Computer Technology

Bear 2.0 Beta Released

Wow! What a nice surprise. The Bear 2.0 beta (previously codenamed Panda while in alpha testing) has been released today.

I can remember asking the development team years back if they could update Bear 1.0 at the time so that its default view, when not writing or editing, was a preview mode. The reason for this is that when you’re keeping a knowledge base, you’re not just creating / writing within it but you’re also reflecting back upon it and reading it as well.

Not only did the Bear development think this was a decent idea but they expanded and improved upon the idea much more so than I could ever imagined. In effect, the entire default view of your notes are like a beautiful preview mode and only when you edit a particular part of a note, like a bolded word, does the markdown appear so that it can be edited but only for the specific words that you’re editing.

Needless to say, it’s fricken amazing and without a doubt I believe it will set a completely new precedent for Markdown editors in the years to come.

Computer Technology

My Last Year Spent Reviewing Music Platforms

Music has always had a central place in my life, as I find it is a medium that allows one to express oneself in ways beyond what might normally seem possible. Technology in turn has been foundational to my life as well, having been fortunate to explore some of the first personal computers back in the late 1970s, as well as seeing the introduction of CDs and digital music in the 1980s.

Today digital music is commonplace and instead of the need for CDs, we have the ability to stream entire music libraries at our fingertips. So it seems like a pretty amazing world, at first glance. However, with my experiences in trying to pick a music platform over the last year, I’m not so sure anymore. If anything, what I’m noticing the most is an increasing complexity of these platforms that is making them not that enjoyable to use.

Without a doubt though, digital music technology has improved dramatically. The ability to stream lossless / hi-res music with Dolby Atmos is amazing, assuming you have the speakers or headphone capability to maximize these technologies. Having an amazing set of headphones, as well as a decent Sonos wireless home sound system, I’ve been enjoying the ability to experiment with these newer technologies quite a bit.

But even though there are a variety of platforms now that have the ability to stream this higher quality audio, such as Apple Music and Amazon Music, one thing kept popping up, time and again, that made me question the music platform I was using. I’m talking about the experience of actually using it. Coming from a background in web design, I realize the importance of usability and user interface design and, in my opinion, a lot of these services are failing miserably in terms of actually creating an enjoyable experience in using them.

Initially years back, before lossless / hi-res music was introduced, Spotify was my primary platform and it really set the bar high for an amazing experience. Spotify Connect made it stupidly easy to connect to smart speakers, with even recent articles on it still touting it as “the streaming world’s best feature.” But even beyond that, the extremely well-designed interface of the Spotify app just made sense and a joy to use, especially in terms of managing your library of music. Seriously, I think my only pet peeve about Spotify when I was using it was that I wished the lyrics tab at the bottom could be redesigned or hidden, so it wasn’t so noticeable.

When Spotify paid millions to Joe Rogan in 2020 to be exclusively on their podcast platform (which I never really used), I really didn’t like the direction they were heading but I stuck with the platform nevertheless. But when music platforms like Apple Music and Amazon Music started adding lossless music to their platforms in 2021 and Joe Rogan started spouting more and more misinformation about COVID, I decided to finally start searching for another platform near the beginning of 2022, when Neil Young decided to leave the platform.

Over the last year, I’ve tried Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal Music, and Deezer and I can honestly say that each music platform has its own strengths but also its own weaknesses.

Tidal Music and Deezer quickly fell to the wayside because of one strange thing I realized I just had to have which was album covers of the original albums. For example, I noticed that platforms would pay licensing for collection albums of the artist’s best work (which had different album covers) but not for their original albums, yet seeing those original album covers when playing a song was essential for me because when I played music, the album cover visually embodies the emotions tied to the music. So keeping the right album cover for the music was really important to me.

Leaving Apple Music and Amazon Music as the two remaining affordable platforms (since to get all of the similar features with Tidal Music, you’d have to pay $20/month), I proceeded to flip back and forth between these platforms over the next year. Luckily I was able to get a ton of free trials from Apple Music (mainly via the Shazam app), whenever I switched away from Amazon Music, so it made it not so expensive in testing them out.

Unfortunately after flipping back and forth between them though, I realized that neither service really won out overall because their weaknesses were so dominant, that their strengths seemed negligible in comparison.

