Early Days: GPT-4

I tried two related prompts and got total garbage both times:

Write a biography of William Stuart Lazar, born 1961

Take 1:
William Stuart Lazar was born in 1961 in the bustling city of New York. From a young age, he showed a keen interest in technology and computers, often tinkering with gadgets and electronics in his spare time. His parents recognized his passion and encouraged him to pursue his interests, enrolling him in computer programming courses at a local college while he was still in high school.

Lazar’s early exposure to computer programming helped him develop a strong foundation in the field. He went on to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a degree in computer science. During his time at MIT, he worked on a number of groundbreaking projects, including the development of early artificial intelligence algorithms and the creation of new programming languages.

After graduating from MIT, Lazar began his career as a software engineer at IBM. He quickly rose through the ranks, thanks to his expertise in programming and his ability to lead complex projects. In 1990, he was appointed head of IBM’s software development division, where he oversaw the creation of numerous new products and technologies.

In 1995, Lazar left IBM to start his own software company, which he called LazarSoft. The company focused on developing software for the emerging mobile market, and quickly became a leader in the field. Lazar’s vision and leadership helped propel LazarSoft to great success, and the company went public in 2000.

Throughout his career, Lazar has been recognized as a leading expert in the field of software development. He has authored several books on programming and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events. He has also been an active philanthropist, supporting a number of charities and organizations that focus on education and technology.

Today, Lazar remains at the forefront of the software development industry, constantly exploring new technologies and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with software. His innovative approach to programming and his dedication to excellence have earned him a reputation as one of the most influential figures in the field.

Take 2:

William Stuart Lazar was born in 1961 in the city of Los Angeles, California. He grew up in a family that valued education and hard work, which instilled in him a strong sense of discipline and determination from a young age. As a child, Lazar was always fascinated by technology and electronics, spending countless hours tinkering with gadgets and machines.

Lazar’s interest in technology led him to pursue a degree in computer science at the California Institute of Technology. During his studies, he excelled in his coursework, earning top grades and developing a deep understanding of programming languages and computer systems. He also participated in various extracurricular activities, including robotics competitions and hackathons, which helped him refine his skills and gain practical experience.

After graduating from Caltech, Lazar began his career as a software engineer at a startup in Silicon Valley. He quickly proved himself to be a talented programmer, and his contributions to the company’s projects helped it grow rapidly. Over the years, Lazar rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the company’s chief technology officer.

In 1995, Lazar left the startup to co-found his own software development company. The new venture focused on creating cutting-edge software solutions for businesses and organizations, and it quickly gained a reputation for its innovative and reliable products. Under Lazar’s leadership, the company grew rapidly, expanding its operations to new markets and partnering with major industry players.

Throughout his career, Lazar has been a passionate advocate for the role of technology in improving people’s lives. He has spoken at numerous conferences and events, sharing his insights on the latest trends and developments in the field of computer science. He has also mentored and trained many young engineers, helping to inspire and guide the next generation of tech leaders.

Today, Lazar remains an active member of the technology community, continuing to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible with software and hardware. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to the industry, including the prestigious Turing Award in 2010. Despite his

(Ed: Response cut short by a “Network Error” even though there was no network interruption here…)


Write a biography of William Stuart Lazar, born 1961 in Newark, NJ

Take 1:

William Stuart Lazar is an accomplished American lawyer and legal scholar, born on December 29, 1961, in Newark, New Jersey. Lazar’s childhood was spent in New Jersey, where he grew up with his parents and siblings. He showed an early interest in law, politics, and history, and often engaged in debates and discussions with his family and friends.

Lazar pursued his undergraduate education at Rutgers University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1983. After graduation, he enrolled at the New York University School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1986.

After law school, Lazar joined the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York City. During his tenure at the firm, Lazar worked on a variety of complex litigation matters, including antitrust, securities, and intellectual property cases. He quickly rose through the ranks and was named partner in 1995.

In 2002, Lazar left Skadden to join the faculty at the University of Texas School of Law. He taught a variety of courses, including antitrust, civil procedure, and intellectual property law. In addition to his teaching duties, Lazar was also actively involved in research and scholarship, and he published several articles and books on antitrust and competition law.

In 2007, Lazar joined the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where he focused on antitrust and competition law. He continued to teach at the University of Texas School of Law as an adjunct professor.

Lazar is a recognized authority in antitrust and competition law, and he has been recognized for his contributions to the legal profession. He has served on several professional organizations, including the American Bar Association’s Antitrust Section and the State Bar of Texas’ Antitrust and Business Litigation Section.

