Brad's AI Tour - Sydney

There's no doubt about it. AI is going to be even huger in 2024 than it was in 2023. At least from a hype perspective. That's judging by the 16 minute wait I faced to collect my badge at the entrance of the Microsoft AI Tour in Sydney this morning. Regular haircut people of the East Coast are going to make a lot of money from this technology. I just think it's neat.

Dear Chat GPT. Please generate me a harbour side house in Rozelle Bay.

Regardless, I felt extremely hyped myself this afternoon during a short break for fresh air between sessions. This was not just from the sugar of the dozen free desserts I consumed at the event and the hotel breakfast buffet beforehand. I crammed new knowledge into my face with just as much avarice as I had for the food and coffee. I get genuinely excited by the potential of this technology the same way I get tingles every time I get a glimpse of humanity's potential and before some reality snaps me out of it. With the right amount of CPU and ingenuity the possibilities are endless. Human services, healthcare, custom entertainment, massive increases in productivity. All of it could be achieved and most of the world** could commence living like spoiled Golden Retrievers for the rest of our lives, carried through the years in the metaphorical, oversized handbag of big tech and their easy to consume, low code solutions.

Humanity will corrupt it, of course. When there's money to make and social hierarchies to preserve the packaging won't end up matching the product. The margins will ruin things.

AI is ground breaking magic. But if you want to use it in Production, you're going to need a few additional services deployed in between the model and your users.

Anyway, after the sugar rush ended and the afternoon sessions peeled back the curtains on the magic box a bit further, my expectations returned to their temperedness. There's still a lot to do. And I still have excitement about contributing to doing it. After hours of walking around Sydney and its harbour in the past twenty-four hours I am reminded that humanity has not nor will not ever be perfect. But it's far from being bad. We will probably end up living like spoiled Golden Retrievers think they live.

**With the exception of physical labourers and AI developers of course. And then just the developers.

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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.

Not the First Time

Today was not the first day of my life that began with sunrise in North Adelaide walking the dog and sunset at the beach walking with my wife. I didn't take any pictures, which is not because there was nothing to see nor great light. I am privileged that despite what happens in my life I can enjoy pleasures such as these with such regularity that I don't even feel the need to document them. I also ate what apparently is Australia's best breakfast of 2023 and I didn't take photos of that either.

What I did document today were these Nash themed oat-flour gingerbread cookies.

Autumn in Canberra

After enjoying Adelaide's unseasonably warm April, we finished the month by flying into Canberra on the uplift of a high pressure cell that was trapping cold, wet air over Australia's capital. This was tolerable for the sake of spending time with family and not working for a Monday.

Saturday began with a trip to the Fyshwick Markets, some rounds of Chameleon, a walk around the ovals with the kids, then a nap. After a Parma (not Parmi, infidels) and a pint (I'll forgive that one) Steve, Jess and I enjoyed a selection of local beers bought from Plonk that morning.

I also got my revenge and beat Steve at Acquire.

Sunday was even more rainy, though we did get a decent walk in along the flank of Mount Pleasant and then back along the lake.

In the afternoon there was an attempt to play Fortnite using a PS5 controller (0 points for both) and then some nachos for dinner and two rounds of Taboo. (The squeaker really makes that game).

Monday was even colder, but at least less rainy. Vanessa and I completed an eleven kilometre loop of our nation's adolescent Arboretum, then ate lunch overlooking it. A quick loop up Black Mountain (more of a hill) managed to get our daily steps for the trip back in line with our daily average. After that and a shower there was enough time for a few rounds of sardines with the kids before our flight back, via the Virgin Lounge for a complementary visit where I drank three beers and ate four pies.

A pretty packed weekend, I regret we couldn't squeeze in the National Rock Garden.

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Rounding Up

Much like the sun, I rose this morning shortly before 6am and spent the day traveling west until a bit after 6pm.

It's hard not to draw comparisons on this trip through NSW to times from last decade. Wentworth Point, for instance, has changed dramatically. In 2013 I drove from Sydney to Mildura in a single day. I'm sure a lot of people have. But before today I was only 99.95% confident I could replicate that much driving in my now 38 year old body. Last time I did the drive it was immediately after disembarking a flight from LAX, but at least at 29 I had the advantages of a toll tag and a few more hours of sunlight.

So, I was pleased to roll onto Deakin street shortly before dusk this evening. Maybe this time, with enough REM sleep, I will remember the journey. Coffee at Sutton Forest and Gundagai, lunch in Narrandera, endless clouds for the final five hours. Not long to go now before the sun sets on this road trip.

Today's distance.

Super Effective

After four nights in Queensland we were on the road again today and knocked off a fair chunk of the route home. Starting with frosty farmland in the hinterland, past north coast beaches and the big banana and making it as far south as Forster for the next two days.

All the driving, while not distracted by overtaking caravans, listening to Agatha Christie, and appreciating the views, can be a bit repetitive. One of my favourite games is to play "Pokemon or Australian Town Name?" For instance, does Mooball evolve into Bullabarra? Or are these places in the Tweed Valley and Blue Mountains? Can you teach surf to Kungabung?

This is a much nicer game than my other Pokemon themed pastime, which I call "completing the daily roadkill Pokédex". :(

Today on multiple bridge supports some hundred kilometres apart someone had stenciled a series of statements such as "vote like a girl" and something about not trusting any government. The first one I saw was a quote about living in harmony with nature... I missed the second part because a massive, bloody kangaroo was spreadeagle on the shoulder right next to it.