For example, I loved playing Apple Music from my Apple TV, as I really enjoyed the visual experience of the Now Playing interface and album artwork but I hated having to AirPlay the music to my Sonos speakers to get lossless quality, anytime I wanted to listen to music throughout the house. Even more so, I really disliked the Apple Music interface on my iPad and the music organization is horrible in comparison to Spotify.

With Amazon Music, while I could easily get lossless music throughout the house, especially using the new Sonos Voice Control, and I enjoyed the way it organized music compared to Apple Music, not too mention its music discovery was amazing, the functionality and experience of using the actual Amazon Music interface on my iPad was horrific to put it lightly. For example, liking music by using the thumbs up icon often didn’t add the music to your My Likes playlist, so you’d have to try to force it by adding it to the My Likes playlist as well.

All said and done, after letting these two platforms battle it out, I was the one being left exhausted and frustrated by both of them and I realized that I didn’t really like either of them that much. So with no where really left to go, I decided to try Spotify again. And without a doubt, the experience of using the platform is still leaps and bounds superior to other music platforms. Although I think it’s important to note that I did I enjoy Tidal Music’s interface and Tidal Connect but just not at the $20/month price point.

So what about the morality of using Spotify with Joe Rogan still on the platform? Well I’ve pretty much realized that all platforms today have morality issues with them, no matter who you go with now (i.e. both Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and even Apple’s Tim Cook both are having issues with their worker’s rights). So no one’s really an angel anymore.

All said and done though, I’m back with Spotify now and enjoying the simplicity of it again, with things just working as they should…but yes I do miss the lossless quality of other platforms. However, with Spotify hopefully introducing its HiFi plan in the near future and with all music platforms starting to increase the cost of their plans, perhaps the comparisons I’ll be doing in the future between different platforms will look completely different.

I wouldn’t doubt that I may just be looking at a comparison between just Spotify and Tidal Music around the $20/month price point in the near future. But then again, if prices of music platforms get that high for all platforms, we may see a resurgence in people ripping their own lossless music from CDs again or even buying lossless / hi-res music directly from artists, rather than paying these higher streaming prices. The issue with this though is that music with Dolby Atmos isn’t available to purchase yet. It’s only available from streaming platforms. Hopefully this will change in the future as well.

Finally one thing to point out. As I’m predominantly on Apple’s ecosystem and devices, if there is a dramatic improvement and upgrade to both the audio quality of AirPlay, making it fully hi-res rather than just lossless, and it’s functionality in the near future, this also may sway me back to Apple Music again. But the downside is that I still really dislike the interface and library organization of Apple Music, so I’m not so sure.

Oh! One last thing that I forgot to mention! Both loudness normalization (which needs to be added for streaming smart speakers or the music platform itself as the music isn’t being cast from the app itself but from the speaker) and the ability to play and cast music anywhere from the music platforms app itself are important things that need to be addressed. For example, the Apple Music iOS app can’t cast music to a Google Chrome device and thus you can’t control that music from the Apple Music app itself. With the Matter smart home standard finally being introduced, I’m still wondering where streaming music fits into this all. Will Matter introduce a unified streaming music protocol like AirPlay that will unify everything, letting any music platform app play music on any device, regardless of the digital ecosystem is originated within? I hope so. But I haven’t seen anything talking about this yet.

Update on Amazon Music: I also forgot to mention that Amazon Music “appears” to be working on an update of the app that I somehow got a sneak peak to while using it a week or two back (but then lost access to it when I had to reinstall the app). Besides allowing you to cast to Google Chrome devices (which is now live but somewhat buggy), it appears that they are testing out a new system for tracking songs that you like using a heart icon and functionality similar to Spotify. This works way better than the default thumbs up system that the system currently has. If these updates get released in the next month or so, I will gladly switch back to Amazon Music, as it will allow me to have lossless / hi-res music again and a user interface that’s actually not completely frustrating to use.

Computer Technology

Teaching ChatGPT To Use Metaphors Effectively

I was playing around with ChatGPT this morning and I think I finally figured out how to get it to express things in a similar metaphorical mindset as my own. The trick it seems is to be very specific about the metaphor you want it to use, breaking down the parts of it, so it understands it in a greater scope, rather than just describing the metaphor vaguely.