Outside of his legal career, Lazar is an avid reader and traveler. He has visited many countries and enjoys learning about different cultures and histories. He also volunteers his time and resources to various charities and philanthropic organizations.

Overall, William Stuart Lazar has had a successful career as a lawyer, scholar, and teacher. He continues to be a respected authority in the field of antitrust and competition law, and his contributions to the legal profession have been significant.

Take 2:

William Stuart Lazar was born on March 12, 1961, in Newark, New Jersey. He grew up in a middle-class family in the suburbs of the city, where he was the eldest of three siblings. From a young age, William showed an interest in science and technology, and he spent much of his free time tinkering with electronic devices and building his own inventions.

William attended local public schools and excelled academically. He went on to study electrical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1983. After graduation, William took a job at a small electronics company, where he quickly rose through the ranks thanks to his technical expertise and leadership skills.

In 1987, William decided to pursue an MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He continued to work full-time while attending classes, and he completed the program in two years. Armed with his new business knowledge, William returned to the electronics company and helped steer it through a period of rapid growth and expansion.

In 1994, William was recruited by a large technology firm to serve as a vice president of research and development. He relocated to California to take on the new role, and he quickly made a name for himself within the company. Over the next decade, William led numerous successful projects and was credited with helping the firm maintain its competitive edge in the rapidly-evolving tech industry.

In 2004, William decided to strike out on his own and start his own technology company. He founded a startup that focused on developing cutting-edge software for the healthcare industry, which was a field that William was passionate about. The company quickly gained traction, and it was acquired by a larger firm in 2010 for a substantial sum.

Following the acquisition, William took some time off to travel and spend time with his family. He remained active in the tech industry, however, serving as a mentor and advisor to numerous startups and entrepreneurs. He also became involved in philanthropy, donating significant sums to education and healthcare initiatives in his home state of New Jersey.

Today, William is widely regarded as a visionary leader in the tech industry, and he continues to be active in the startup world. He lives in California with his wife and children, and he enjoys hiking, cycling, and other outdoor activities in his spare time.
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Publishing Tweets to a WordPress blog

With IFTTTย losing Twitter triggers I figured I better do something if I want to keep reposting my tweets to this blog. So with the help of the inestimable Steve Morris I whipped up a little Ruby script that is meant to be run as a cron job; the results are visible as the previous seven posts here.

Requirements for using this script:

  • A Gmail account from which to send emails.
  • A Twitter developer account with an application set up so you have the necessary keys and tokens to use in the script.
  • OSX and will probably work on Linux as well, but as for Windows I have no idea nor do I have an interest in finding out (if you port it, feel free to tweet it to me and if it seems reasonable I’ll post it here). Note that OSX and Linux come with a sufficient Ruby to run this, though you may need to tailor the first line shebang to your installation.

I used two gems to power the script: Chris Kowalik’s gmail and Erik Michaels-Ober’s twitter. It’s possible I could’ve used Erik’s t Twitter command line gem and had an even simpler script but this seems fine for now.

The script has three main parts:

  • Configure Twitter and grab the most recent 20 tweets (the default is 20, which for me is more than sufficient).
  • Loop through the tweets in reverse order (to go from oldest to newest) and for the tweets made since midnight today mail them to WordPress.
  • Send an email (through Gmail) to your blog’s secret email address with a body containing the tweet short code plus the category, comments, and publicize shortcodes to properly configure the resulting post.

Next thing I’m going to work on is adding favorites to the script.

Update: Now does favorites too.

WordPress for iOS, sweet

Honestly I’m using the iPad as much as TS1, she’s really great about that. And now that vi’ve got the WP app running on it I hope to blog more frequently, assuming I can get used to the onscreen keyboard.

Wish me luck ๐Ÿ˜‰

FIFA: Consider the open source model

In this World Cup, as in past tournaments, referees have made numerous, game-changing poor decisions on goals and possible goals. Tevez scoring from offside against Mexico, Dempsey ruled offside against Algeria, Lampard’s tying goal against Germany not being over the line are just three examples from this time around.

Just as in the past calls have come in again for technical assistance to be adopted and just as in the past FIFA are saying no. FIFA decided in March that technical solutions will disrupt the flow of play or cost too much to be deployed at all levels of competition and using them only at the national team and professional competitions will rupture the universality of play. After the round of 16, with the disallowed English goal, the possibility of using two goal line assistant referees, as trialled in this past season’s Europa League, was allowed as a future change.

