Chatbot offers study help in unreliable Internet areas, FoondaMate raises $2M

South African study-by-text startup raises $2M. A South African edtech firm that offers a study-by-text service for students with unreliable internet access has raised $2 million in seed funding. FoondaMate, founded in 2020, offers an AI-powered chat bot to provide students with study materials via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.” EdWeek

Colourise old b/w photos with Machine Learning

And as such, for our hackathon in January, our team decided to build a deep learning colouriser tool trained specifically for old Singaporean photos.
An important note here: the point of colourisation is to generate an image with colours that are plausible. It by no means guarantees that the colourised image is an accurate representation of the actual snapshot in time.

awesome work, data.sg.gov

Unloading autoenv based on a directory

AutoEnv is a killer tool that will automatically activate your virtualenv environment based on the directory you are in (based on the contents of a .env file). But what happens when you move out of that directory? Unfortunately, the same environment stays activated until you land in a directory that contains a new .env file.

Simple workaround: place this .env somewhere high in your directory tree (possibly in the root)

if [ -n "$VIRTUAL_ENV" ] ; then
    deactivate
fi

I dropped the above .env file into my user’s root folder, changed directories above my current directory and my virtualenv environment quickly changed. Thanks to kazagistar who suggested the fix!

 

Thoughts on the “performance lab” at Music Tech Fest

I love this discussion of people coming together to create an interesting experience in “The Absorption Chamber” (a cavernous concrete space built around the DDR-era concert halls of Funkhaus Berlin, the East German radio and sound facility):

But I could go on about each of the individual artists, neuroscientists, engineers (some migrating in from the MIT lab), designers, and hackers who got involved. Via an invited international group, we had people who were as handy with a Max patch as they were with a needle and thread, who could sing and write code, who could parlay research knowledge into on-the-spot experimentation. In just one week, they invented from-scratch performance interventions – most of the collaborators meeting for the first time. Everyone shared with everyone else, but there were eventually three distinct performance groups (one including Viktoria), plus some offstage experiments, presented to the public in an afternoon.

Link (CreateDigitalMusic)

Miranda July’s Honest and silly book website

Penelope Trunk told me about an amazing website Miranda July created for her book.

It starts like this:

Photo of black text "ok, here I go. I'm going to make this whole website right now on this dry-erase board"

and keeps:
Black text on white board

going:
Photo showing kitchen counter and text written on a fridge

I clicked through at least 20 “pages” of her site. I never do that. I’m a skimmer. I browse through a site and skim for the stuff I think I want, then perhaps bookmark it and never go back.

There is something (visceral | curious | engaging) about seeing someone’s handwriting and dirty dishes right next to each other.

I’ll admit, I’m a judger. Visiting someone’s website, I want to nitpick it. I want to find the outdated portions and secretly judge people deep down for not having an amazing proofreading staff. AH HA! You forgot to spell Guns n Roses correctly! Ha!

Actually, that isn’t true. I don’t want artists and writers to have a proofreader. I want them. I want to engage with another human being and learn about them. I want to see their silly imperfect handwritten letters and be reminded I’m imperfect and interesting. You should see my wife’s cursive lower-case letter ‘a’. It is adorable. When she writes an ‘a’, it looks like Jigglypuff ate too much and decided to go to sleep in a coma of cuteness. I mistake her letter a for o. ALL. THE. TIME. And it is adorable and human. Her letters remind me that I am adorable and human and slowly gaining weight like Jigglepuff. (JP, if you are reading this: lay off the puffs, puff.)

I want to see their silly imperfect handwritten letters and be reminded I’m imperfect and interesting.

I’m excited. I think we need more Web Brutalism. We need more top-of-the-fridge whiteboards websites. We need more people being people- softer, rounder, real-er people.