Road Trip Feelings

Most of my entries so far this holiday have been about what I've seen, but not much about how I've felt.

I've driven for over 24 hours already since Saturday which has actually been mentally fascinating, one of my hidden human senses is an instinct as to how far from home I am. I am very far from home. This sense might be behind my shoulder blades...

I have seen an incredible amount of Australian countryside and it has mostly been immense and beautiful.

I've been able to dedicate time to playing with my new camera, which I hope will reward me with better photos at some point.

I have not been working.

I've been hiking and using my whole arm again.

And I have been less cold. I soaked in more sun on the walking and driving today than all of the last week in Adelaide. I'm not wearing socks while writing this.

Why did the chicken cross the

Breakfast in South Australia (apple, oats, chia and yogurt), lunch in Victoria (pepper steak pie), dinner in NSW (schnitzel and pizza).

Everything worked as expected today. The new windscreen wipers proved their worth, the $30 phone holder held my phone for 800km, my shoulders did not fall off, the Hay Plain was boring and beautiful in the golden light, Google maps took me down a dirt road for 30 minutes to try and save fifteen seconds. The road trip playlist only got two skips between 7:30 am and 6pm.

2022 Inflation, A Credit Card Statement in Review

I’m the owner of a credit card with a fifteen thousand dollar limit, and I was a little alarmed last week to notice that I was nearing that threshold for the first time ever. Was this the product of buying multiple coffees in an April filled with public holidays? Or was the quarterly consumer price index jump of 2.1%, making for an annual inflation rate of 5.1%, to blame. As this did not happen in my backyard I was keen to analyse and document on my mantel*/journal. And so I bring you my old and well established gimmick: 2022, A Credit Card Statement in Review (Inflation Edition).

* As reviewing my earlier entries has confirmed, posting prices and thoughts about prices in relation to specific dates will provide immense benefit to future anthropologists, according to my inner narcissist.

24 Apr 2022 $8.29 COLES AUS
Maybe it’s because I’m not obese, but the extreme increase in grocery prices has not caused me to starve yet. In the above transaction I purchased four green apples, a tomato, chicken breast, a kilogram of yogurt, three red chilis, two tins of 4 bean mix, some wholemeal crumpets and a bag of lettuce. I did get a $10 discount thanks to my existing Fly Buy points…

23 Apr 2022 $13.33 AMAZON AU
The price of a 1,000 piece Ravensburger puppy puzzle That is 1.3c per piece, delivered. Is that good value for puzzle pieces? Recording this here for future reference.
I ordered this on a Saturday morning and it was dropped off at my front door on Sunday by some guy in a beaten up Camry. How many pieces worth did that guy get paid I wonder?

23 Apr 2022 $151.00 99 BIKES
The cost of replacing my busted wheel, including a new inner tube and labour, which was performed on a Saturday afternoon with no wait time. This seems like good value, although my whole bike cost less than $400 so I probably should have just bought a second one for parts.

21 Apr 2022 $4.30 CITY OF ADELAIDE
Two hours of parking in the city on a Wednesday afternoon. I borrowed two library books for free while I was there.

18 Apr 2022 $65.16 OTR
The cost of a tank of 95 octane petrol. I used the windscreen cleaner for free, but the toilets were occupied so I held on until I got home. There was no public holiday surcharge.

17 Apr 2022 $29.90 PETSTOCK
The price for ten white cloud fish that I released into the water feature in my backyard. I’ve received multiple mosquitos bites in the weeks since, so I am questioning the value of this one.

17 Apr 2022 $15.00 MYLK BAR NORTH ADELAIDE
Two coffees, public surcharge included. Felt a bit steep, honestly.

14 Apr 2022 $16.00 HARRYS BAR ADELAIDE
An imperial pint of Little Creatures plus a large can of Guinness. Felt pretty cheap, honestly.

13 Apr 2022 $140.00 UPPER LIMB SURGEON
6 Apr 2022 $341.55 RADIOLOGY
30 Mar 2022 $220.00 UPPER LIMB SURGEON
25 Mar 2022 $142.20 HAND THERAPIST
18 Mar 2022 $89.60 RADIOLOGY
15 Mar 2022 $250.00 RADIOLOGY

Breaking a bike part is a lot cheaper than breaking a human part.

7 Apr 2022 $42.00 HAIR BOWDEN
This does seem to be pretty excessive when placed on the spectrum of two large coffees and a whole tank of refined petrol. According to the archives a haircut in Sydney in 2011 cost $25 and I can understand why the war in Ukraine might have pushed that price up to where it is today. At least this is for a scissor cut.

3 Apr 2022 $8.00 NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (Bundanoon)
The price for 24 hours in a NSW National Park is $8 and honestly I would pay more if I had to.

22 Mar 2022 $117.67 Pet Circle
The price of 15kg of dog food in 2022, but due to the amount of chicken and bird shit in Nash's diet it takes her at least six weeks to get through each bag. Just another piece of evidence that I could feed myself for less than $25 a week if I was desperate.

14 Mar 2022 $18.50 Car Wash Robot
A $7.5 jump since 2006, although I did have to pay about six times as much for the car that I put in it.

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