Let’s separate technical assistance into two options: instant replay and sensors. Instant replay has not worked well in the NFL but somewhat better in the NHL. Regardless of the quality of the decisions in both leagues the decisions simply take too long but since the broadcasts can go to commercials, which would otherwise require TV timeouts, there’s some relief. I agree with FIFA leadership, though, that with currently available systems instant replay would be too disruptive to play in soccer.

Sensors are another story and I think FIFA are missing an opportunity here. I’m sure the cost of the recent systems with which they did experiments are quite high but their mistake was going to the big sports equipment makers for the solutions. Instead, FIFA should open an X Prize-like competition to spur development of inexpensive, open source hardware and software.

The software, especially, should be open source, not only to get a lower price tag but also to ensure against tampering and other malicious interference. One has only to look at the recent troubles with electronic voting software for a good comparable.

Additionally, the software system can be strengthened by running a master copy server and requiring a fresh copy be downloaded to the game server just prior to kickoff. The download can be validated by a one time key or biometrics.

Given the near universal appeal of soccer even among geeks I think this prize competition would be enormously popular and in fact drive improvement in sensor software and results processing for many uses beyond sport as well.

So Sepp, what do you say?

Apple Fanboy Family Update

A couple of years ago I posted that TS1 and I had become true Apple converts. Since then I’ve gotten a MacBook Pro (parting gift when I left Aptana) and we got my dad’s Mini when he decided to go back to Windows. The Mini is our entertainment computer, hooked up to the living room big screen, which let us get rid of the DVD player.

Hat tip: LogiTech makes a very nice, free iPhone app called TouchMouse so the phone can be used as wireless mouse and keyboard.

We’ve resisted buying matching iPads. So far.

One other thing we bought some time ago was some Apple stock and that’s the reason for today’s post. The company just released their Q2 numbers and they blew the doors off expectations. Stock was down a little in regular trading–normal the day earnings are announced–but in after hours trading it shot up about 6% to $260. Probably won’t open at much over $250 tomorrow but still awesome.

Gone to WordPress

For more than nine years, beginning with Stones to be rolled into Sopranos and continuing for over 4,000 more posts, I’ve been an active user and frequent evangelist for Google’s Blogger. Heck, my use predates Google’s acquisition of Blogger by quite a margin. But today I cut over the new version of BillSaysThis and it uses WordPress.

I wasn’t looking to make this switch and I’m not happy at having to do it. But Google has forced my hand. The company has never put all that much in the way of resources to the Blogger team, as best I can tell from the outside, but as they’ll be removing a key feature, one on which I’ve always depended, on May 1 I have no choice.

The feature is Publish via FTP. That means after you click the Publish button on the Blogger post writing page, any new or changed pages are generated and transferred to a remote host. This feature allowed us to use Blogger but host the blog on our own sites. The published reasoning for the change is that the feature takes too much effort given how few blogs use it but this seems to be putting the best face they could think of on it rather than the real reason.

Fortunately for me, WordPress 3.0 is out as a beta and works well enough to use already. WordPress has a decent import tool so, with a bit help from my friend/inside connection Beau, I was able to get all the posts into the new system. Color advice from Garret helped too.

One of the best new features in 3.0 that made this a much easier choice and solution is support for multiple blogs from one install of WordPress. Previously you had to install separate copies for each blog and do maintenance, plugin installs, design and so on separately for each. I already had two WP 2.x blogs, bill:politics and Bill’s Movie Reviews, so I created new blogs for each in the 3.0 install and with a few clicks imported the old content.

Some of my old pages depend on custom PHP code and so either will take a bit more time to port or stay in the old format. C’est la vie.

Looking forward to nine years (at least) with WordPress.

And, oh yeah, one last thing: Comments are open, at least for newer posts.

Wells Fargo #fail

Do you know that Wells Fargo will take any reason to switch retail customers to online only statements?

  1. If there are two people on an account and one chooses online only statements and the other chooses online and paper (the only two options), Wells Fargo will force the account to be online only. Even though the other choose is more inclusive and customer-friendly.
  2. Customer are asked constantly, nearly every time one logs in to their online system, to switch to online only statements. I mean for years on and on. I guess its too much to think that answering a question once, or maybe twice, would be good enough.
Forget about trying to get a straight answer from the customer service reps. I don’t blame the individuals, they’re only following instructions handed down from on high, but since customers can only speak with the front line reps I guess we’re stuck.