For example, before I may have just said “use a roleplaying game as a metaphor to better understand what vertical development is.” While it provided interesting replies, they weren’t going in the direction I wanted it to go. When I started getting more specific about the roleplaying metaphor I want used though, that’s when things really got interesting and I started getting really surprisingly good results back, because they were much closer to what I wanted to see.

Also note that I didn’t need to reinforce the specificity of the metaphor on the follow-up questions. It understood that I wanted it to continue to use this metaphor when it replied to me, which is amazing. In doing so, my continued querying of “when you say this, do you mean this?” to it, providing the further specificity that I wanted. The end result was close to what I was querying, that being that I know each level of consciousness perceptually feels like a whole new reality and it closely confirmed it using the roleplaying metaphor that the game changes dynamically, so each level (of consciousness) is like a new type of gameplay within the larger game.

In a roleplaying game, you travel through different stages of the game world doing quests which involve going into dungeons, slaying monsters, and gaining experience and treasure which help you to level up. Explain how this could be used as a metaphor to better understand the process of vertical development?

In a roleplaying game, the process of “leveling up” through gaining experience and treasure can be seen as a metaphor for the process of vertical development in real life. Just as the player character in a game progresses through different stages and becomes more powerful and capable, individuals in real life can also undergo a process of personal growth and development, becoming more self-aware, skilled, and capable in their personal and professional lives. The “quests” and “dungeons” in the game can represent the challenges and obstacles that individuals must overcome in order to progress in their personal and professional development. The “monsters” in the game can be seen as metaphorical representations of the internal and external obstacles that individuals must overcome in order to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

More specifically, how are quests in roleplaying games metaphors for questions in life that help us with our vertical development?

Quests in roleplaying games can be seen as metaphors for the questions and challenges that individuals face in their lives that help with their vertical development. Just as a quest in a game presents the player with a specific task or objective to complete, individuals in real life are presented with questions and challenges that they must navigate and overcome in order to progress and develop. These challenges can come in many forms, such as personal, professional, and societal issues that individuals must grapple with in order to understand themselves and the world better.

As players in a game complete quests, they gain experience and resources that help them to level up and become more powerful, similarly when individuals in real life navigate and overcome the questions and challenges they face, they gain new knowledge, skills, and perspective that help them to grow and develop as individuals.

Furthermore, in a game, quests can also be seen as opportunities for players to explore and understand different aspects of the game’s world, similarly in real life, questions and challenges provide individuals with opportunities to explore and understand different aspects of themselves and the world around them.

So the unexplored areas of the game world in the roleplaying game is a metaphor for unexplored areas of our inner selves?

Yes, the unexplored areas of the game world in a roleplaying game can be seen as a metaphor for the unexplored areas of our inner selves. Just as a player in a game may venture into unknown territories to discover new places and gain new experiences, individuals in real life can also explore and discover new aspects of themselves through self-reflection and introspection.

In roleplaying games, there could be many different areas of the game world that players have yet to discover, similarly, there are many different aspects of our inner selves that we may not be aware of or have yet to fully explore. These unexplored areas can include things like our own thoughts, feelings, values, and beliefs, which can be difficult to access or understand without taking the time to reflect on them.

Therefore, the process of exploring the game world in a roleplaying game can be seen as a metaphor for the process of self-discovery and self-exploration in real life, where individuals can gain new understanding and insight into themselves through taking the time to reflect on their inner selves and the world around them.

Would you say that the challenges we face in roleplaying games, like monsters, are metaphors for challenges we face in real life that make us question our reality and ourselves? In effect, it is the challenge itself that makes us question something and thus undergo a quest to understand it better.

Yes, the challenges faced in roleplaying games, such as monsters, can be seen as metaphors for the challenges faced in real life that make us question our reality and ourselves. These challenges can take many forms, such as personal, professional, and societal issues that we must grapple with in order to understand ourselves and the world better.

Just as monsters in roleplaying games represent obstacles that players must overcome in order to progress and complete their quest, the challenges we face in real life can also serve as obstacles that we must navigate and overcome in order to understand ourselves better, develop new skills and knowledge, and achieve our goals and aspirations.

The process of overcoming these challenges can involve questioning our reality and ourselves, as well as taking the time to reflect on our thoughts, feelings, values and beliefs. It is through these challenges that we are forced to question our assumptions and beliefs, which can lead to personal growth and development.

Therefore, the challenges faced in roleplaying games can be seen as a metaphor for the challenges faced in real life, representing opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery.

