Blabberbox:Random blog-like posts from pftq.Share on Twitter

Summer Cover

April 2nd, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Summer Cover by Kyle Landry and Josh Chiu
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Interstellar Piano Cover

March 31st, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
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Breaking People to Their Core

March 29th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     Where do I find people like myself? That question has consumed me for as long as I can remember.  Over the past few years after college, I've managed to only come across maybe a handful of people out of the thousands I met who I can really relate to or consider like-minded.  In the eighteen years of school before that, there were maybe three, each at different times of my life.  What do I consider as being like-minded or similar to myself? For me, understanding a person is all about understanding the person's motivations - seeing through their actions, breaking them down and figuring out what really drives them deep within, what would cause them to crumble if they lost it but what would also make them truly happy.  This is a hard topic to discuss simply because it can easily be misconstrued as arrogance or prejudging others, but I am not referring to first impressions or character judgment.  This is being able to actually realize why a person...[More]
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Sun and Stars

March 26th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Sun and Stars by Really Slow Motion
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Talking with an Engineer in Silicon Valley

March 17th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
A memoirs of sorts reflecting the talks I've had with most engineers that I met in SF the last few years.  It's funny to encounter at first, but when you're living it everyday, it really drains one's patience.  Maybe I'm having the worst of luck meeting people here, but this has been the bulk of my experience.  All responses are based on real conversations I've had; many are actually toned down from the original statements while others are pretty much direct quotes (besides obvious name changes, etc).  
======================
Sam: Hi, I'm Sam. Nice to meet you.
Engineer: Hi.
Sam and the engineer shake hands.
Engineer: Sorry.
Sam:...[More]
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Creating Sentient Artificial Intelligence

March 10th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Much of what people refer to as machine learning today is what's considered "weak AI", in that it is not actually thinking, hypothesizing, or behaving with a sense of self.  The latter is what some would call "strong AI," "artificial general intelligence" (AGI), or just plainly "artificial intelligence" (as opposed to "machine learning").  Below is an approach I've been rummaging for a while on how to create an intelligence that behaves like a person would in any circumstance.  It's something that I've loosely applied to my own projects, but I've not managed to fully explore it in the general sense due to time and resource constraints.  The term I've come to use to describe this approach is conative artificial intelligence (conative AI), in that the AI is intended to behave more like a creature or child than anything mechanical or data-driven.  If one reflects on intelligence in biological...[More]
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GDC VR Mixer

March 8th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Attended the GDC VR Mixer last Thursday, which was ironically more impressive in VR than the GDC event itself.




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Star Wars Modern Lightsabers

February 11th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Thought this was hilarious - just making fun of how ridiculous the lightsabers in Star Wars 7 are.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgSylgBFi-I
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Observer Article on Bitcoin, Ripple, and Stellar

February 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
This is a very interesting read detailing Bitcoin, Ripple,and other aspects of the FinTech industry before the drama with Jed McCaleb last year. It’s like the Dark Pools book of the cryptocurrency industry. I recommend reading it in full.

Wells Fargo, for example, actually had a dedicated 20 person team researching bitcoin last year and was ready to dive into cryptocurrencies before MtGox went bust.
http://observer.com/2015/02/the-race-to-replace-bitcoin/
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Overemphasis on Numbers

January 21st, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
This is primarily a response to Erik McClure's blog post on age discrimination.

I'm of the same age, followed a roughly similar path through school, and also thought that young adults in general were fully capable if given the chance. I've since graduated and moved to the SF Bay Area though; you'd be surprised just how many new college grads actually cannot think freely and critically. I'm sure you must have seen at least a few headlines pointing out some of the absurdity in Silicon Valley now. (Having lived here for 6 years now, I'd say the media actually understates how nonsensical some of the thinking around here is, but that's for another discussion.) That's not to say we should box people up even more when they're younger, just that I can see where some of the prejudice is coming from (yet it can be argued that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy from treating people like drones in the first place).

