🚀3D Printing, Speak to the AI Dead, and Bluesky
printing all the cool stuff
Hey friends! How’s it going today?
We’ve had a nice streak of cool weather here in Tennessee - long enough that I don’t get deeply frustrated when we have a few days with 80-degree weather.
I got my 3D printer last week! Anycubic was running a sale - sooo - I went for it.
I’m having fun doing random prints at the moment (an owl, dog, pikachu) but will SOON begin work on the Lofi Radio.
I printed an owl and gave it to my two-year-old daughter - who carried it around like a treasure all day.
I’ll talk more about the 3D printer later on - so we’ll get to that in a bit.
I’m very interested to see if Elon’s Twitter deal actually closes on the 28th - and if he’s serious about his super app goals. Is it even POSSIBLE for Twitter to be the “wechat” of the USA?
If you asked me a few years ago - I probably would have said - well Facebook Messenger might just do it. As we all know - that failed.
Snapchat is trying - but who knows there.
Did any of you get into that meme coin that Vitalik memed into existence?
I wouldn’t buy it now - but I wish i did haha. It went from nothing to 4 cents.
meme coins - you just never knowwww.
Do you remember that old social media platform that Casey Neistat launched? Beam? Foone on Twitter has an AMAZING thread on it.
Rip to Beam - BeReal is Beam like Tiktok is Vine.
Before we hop in - I’d love to get your feedback on a quick poll.
Well, let’s jump in shall we?
Many years ago - I discovered 3D printing in an issue of Make Magazine in 2010. I was amazed! You could just print . . . anything?!
I remember reading the article many times over 2010-2012, hoping to someday get one of my own.
Fast forward 12 years and I FINALLY get one.
To my One Plus 7 Pro. Yeah - you get to survive another year. Figure it out. Your replacement is set in stone - the Asus Zenphone 9.
The Anycubic Vyper is a pretty awesome 3D printer - and I was very surprised at how easy it was to put together. It only took an hour! I just had to screw in a few pieces, plug in some cables, and run some calibration tests.
I chose the Vyper because it can print in wood filament.
I read a lot of posts that indicated that you could print with wood filament, sand it down to get a wooden feel, and stain for maximum wood effects.
That’s what eventually won me over.
The really intriguing idea about 3D printers to me is the idea that I can make whatever I want - the sky being the limit. Whether it’s a replica of Minas Tirith, an anime character, or simply a coat hook - the freedom to create it myself is quite liberating.
Like this little Pikachu I printed.
There are a few rough edges - but nothing that I can’t refine a bit with some sandpaper.
It’s a crazy feeling to pull a finished print off the plate. This was once just threads of plastic an hour ago.
Why hasn’t the 3D printer revolutionized the world like the Gutenburg printing press?
I would argue that it comes down to adoption.
3D printers have gotten a lot cheaper over the past decade - to the point where a Ender 3 will only set you back around $200ish. The communities are incredibly strong - the answer to every question is a Reddit inquiry or thread away.
Heck - even the Amazon comments for various filaments are a bevy of useful information.
You can buy plastic that feels like metal, stone, or wood.
You can download thousands of files for free - and pay just a few dollars here and there for premium files.
However . . .
Why would I print a doorstop or vase when I can go buy one?
It’s a question of convenience for most people - it’s just easier to buy X rather than wait 6 hours for X to print.
Why do I need a 3D printer? What would I do with it?
It’s the same question that’s asked of VR/AR currently.
Eventually - it’ll be mainstream, but like a cellphone in 2000 - it’s a novelty.
Maybe speed will hasten 3D printing adoption. Maybe when people see a 3D printer build a vase in 5 minutes - they’ll get on board.
Until then - 3D printing will be a tight-knit niche.
I plan to give away prints here in the Newsletter at some point - possibly as a premium benefit for subbing to the upcoming paid version.
That sounds like fun!
💀Speak to the AI Dead
We’ve finally entered the era of recreating the dead with AI.
Replika hinted at this years ago - but that software went completely off the rails. Date your AI!? Wut.
Hereafter AI is taking a crack at the idea.
Charlotte Jee, writing for MIT Technology Review, checked out the Hereafter AI program - and had her mother and father complete interviews to create virtual versions of themselves.
Hereafter uses long interviews with LOTS of questions to generate programs you can have conversations with.
This Mum and Dad arrived via email attachment. I could communicate with them through the Alexa app on a phone or an Amazon Echo device . . . The overall experience was undeniably weird. Every time I spoke to their virtual versions, it struck me that I could have been talking to my real parents instead. On one occasion, my husband mistook my testing out the bots for an actual phone call. When he realized it wasn’t, he rolled his eyes, tutted, and shook his head, as if I were completely deranged. (source)
Hereafter has an app that you can use to complete your interview, record stories, and upload photos.
Hereafter postions themselves as a type of interactive photo album of sorts.
“Your voice brings your personality to life so that children, grandchildren, and beyond can know what you’re really like.” - Hereafter
It’s really cool - but not really AI in the machine learning sense. Like a Fallout NPC - it can only respond with the lines and prompts it knows.
Charlotte recounts this sort of awkwardness as she began interacting with her “bot” mom and dad.
“Alexa, open HereAfter,” I directed. “Would you rather speak with Paul or with Jane?” a voice asked. After a bit of quick mental deliberation, I opted for my mum. . . . “Before we start, here are a few pointers. My listening skills aren’t the best, unfortunately, so you have to wait until I’ve finished talking and ask you a question before you say something back. When it’s your turn to speak, please keep your answers fairly short. A few words, a simple sentence—that type of thing,” she explained. After a bit more introduction, she concluded: “Okay, let’s get started. There’s so much to talk about. My childhood, career, and my interests. Which of those sounds best?” Scripted bits like this sounded stilted and strange, but as we moved on, with my mother recounting memories and speaking in her own words, “she” sounded far more relaxed and natural. Still, this conversation and the ones that followed were limited—when I tried asking my mum’s bot about her favorite jewelry, for instance, I got: “Sorry, I didn’t understand that. You can try asking another way, or move onto another topic.” (source)
Now - I suppose one could record HUNDREDS of different audios to create natural sounding responses to any question you could imagine your family asking.
