Bonum Certa Men Certa

Gemini Links 09/05/2023: LLMs for Censorship and C++20

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • Long time, no see.

        Hello friends and casual acquaintances.

        I always get the spelling of acquaintances wrong the first time.

        I missed midnight pub, truly. Read a post by ~tffb. I am not safe from the endless scroll even on youtube. I had to uninstall the app.

        Pretty invested in physical fitness lately. I don't like being unhealthy, but my lifestyle does not permit me the time for fitness. Still I try to get some time out.

      • Assorted Nature Photos 2023-05-09 (Fairbanks, AK, USA)

        These photos were from yesterday or from Saturday.

      • Cold and rain

        We had a day of cold and thunder and rain.

        This will probably be our last like it for awhile.

        I'm definitely wrapping up my current position. It feels like I'm starting to tie up loose ends, finish out spending on this budget, and such.

        I still keep feeling like I wish I had done more but in my defense there were so many structural issues with how the college took the money for this grant but then, well, didn't want to *do* anything with it. I've been told that I'm doing better than a lot of grant funded projects that literally just buy toys that never get used for years. I'm at least trying to build some more infrastructure where various departments across the college will have some ownership and stake in keeping various aspects of the project going after the grant is over.

      • a follower count = public "better than" points

        I have zero(0) regrets for leaving social media several years ago. I still keep up with some nice people via Mastodon tho - by subbing to their RSS on Feeder, and then just e-mailing them if I need/want to correspond with them. Easy. I am not ON masto.

        And here's a thing that "irks" me, and still irks me - follower counts. Why are they public? What purpose/utility does it serve in any way whatsoever? If someone has followers - be it 1 follower or 100,000 - ok, show it to THEM, no one else needs to know about it.

      • Small Steps

        As I wrote in my more-informal outlet on, I joined the hordes of people doing free language learning via Duolingo. If I were smart (and I'm not smart), I'd get back into French. I started that language late, relative to my classmates - the city I was born in didn't offer French classes until much later, so when I moved and started French in grade four, my classmates had already been learning it for years. It took a while to catch up, but, I kept at it, even doing an undergrad course. I wasn't particularly good at it, but still managed a B. In the years that followed, lack of use meant it faded. The last time I seriously used it was in Switzerland, a dozen years ago.

    • Technical

      • LLM and Censorship

        I had a thought that seemed trivial, but for some reason, I don't see it in my media bubble.

        New models make it easy to check texts for compliance with censorship criteria. Human censors are slow, can go crazy, and may have their own agendas. LLM only needs hardware, and for new open-source models, it doesn't even have to be the most powerful.

        Even the most fastidious censors can write prompts, a task that any bureaucrat can handle.

      • Programming

        • Ascending vs. descending

          I have quite a bit of trouble remembering what’s ascending and what’s descending.

        • Data literature

          We need to talk about what kind of data literature is, to recognize that it may in fact be multiple kinds of data, each of which operates differently in relation to different scales of historical determination (the moment, the event, the month, the century, the era).

        • Converting repeated callbacks into C++20 coroutines

          C++20 introduced coroutines. Which drastically simplifies the implementation of asynchronous code. However, converting existing callback-based code to coroutines is not always easy. The simple case, where the callback is guarenteed to be called only once is covered by the fillowing question on StackOverflow.

        • This seems simple enough

          I came of age in the 90s with IRC and web primarily built upon manually hand written HTML. As a young adult I was quickly distracted by a burgeoning career in the underlying infrastructure of this technological landscape. As an ambitious lad, I was much too distracted to care for much above the third layer in the parlance of my trade. I suppose this served as a benefit in that I avoided the cacophony of the "social" web and the many distractions of modern media while I focused on my work. From the unseen closets and literal trenches with fiber optic cables, I have been watching the ebb and flows of this so called tech industry. As my career matures I see my peers chasing work, contracts, and startups for the never ending more and more. For myself, this grows more repulsive as the seasons quickly pass. For practical reasons I am still very much stuck in the rat race but here I am rekindling the love for the simple and human speed side of tech.

        • Code layout again ✍️

          I can't see your screen when you're coding. You should use whatever font you want. But I can't agree with Morgan's assertions.


          I'm not so sure, but let's assume it's true about the readability. If I'm reading ordinary text, I start at the left and work across†. But if I'm reading code, I never do that. I want to see the structure, and I get more of that with a monospace font.

        • Fixed Fonts

          The images look more or less the same. Both have colors that detract from the readability.

          As for "everything else", that is a dubious claim. Various games would look terrible in a proportional font. At worst, they would be unplayable. Neither xterm(1) nor urxvt(1) appear to support putting a font not into a grid, so that's pretty much a non-starter for coding.[1]

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It's like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

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