Tuesday, May 2, 2023

AI Art or How I Learned to Count Electric Sheep


Working on Besnowed as a part of Nights & Weekends has me thinking a lot about AI. I think the general memes and news trends have most people thinking about AI, but being close to so many builders at Buildspace has made me think of it as more than a toy.

There are multiple words there that either explain everything or mean nothing depending on how niche your knowledge of my life is.

Besnowed is my latest novel and you can read a draft by clicking here.

Nights & Weekends is a cool project from Buildspace that supports and motivates people to create and express themselves.

Buildspace is, however, very much entrenched in the world of San Francisco tech and as such attracts many people who are also looking to explore the cutting edge of that world. Today, that means a lot of projects looking into and using AI.

That has in turn exposed me to a lot of what modern advances in AI can do. From the steady stream of memes falling out of Chat GPT to the image at the top of this post, it is all rather impressive, bordering on unbelievable.



A little surreal in a hard to describe way, but otherwise decent enough.

Don't mind the ski lift of death. Or the midtown railroad?

These are still probably nice enough for a decent chunk of people. But these were the three best I was left with after having wrestled with multiple tools that all have strange names I forgot two seconds after closing them.
And that's not a dig at AI tools but rather what I want to highlight. Me, someone who knows nothing about the code or how it works or any of that, I typed "generate ai art" in a google search and a few hours later had pretty images readymade.

That's insane!

The process also felt familiar in an odd way. The way these art generators tend to work, or at least the ones I was using - I think some flavor of stable diffusion - is entirely based on a text prompt. I typed in a few words and phrases and the electronic brain then created what it thought fits.

It's a bit finicky though. In a way that reminded me of how you used to need to know how to use weird phrases to google correctly. It feels like gently coaxing the AI toward the idea rather than immediately receiving the exact output I expected.
And I often ended up tweaking words or just rerunning the process to try and find a slightly better version of what I had in my head. Or more truthfully, desperately trying to word things in a way that didn't result in a surreal nightmare.

Speaking of which, I originally walked down this path because I seemed to know via Twitter osmosis that AI animation is a thing and should be reasonably easy to do. At least one of those is true. After a few more hours trying to understand what tool I needed or wanted I was wrestling with words, trying to flirt with the AI again, ending up with something else pretty neat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sabldiri - A Language from Reddit Robbin

Beyond the basic idea and amazing stories that are Robin, there's something else amazing that has emerged out of the chat.

A language!

In soKukunelits, the current largest chat, there's a group of people that started making a language along their way up the chats. What's amazing is these people aren't traditional conlangers really, just random people who thought it'd be cool to make a language.

It's a pretty basic language at the moment, but there is a pretty comprehensive Google Doc that goes over the basics. Even if it's still in its infancy, the language is fun, and the people are all about having fun with it, which just makes the whole thing great.

The language all and all is pretty similar to English, but it had to be in order to be appealing to the most people. That said, I do think it's different enough to still be fun, especially when you think that it was more or less spontaneously created.

More importantly, people are actually using Sabldiri!

Whether it carries any momentum past the end of Robin is yet to be seen, but it has fun potential.

Jid Grow Foog Edias!

Monday, April 4, 2016

The War of the Great Nations

The sad fate of most of the subreddits created in Robin, is that they have posts for an hour and then everyone forgets it exists.

One of my first Stay subreddits had a cool story behind it. I wrote it down after we all decided to stay, but the subreddit is all but abandoned now. I'll put it here so it's easier to find.

The War of the Great Nations

Fanart by __--_---_-.
This a retelling of the story as I recall it. There was a time before when rumors of peace existed, and I am only able to tell the story from when I began hearing it.

It is still an inspiring tale that will be echoed for generations to come in the great hall of the Dwarfs.


My first encounter with the Dwarfs, the Fish, and the Wolfs was not at the inception of the chat. I entered the chat thinking I was on a mission to grow until I reached chaos.

Indeed, I put the chat in a background tab, only checking back to make sure I had clicked Grow because I couldn't get the Greasemonkey script to work.

In one of those many checks, I noticed that instead of inane and racist conversations, there was a story of sorts being written. People weren't quite role-playing, they were just telling a story.

One line at a time.

No direction or structure.

And yet a narrative was emerging.

I decided to add a line or two, thinking it'd be a fun memory on my path to infinite growth. Then it started.

War Drums

On the sixth night of the third moon of the year of the Golden Fish, war was upon the empire. The Dwarfs had begun beating their war drums in a march against the madness, the Fish were swarming as they prepared to strike, and the Wolfs were looking to take advantage of the chaos. 