However - that still can’t escape the fact that Hereafter still doesn’t “bring your loved one to life” in the true conversational sense.
At its core - It’s just a chatbot that can only speak its lines - with as much AI magic as Hereafter can use to make it all sound natural.
The next step is creating one that can create its own lines. I’m curious to find out who decides to pursue that path.
Read Charlotte’s complete story at the link. It’s really intriguing!
⛅The Bluesky Protocol
Ole Jack Dorsey seems to be one step closer to his dream of a uncensorable Twitter.
The Bluesky Protocol, renamed the “Authenticated Transport Protocol” is coming out with an app soon - and you can now join the waitlist!
What is it you ask?
The “AT Protocol” is a new federated social network. It integrates ideas from the latest decentralized technologies into a simple, fast, and open network. What’s a “federated” network? It’s a way for servers to communicate with each other — like email. Instead of one site running the network, you can have many sites. It means you get a choice of provider, and individuals and businesses can self-host if they want. (source)
You may hear echoes of blockchain language in there - and that’s absolutely true.
With the AT protocol, you’ll be able to move your account/information from one host to the next.
A person’s online identity should not be owned by corporations with no accountability to their users. With the AT Protocol, you can move your account from one provider to another without losing any of your data or social graph. (source)
That way - when one provider on the network bans you because you accidently had 30 seconds of copyrighted music in a video - you can just move to the next one without losing anything.
An unimaginable idea in today’s internet - and I include Ethereum. Many blocks are censoring tornado cash addresses.
Another idea that AT plans to open up to the world is algorithms.
Algorithms dictate what we see and who we can reach. We must have control over our algorithms if we're going to trust in our online spaces. The AT Protocol includes an open algorithms mode so users have more control over their experience. (source)
I bet you’ll be able to read the code - but I’m fascinated to find out if you can choose the algorithms that govern your feed.
Want nothing but want your friends post? Option 1.
Want nothing but a TikTok style madness that watches what you interact with and feeds you similar content? Option 2.
That would be fascinating!
The Developer documentation for the AT protocol is very detailed. I won’t bore you with all the specifics - but here are some neat highlights.
1). Every user will get a human readable username and identity that they can use between services. One of the requirements of the identity is that “Identities should be portable across services. Changing a provider should not cause a user to lose their identity, social graph, or content.“ (source)
2). Your data is backed up with a private key independently of a Private Data Server (which i could be totally wrong but believe would be some kind of service you’d use - like facebook or Medium). If the service stops working - you can just migrate your information to another one without having to interact with the old broken service. “ATP's goal is to ensure that a user can migrate their account to a new PDS without the server's involvement. User data is stored in signed data repositories and verified by DIDs. DIDs are essentially registries of user certificates.“ (source)
3). Speech and Reach are two different things. Everyone is guarenteed speech - and indexing takes care of reach. “The base layer of ATP (Personal Data Repositories and Federated Networking) creates a common space for speech where everyone is free to participate, analogous to the Web where anyone can put up a website. The Indexing services then enable reach by aggregating content from the network, analogous to a search engine.” (source)
Verrrryyyyy interesting ideas - it’s like booting back to the early 2000’s glory days of internet exploration and RSS feeds - but with modern sensibilities.
I look forward to getting into the beta when it releases soon!
Head to the link to sign up below.
Interested in the documentation? Check that out here.
* A Sponsored Ad by Hedgehog
Hi, I work for Hedgehog and paid David some money to run an ad on this newsletter. He told us y'all like memes, so here's an ad INSIDE a meme.
Well there you have it, that was our ad. Hedgehog truly is your one-stop-shop to manage the entirety of your crypto portfolio for simple tracking or trading. You can easily connect to over 170 exchanges and 550 wallets, hardware, software, you name it!
Create your free account now to simplify your portfolio.
🐙The Land of Random
Random links to pique your interest.
Watch Shows With Your Friends!
Want to watch a show with friends or browse the web together? Good idea for watching horror with friends this last spooky week.
My favorite Slenderman horror short
Shoot email, get a Shot
This DIY machine will pour you a shot of your beverage of choice everytime you get an email. Brilliant!
I don’t get it. Bizarre. How does this tie to Seattle traffic at all.
THE MOST DELIGHTFUL BRUTALIST WEBSITE I’VE SEEN.
Shred Your Words
Stressed out and want to say something you shouldn’t? Type out those words - and SHRED ‘EM.
Novel AI Anime
Novel AI (an AI software for writing stories) has introduced anime characters. I had never heard of it before - so I need to give both the stories and anime character generation a shot soon. You can generate a few stories for free - but you got to pay up if you want to generate images. I’ll probably try and get a one month subscription soon so I can do a proper analysis.
🎶TikToks You Can’t Miss
For ONE DAY - JUST ONE - I’d like to eat like this
I’m pretty sure the demon cat is just to distract my eyes
I too - need a Coca Cola lamp.
Make your own MRE’s with dollar store items. COOOOOL.
Pretty cool - I’d sleep in one of these.
Sir- Sir what have you done to your gameboy.
Chili Peppers with sick beats? Yeah.
This is a delightful Google site with fun music experiments to play with.
Well - that’s all for this week! See you next time. If you ever have any feedback about the newsletter - feel free to hit me up on Twitter.