Google’s AI has achieved sentience? Nonsense!

This has been bouncing around the ether for a week or two now. I found it laughable then and still do. But I’m not an AI guy. Here’s the opinion of someone who is – Gary Marcus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Marcus). The TLDR? He calls bullsh*t. Read the article https://garymarcus.substack.com/p/nonsense-on-stilts?s=r.

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I had a Pebble watch

This retrospective by the founder of Pebble is a must-read for anyone who contemplates starting or joining a startup. I’ve been through 5 (or more depending on how you count them), with more failures than successes and I have to say that I’ve learned MORE from the failures than the successes.

Yes, I backed Pebble on Kickstarter and still have the original laying around here somewhere in my museum or Blackberries, Amigas, Palms, etc. It was a valiant effort and defined an industry. https://medium.com/@ericmigi/why-pebble-failed-d7be937c6232

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IPTV? Yes – Television over the Internet

It dates back to the mid-90s.Yeah! And it’s still going today. All those “free” channels you can get on SelectTV and similar providers? Well, you can get them yourself, without anything other than an Internet connection and a video player. It’s a lot like streaming music or your favorite radio station. Does your local TV station have a “live” section where you can stream their current program? That’s likely done with IPTV. WABC in New York City? Hit https://content.uplynk.com/channel/ext/72750b711f704e4a94b5cfe6dc99f5e1/wabc_24x7_news.m3u8 and watch it, live and free. WGN in Chicago? http://trn03.tulix.tv/teleup-mBm5MQ50rA/playlist.m3u8. CNN International UK? https://cnn-cnninternational-1-gb.samsung.wurl.com/manifest/playlist.m3u8. And that’s not all – movies, weather, shopping (QVC, HSN). And, yes, there are program guides, too, so you can find out what’s on, when.

A good collection of information is at https://github.com/iptv-org/awesome-iptv#channel-data-sources and a pretty concise list of stations at https://github.com/iptv-org/iptv.

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COBOL for the masses!

That;s right – a free COBOL front-end to gcc so you can grab one of those lucrative mainframe COBOL programmer positions (I’m not kidding! Some companies are desperately looking for COBOL programmers to keep their systems running!) See the announcement at https://lwn.net/ml/gcc/20220314163437.54ed696e0499d0875743a0f3@schemamania.org/

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An hub and incubator for food startups

Yeah, that’s right…food startups! I don’t even know how to categorize or tag this but this article (https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2022/03/14/food-innovation-hub-kitchentown-grows-impact-driven-bay-area-startups) explains the concept pretty well. It’s been in operation since 2014 and is helping some pretty interesting startups. You can get more info from the source at https://kitchentowncentral.com/.

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Search engines

Everyone knows about Google search…so much so that it’s become a verb. Many know about some of the other search engines like DuckDuckGo.com and DogPile.com. But the search engine market is apparently not saturated because there are new ones entering all the time. One of my favorites is Neeva.com which promises not to track you, is free (including spaces which is kind of a persistent search) but offers additional features for a fee ($50/yr right now) but is perfectly serviceable on the free tier (and is my preferred search engine right now).

Another that I like to use occasionally is You.com. No ads like Neeva but You says they summarize the web based on your searches, providing answers from a limited list of sites they call your preferred sources, in different categories (e.g. web, news, shopping, etc). You can “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” sources but that’s about it. Still, its format and output can be useful.

A new one (to me) is AndiSearch.com – another that promises privacy It’s still in “alpha” status (which means they’re actively working on it and haven’t really finished the product) so it may break on occasion, They say they fight spam, won’t track you and won’t present you with ads. Its approach is a little different in that it’s conversational meaning that you interact with their “bot” and can type in queries as sentences. Sure, it has a command language so you can do things like “go facebook” and it’ll take you right to Facebook (although it’s beyond me why you would want to do that). The results are also presented differently from what I’m used to seeing – the bot takes up the left side of the window so the results are restricted to the right side of the window. You have some control over how the results are presented (mostly cosmetic) but overall I think it’s an interesting approach and one to keep an eye on. Do I use it much? Not right now but maybe, depending on how the product progresses…

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Free (yes, FREE) container hosting

I ran across this a few weeks ago and had to fiddle with it a bit before posting anything about it.

Fly.io will host a docker container 24×7 with FREE inbound data, 3GB of persistent storage, and 100GB of free outbound data (160GB in some regions) with a minimal charge for additional data (bandwidth or storage). What can you do with that? Bring up a Debian container for SSH; host your own VPN; host your own password management app; just fool around!

Before deploying your first app you’ll have to give them a funding source which CANNOT be a prepaid card (like one from Privacy.com) although you CAN buy credits (minimum $25) with a prepaid card. Be aware that they have systems in place to detect fraud and high resource utilization so once you’;ve signed up and given them a funding source, you still may not be able to fly launch because your account is marked as high risk, Just email support@fly.io and they should be able to resolve it,

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