Change (B)log

Week 8 Update - The Anniversaries

March 01, 2019

Today marks the first anniversary of me buying my little home. I’m still in love with this pad and feel so lucky that I was able to be in a position to purchase it. In less than a week I’ll celebrate my 2nd anniversary being at Carfax.

I still remember a little over two years ago driving home through the neighborhood where I was renting at the time. It was a particularly rough time for me as I was still coming to terms with the permanent hearing damage / tinnitus I had given myself a few months prior. I had stopped working at Shakes full time. I was running out of money. I spent all day alone… mostly programming: trying to build my portfolio enough to land a job. I wasn’t sure if I could get the job and questioned whether or not I could live like this much longer.

On my ride home, I drove by all the cool houses in Benton-Stephens and resolved that I would land the job by March 1st and buy one of these houses by June 1st.” And although I did get the job offer on the last day of February, for various reasons I didn’t get to buying the house (which is not in Benton-Stephens) until about a year after that. But looking back, I feel extremely fortunate that things turned out the way they did given the circumstances.

True / False

The True / False Film Festival is going on this weekend. I’m working an extra shift at Shakes tomorrow. Columbia is buzzing with energy but it’s pretty cold outside still.

Despite being in Columbia for most of the last decade, I’ve only really particpated in True / False once either 2 or 3 years ago. I’m not really into films but I did enjoy what I saw. I certainly do enjoy the busyness it causes Shakespeares so I can roll all those pizzas!

Trucking along with songs

Brad has been putting in a lot of great effort in the rest of the songs. We just got a few more to record, make a lot of touch ups to the other songs and mix pretty much everything. I’m really excited that he did that because I feel confident we can deliver our first album on time… by the end of this month. (Although saying that outloud makes me a little nervous about it.)

Interviews

I only got two interviews done in February, Donovan Izumi and Caleb Salyer, but I have at least 3 more coming up in the next few weeks. March will definitely go better. I just need to be on top of sending out proposals to people (the part I most dislike about the process).

Magenta

A little over a year ago, I was deep into learning about deep learning. Basically, fairly recent advances in technology have allowed really good Neural Network models to be created for lots of various things… like Speech Recognition or beating the world’s best Go player. And really powerful tools like Tensorflow have been written to build your own models. I was able to create a few experiments back then but was ultimately dissatisfied with my ability to structure a good Neural Network. So I put those curiosities on hold.

The world of Machine Learning has been advancing even faster since and there are some very interesting things going on still in that world. Possibly most relevant to me is the work that the Google Brain team is doing. Some members of that organization have developed “Magenta”: a project for exploring how AI can work with art and music essentially.

On a whim, I posted a few ideas that I had back then and got a bit of response from one of the guys on the Brain Team. He said “I think that’s definitely a good idea!” and that’s pretty much all it took me to give this stuff another chance.

I’ll probably be using that as my personal dev time for the next few weeks. Basically, since they’ve already written some good Neural Nets, I’m going to experiment with creating my own slight derivations and using highly customized data. We’ll see where this goes. I could get really serious about it or I could just be going through another phase. But that’s why I love this business… even if there are new shiny things to be distracted by, it’s always fresh and challenging.


Joseph Weidinger

Written by Joseph Weidinger.