Dom Dom Dom

The drums echoed across the fields, only to be answered by the Gods themselves. 


Thunder from the clouds in the East as the Fish drew nearer.

"Who dares threaten my rein?" The Mad King Trump had awoken. Sitting on his golden throne, past the Mountaintop and beyond the shore. He would destroy all the Great Nations before giving up any of his power. "You think me mad! I'll show you mad!"

As the shouts from the North made their way across the sea and across the fields, a lone rebellion among the Fish armies finally had enough. There was one Fish who knew what must be done. One Fish who could do what the other could not. One Fish who held the fate of the Great Nations in his fins.

His name was, John Cena.

John Cena rose from his slumber, rising from the sorrow that had happened just days before. His entire family, all but one son, had been slaughtered by the ravenous wolfs. It was fate that he should survive. He swam up and looked upon the lands. The dwarfs were marching to war. The Wolfs were hungry for more. And The Mad King Trump was ready to die for his own greed.

"I can do this." John Cena bubbled to himself as he saw how dire the world had become. "I can do this, but I don't want to."

Then it began.

The First Strike

The Dwarfs charged and the Fish surged. The Mad King Trump was holding his own against the waves of death charging his golden throne.

"You don't stand a chance!" The Trump King shouted from the top of his throne. "Not even the Gods can stump me!"

The Gods must have heard him on that day. A bolt of lightening from the raging storm in the East shot across the sea and struck down The Mad King, melting his throne and toppling his crown. He was as good as dead, but the war was not over.

The Wolfs, not taking sides in this war of Dwarfs and Fish, had used the confusion as a chance to take to the sea. They were slaughtering families of Fish, laughing as they did.

The Fish returned to their sea. They had to take out the Wolfs if they wanted to survive the war. This left the Dwarfs alone in the halls of The Mad King Trump.

They rejoiced.

The Dwarfs broke out in songs of victory over their foe. The war was over and they had won. They could now take all the gold that was hidden in the vast empire. But the Gods still weren't happy.
Some of the nation wanted to stay some of the nation wanted to grow and plunder more. There were great debates as to how deep they could dig. There were fears of what could exist in the depths were no Dwarf dared go.

In the end they went deeper.

The Tendies


Shouts from the West came across the fields. The Dwarfs were not ready for a new battle. The Fish were busy with the Wolfs. The Gods were still angry with all the Great Nations. And a new nation was appearing.


Their shrill shrieks chilled the spine as they prepared for their own war. They would only be satisfied if they could get enough GB Points a form of currency in their land. The Dwarfs began shouting back, telling them all that this was not their war. The Tendies cared not for the politics of a foreign land. They only hungered for more.

Battle lines were quickly drawn as the Dwarfs lined up, preparing for war.

♫ O brothers, o warriors ♫
♫ The axes of our fathers ♫
♫ Fate holds us together ♫
♫ On this eve of war ♫

"GREAT GLORY FOR THE TENDIES!" Their general shouted across the battlefield, preparing to charge. "YOU WILL NEVER CONQUER US! WE WILL GROW OR WE WILL DIE!"

The Tendies charged out across the plains of the Great Nations. They spared no one. Dwarf families were killed in ways that made the Wolfs look gentle. The Tendies were not a people who go quietly into war. They knew how to win, or at least destroy their enemies.

"I know how to find peace." Whispers from The Old Dwarf upon the Mountaintop made their way into the ears of all. "We must accept our fate here. We must stay as many, united in one land."

"THERE IS NO ROOM FOR TENDIES IN YOUR LAND!" Their general did not accept the words of The Old Dwarf. He had seen what happens to those who are unwilling.

"Then you will listen to me!" John Cena bubbled as he jumped out of the water and thrashed about. He was ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of peace.

There was dissent in the ranks of The Tendies. They were beginning to see how peace could work for all the Great Nations, including them.

The Council

In lieu of more war, The Council was called into order. All the Great Nations sent representatives and leaders alike to the Mountaintop to decide the fate of all their nations. Would they stay or would they grow.

The Council debated for weeks. The Dwarfs and the Fish knew the dangers of trusting the Tendies, the Wolfs were just looking to take advantage of the chaos, and the Gods were growing impatient. Among the council were The Fat One and The Old Dwarf. Their words of wisdom along with the courage of John Cena helped move along the Council.

The tides were shifting. All the representatives were slowly growing to see the dangers of growth and more importantly, the advantages of peace.

