AI-curated minimalist news

Minimalist News is the first LLM project that excites me but in a nervous way. Quoting the About page: We only publish significant news. To find them we use AI (ChatGPT-4) to read and analyze 1000 top news every day. For each article it estimates magnitude, scale, potential and credibility. Then we combine these estimates to get the final Significance score from 0 to 10. And now the best part: We’ll only send you the news scored 6. »

FatturaElettronica for .NET v3.4.8

Fattura Elettronica for .NET v3.4.8 was released on NuGet today. The Fattura Elettronica project allows for the validation and de/serialization of electronic invoices following the Italian Revenue Agency standards. As with the previous one, this release also addresses a small undocumented behavior in validating the invoice. See the relevant ticket for the details. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow me on Mastodon »

Book Review: Land and Sea

Land and Sea is an essay in short story form written in 1942 by Carl Schmitt. Subtitled “A consideration of world history told to my daughter Anna,” this essay recounts and summarizes the geo-historical-legal evolution of our planet since the discovery of the New World. The originality of the work lies in the author’s identification of the Earth-Sea dichotomy as the driving force of human history. I went into this book knowing very little about the author, Carl Schmitt, and the contents. »

The religious aspects of the corporate space race

A fascinating article surfaced on Nautilus last week. Mary-Jane Rubenstein, a professor of religion and science in society at Wesleyan University, shares her concerns about the technical strides and aspirations of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the company’s mission to enable thousands of people to live on Mars, and the ethics of terraforming the planet to be more like Earth. What’s intriguing, though, is Rubenstein’s thoughts about the religious underpinnings of the United States space program and how even modern science is still hostage to imperialistic Christian ideas. »

Quoting Cicero

Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child. I found this Cicero quote on Lapham’s Quarterly’s about page. A little research dug out the supposedly original version found in Orator Ad M. Brutum (46 BC). It goes like this: To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history? »

Book Review: Medieval Callings

Medieval Callings comprises eleven essays by internationally renowned medieval historians. Somewhat deceptively, only Jacques Le Goff’s prestigious name appears on the front page, as he authored the introductive essay and handpicked and curated the collection. Each piece presents a nuanced profile of a significant social or professional Middle Ages group. Warrior knights, monks, high churchmen, criminals, lepers, shepherds, artists, and prostitutes, all prominent figures of medieval society, are depicted here with great detail. »

The Interstellar Style of Sun Ra

Pitchfork has a great piece on Sun Ra and his legacy. It’s worth reading if you’re a fan, even more so if you know nothing about him. But what Sun Ra had done, and done best, was reminding earthlings everywhere that he wasn’t mortal. He was a signifier of a life beyond the reality of this one. He was a visual reassurance of the presence of another world. He brought the cosmos to the streets, and, most importantly, he was a reminder that one does not have to subscribe to the status quo—musically, stylistically, politically, ideologically. »

The end of computer magazines in America (and elsewhere)

In the mid-to-late 80s, my excitement used to culminate by the end of the month when BYTE’s new issue would hit the newsstands1. In my small Italian hometown, only one, sometimes two, newsstands would sometime get a copy (BYTE was published in the US and copies sent abroad were scarce; only major, close-to-the-train-station stands had a chance to receive it). I wasn’t the only kid in town interested in that elusive one issue; I had an anonymous competitor. »

Noam Chomsky on ChatGPT

Noam Chomsky’s essays are always worth reading, no matter the topic he decides to address, because, well, frankly, he’s one of the brightest and most well-informed minds of our time. His criticism of OpenAI’s ChatGPT makes no exception. It does an excellent job of explaining how LLMs work, the differences with human reasoning, and why, in his opinion, the advent of artificial general intelligence is a long way to go, if ever. »

