Discover more from Advanced Geekery with David Gewirtz
How AI can finally fix Gmail, Excel magic, and a poem about Amazon
Plus, the ambience craze, Christopher Walken dancing, The Most Important Device in the Universe, and more logistics fun.
I’m David Gewirtz. Welcome to this week’s Advanced Geekery newsletter. This is an exciting issue. Let’s dive in.
Let’s kick it off with a quick recap of the articles I published in the last week on ZDNET:
How Google's AI Bard helped me fix a Gmail technical problem: Sure, I could have solved the problem on my own - or by calling Google support. But turning to Bard saved me time and frustration.
Amazon's holiday gift to you: Extended returns signal start of shopping season: Here's everything to know about Amazon's extended holiday return policy, so you can shop early with peace of mind. Plus a poem. Yep, I wrote a poem about Amazon.
Using only Excel, here's how I made this very impressive table: Excel provides some powerful formatting tools to help you produce great-looking tables. Follow along to see how I created mine.
Geek trivia question (answered)
Last week, I asked:
What science fiction TV series broadcast a decade before the original Star Trek starred both William Shatner and James Doohan?
The correct answer was provided by reader Martin, “Space Command (CBC) starred Doohan and featured Shatner.” Space Command was a Canadian children’s show broadcast from 1953 to 1954 (way before my time), starring James “Scotty” Doohan. Shatner had a guest role in one of the episodes.
Moving on, let’s queue up some interesting YouTube videos for your entertainment and edification.
We kick off this week in YouTube with a 2000 Fatboy Slim video starring the Headless Horseman himself, the great Christopher Walken. Directed by Spike Jonze, this amazing Walken number was ranked by Billboard as the #9 greatest video of all time. Yeah, it is that good.
Next up is another logistics video. This time, WSJ digs into Amazon’s attempt to once again redefine fast delivery.
Rounding out our list is a video from the US State Department where Senior Foreign Service Officer Kristen Kane reviews TV depictions of diplomacy. It’s rare that State Department insiders share their job insights in public, which is why this video is pretty special.
Here’s some good stuff from around the Internet, well worth reading.
Have you been paying attention to the ambience video craze? These are lightly animated video backgrounds with soothing sounds and music, designed to keep you company or put you in a pleasant setting, like a coffee shop. It’s a surprisingly big craze, and Vibe has the whole story.
Home schooling surged during the heart of the pandemic. The Washington Post has an interesting story about how the surge never really subsided, even as most people have returned to business-as-usual.
Are you familiar with The Most Important Device in the Universe? You probably are, even if you don’t know it. It’s a prop that’s been in a ton of science fiction shows. Hackaday has an article explaining how the video effects are powered by one tiny timer chip. Oh, and here’s a compilation of some of the places the Most Important Device has been used.
I’d like to regularly spotlight a reader project or two here. Your project doesn’t have to be a big Kickstarter launch. If you’ve built something cool, it has some pretty pictures, and you’re proud of it, I might be able to share it here.
If you have a photogenic reader project, send an email to me at email@example.com with the subject “READER PROJECT,” a few pictures, and a short one-paragraph description. If you have a social media link or a link to the project, include that, too.
I’ve got a lot happening all over the web. Here are links to my various stuff:
House of the Head: home for my published music
ZATZ Labs: where I host my published software projects
Feel free to dig around, visit, and say hey!
Leave some comments
Substack supports comments, so feel free to leave some. I promise to read them. Just, please, let’s keep our personal politics out of any discussion.
That should do it for this week. This newsletter is really starting to pick up subscribers. Please help it out by sharing links on all your socials.
Have a great week!
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