iPhone 15 camera deep-dive, organizing filament, the evils of dollar stores, ChatGPT plugins, and more
It's Advanced Geekery for the week ending September 15, 2023
Welcome to this week’s Advanced Geekery newsletter. This is an exciting issue, with a bunch of articles on the new iPhone 15. Let’s dive in.
Let’s kick it off with a quick recap of the articles I published in the last week on ZDNET:
Should you buy an iPhone 15? Here's how my wife and I are deciding: Let's look at the buying decisions we're facing this iPhone season. I see three main reasons for users to upgrade. Do any apply to you?
How the iPhone 15 Pro Max challenges mirrorless cameras: We compare price and performance: Standalone cameras offer flexibility, but Apple's newest iPhone challenges their dominance in the prosumer market with a surprisingly good price/performance ratio.
Apple adds 6TB and 12TB iCloud+ storage tiers priced at $30 and $60 a month: Our long iCloud+ storage nightmare is now over -- at least until we use it up again.
ZDNET Special Feature: The Rise of Generative AI
ZDNET is running an interesting Special Feature, The Rise of Generative AI. I wrote the following deep dive:
Extending ChatGPT: Can AI chatbot plugins really change the game? I take a deep dive into how powerful ChatGPT and other AI chatbot plugins really are. Can they actually make a difference in your work life and are they even worth it?
Also, ZDNET Staff Writer Maria Diaz looked at generative AI and the creator economy. I shared some of my thoughts in here, as well.
4 ways generative AI can stimulate the creator economy: From generating video scripts to creating artwork, artificial intelligence tools are changing how content creators work in a big way.
Moving on, let’s queue up some interesting YouTube videos for your entertainment and edification.
One of my favorite YouTube channels is Wendover Productions. Expect to see more from them here. This week, they’re running a deep look into dollar stores. They don’t hold back. It’s a biting analysis.
Another channel I enjoy a lot is The History Guy. He does in-depth stories about things that you don’t always think about. This time, he did the history of zip codes. It’s a lot more fascinating than you’d expect.
Mayim Bialik is an American actress who starred in Big Bang Theory and is a co-host of Jeopardy! Here’s something you might not expect. She’s got a neuroscience Ph.D. from UCLA. In any case, I’m bringing her to your attention because she unplugged from the Internet and devices for two weeks. This is her story about that experience. Do you think you could unplug for that long? I get squirrely after 10 minutes.
What's wrong with this picture?
Seriously? Et tu, Facebook? I mean, what is the Facebook algorithm seeing?
Here’s some good stuff from around the Internet, well worth reading.
PCGamesN has an interesting take on open world games like Skyrim and Starfield. They claim Starfield is the death of video games as we know them. I think that’s a little harsh, but what do you think?
If you use ChatGPT, ZDNET has 6 helpful ways to use ChatGPT's Custom Instructions.
Finally, Variety talks about the new season of For All Mankind (an absolutely excellent alternate history view of NASA and the space program). It’s back with a new season on November 10 on Apple TV+. I would do a happy dance, but I don’t dance. I also don’t jump or run.
Project of the week
Sometimes, you wind up doing a project you didn’t expect to be doing. That was me, this week.
I have a few new 3D printers in that I need to set up and review. To do that, I needed my workbench clear in the Fab Lab. To do that, I needed to move the spare rolls of filament that were sitting on the bench into my wall shelves where I keep my filament. But those shelves were jam-packed already with filament and filament boxes, all stacked precariously, ready to spill off at any time.
To get workbench space, I needed to clean up my filament storage. I have often thought of running long shelves of filament like Uncle Jesse does, but I don’t have that much filament and I’m not thrilled about stacking it all above my 3D printers.
The first thing I did was go through all my filament and throw away everything that was junk, every spool with just a few feet of filament on the reel, and all those tiny little sample packs that didn’t store well. Then I made a big discovery about the Home Depot HDX shelves where I’ve been stacking my filament all these years. Check it out:
The slats in the shelves perfectly hold open spools of filament stacked on their side. So I organized my own spools in front, some of the still-sealed rolls in the back, and all the boxes of filament on the shelf above it.
This resulted in one other problem. Those boxes are stacked three deep. What’s in the back? I solved that by setting up a quick Notion database, my Fila-mentory, which tracks filament inventory. I just snapped some quick pics of each spool to create a new record for each.
With Notion, I can assign tags to each spool, which lets me view my fila-mentory by useful categories like color, material, and thickness.
That way, I can tell at a glance, that I have a fair amount of blue filament, and how many spools I have of each kind.
I keep finding more uses for Notion. Consider using it for a project, if you need to organize something yourself.
Why (and how) I rely on this powerful productivity tool: My Notion review on ZDNET.
I’d like to regularly spotlight a reader project or two here. If you have a photogenic reader project, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Leave some comments
Substack supports comments, so feel free to leave some. I promise to read them. Did you listen to my tunes? What did you think? What about that coffee warmer? Do you consider it as life-changing as I do? And did you read that piece on generative AI and elections? If you want to share thoughts on that, please comment as well.
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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