In the past month, OpenAI’s GPT-3 has made a really big splash since its launch.

GPT-3 is an AI language model, trained on trillions of words from the Internet.

At this point, there’s a long waiting list to get an API key to play around with the technology, but my friend J.C. pointed out, to get a good feel for how GPT-3 works, you can play with AI Dungeon.

I was blown away.

In the text that follows:

  • Everything in italics was machine-generated.
  • I only wrote the non-italicized text.

The story begins…


I’ve been looking for a good blogging platform for a few years now. But I recently realized that there was a great platform right under my nose, that I completely missed.

Why Medium isn’t great

I have a love-hate relationship with Medium.

It’s a good blogging platform. Probably the best one out there in terms of reaching an audience.

But… do you want to spam your readers with this?

An alternative would be using a paid blogging service. But then you have to pay.

Still, another option would be using Blogger.com — which is free, and owned by Google, so it’s got some staying…


That time I brought my music equipment on vacation

When I decided to quit feeds (social media feeds, news, TV series), it opened up time for hobbies.

Since about June 2018 (for over a year), I’ve experimented with a number of different hobbies:

  • Learning piano: I started learning to play, shortly before I turned 31.
  • Learning to sing: I joined an a-cappella group briefly, and performed as a baritone in a concert.
  • Music production: learning to compose and produce songs via Ableton.
  • Drawing cartoons: making cartoons with a digital tablet and OpenToonz.
  • Magic tricks: ended up performing 2 paid gigs.

Why hobbies at all?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of hobbies?

There…


I’ve been coding for years, so at this point, I might know how to build software. But through my many failed attempts at software startups, I’ve learned that it’s more valuable to know what to build — and I’m quite deficient in this area.

I’ve looked into different ways to to find startup ideas, but one lesson learned is that it usually takes a “market founder” to create a valuable company. …


In Carol Dweck’s book about Growth Mindset there’s a lesson about how to give kids reinforcement. Instead of saying “good job” or “you’re so smart”, you should say, “You worked really hard at that.”

The idea being that “good job” means what matters is the outcome. And “you’re so smart” rewards superficial displays of intelligence, rather than the unsexy efforts behind achievement.

A good way to model this is to draw a line between outcomes and causes. Hard work — courageously trying and sometimes failing— is the cause of successful outcomes. If we reward outcomes, instead of causes, then whenever…


Before anything:

brew update
brew doctor

Upgrade 9.4 to 9.6

Here, I’m upgrading from Postgres 9.4 to Postgres 9.6

# install
brew install postgresql@9.6
# migrate data
cd /usr/local/var
pg_upgrade \
-d postgresql\@9.4 \
-D postgresql\@9.6 \
-b /usr/local/Cellar/postgresql\@9.4/9.4.15/bin/ \
-B /usr/local/Cellar/postgresql\@9.6/9.6.6/bin/ \
-v

Upgrade Postgres 10 to 11

# unlink Postgres10 to allow Postgres11’s symlinks to get installed
brew unlink postgresql@10
# install Postgres 11
brew install postgresql
# make sure Postgres 10 is running
brew services stop postgresql
brew services restart postgresql@10
# psql to Postgres 10 (should still be running)
psql
# update collate -- otherwise, when migrating to 11, this will fail
UPDATE pg_database SET datcollate='C'…


While trying to start a business (and repeatedly failing), I’ve been forced to learn to differentiate between surface and substance — between hype and reality.

Very often, you start out chasing things that are hyped, and then regret it.

For example, in 2014, I bought into the hype of building “universal JavaScript” apps, but ultimately learned my lesson, when I found the JavaScript ORM libraries to be sorely lacking for relational databases.

All that glitters is not gold. Be skeptical about the marketing.

This also applies to choosing:

  • startup ideas
  • co-founders

Facebook used to have a messaging UI in the main app, but decided to make Messenger its own app.

The way Facebook gets you to install the Messenger app is pretty interesting. Anytime anyone messages you, you get notified in the main Facebook app (the regular Newsfeed app). In essence, if you don’t have Messenger installed yet, the main app’s notification badge becomes a very compelling “ad unit” for Messenger.

We all know the Pavlovian addictiveness of clicking on notification badges — to uncover what’s behind it — and to clear it. …


As an engineer, I’ve noticed that there is a certain mode of thinking that tends to dominate my thinking. It is an OCD tendency to maximize correctness:

  • For example, there’s the OCD tendency to chase down bugs. When I encounter a bug, I usually want to stop doing everything else and figure out how to fix the bug. The reason is that bugs can be hard to reproduce. So if I encounter a bug, it’s almost animal instinct to drop everything else and try to figure out how to fix the problem — while the context is fresh in my…


The T-mobile ONE plan gives you unlimited data while roaming in 140+ countries — for about $70 / month. It’s maybe more expensive than buying SIM cards in each individual country, but by reducing the amount of SIM card buying and swapping, it’s a pretty good value.

That’s pretty sweet, except… when we had a layover in Tokyo’s Narita airport, my international SMS and Voice worked, but not my Data.

The same thing happened in Hong Kong — SMS and Voice worked, but not Data.

I need Data!!!!

I called T-mobile support, and the agent walked me through everything, confirming…

Richard Gong

Founder @BayLaunch (https://richgong.com)

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