Whatever’s wrong with it inside, it’s also vaguely falling apart, with cracked and broken keys, a non-functional direct Ethernet connection (on all connectors somehow), and some other stuff.

So I have an exciting new Framework laptop coming as an early Solstice present! (It’s supposedly in Alaska right now, on the way here in under a week or so.) Inspired, like so many other people, by Cory Doctorow’s glowing review. We’ll see if I am frustrated by the Intel graphics chipset. I’m pretty optimistic, as what I want to run isn’t like the latest AAA game; more like WoW and SecondLife and the GIMP and No Man’s Sky and Satisfactory. I might have to turn the resolution down some at worst I expect.

(In the meantime I’ve been using my phone and this tiny cheap Samsung Chromebook and just not using any of those programs; turns out my life doesn’t depend on any of them! The thing I’m most eager to do is get the GIMP going to work on Part 3 of Klara; in theory I could enable Linux on the Chromebook here and run the GIMP in that, but I rather doubt its CPU is up to it. Just typing this into the WordPress editor is lagging significantly just because I’m also watching YouTube and have a few dozen Chrome tabs open including like Discord and Mastodon and…)

There! :) Thanks for coming, and enjoy.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

So, another lovely family Thanksgiving, the four of us sitting around the table feasting and being thankful. A bit of a story inside it, and I’ve finally cried for Dad some, which feels good.

Everything was all bought and planned for the Thanksgiving Dinner, everyone home and being snug as bugs. I had the turkey all stuffed, extra stuffing waiting to be cooked (’cause everyone loves stuffing), sitting by the oven. I turned on the oven to pre-heat, and a minute later it turned off again. And so did the clock on the oven, the light above the oven, the ceiling light nearby, and various televisions and things in the next room.

Okay, so the breaker tripped, reset it and try again. But it tripped again, before the oven had got very hot at all. Something wrong with the oven, we thought. Unplugging all the things that we’d noticed turn off along with it didn’t help. Called the neighbors next door, who were out of town having Thanksgiving with family, and they said we could use their stove, which sounded plausible until we all realized that their son had come over and borrowed the extra key to their house that we keep for emergencies, the other day, and hadn’t brought it back yet. The little boy went next door and searched under all of their doormats and stuff, just in case, but no other keys.

I took a couple of Ativan ’cause I was feeling stressed, and everyone was telling me that it was okay and we could just go out to a restaurant together this year. I was down on the kitchen floor peering into the oven with a flashlight in case there was anything obvious, and then I was clinging to poor M’s knees and sobbing, because it had suddenly hit me that I couldn’t call Dad to complain to him and ask him what to do.

I did alot of crying there, more than a turkey dinner warranted, and then I went and flung myself down on the Maid’s Room bed and sobbed there for awhile, taking deep breaths in between crying, tears streaming down my face, the whole thing. Opened my eyes and realized that I was on the bed that Mom and Dad had gotten for me when I was little, and cried more.

Eventually I felt all calm and peaceful, and came out again, and told the kids what-all had been going on, and we had a big family hug.

And then when I went down into the basement to reset the breaker one last time so we could at least use the lights and stuff, I heard a click from the other side of the basement, and thought that I had heard that click at least one other time resetting the breaker, and developed the wild theory that the washing machine (which had been going all this time) is on the same circuit as the oven, and a few minutes after that the washing machine was all done, and I turned the oven on again, and it stayed on.

(Neighbor who knows things about houses and appliances and stuff says that probably the circuit breaker just needs replacing, and has been on the edge of not allowing both the oven and washer to run at the same time for awhile, and just went over the edge. And/or that we just haven’t tried to run both of those for awhile!)

So then everything worked (except I overcooked the not-in-the-bird stuffing just a little bit, but it’s fine as long as it has gravy on it), and we had the abovementioned wonderful family Thanksgiving feast and lounging around afterward being thankful and playing video games and suchlike.

And I didn’t really mean to go into quite that much detail about it all in here, but I have, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Happy Saturday After Thanksgiving! Or local equivalent.