The AI-enabled version of Bing is useless for search… Imagine using the bare bones search engines of the 90s on all of the useless filler on the web today, navigating by command line to a toddler – that’s the new Bing experience. You can pare down on its idiot responses by tweaking prompts, but it’s a huge step backwards from just Googling something. It’s also noticeably clunkier than using vanilla ChatGPT.
Category: Toys & Tech
I wonder how long it will take my students to figure out that they can use this for my online Public Speaking courses… I’ve already been asked to check papers written with ChatGPT, so this is just a natural progression. Still, I sometimes feel this year’s AI enthusiasm is just the evolved NFT fcukery of yesteryear.
Snap Camera Discontinued
The official announcement: On January 25, 2023, Snap Camera will no longer be available to use or download.
The online software alternative they are offering is apparently not very good. Snap Camera was an only very slightly helpful but immensely entertaining webcam filter suite that helped pass many long online meetings and classes during the pandemic years, so I’m sad to see it go. I did use it less and less over time, however, and only installed it so that I could blur the background during FB Messenger video calls for PC during the holidays.
Farewell, sweet filters!
AI is watching.
I plugged in a phrase from my last post, “I had my first ever birthday on an airplane”, and the NightCafe AI spit out this:
I mean, it’s kind of eerie, right? Compare it to the photos on my previous post.
Boeing 787 Window Shades
The ANA Dreamliner B787 we flew on from BKK to Haneda was pretty badass; the crew can dim all the windows at the touch of a button. You can also set them individually with the button shown below. There’s a row of LEDs (to the left of the button) that aren’t really lit in the photo that show the dimness level.
This is interesting: Several startups believe that web3 technologies will upend how authors make a living—and how we define who owns a story.
What if you could own a stake in Harry Potter?
What if the book series functioned like a publicly traded company where individuals could “buy stock” in it, and as the franchise grows, those “stocks” become more valuable? If this were the case, someone who purchased just three percent of Harry Potter back when there was only one book would be a billionaire now.
Esquire: The Crypto Revolution Wants to Reimagine Books
Just imagine how that would affect the reading experience. Suddenly a trip to Barnes & Noble becomes an investment opportunity. Early readers could spot “the next big thing” and make a $100 contribution that becomes $10,000 or even $100,000 if the book’s popularity grows. If readers could own a percentage of the franchise, they might then be incentivized to help that book succeed. They could start a TikTok account to promote the book via BookTok, or use their talents as filmmakers to adapt it to the screen. All of this stands to increase the value of their original investment.
Also, here’s a Bad Robot! video of the day:
Minecraft’s Six Principles of Game-based Learning
- The failure dynamic, fail early, fail often. Teach students to take risks in a safe environment- a game.
- The flexibility dynamic. Provide multiple paths to success. Old school video games had one way to win. Newer “sandbox” games are more open.
- The construction dynamic. Build something that matters. Students want to create things with a purpose. Minecraft lets them create something difficult and worthwhile.
- The situated meaning. Learn new ideas by experiencing them. Students learn vocabulary in real-time, as it pertains to playing with others in the game; or learn math as they understand construction.
- Systems thinking. Learn how all pieces can fit or be fitted. Games help players see how their actions fit into the bigger picture, not just the individual.
- Build empathy. Bring players together to learn a common goal. By communicating and working together, players build empathy through their avatars by raising awareness of local or global goals.
(via Minecraft: Education Edition: Teacher Academy)
I’m brushing up on my Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite skills because I’ll be teaching in each of these soon. I went down this path a few years ago to each at our learning center, but then COVID came and shifted everything online. It’s taken too long for me to get back on track with this.
Windows Store Error Fix for Missing “wuauserv”
Today, I encountered serious Windows Update problems that started as a Windows store problems, namely, I couldn’t install anything from the Windows Store or any Minecraft programs at all – a big problem because I’m brushing up on MC, Roblox, and Scratch teaching skills.
The guided walkthrough from Microsoft didn’t help, so I tried manually resetting the Windows Update Service:
Open administrative Command Prompt and type following commands one-by-one followed by Enter key.https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/window-10-update-is-stuck-on-checking-for-updates/d4833fef-620e-445b-9b99-997c03b9a1f8
net stop wuauserv
net stop cryptSvc
net stop bits
net stop msiserver
Ren C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old
Ren C:\Windows\System32\catroot2 Catroot2.old
net start wuauserv
net start cryptSvc
net start bits
net start msiserver
Close Command Prompt and see if Windows Updates works then.
However, the “net start wuauserv” command returned an error:
The Windows Update service is starting
The Windows Update service could not be started
A system error has occurred.
System error 2 has occurred.
The system cannot find the file specified.
To make a long story short, I must have deleted this key from the registry at some point, and the fix that worked for me was re-adding the key via cut and paste from this article: Windows Update service missing 0x80070424 , Windows 10 Pro x64 1803 [Solved] / Error code 0x80070006 or 0x8008005
So far, I have a bunch of Windows Updates queued and will proceed with Microsoft Store and Minecraft installations after that, but it looks like everything is working properly again.
