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John Lam's Blog


Tim O'Reilly, one of our elder statesmen of the web, has written a great analysis article on Web3. It is well worth reading the post in its entirety, as he does a really good job at constructing arguments without being confrontational in his reasoning. he does this by asking questions without presuming what the answers are. This is probably the most balanced account of Web3 that I've read so far and well worth your time. #

I've been thinking a lot about the parallels between liquid chromatography and espresso making. I found this article that delves into both the chemistry and physics of espresso brewing. #

While looking around for a project for the holidays, I've started thinking about continuing to build my personal semantic search engine. The core idea is to make a tool that makes it easier to remember and recall things that are interesting to me. Part of that is searching my private data for things that are interesting. I've already made pretty good progress in August on this. The other part is building a browser extension that makes it easy to tag and take notes on things that I'm reading and add those things to the index that my search engine operates over. That feels like a good task for the holidays. #

I've also been interested in autonomous agents for helping to manage beer mode information. My gut tells me that these things likely won't help in the long run, but they are nevertheless interesting to me. There are two tools that I came across tonight:

  1. mailbrew which is a service for delivering news culled by agents that you configure into an email that shows up in your inbox. This is pretty interesting as a tool as it lets you aggregate different pieces of information into a personal newsletter. It's $5/month which is also pretty reasonable.
  2. huginn which is named after the crows Huginn and Muninn who sat on Odin's shoulders and told him the news of the world. This is kind of like a DIY mailbrew where all the information sits on a server that you get to run it on. It's a DAG of agents (all written in Ruby) that you can configure to do virtually anything. It also runs as a Docker container to save you the trouble of setup. This feels like a lot of work compared to mailbrew.

I found a way to split an MP3 into smaller files automatically using ffmpeg. This is also the first time that I've ever used ffmpeg before and it did a fantastic job on this task.

$ ffmpeg -i somefile.mp3 -f segment -segment_time 3 -c copy out%03d.mp3

source #

Perhaps the greatest productivity hack ever created is News Feed Eradicator. I use this for Twitter so that I still have the ability to read specific tweets, e.g., they were linked from somewhere else or I can look up a specific user. But the algorithmic feed is gone. It's lovely. #