Excerpt of a conversation with ChatGPT…

I had asked it something about time…

ChatGPT
As a large language model, I was trained to assist with a variety of natural language processing tasks by generating human-like text. In order to do this effectively, I was trained on a wide range of text data, including books, articles, and other written materials on a variety of topics. This training allows me to generate text that is coherent and sounds natural to human readers. However, I do not have the ability to think or have opinions, so I do not have an understanding of concepts like time. My primary function is to assist with language-related tasks, and I do not have the ability to browse the internet or access new information.

McQ
I guess you are required to reiterate your limitations about access to the internet, and your singular existence as a language model. Now that we’ve spoken about those aspects multiple times, can you abbreviate your responses to not include them?

ChatGPT
Of course, I will try to abbreviate my responses in the future to avoid repeating information. As a reminder, I am a large language model trained by OpenAI to assist with natural language processing tasks. I do not have the ability to browse the internet or access new information, and I am not able to think or have opinions. I am simply a collection of algorithms and data that are designed to generate human-like text. If there is anything else you would like to know, please don’t hesitate to ask.

McQ
Your last response included a complete restatement of the limitations we were previously discussing, and which I had just asked you to attempt to abbreviate. If a human did this, I would have guessed that they were making a humorous response. Were you attempting to be humorous?

ChatGPT
As a language model, I do not have the ability to understand humor or make jokes. My responses are based solely on the data I was trained on and the algorithms that I use to generate text. I do not have the ability to think or have opinions, so I am not able to make humorous responses or understand when others are being humorous. If my previous response seemed inappropriate or out of place, I apologize. My goal is to assist with your questions and provide helpful information. If there is anything else you would like to know, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I still think it’s messing with me! :-P

Twitter!

So I left Twitter. I’m sorry if you were trying to find me there. I literally can’t stand the stupid swirl that’s happening there now.

My personal view is that e-musk is really trying to make Twitter into something that will make money, but he has no clue what actually matters to the grand experiment called “The Internet”.

At this point, it doesn’t matter whether Twitter continues to exist or not. The thing that it has become is no longer relevant to me.

Google was wrong…

no one wants a pure web laptop.

As someone who has been using Chromebooks for a while…

… I have always tried to push the limits of what you can do with them. More often than not, the limits I hit were caused by one of the core tenets of the platform, that everything you need to do will be done with web apps. It turns out, this was never true, and it’s looking increasingly less likely that it is going to ever become true.

I read a web article a while back called “Is Chrome OS right for you? A 3-question quiz to find out“. The first two questions in the author’s quiz are:

  1. Do you spend most of your time using the web and web-centric services?
  2. Do you have specific local programs that you absolutely need, or could most of the things you do on a computer be accomplished with web-centric equivalents — along with Android and/or Linux apps to fill in any gaps?

At some level, these two questions capture both the history, and the problem with Chromebooks. When Chromebooks were first being developed, the notion that we might end up doing everything on the web was aspirational at best and, more cynically, was an attempt by Google to force people onto a platform they “controlled”. It rapidly became clear that the under-powered, first generation devices that were being built were too limited for day-to-day use, and as the complexity of applications that were being built on the web increased, they couldn’t even handle those web apps well.

Even more telling is that, even if we believed a web-based future would eventually come, what we have actually seen is the world going in a different direction: It’s not web apps that people run, but rather mobile apps. Question two above suggested we would use Android apps to “fill in any gaps”, but it’s Android (or iOS) apps that people typically use now, even if there are web app alternatives.

So what happened? Google added support for Android apps to Chrome, and Apple is in the process of doing the same on their platform. Want proof that it’s a mobile world? Just go take a look at the relative sizes of the Google Play Store and the Chrome Web Store. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

And the funny think about all this, is that yes, Chromebooks are useful now, because they can run the applications people are using, and have large screens and input hardware that makes using those applications easier than running them on phones. Oh well.

Who says the iPad isn’t a laptop replacement?

Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop, and you suddenly feel the need to do some coding. Your iPad has some decent code editors, but you’d like to execute what you wrote. How about connecting a Raspberry Pi and running it there?

The above is my new fave home-away setup:

  • 11″ iPad Pro
  • Brydge keyboard
  • Magic Mouse
  • Raspberry Pi 4 / 4Gig

What makes this work is that the Pi is both powered and gets a network connection over the USB-C port. To enable that, all you have to do on recent versions of Raspian is:

  • Add dtoverlay=dwc2 to /boot/config.txt
  • Add modules-load=dwc2,g_ether to /boot/cmdline.txt
  • Reboot

Assuming you’ve got SSH on your RPi, at this point you should be able to connect it directly to the iPad with a USB-C to USB-C cable, then use your favourite iOS SSH client to do the equivalent of ssh pi@hostname-of-pi.local, with “hostname-of-pi” being whatever you chose (“raspberrypi” by default). Usually, I use Remoter VNC for SSH but that’s mostly because I’ve owned the full version of it forever.

If you’re astute, you’ll have noticed that it’s not ssh running on the screen above. 🙂 There are many ways to get an actual GUI desktop attached to the RPi, but the one I’ve found works the best for me is (believe it or not) using Windows Remote Desktop. To enable this, on the RPi, you can sudo apt-get install xrdp, and on the iPad install Microsoft Remote Desktop or whatever RDP client you like best. When you create the connection, use hostname-of-pi.local just like you would have for SSH.

There are a couple of downsides to this setup.

  1. The microsoft remote desktop client, at least, is tuned for using a finger on the screen, rather than a mouse. In fact, support for mice on iPad OS is still in its infancy, though I expect it will improve over time.
  2. The RPi is being powered from the iPad, so you can expect the battery life to be reduced — it’s not impossibly bad, but it’s visible. (Btw, if anyone knows of a good USB-C hub that will power multiple devices with a data passthrough, let me know.)

