[14th April 2024] Interesting Things I Learnt This Week

  1. Opera adds built-in support for local LLMs - Opera is adding local AI models to its browser. Users can choose from 150 local LLM variants, keeping their data private on their device. This is part of Opera’s AI Feature Drops Program for early adopters. My Take : Locally running LLMs will become a commonplace very soon. It requires not just software but hardware support as well. On older hardware it might takes ages to get anything done. But on newer hardware it will be good I guess. The best software to get them integrated is going to be the browser for most folks IMHO . I was hoping Firefox to be the first one to do it, but I wish they work towards it. I have no hope of any of the big personal computing softwares to be doing it. They will push for only their models to be running and working across devices, also trusting them to not harvest data off it, would be a challenge. Never the less, integrating LLM APIs in browser will open up some interesting avenues for web applications.

The path forward

 Throughout my life, I've often found myself choosing paths different to those taken by most of my peers. Sometimes, this was a deliberate choice, while other times it was a result of the circumstances life presented me with. One instance of this occurred when I opted to pursue a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science, while most of my peers were flocking towards Electronics. Later, when many of my peers were planning to leave India, I made the decision to stay and eventually secured fulfilling roles that prevented any regrets about my choice. Similarly, while everyone was engrossed in developing for iPhone and Symbian, I ventured into Android and published apps on that platform. I vividly recall attending a mobile conference at IIMB in 2009-2010, where during a talk, I was the only individual who solely knew Android, while others were proficient in Nokia or iPhone. Despite being advised that only Symbian and iPhone would yield financial success, I'm glad to have jumped on

[March 31] Interesting Things I Learnt This Week

 1. MRI Headphones - This is an interesting post about how MRI Headphones work . During MRI normal headphones cant be used at they use metal and have magnets. So there is a simple solution for that, have electronics outside and audio piped through a tubing.  My Take: When I first read about it, I was blown over by the fact that there were headphones for MRI. I have never seen one but then when I read the post about how and why it works, its seems like a no brainer. Its a simple elegant solution which has been invented because of the constraints on the system. 2. How many natural satellites does Earth have : There has been multiple discussion and articles on it. Earth has one permanent moon, but many other objects are temporarily captured in Earth’s orbit. These temporary moons are called minimoons, quasi-satellites, or ghost moons. Some are asteroids that get caught in Earth’s gravity for a short time. Others are pulled in by the sun’s gravity and follow a similar path to Earth.

My learnings at Google

I just quit Google after almost 7½ years. When I had joined Google in 2016 I was exploring to start up with a travel planning, sharing and booking platform. But then when I got the chance to join Google I told myself that I will stay for 3-4 years and learn how Google's culture makes it build products that people love, at scale. Also, their engineering culture was something I had heard a lot about and thought this is my best chance to learn about and implement it in my startup. But then I managed to overstay at Google for various reasons.  There are various posts talking about what is wrong about Google here , here and here . But I wanted to look at its positives and I hope companies adopt it rather than a toxic culture which is brewing everywhere. Here are a few things which stood out for me (in no particular order): 1. Blameless postmortems : Blameless postmortems are a powerful tool for learning from incidents and improving system reliability. The key aspects of it are   a. Foc

[March 24] Interesting Things I Learnt This Week

 1. Ultrasound becoming Utra small - How MEMS technology has miniaturized ultrasound imaging. It discusses the limitations of traditional ultrasound machines. These machines are bulky and require multiple probes. MEMS technology allows for the creation of a single probe that can image the entire body. This probe is small enough to fit in a lab coat pocket.  The article also details the technical aspects of MEMS transducers. My Take : Any and all technology is bound to get cheap and miniaturized over time with progress in science and technology. Utrasound is something which can be thought of a speaker and a mic in very layman terms. These are bound to get smaller over time and be more effective. But like any other tool, this can be misused and the reason for skewed male/female ratio in India can also be attributed to ultrasound. My worry is if this tech is available more widely and portable, it will further skew the gender ratios in India(and probably a lot of other countries). This pa

[March 17] Interesting Things I Learnt This Week

1. LocalSend : On its website explains what it is, in a minimalist way with just two lines written there Share files to nearby devices. Free, open-source, cross-platform. This is all this product does My Take : This is an incredible app which works across different platforms. I tried it on Android and Linux and my experience was super boring, which is great. This process there is always a market for simple products which just work. I hope this app becomes like VLC player which is another great open source software which just works across different platforms. 2. Arduino GIGA R1 WiFi : A 3.6kW, Arduino controlled, single-axis tracking, ground mount solar system   My Take : Amazing work and all of it is open source. I guess anyone working to setup solar panels should look into this for better efficiency.  3. Oxygen Production at Europa : NASA's Juno mission has found that the ice-covered Jovian moon generates 1,000 tons of oxygen every 24 hours – enough to keep a million humans b

[March 10] Interesting Things I Learnt This Week

1. Kitten - The Streaming HTML framework - Kitten is a small, JavaScript-based web framework designed for people who want to build web applications easily. It is designed to be easy to use and fun to work with. Kitten accomplishes this by using plain HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Additionally, Kitten supports features like WebSockets, htmx, and Alpine.js. A starter tutorial for it is at My Take:   This is a new framework that I find it very interesting, and it's worth keeping an eye on. It introduces some intriguing concepts, including streaming HTML and a JavaScript Database (JSDB). While this approach seems more suited for small web applications rather than web-scale ones, it might not be relevant for large organizations. However, for hobbyists like myself, it presents an exciting opportunity to try something new. I'll definitely be following this closely.   2. Radicle Heartwood Protocol & Stack -  Heartwood is the third ite