Happy New Year?

I was talking to my nephew’s wife this morning, and since I haven’t talked to her in a while I said “Happy New Year.” Of course, this led to a discussion of how far into the new year it’s still acceptable to say that.

The first week of January is still OK, because the new year is still fresh and we haven’t really settled into January yet. The second week is still fine too, because we may not have talked to people we don’t see everyday because they’ve been so busy with the holidays and other year-end/year-start chores. The third week is when we start pushing it, but it’s still OK because, hey, it’s still January.

So I’m declaring that today, January 31, is the official last day you can say “Happy New Year” to someone. February is too late. You missed your chance. An entire month has gone by, it’s too close to Valentine’s Day, and people are already ordering new spring clothes. Besides, if you haven’t said “Happy New Year” to all of the people you care about, know, or run into regularly by the end of January, they’re probably people you don’t really care about, know, or run into that often.

Now that we have that settled, let’s talk about when we should stop listening to Christmas music …

I Provide Human-Generated Content

Do you know who is typing this?

Sure, you can look up at the top of the screen and see whose site it is and make an assumption. Maybe you’ve read the site for a while. But do you truly know? I could be a robot.

Hopefully I’m a cool robot, like Gort or Data or Robby.

But the robots creating “content” now are artificial intelligence programs like ChatGPT and Dall-E. Technology that, like all technology these days it seems, is half impressive/half terrifying.

CNET has already been using AI to write articles on their site for a while now, and had to change the bylines on stories after they were caught (and errors/plagiarism were found). Teachers are worried AI will be used to write essays. Companies are already planning to use it for graphic design, finance, engineering, and education. Buzzfeed says they are going to start using AI to help create content, and their stock immediately went up 150%, so … yay?

[Insert your own “Wasn’t Buzzfeed content always provided by AI?” joke here.]

“Buzzfeed remains focused on human-generated journalism in its newsroom, says spokeswoman” is not a sentence that fills you with warm, positive feelings (finally, a phrase more cold and uninspiring than “content”). It’s one of those sentences that sounds like it’s from a deranged TED talk about the future or a movie where a company CEO assures the press that he created his technology for good, not evil. Really!

CEO Jonah Peretti says that AI will do the work but humans will provide “cultural currency” and “inspired prompts.” Sorry, but I’m going to need to see proof that Peretti isn’t himself a robot.

Remember when sites “pivoted to video” and it ended in disaster for many of them? Now they’re going to “pivot to ChatGPT” (but the results will probably be better, because people won’t care, it’s still text on a screen). Even ChatGPT itself knows what the future holds.

Meanwhile, the real people who create and edit human-generated words are getting laid off left and right. Local newspapers are dying, social media has taken over everything, and too many people seem to think that ChatGPT is just the coolest thing. And hey! It won’t disrupt things at all!

Because we all know that technological advances are always a positive thing, and companies will never try to find a faster, cheaper way of doing something.

Snowy Day, Random Notes

To paraphrase Dorothy Parker (or someone else), I don’t like shaving but I loved having shaved.

On the news you often hear a reporter or anchor – perhaps they’re talking about a mystery or information about an important case where they don’t have all the facts yet – use the phrase “that’s the $64,000 question.” I wonder how many people watching the news actually know what that expression means?

People in cottage cheese commercials always seem so happy, like they don’t even realize what they’re eating is disgusting.

It’s 2023, you no longer has to use the phrase “online web sites.”

Huntsville, AL, Colorado Springs, CO, and San Jose, CA all made U.S. News and World Reports‘ list of the 10 best places to live. Last place? For the 40th year in a row, Cabot Cove, ME.

I love creditors that call my house and say “Please call 1-800-XXX-XXXX Immediately” without saying who they are, why they’re calling, or even who they’re calling. What if my family was the size of the Waltons?

I’ve reached the age where I know what I like, what I don’t like, and what I want to do and I’m never going to change my mind.

I love waking up in the middle of the night, say around 2:30am, and realizing that I don’t have to get up early that day. It’s a great feeling.

Remember when we had to lick stamps?

Whenever I see a prescription medication commercial where the announcer says “Ask your doctor if _______ is right for you,” I’m tempted to ask my doctor so I can hear him say, “No, you don’t need that!”

There are enough things to worry about in life so I don’t waste time trying to save 41 cents on a loaf of bread or 74 cents on a frozen dinner.

Whatever is wrong in your life, whether it’s financial, career, health or relationship, can be cured by pizza.

No, I’m not going to join Mastodon, so don’t even ask.