Speaking on just my own experience in the SF Bay Area though, my thoughts are not so much that the issue is a prejudice against age as much as the issue is an overemphasis on credentials, test scores, and numbers in general. The problems with education today are what I personally see more as part of an overall lack of critical and creative thinking in society - too much data driven. People just want to look at some threshold, do an if-greater-then condition, and be done. If you look at some of the most talented programmers, as an example, many actually do not have a formal degree in Computer Science or are self taught; recruiting based on numbers like we do now would never find them and actually weed them out. On the other side of things, I've met engineers from Ivy League schools who can barely code but get the job nonetheless from great marks in school; some cannot build a program from scratch at all unless you give them the skeleton to fill in the details on, which is arguably the bulk of the work.  I've come across engineers from firms as prestigious as Google who would not even dare explore restaurants without some external confirmation of their decisions, justifying their decisions with "social validation" (their words, not mine); there's actual fear in their eyes at the thought of going somewhere that doesn't have enough Yelp reviews, fear of the uncertainty and making any decision not backed with numbers. Of course, this is flawed thinking, lots of appeal to majority, authority, and other fallacies, but the sad part is a lot of our peers who do this most likely are not even aware of what things like logical fallacies are (in a non-math context). If you've read books like "City and the Stars" or "Childhood's End", it is getting quite close to that at least in some pockets of the country.

I agree with...[More]
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The City and the Stars

January 21st, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Recently Read | #
The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke
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Reflections on San Francisco

December 13th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
It's been two years now since I moved to San Francisco.  It's hard to decide whether to move away as the people around will constantly tell you this is the place to be and how awesome it is.  Yet it's harder still to ignore that there's no real scene outside of tech as well as how unsophisticated (read - ghetto) many things are that you'd think would be taken for granted in a big city.

Some of the posts I've found on Quora are pretty spot on with my own experiences, though mine are limited more to the San Francisco side of it.

SF vs Chicago
    ...[More]
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Sheeply Wolves

December 5th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Watch out for the sheep in wolf's clothing.
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Stopping File From Running

October 30th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
Recently had a case where a file kept running and spawning many instances of itself to keep from being killed.  It was probably Malware (though it called itself Chrome version 36.0.1985.143 with a random exe name Dkzbhjgkyhj.exe). 

Easy way to stop these from running is to just rename the file and extension so that it isn't an executable anymore.  Then you can kill the process in task manager before deleting the file.
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Watchlist

October 25th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
Below is a list of trends, technologies, and other developments that perk my interest and I'm keeping tabs on.  I'm mainly interested in things that are truly novel or cutting edge, not the next big app nonsense.

2019
- Cryptocurrencies down from highs about 90%.  Not too many better opportunities to invest in this year.  Afterward invest in companies directly integrating blockchain in real use cases - ie Facebook, Moneygram.
- Plant-based meats (Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods) - was eating soy nuggets for a year at Whole Foods without realizing it wasn't chicken.  However, be careful of proteins that could be modified or created, since any screw-up there leads to brain disease - see Prions and Synthesized Foods.

2017
-...[More]
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Place in the World

October 6th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Looking for my place in the world but instead only traveling farther and farther from everything I know.
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Serendipiless

October 6th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
Nothing ever comes by chance.  Everything I've wanted to happen I've always had to make happen.
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El Sitiu

October 2nd, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
El Sitiu by Hevia
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Stars on the Ceiling

September 12th, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
When my vision deteriorated to the point I could no longer see the stars, I stuck some glow-in-the-darks on the ceiling and made my own.
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Internet Community is Overly Saturated

September 2nd, 2014 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
Found this article here while just browsing web today.  It really hit home for me, since I've been around for quite some time.
The Internet is Opinion Saturated

I personally “grew up” on the internet back in the early 2000s (I was 12 then when I was part of various communities making games and other content together).  It’s funny because I remember people (including myself) would constantly get warned or even banned (at worst) by moderators for things as simple as being rude or lacking manners.  Now all of that pretty goes out the door when you connect online, which is very sad to see.  It’s as if all the effort back then to preserve a bit of dignity online pretty much went to waste.

Sometimes I...[More]
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