Week 86: Diffusions and Dispersions

16 Oct, 2022

I started writing this weeknote almost a month ago - so much for weeknotes. But it’s fine, this was never meant to be a chore.

Work has been incredibly busy, and I’ve underestimated how difficult it is to build something truly new, while building an organization, a culture and being in a transition from individual contributer to leader. In a sense, I’m learning to be the diffuser of my way of thinking and doing, rather than doing the thinking or doing.

Stable Diffusion and Whisper #

It’s wild how much is happening every day with Stable Diffusion. I’m trying to keep up, and given my MacBook 2020’s limitations, I have been curious to create an efficient sandbox for myself to try out some of these new models.

I found Iulia Turc’s How To Run a Stable Diffusion Server on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) helpful, and I’ve set up VSCode to be able to SSH into my GCP server. I should probably use Google Colab like any other sane person, but I’m intrigued by having my own cloud computer. Feels like less of an abstraction somehow.

Now that I have the server, I have also been taking other models, like Whisper out for a spin. It’s fascinating, I can put an audio clip of me speaking non-sense Danish in, and it does a perfect translation in a few seconds.

Next, I’m curious to get DreamBooth up and running, though it’s proving difficult with the limited VRAM I have available on my GCP instance. By the time you’re reading this, I’m sure someone will have found a way to make it run on significantly less VRAM.

Reading #

I finished the Build book some weeks back. It’s good… really good. My leadership team has read it, but other departments have read it too, and it’s serving as a great common language and way of thinking.

I also finished the first book, A Wizard of Earthsea, from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea: The First Four Books. One thing I take away is the power of language and names. That a name is precious and reveals someone’s true nature, even forces one to surrender. Next is the second book, The Tombs of Atuan, and I’m curious to see if Ursula has another beautiful concept for me to digest.

I’m also reading Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard as an audiobook. Not giving it my undivided attention, but it’s a good book filled with inspiring stories from a long life of a principled person.