There must be intelligent life down here

Solar Eclipse in Cleveland

I took a few days off work to drive to Cleveland, Ohio, to witness the 2024 total solar eclipse. Back in 2017, the family and I too a vacation to Charleston, South Carolina, to watch that year’s eclipse. NASA set up a presentation in a minor league baseball stadium with a casual atmosphere. Although it was overcast and we couldn’t see the eclipse directly, we experienced the darkness and eerie lightened horizon.

This year was different. I couldn’t convince my kids to skip school, and Berta couldn’t join me due to her recent time off. So, I went on the trip alone. I booked a hotel room in Cleveland and drove out there on Sunday, the day before the eclipse. The six-hour drive was surprisingly shorter than what it often takes to get to Columbus.

Post Creation Workflow

While writing this blog, I would like to be able to create a workflow that allows me to quickly create posts written in my own voice and post them to the site without a lot of effort. One of the things that causes a lot of effort to take place is having to type out every single word. These days, it’s pretty easy to use a microphone to record new spoken content and have it transcribed into something that can be posted online. I’ve recently been experimenting with a tool called AudioPen, which records my voice, transcribes it, and then submits it to an AI model to rewrite the content a bit. This is particularly interesting because if you’ve ever recorded yourself speaking live and listened back to it, you’ll note that you make a lot of mistakes, the grammar isn’t necessarily correct, and what you generally hear is pretty forgivable if you’re a listener, but not very forgivable if you are a reader of that transcribed text. I really wouldn’t want to publish directly transcribed text to the website without a significant amount of editing, and so it’s nice that it sends it through this AI model, which corrects some of the grammar and enhances some of the wording to really get at the meaning. Unfortunately, the prompt that AudioPen uses is a little more aggressive than I would like and removes a lot of what makes my voice hear, at least my written voice, sound like me. I tend to sound more like an AI model, so I’ve been playing with some other tools to hopefully make this as easy of a workflow, but with less loss of fidelity in the transcription.

I’ve been exploring a workflow that enables me to quickly generate posts in my own voice with minimal effort. One of the biggest challenges is the need to type out every single word. Nowadays, it’s fairly straightforward to record spoken content with a microphone and have it transcribed for online posting. I’ve been experimenting with a tool called AudioPen, which records my voice, transcribes the content, and then enhances it through an AI model. This approach is particularly fascinating because, as many of us might have noticed, live speech often includes numerous mistakes. The grammar might not be on point, and while these errors are generally forgivable to listeners, they are less so to readers of the transcribed text.

Three Development Projects

I’ve been dedicating my spare time to three development projects lately, some of which are continuations of past work, while others are new ventures. Allow me to elaborate on them.

Firstly, there’s Tin (using the chemical symbol Sn), the software that powers this website. I’m quite pleased with Tin’s progress, as it now boasts numerous features I’ve long wanted to implement. In fact, it has made creating and posting new content significantly more effortless. I recently added pagination functionality, enabling users to navigate between pages and allowing Google to index all 3,000+ posts on the blog. Additionally, I re-enabled the search feature, which has been performing well. As I continue developing Tin, I plan to enhance the interactive front-end for post composition, streamlining the process of writing and publishing content directly on the site.

Reflecting on Legacy

I ought to have titled this blog “I’ve Been Thinking” since it seems each post involves me thinking about some thing and never actually doing more than that. Lately, my thoughts have been on my mother-in-law, who is currently facing medical challenges. Her children are preparing an obituary for when her time comes. Naturally, this has led me to reflect on how I’d like to be remembered and the legacy I’d leave behind.

Legacy is a weighty word, but it captures that essence – what I hope to achieve in life. As cliche as it sounds, considering what my obituary would say while I’m still alive is an intriguing exercise. It prompts thoughts about whether I’ve accomplished everything I’d hoped to and what more I have to achieve.