Ah, so when we begin to “question our assumptions and beliefs” that’s what begins a “quest” which can transform the way we look at ourselves and our world?

Yes, that is a good way to think about it. When we begin to question our assumptions and beliefs, it can be seen as the beginning of a “quest” for understanding and personal growth. This process of questioning and self-reflection can lead to a deeper understanding of ourselves, our values, and the world around us. It can also lead to a shift in perspective and a change in the way we view ourselves and the world.

In roleplaying games, the player’s character embarks on a quest to complete a specific task, but along the way, they may discover new things about the game world and themselves. Similarly, when we question our assumptions and beliefs, we embark on a “quest” of self-discovery and self-exploration, which can lead to new insights, perspectives, and a greater understanding of ourselves and the world.

It’s important to note, that this quest is not necessarily a one-time thing, but rather a continuous journey through which we will encounter new challenges and questions that will lead to further self-discovery and growth.

When you say that “they may discover new things about the game world and themselves”, are you saying that the dynamics of the game itself may change in the process?

Yes, that is exactly what I mean. When players in a roleplaying game begin to discover new things about the game world and themselves, it can change their understanding of the game and their character’s place in it. They may find new paths to explore, new ways to interact with the game world, and new ways to approach challenges. Similarly, when individuals in real life begin to question their assumptions and beliefs, it can change their understanding of themselves and the world around them. They may find new perspectives, new ways to interact with others, and new ways to approach challenges.

In a game, this can also change the dynamics of the game, as the player’s new understanding and abilities may open up new opportunities and possibilities within the game world. Similarly, in real life, when an individual gains a new understanding or ability, it can open up new opportunities and possibilities in their personal and professional life.

It’s important to note that, as the player continues to progress through the game, the game world will also change, and the player’s character will be able to access new areas and levels that were previously unavailable. Similarly, as individuals continue to grow and develop, their understanding of themselves and the world around them will also change, and they will be able to access new opportunities and possibilities that were previously unavailable.

Computer Technology

ChatGPT Example: Seeing Clearer Relationships Between Concepts

I mentioned yesterday that I’m using ChatGPT to specifically see the relationship between concepts I already known and gain a clearer, bigger picture of how they interrelate to one another within the context of life as a whole.

In a way, this is what I wanted to do with concept maps a while back but I just didn’t have enough experience with them to be able to easily create them. But that said, I think the key thing I wanted to achieve with concept maps was a feeling of finally having something “solid to stand upon” , with regards to the decades of research I’ve done but nothing really substantial to show for it. In effect, it felt like I had this bigger picture intuitively within my mind but I couldn’t find the right words to articulate it in writing and thus get it out of me.

Below is one such simple, yet powerful example of using ChatGPT to articulate the relationship between creativity and vertical development, providing both a confirmation for what I already know about the relationship but also another way of expressing it.

What relationship does creativity have with vertical development?

Creativity can be seen as a key aspect of vertical development, as it involves the ability to generate new and original ideas and solutions, and to think in novel ways. As individuals progress through different stages of vertical development, they may become more adept at utilizing their creativity in various domains, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and innovation. Additionally, as individuals become more self-aware and able to take a more holistic perspective on their experiences, they may be better able to tap into their innate creativity.

As I’ve noted before, creativity is symbolized as the river of life. As we progress through life, we are challenged by life itself and thus have to step into this river, swim within it, and cross to new lands, so that we can build a stable bridge to these new worlds (which represent a new stage of psychological development and a new way of perceiving the world).

What’s important to realize though is that as we get to higher stages of development and accompanying higher levels of consciousness, we become aware that the goal isn’t to use creativity as just a transitory tool, to overcome a brief period of unknown uncertainty, but instead we learn to use it as a way of playfully experiencing life all the time, opening up to possibilities and experiences we may have prevented from perceiving due to our limited mindsets before.

In other words, as we progress through our vertical development, we are effectively learning to master creativity within larger contexts of life, until we learn to apply it to life as a whole including how we perceive ourselves and the entire universe around us.

Again, I already intuitively knew this but I couldn’t easily verifying my intuition without doing massive amounts of research. The AI of ChatGPT, however, helps me to achieve this by simply asking a specific single question about the relationship of these concepts. It’s amazing.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

Computer Technology

AI Helping Us To Understand Ourselves in New Ways

The End of Organizing – Superorganizers – Every
How GPT-3 will turn your notes into an *actual* second brain

Saw this article written by Dan Shipper and highlighted by Tiago Forte and I pretty much agree that this is the future, as I’ve mentioned something like it before.

