When I started my first stint at Disney, I worked for the Walt Disney Internet Group. As the name implied, most everything digital and Internet were centralized in one organization at Disney. That sort of arrangement seems archaic today, of course. Software is in everything, every system supporting every line of business. Nearly all of it is web-based. Using web technologies doesn’t distinguish a team, rather it’s the problem they know how to solve. Web development is table stakes. Obviously.
With each new wave, the same pattern plays out. We saw it with machine learning and AI over the last decade - data & personalization features typically leading the charge on machine learning for consumer products. This always felt off to me. Big swings never come from product generalists who are technical specialists - it’s very rare.
So, it’s through that lens that I look at Stable Diffusion/Midjourney/etc and the hard work going on across the machine learning/AI ecosystems. Yes, there’s impressive output - generative images, text, and more - everyone sees that. A little more subtle is the genius work going on with the input side. These things are accessible to non-specialist developers, the product specialist types who know the use cases that might move the needle in a huge way.
- Autotrain: This was a dream for years - we had a platform that could’ve been the foundation for this sort of system and workflow, but other priorities always came first. This looks good - not quite as fancy graphically as Lobe.ai - but a nice web wizard with all the cool bits that could lead to more powerful, domain-specific models. Shared by a former Disney colleague who knows his stuff when it comes to this tech.
- Stable Diffusion for M1 Macs: Do Apple’s benchmarks hold up against NVidia in a real-world stress test? You can try it yourself and find out. (yes, things are still optimized heavily for NVidia’s architecture, but I’m still trying this out locally as I have time)
- Stable Diffusion Live: A really clever idea, using RSS feeds from major news sources as generative prompts. This is by another brilliant former colleague, by the way.
- ESPN Streak For The Cash Is Gone And It Will Be Missed: I always joke around that my career is kinda like the MCU - you can basically divide it into phases. This app is a core memory from Phase 4, which was the ESPN Mobile Engineering phase. I worked on the first mobile app for Streak back in the day. Two weeks ago, ESPN announced they were shutting it down after 14 years. I was never an avid player, but it was such a fun concept. As I wrote on Twitter, this game epitomized a scrappier time for the best team in sports - an end of an era, for sure. I found this small group of hardcore fans talking about it. Thought this was a nice summary of the core fan of this game.
- Google is shutting down Stadia: No traction, but this idea that perhaps GPU at the cloud’s edge could power deep experiences even on clients that could only play video (e.g. Fire Sticks or whatever)… it’s pretty amazing. I hope that they don’t give up on this. The economics never made sense with the high end GPUs required to play AAA titles, but I wonder if there are lighter use cases that could work - personalizing video streams, as one example. Google itself is looking at AR and YouTube, so I’m guessing they’re thinking about the same things.
- NASA May Let Billionaire Astronaut and SpaceX Lift Hubble Telescope: I find the idea of a billionaire (not Elon, btw) and SpaceX leading the charge on this a bit odd.
Code & Tools
- Migrating Cognito User Pools: I spent a big chunk of my week making this all work for some specific migrations. It is both simpler and more complex than it seems. I appreciated this overview as a complement to the official docs. I also have learned to love and hate Cognito.
- Teenage Engineering PO-80: Record Factory: “make your own vinyl records!” is the headline. What a wonderfully cool, retro thing to release in 2022. It’s Teenage Engineering, so you know the build quality will be out of this world. I’m still itching for a TX-6 or OP-1, just to look at them.
- Using Healthchecks.io with Home Assistant: Monitoring Home Assistant is tricky - it’s in your home, behind your firewall, and your home likely has consumer-grade internet and power . Really liked this solution. The Healthchecks service looks interesting - simple, decent free tier.