Week 105: LAVIS Examples and Self-Employment Status

26 Feb, 2023


I mentioned last week that I was trying out LAVIS, but that the Ubuntu machine I was running it on died. I spend some time reinstalling and now have a bit to share.

It’s really cool how easy it is to play with image analysis, and like I also mentioned last week, feels like reverse diffusion. Here’s a photo I found on unsplash:



If you like this photo, please check out the photographer FETHI BOUHAOUCHINE. Running BLIP Caption on it, I get the caption: “boy smiling while holding leaf”

That’s cool, but what is even cooler is that you can use GradCam to give you a heatmap of the parts of the image that are “boy smiling while holding leaf”:

“Gradmap of photo”

Gradmap of photo

And you can even get gradient maps for the individual keywords.

“Gradmap of individual keywords”

Gradmap of individual keywords

I think I’ll leave LAVIS there for now, but I have a feeling I will return to it at some point.

Self-Employment Status

I’m not a solo-entrepeneurial type, and I have always worked in teams and mostly in large organizations, so this is a journey filled with a lot of new learnings. About myself, about living with uncertainty MOREMOREMORE

Most people have responded ranging from curiosity and support to envy. For a lot of people, I’m living the dream. I don’t quite see it that way, or maybe it’s just about defining what dream means.

As I have also experienced in my work, working on a dream-product or dream-project doesn’t mean it’s fun all the time. “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”, seems complete bullshit to me. A better way of framing it, in my opinion, is the Fun Scale-system that I learned about when I read The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide:

Fun Scale

  • Type 1 fun is fun to do and fun to talk about later.
  • Type 2 fun is not fun to do but fun to talk about later.
  • Type 3 fun is not fun to do and not fun to talk about later.

Type 2 and 3, over time, yield the most memorable and significant kinds of fun. But they wear you out, so you need some type 1 fun during your day or week to keep you going.

Being my own manager now, although I have total freedom, setting that balance for myself is challenging. In a lot of ways I feel way more busy than when I had a regular job. Without the pressures of deadlines or other constraints, I am ultimately faced with the vastness of being able to do whatever I want.

I’m finding it hard to prioritize my projects and time. There are so many things I want to do. Should I prioritize doing:

  • What I feel most like doing?
  • What might make me unique from other people out there?
  • What might be the most exciting career path?
  • What might be the safest career path?

One thing that’s been helping is listening to the Pathless Path podcast, which is about the art of not having a regular job. I love how it ranges from talking about the more emotional aspects of loneliness, social pressures, etc., to things like how to think about financials, budget, or marketing.

Particularly, “The Art of Sabbaticals” episode was really helpful. I don’t know a lot of people who have taken sabbaticals or broken out as freelancers, and even fewer within my domain, so it’s nice to hear from someone with more experience.

A brief status from my side at this point after 6 weeks:

What’s going well

  • Cooking more, fermenting food and drinks again
  • Sleeping a lot better
  • Absorbing a lot of research and literature
  • Meeting lots of interesting people
  • Exploring Copenhagen more

Not going so well

  • Learnings feel scattered and unfocused
  • Starting to feel lonely working by myself
  • Struggle sitting at home

What I’m doing about it

To deal with the things not going so well, a few things are in the works. I already use cafees and workspaces a lot, but I can mostly do writing work.

To be able to do physical prototyping work and to feel less lonely, I am applying for a 12-week startup incubator course which will start in April. I think it could be a great opportunity to meet other people facing similar challenges, and have a place to work from.

To modularize my learning, I am creating timeboxes for myself and planning projects to work on during the coming months. I am trying to fold learning into projects. A few topics I’m wanting to learn and the preliminary plan:

  • March: Calculus using 3blue1brown
  • April: Deep Learning / GPT using Andrej Karpathy’s videos
  • May?: Transformers (not sure when/where yet)
  • May?: Procedural mechanisms (not sure when/where yet)

For Calculus, I did actually take (and surprisingly pass) it at uni, but I never really learned and it seems to be foundational for learning ML.

Volunteering and local clubs

I have also volunteered to help start up a local Coding Pirates club where kids can learn to code. I’m really excited to play and learn with kids, and hopefully reconnect with some of the products I’ve helped design.

I also want to be part of things, however, where I don’t have to lead or drive things, but can just have fun. Together with a friend, I recently started going to CPH MUSIC MAKER SPACE which is a sound hacking community that meets every week to build music machines.

This week, I soldered up a couple of Breadboard Friends, a set of helper modules designed by the legendary Eurorack synthesizer manufacturer Mutable Instruments aka. Émilie Gillet.

“A couple of Breadboard Friends. Top breaks mini-jacks for CV/audio out to breadboard format, bottom breaks potentiometers out to breadboard.”

A couple of Breadboard Friends. Top breaks mini-jacks for CV/audio out to breadboard format, bottom breaks potentiometers out to breadboard.

I have a number of MI modules, but what I especially love by Émilie is how incredibly thoughtful the modules are designed and that all hardware and software is open source.

My current big picture plan is to use the Raspberry Pico as my MCU and MicroPython for use in my eurorack synth, and write a set of modules for doing audio/CV stuff. The Pico W will soon have BLE support, and I was thinking I could make a sequencer app on a phone and use it to talk to a Pico W in a eurorack. Would also love to play with AI x Eurorack. More on this later probably.

Blog updates

Fixed an issue that content was overflowing on mobile. Didn’t show up when using responsive mode in my desktop browser. Good reminder to always test on device.