The real cost of interruption

I’m just back from reading Programmer Interrupted: The Real Cost of Interruption and Context Switching, an interesting short piece in which I learned about at least two new things. First, The Parable of the Two Watchmakers, introduced by Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon, describes the complex relationship between sub-systems and their larger wholes. In the context of the article, it helps explain, even for non-programmers, the cost of an interruption. It also hints at a possible mitigation technique: »

ChatGPT is making up fake Guardian articles

Chris Moran, the Guardian’s head of editorial innovation: Last month one of our journalists received an interesting email. A researcher had come across mention of a Guardian article, written by the journalist on a specific subject from a few years before. But the piece was proving elusive on our website and in search. Had the headline perhaps been changed since it was launched? Had it been removed intentionally from the website because of a problem we’d identified? »

FatturaElettronica for .NET v3.4.7

Fattura Elettronica for .NET v3.4.7 was released on NuGet today. The Fattura Elettronica project allows for the validation and de/serialization of electronic invoices adhering to the canon defined by the Italian Revenue Agency. This release refines how the one-cent tolerance is accounted for in validation checks of types 00421 and 00423. As is often the case, there are subtle differences between the theoretical implementation defined in the official specs and the actual validation implemented by the same Agency that released said specs. »

Book Review: Essere Lupo (Being Wolf)

I saw a wolf: that’s the phrase Ulf, a hunter and former forestry inspector now in his seventies, has been brooding, unable to confess to anyone since he spotted a majestic specimen at dawn on the first day of the year. Something clicks inside him, and Ulf, one of the most respected men in the village in deep Sweden where he lives, feels an increasingly solid and intimate connection with the creature. »

Playing D&D with ChatGPT as the DM

A dad reunites with his three kids, ages 26, 23 and 15, and they decide to do a D&D campaign together. Now, this alone would be enough to catch my attention: I’ve been an avid D&D player as a boy, my older son has been playing too, and I always dreamed of playing one day with my three kids and maybe my wife. But there’s more to this story. Tenzin, the youngest son and long-time tabletop RPG gamer and DM, proposes to let OpenAI’s ChatGPT 4 be their DM. »

Running .NET code in an isolated sandbox

Steve Sanderson is experimenting again, and when Steve plays with his toys, I pay attention. In a new video on his YouTube channel, Steve introduces an experimental new .NET package that allows the creation of isolated instances of the .NET runtime that will safely run code in a sandbox. Watch it, and get your mind blown away by the possibilities this could open up. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow me on Mastodon »

Web Performance meetup at DevRomagna

I know this is coming in a bit late; apologies, but… We’re doing a Web Performance meetup at DevRomagna today. Andrea ‘Verlok’ Verlicchi, a Google Developer Expert specialing in web performance, will share his extensive experience in web performance and provide practical, high-impact, and easily applicable tips on improving performance in 2023. Info and signup here. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow me on Mastodon »

Quoting John Carmack

John Carmack, while advising on the advent of AI and its influence on the Software Engineering profession: Software is just a tool to help accomplish something for people – many programmers never understood that. Keep your eyes on the delivered value, and don’t over-focus on the specifics of the tools. I have often fallen into the over-focusing trap in my career. The whole thread is well worth reading: »

Quoting Italo Calvino

Quoting the last paragraph from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities: The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. »

Book Review: No Sleep Till Shengal

Zerocalcare is an Italian cartoonist whose strips, especially in the form of illustrated books, have surged to an iconic level in the last decade. His drawing is excellent, but it is with his writing that, I think, he conquered fame. His stories are fun to read and yet profound and vibrant, all at the same time. Also, he often touches on themes nobody else covers, at least not in the comics world. »

Eve 2.1.0 has just been released

Today I released Eve v2.1, which comes with official Flask 2.2+ support and the ability to modify the pagination limit on a per-resource basis thanks to the new pagination_limit setting. You can find the release on PyPI, while the changelog is available here—special thanks to Pieter De Clercq and smeng9 for the help with this release. Subscribe to the newsletter, the RSS feed, or follow me on Mastodon »