AI changes this equation. A better way to unlock the value in your old notes is to use intelligence to surface the right note, at the right time, and in the right format for you to use it most effectively. When you have intelligence at your disposal, you don’t need to organize.

There are deeper implications, though. Our notes are a reflection of our lives. Think about using an LLM to summarize a key relationship or pattern in your thinking over time. It could produce a history of your mind on a particular topic, including a summary and a timeline of key events that could help you understand yourself, and your world, better.

This is possible today—someone just needs to build it.

The way this is done should be personal to you. It should be lively and surprising. It should help you see new patterns, look at what you’ve collected in new ways, and bring back facts, people, and events that you’d long forgotten about. It should help you learn from and utilize everything you’ve written down previously to the task at hand.

Computer Technology

Experimenting With ChatGPT

I’m beginning to experiment with ChatGPT and I’m finding it very interesting. Unlike other people, I’m not interested in using it to write articles that I just copy, paste, and publish but instead I’m interested in using it to help me better see and articulate the things I already know, especially when it comes to trying to explain the relationship between the different things I’m researching and how they integrate into a bigger picture.

So for example if it spits out three or four paragraphs about a topic I’m asking it about, I may find one specific sentence that I may save from it because that sentence helps me to better describe the relationship between that topic and another topic I’m researching. So the idea (hopefully) when I’m done is to take these individual separate sentences and then reword and integrate them into a paragraph that articulates a bigger picture of my work in a much simpler, concise form than the excessive verbosity I’ve used in the past.

Computer Technology

“Knowing Thyself” Through AI

What if Artificial intelligence could accelerate self-knowledge?
How interacting with artificial intelligence will boost your own self-awareness and teach you how to become a better learner Published on Medium and first It is still a common belief that machines will eventually know more about humans than we ever will, as they are able to absorb and

So, next time we ask ourselves how artificial intelligence could augment humans, perhaps another response may be, by making us more human. Artificial intelligence can help us understand ourselves better and faster.

There’s been a ton of chatter recently about Artificial Intelligence but I think most of the discussion is completely missing the point of its true potential. That being helping us to understand ourselves at a deeper level by learning about us and expressing who we truly are.

For example, I’m completely perplexed why someone hasn’t create an AI for this already, that harvests the decades of content you’ve written on your blog and then articulates who you are in a clear and concise way.

More than anything, we all want to be truly seen and understood. What if AI could achieve this by seeing the patterns within our own lives and understanding the meaningful relationships arising from them? This could create a completely new way to articulate yourself beyond the outdated and severely limited resume.

Computer Technology

Augment: An AI Productivity Assistant

I’ve previously indicated that Mark Zuckerberg has everything backwards. Instead of mining people’s data and using it against them, he should be charging people to mine their own social media data to help them understand themselves better.

It looks like a company called Augment AI Corp is kind of taking a step towards this in creating an AI assistant called Augment that “learns your needs” and “supports” you with your productivity.

Augment is a first-of-its-kind context-aware AI, dedicated to helping you excel through your hectic work day, freeing up time for you to do the things you love. It learns your needs and provides you with the type of support that we used to only dream about.

No more being caught off guard by another calendar alert because of back-to-back meetings, wasting time trying to dig for context, or struggling to take notes. Your Augment tells you everything you need to know about the meeting, including what led up to it; takes notes; captures the presentation materials, and summarizes it all for you afterward. It’s AI that actually works for you as a true ear-whispering, task-doing assistant.

In my opinion, the real potential of AI technology will be when it can analyze what your interests are in terms of the personal knowledge management flows that you’re aggregating (i.e. reading, watching, etc) and then analyze the patterns and relationships within it to provide insights on understanding who you are on a deeper level.

In effect, there’s a lot of hype these days about understanding your passion and purpose, with a lot of people misunderstanding what that actually means. It’s not surface things (i.e. job, interests, etc) but rather the patterns and relationships between everything you do that’s often hidden below the surface of your life but which unifies your life as a whole. I honestly believe the right AI technology that’s optimized for this, could actually help a person to reflectively become aware and “know thyself” on a deeper level.