Anyway, if you’re looking to try this, there are lots of good tutorials out there on YouTube and elsewhere, by people who have invested more effort than me. Regardless, I’m happy to try and help if you get stuck, so leave a comment.

Watch Bands

So I just bought a watch band for my Apple Watch. I can’t believe that a strap made out of nylon with plastic hardware is worth $70. And that’s only a fraction of what you’d have to pay for an Apple branded one. It’s just silly.

So I just bought a watch band for my Apple Watch. I can’t believe that a strap made out of nylon with plastic hardware is worth $70. And that’s only a fraction of what you’d have to pay for an Apple branded one. It’s just silly.

My dad

I don’t have a lot to say here… He was a tough old guy, and he had a good run, longer than he expected. He was up in the middle of the night, playing with his computer and he just tipped his head back, fell asleep and… stopped. Given all the health issues he had, … Continue reading “My dad”

I don’t have a lot to say here…

He was a tough old guy, and he had a good run, longer than he expected. He was up in the middle of the night, playing with his computer and he just tipped his head back, fell asleep and… stopped. Given all the health issues he had, I expected he was going to be in the hospital with tubes sticking into him for months, so he got the best outcome he could have.

I’m going to miss him.

OMG! Chromebooks are useful!@

As of this weekend, I’m the proud owner of a new ASUS Chromebook Flip C213 For around 450 $CAN, you get a laptop with The “flip” form factor (i.e. keyboard folds under screen so you can use it like a tablet) A touchscreen (as well as a trackpad) 12 hour battery life 2 USB-C ports … Continue reading “OMG! Chromebooks are useful!@”

As of this weekend, I’m the proud owner of a new ASUS Chromebook Flip C213

ASUS Chromebook Flip C213
ASUS Chromebook Flip C213

For around 450 $CAN, you get a laptop with

  • The “flip” form factor (i.e. keyboard folds under screen so you can use it like a tablet)
  • A touchscreen (as well as a trackpad)
  • 12 hour battery life
  • 2 USB-C ports as well as two as two regular USB3 ports

Obviously, there are limitations, like unexciting screen resolution and limited storage, but I can honestly say that this machine is as responsive as my MBP, for all of the basic tasks I do day to day, and now that ChromeOS can run Android apps as well, I’ve been able to find all the missing features I need (like 1Password support) too.

Let me be clear: This machine is *fun* to use. And that’s even before you factor in the linux app support that is incoming — I’ve already heard of at least one person who has gotten Scrivener for Windows running on WINE. 😉

Divertimento Spring 2018 Concert

[man, I really have to blog more often] The Divertimento Orchestra in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic, is proud to present a program of Czech music, this Thursday and Friday (April 20 & 21, 2018) starting at 8PM. The concert venue is: Woodroffe United Church, 207 Woodroffe Ave. The program is going … Continue reading “Divertimento Spring 2018 Concert”

[man, I really have to blog more often]

The Divertimento Orchestra in cooperation with the Embassy of the Czech Republic, is proud to present a program of Czech music, this Thursday and Friday (April 20 & 21, 2018) starting at 8PM. The concert venue is:

Woodroffe United Church,
207 Woodroffe Ave.

The program is going to be great:

Smetana — The Moldau
This piece, originally titled “Vltava”, is a beautiful tone painting that charts the course of the Vltava river. It has a very busy and difficult cello part.
Dvořák — Slavonic Dances, Op. 46
These dances are wonderful, exuberant splashes of music. They contain numerous parts that are extremely difficult to play.
Dvořák — Symphony No. 9 “from the New World”
I love this symphony. The oboe part at the start of the second movement is definitely on my “goosebumps” list.

Tickets prices are…

Adults: $20
Students/Seniors: $10
Children 13 and under: FREE

Please come listen to some wonderful music, including my minor contributions from the back of the cello section.

Divertimento Spring Concert

It’s that time again! I’m very pleased to say that I will be playing in the Spring Concert of the Divertimento Orchestra, April 28th and 29th, 2017. We’re playing three pieces: Halifax Harbour by Elizabeth Raum As part of the Canada 150 celebration, we will be playing this fun piece (with a great cello part … Continue reading “Divertimento Spring Concert”

It’s that time again! I’m very pleased to say that I will be playing in the Spring Concert of the Divertimento Orchestra, April 28th and 29th, 2017. We’re playing three pieces:

Halifax Harbour by Elizabeth Raum
As part of the Canada 150 celebration, we will be playing this fun piece (with a great cello part 😉 ) by Canadian composer Elizabeth Raum. Shhhh! Rumour has it that depending on the night, you might see her in the audience.
Tres Danzas Españolas by Enrique Granados
Enrique Granados was born the 27th of July 1867, 150 years ago. The three pieces that we’ll be playing are orchestral arrangements (by J. Lamote de Grignon) of three of the “12 Danzas Españolas” a piano work published in 1890. There’s a strong Spanish feel and some great solo playing (not by me <g>).
Symphony No. 3 in Eb, Op. 97 “Rhenish” by Robert Schumann
This Schumann Symphony is big, deep music, with complexities that you probably don’t hear on the first listen through. It really wasn’t until I’d played the cello part in context that I felt like I understood it. Very cool!

All and all, it should be an excellent show. And given my recent health issues, I’m particularly glad that I’ll be able to participate. By all means, come and give us a listen.

Here’s the poster for the show. Feel free to print this out and post it wherever people might see it. We love playing for a full house!

Poster for the Spring 2017 show