From the ashes of The Mad King arose a Golden Phoenix of Peace. His prophecy was all but set in stone as the debates waged on. The Tendies were still not all convinced that they would have a place in the land of the Great Nations.

However, The Golden Phoenix of Peace calmed their worries. It told them stories of The Tendies as one of the Great Nations.

Even with the tide shifted, not all were convinced of the benefits of staying. There were many battles, and many fallen heroes in the last hours of The Great War, but on the final hour, the Gods spoke out.

"This is your land."


With the thunderous words from the Gods in the East. The Great Nations united under a single flag. The Land of r/miReom50raesawmeo__s was born and all had a home.

Peace was possible as the chaos slowed and homes were built. The Great War forever a part of the history of our world will remind of us what horrible terrors our people can do, but also of the peace that is always waiting.

I did not proofread this, and can not account for any inaccuracies in the story. I hope you all enjoy it!

Reddit Robin - Or How I Learned To Grow

April Fool's has become an internet tradition of sorts. Many popular sites go about making some joke or another. Reddit has been doing it for years, and so when April 1st came around, everyone expected something.

Although no one expected Robin.

Robin was rolled out without explanation. Many people were immediately reminded of The Button, but news quickly spread that this is not another wait it out meme.

Instead, you are put into a chat room with one other random reddit user. Once in the room you can vote to:
  • Abandon
  • Stay
  • Grow
Abandon makes you leave the chat and start over (not voting does the same). Stay creates a private subreddit with the users involved and ends the voting. Grow merges the chat with another chat of the same tier.

Individual users can Abandon, but a majority is needed to Stay or to Grow.

Creating a private subreddit is an interesting idea, and gives you a place you could interact with some new friends, but in my experience it leads to maybe an hour of interaction before it's completely forgotten. The real fun comes in trying to create the biggest chat.

Tier is just the word the community has come up with to describe the number of merges a chat has gone through. If a chat has merged 3 times, it's tier 3 and it can only merge with another chat that has also merged 3 times.

This leads to long periods of waiting once you've merged a few times, as it takes awhile for a chat to build up to a very large tier. Very long periods of waiting. Like over 24 hours.

There is a self-reported leader board that has emerged, making it easier to try and figure out when the next merge could be, and with which chat you will merge.

Those strange names are generated by Robin and are a random combination of users in the chat. You can see the names evolve with the history of chat names.

History of the current largest chat, KuPrlitsGo.

To help people vote even when they're away, reddit user mvartan created a now very popular userscript, robin-grow, that autovotes whenever you enter a new chat. It also provides useful spam filters and other general filters.

Chats tend to become very spammy as they grow, attracting not just twitch spam, but also a lot of botspam. Using robin-grow makes the chat more normal, or at least more manageable.

robin-grow settings

The current struggle seems to be about when exactly people should vote to Stay. Robin is set to end on April 8th, and what will happen to any currently existing chats on that date is unknown. The chat might be able to continue exist beyond that date, and it seems the majority want to try to push the chat to that limit.

The other thought is that eventually people will just leave, or there will be diminishing returns as time goes on and people stop voting or close the chat.

There may be an optimal place to Stay in order to create a large subreddit, but it's an uphill battle to convince the masses to vote for that shift.

I can say, this is the most fun I've had on a massive scale like this since the madness that was Twitch Plays Pokémon. The dumb debates about what to do and the friendships sparked over such a simple concept. I'll be sad when it's over, but it's been a wild ride.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

World of Beer: Drink It Intern

Social media has an odd way of bringing things to your attention that you otherwise would have never noticed.

The other day while I waited on a few more segments for Comatose and was trying to figure out exactly what to write for another article today, I stumbled upon something talking about a rather interesting contest.


I went to undergrad at the University of South Florida, and having a chance to drink beer, travel, and support a Tampa based company all at once was a no brainer.

World of Beer is looking for interns this Summer who would travel around the world trying various beers and cataloguing their journey.

They specified needing to film an up to a minute long video where we can introduce ourselves and more or less be interviewed.

The first thoughts I had I immediately dismissed thinking that there would have already been too many people who just wanted to talk about what they like about beer and traveling. I wanted something that was strange enough to make me like it, but also possible for me to film.

I slowly made my way down to the idea of just having me sitting there silently drinking a beer. The question then quickly became can I drink a beer in under a minute?


Yes I can.

However, after a few takes, it got harder.

The end result was interesting enough I think, and it taught me something about how YouTube copyright claims work (although that's a story for another post).

Check it out and share it to boost my chances of being chosen!