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== Leo Qin ==
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AI art is kind of fun, actually

tech
I regret to inform you that I’ve been playing around with AI art and I’ve been having a great time doing so. I think it’s accurate to say that I’m an AI skeptic. However, over the past weekend I came down sick and so had some free time on my hands, and so I tried playing around with image-to-text models hosted locally. I have a pretty old (i5-4460) desktop PC that doubles as an occasional gaming PC with a GTX 1070 in it, and I installed Debian on it (for minimum overhead) and played around. Read more...

Consensualism, Ecology, and Personhood

books tech
It’s quite easy to find dystopian sci-fi. I think that this is because our current state and path leads us exactly towards one. However, it is harder to find the opposite; while it’s hard to imagine any fully utopian science fiction that provide the stakes, structure, or depth necessary to also make an entertaining book, I think that there are places to find science-and-speculative fiction that is written with better days in mind. Read more...

AWS Athena is Awesome, Actually.

tech
I’ll say it - AWS Athena is criminally underrated as a platform for processing complex, non-interactive business data workloads. I think that Athena has a bit of a reputation for being more of a json-wrangling, log-querying tool than one for business-centric workloads. However, I suspect that this is largely because AWS loves to cross-promote its products, so Cloudwatch features prominently in the documentation. It is, in fact, equally proficient for business data if you know what you’re getting yourself into. Read more...

My Favorite Books of 2023

books
Some Stats According to my Storygraph, in 2023 I read 28 books of a total of 8965 pages. 12 books were “adventurous” in mood, and 10 were “reflective” or “emotional”. 80% was nonfiction, and the most popular genres were LGBTQIA+ (13 books), Science Fiction (11 books), and Contemporary (8 books). A caveat - I only started tracking my reading in mid-August, while I was traveling in Philadelphia, so this recap is not the focus of a complete year. Read more...

Why does AI make me feel bad?

tech
By any objective measure, I should be super excited about advances in AI and its recent entrance into ubiquity. However, every time I hear about the latest GPT iteration, the latest startup that uses generative LLMs to revolutionize XYZ industry, I just feel bad. Here’s a bulleted list (in no particular order) of all the reasons why I think AI makes me feel bad: In a vague science-fictional way I’ve always expected “Artificial Intelligence” to be more neuro-mimetic. Read more...

All about the SenecaData NUC5i5MYBE

homelab
What is this NUC? At the time when I am writing this, there exists on eBay a surfeit of extremely inexpensive NUCs - labelled “NUC5i5MYBE”. I have personally acquired 2 of them, and am using them in my homelab to host, among other things, Gitea, Drone CI, and Uptime Kuma. I could go more into that, but the purpose of this post is to give some details about what exactly these machines are, where they may have come from, and some useful things to know about them. Read more...

Introducing ETL Markup Toolkit (EMT)

hall-of-fame
A Note from the Future I do not recommend that you use this software, because it is not maintained, loved, or thought about with any regularity. I wrote it at a time when I was deeply disenchanted with ETL tooling after an experience with Pentaho that could only described as brutal. We were told that using Pentaho would expose data transformations transparently without code. What ended up happening? Nothing was really transparent because variable injection is frustratingly opaque, and all the good stuff ended up in code anyway, because it was more performant. Read more...

Gear Review: Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 (HHKB2)

hall-of-fame
A note from the future In the spirit of full disclosure, about a week after I wrote this review, I stopped using the HHKB and switched (back) to the WASD Code TKL with Cherry MX Clear switches. Acclimating to the layout was hard and if we’re being honest, not having keycap legends really put a damper on my productivity. After that, my next few keyboards were 60% or 70% size with a variety of switches - MX Clears, Matias Tactile, Gateron Brown in that order. Read more...

How Many Cups Does Starbucks Use in a Day?

hall-of-fame
A Note From the Future The first thing I bought with the money I earned from my first Adult Job (tm) was a sage green Klean Kanteen vacuum insulated coffee cup. I bought it at Powell’s on my lunch break about three days into the job, because the product manager who sat across from me had one of her own (in… purple, I think?). Back in the day, Starbucks would give you 10 cents off your order if you brought your own cup. Read more...

That time I got obsessed with making Greek Yogurt

hall-of-fame
A note from the future When I wrote this piece back in 2015, I was living for the first time in a place that had a really nice kitchen and bike commuting to work every day. Really living the Portland dream. I miss it sometimes. All About Greek Yogurt One of things I do is that every now and then, I become obsessed with perfecting a recipe and make it multiple times for the purpose of achieving its platonic ideal. Read more...
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