Buzz my Wave, yo
Should I be concerned that I’ve heard of most of these and used quite a few of them: Killed by Google
I can’t bear to look for the greatest loss of all on there:
After trying soooo many replacements over the years, I am finally on Inoreader, but most of the feeds I was ever subscribed to are of course dead.
Sold my CRF today
Took some more photos and sold it for half of what I bought it for 8 years ago. It was fun to ride and served me well, and it was also the first vehicle I ever bought new… but I haven’t been able to ride it the past couple of years due to COVID, and the ethanol fuel mandated in Thailand just goes bad very quickly. I ended up having to replace the fuel pump and injector because the fuel had degraded into something nasty. Anyways, we put up an ad yesterday and got several interested parties calling today. A bike dude from Ubon Ratchatani made the drive out and bought it on the spot. I hope it serves him well.
I had replaced the decals with a more colorful set in order to appeal to a younger buyer, and it worked exactly as planned. This sort of strategy seems to work well for us.
My CRF250M originally looked like this:
I originally bought it used in this color and actually had a new one rush made for me in the same color at the Honda factory in Rayong when the old one didn’t work out. I liked this color scheme because it reminded me of my dad’s black 280zx with gold trim from the 80s.
Spotify and Zoom in MacOS 9
The last Mac I bought with my own money was the first mass-produced computer with wifi. It came in a color called Blueberry and ran OS9… I could never bring myself to trash it and it sits today in my outdoor garage with rusty saws and assorted vehicle fluids.
New Google Meet Features in Google Classroom
A new dialog popped up in Classroom today with some very welcome changes, the most welcome of which is the first:
Teachers or co-teachers are always meeting hosts: This is what has been needed for years now. Until now, unless an admin made some obscure setting changes across the whole institution, there was no reliable way to ensure a teacher would be the meeting host. The biggest problems caused by this was the entire meeting closing when the randomly-assigned host dropped from the meeting, and the ability to record and location of saved video file also being assigned to that person (usually a student).
Students will be sent to the waiting room until a teacher is present in a meeting: I would actually prefer this to be optional since there are times when I want the students to work without me before I join. I also let students practice presenting in our designated meeting room when I’m not there. I guess they can do it in a different room, but why not make the software more flexible and accommodating to as many situations and users as possible?
Video participants outside of your class can ask to be admitted by the host: This might be convenient once in a while, but honestly, it makes things less secure (because before this change, nobody could get in my university’s online classes without a university email address), and I suspect it won’t be trouble-free, either. Permissions problems across all systems are just too common.
The next improvements I really want to see for Meet are breakout rooms, more admin controls, and improved latency… Zoom still functions much better and is less laggy. The real improvement many need for Google Classroom is the Gradebook – this needs to be more directly editable and downloadable in a useful spreadsheet with everything contained therein. The way it works now is like a beta version of a janky ad-supported website built by a three person company on the weekends, not the big G.
Apex DLL issue?
After recently installing a game (maybe Apex Legends on Steam), I tried opening my default graphics editor and got a weird Windows dll error. If you get a similar one that says:
The program can't start because VCRUNTIME140.dll is missing from your computer. Try re-installing the program to fix this problem.
The code execution cannot proceed because VCRUNTIME140.dll was not found. Reinstalling the program may fix this problem.
You can probably fix it by replacing the missing dll file or reinstalling the appropriate Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable package. I remembered seeing a Visual C++ installer before a game install so I just tried the latter first and it worked:
Dubai Lamps for Sale in Thailand?
Imagine my surprise at finding a supposed source for the new super-efficient LED bulbs made exclusively by Philips for UAE royalty (“exclusive,” as in, you can’t buy them anywhere else), invented to comply with government regulations. The redundant circuitry sounds exactly like what I need for my house here in the northeast, plagued with frequent overvoltage problems, which in turn necessitates frequent bulb replacement.
I kind of doubt the seller is legit, but I’m curious enough to try and buy a few.
LINE Windows App Bug
If you are installing LINE on Windows, download the installer directly from the website and don’t bother with the app available through Windows. The Windows app version has a couple of unique conveniences like native Windows notifications, but is badly bugged. It throws up “Newer version available! Update?” in an annoying dialog box every time LINE starts up, even if you are using the latest version. Trash.
It makes me want a 3D printer.
How satisfying pic.twitter.com/QYPjuMrnpc— The World Of Funny (@TheWorldOfFunny) June 27, 2020
Thingiverse page: Marble Machine “Kaleidoscope” by Yosuke Ikeda
Starting 2020 with a Seiko Snow Monster
Last year, my trusty Citizen fell casualty to careless banging on steel door handles when rushing out of classrooms, so I decided to replace it with something a little more fun.
I like it so far.