Generating art using AI

Earlier this year, OpenAI announced DALL-E 2, the latest version of their AI tool that can generate images by simply providing text input.

For example, “people in togas taking a selfie in front of a volcano”, and it will get to work attempting to create an image that includes all these elements.

The Verge has an interesting article with more details. You can see an example of what is possible on the DALL-E 2 subreddit. It’s honestly insane.

For now (sadly), the service is invite only.

More recently, an ambitious engineer named Boris Dayma created an open source version of the service called DALL-E mini. While it isn’t able to generate results as impressive as DALL-E 2, it’s still pretty crazy!

It’s recently taken the internet by storm and you can see people post DALLE-mini generated images and memes everywhere. The official website has been under heavy load, so it’s been pretty tough to try out the service.

Fortunately, you can download the model from Github and get the service setup on your local machine (providing you have a graphics card beefy enough to run the models).

Who has two thumbs and a graphics card just begging to be used? Hello.

I was able to get the service setup on my machine and start playing around with it.

In this example, I used a prompt to essentially create a Bob Ross painting generator. “Alpine forest with river running through the middle, snow capped peaks in the background, Bob Ross style painting.”

Dalle mini forest

Pretty neat! The images that services like DALL-E 2 and Midjourney can create are miles better and I’ve applied to both services.

While I anxiously await my acceptance, I’ll have to continue generating various memes on my own machine.

Monkeys

Redactle – It’s like Wordle but for censored WIkipedia articles

Thanks to a coworker, my latest obsession is Redactle. Each day, it takes one of the 10,000 most popular articles from Wikipedia and censors every word that isn’t a common preposition or article. Each time you make a correct guess, the word is uncovered, slowly revealing more and more of the article. It’s sick and  it’s fun.

Essentially, this turns into an all day affair as I take breaks and then come back to try and solve the puzzle. Yesterday, I determined the article was about “Sparking Wine” after about 276 guesses… 🙀

Get guessing!

Emoji Say What?

Here’s a random little side project that I’ve been working on: Emoji Say What?

It’s like a game of telephone, but using the latest in human communication technologies, hieroglyphics, emoji!

Basically, you visit the site and get a completely out of context sentence or set of emoji and it’s your job to decipher it. And so on and so on. It evolves over time and eventually you get something like this.

So long, little buddy

Even though you’re still around until July 1st, 2013, I think it’s best to break up with you now. We shared so many fun times since 2005.

I’ll never forget you, Google Reader.

20130611-144717.jpg

Old Media Policies

This is especially apt, since Kerry and I just started watching “Game of Thrones” this weekend. Over at PandoDaily, MG Siegler writes, "Help! I’m being forced to pirate Game of Thrones against my will!", explaining how he can’t legally watch the latest season of HBO’s new show.

The problem is that I’m not an HBO subscriber. Believe me, given the quality of their programming, I would love to be. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely impossible to subscribe to HBO unless you also subscribe to cable (and/or satellite television). You cannot give HBO your money directly. They will not accept it. They are fully in bed with the cable companies and are not going to get out of that bed anytime soon, because of what they get paid to perform their unnatural acts in that bed. A lot of money.

My only option to watch this upcoming seasons of “Game of Thrones” legally in 2012 is to get HBO, which means getting a cable subscription. I’m not going to do that. Why would I pay upwards of $100 a month for something I have no interest in? I just want HBO.

One could argue that you could always just wait until 2013, but in the day of instantaneous media consumption and ubiquitous on demand content, why must viewers unnecessarily wait?

Leaving Google

James Whittaker writes about leaving Google due to their singular focus on Google+.

Larry Page himself assumed command to right this wrong. Social became state-owned, a corporate mandate called Google+. It was an ominous name invoking the feeling that Google alone wasn’t enough. Search had to be social. Android had to be social. You Tube, once joyous in their independence, had to be … well, you get the point. Even worse was that innovation had to be social. Ideas that failed to put Google+ at the center of the universe were a distraction.

Suddenly, 20% meant half-assed. Google Labs was shut down. App Engine fees were raised. APIs that had been free for years were deprecated or provided for a fee. As the trappings of entrepreneurship were dismantled, derisive talk of the “old Google” and its feeble attempts at competing with Facebook surfaced to justify a “new Google” that promised “more wood behind fewer arrows.”

Stop SOPA

I’ve censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/4757/uncensor

As ███████ who █████ for a ███████ ████ ██████, ████, and ████████ the ████████ and its ███████ ████████, it is █████ ████ we ████ ████. ████ ████████ ██████████ of the ████████.

████ me in ██████████ ████ ███████████████ and ███████ ████ ████ we won’t █████ for ████.

Uncensor This

How would you archive your “lifestream”?

Lately, I’ve been on this crazy kick in looking for some sort of lifestreaming software or application. Basically, I (and most likely you — if you’re reading this and one of my internet friends) create a ridiculous amount of data each day. From my tweets, to my foursquare checkins, to my Instagram photos, to uploading things to Flickr, to blogging, to liking videos on YouTube, and sharing articles on Google Reader.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately for one reason: this would make an incredible diary of my life. I’m not the first to think this (just read the Wikipedia article I linked to — people were thinking about this in the 1990’s), but it’s something I’ve found myself becoming obsessed with.

When FriendFeed was announced in 2007, I thought, “this is perfect!” It aggregates data from nearly every web service you can imagine. I happily started plugging things in and letting it archive all my data. It ended up being awesome for a number of reasons.

“Oh, man! What was that thing I tweeted about 2 years ago, about some guy bunting a home run?” Well, Twitter search goes back about 7 days, so that was useless. FriendFeed to the rescue! I could easily search for things I tweeted about (and [website-verb]ed about) from the moment I started importing things.

In August of 2009, Facebook acquired FriendFeed and proceeded to let the site rot. Since then, there’s been no easy way to export your data, and their search function eventually broke, making the site useless for searching archived data. To this day, FriendFeed is happily pulling in everything I do on the internet, but sadly, I have no way to search for it.

Earlier this week, I found a brilliant PHP script by Claudio Cicali. It scrapes your FriendFeed profile and saves all your data to a JSON file.

After accumulating over 3 years of data, I ran the script (which took an entire evening) and it scraped something like 300K different things I’ve done on the internet in the past few years. The resulting JSON file is over 300MB (now I need to work on a way to parse the data and feed it back into a MySQL database). Incredible!

Sadly though, I don’t think this is a tenable solution. It’s great for fetching all my past data, but who knows how long FriendFeed will remain around. I’d like something more permanent, open-source, and that I can potentially run on my own server.

Locker sounds like it may be what I’m looking for, but it still has a ways to go. Momento on the iPhone sounds exactly like what I need, but you need to manually kick it off (and it won’t pull in data too far in the past).

Anyone have any ideas or thoughts on this?

Tech etymology on “GIF”

GIF is a graphics file format that all of us encounter each day while browsing the internet. One problem? The Atlantic takes a look at the word and wonders why no one seems to know how to pronounce it. Is it “gif” or “jif”? I’ve always said “jif.”

So, which is it: GIF like a present or GIF like the lube?

“It’s embarrassing because you don’t know if it’s Mr. Gick or Mr. Jick,” lamented William Labov, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. As Dr. Labov explained, in modern English, no hard and fast rule exists for the ‘gi’ combination. Some words take the hard sound, others take the soft sound — it depends on the word’s specific history. Compare gift and gin, for example — same ‘gi’ combination, different ‘gi’ sound.

The Atlantic has really been nailing it lately and is quickly becoming one of my favorite publications.