More on Technology
1 year ago
A Meta-Reversal: Zuckerberg's $71 Billion Loss
The company's epidemic gains are gone.
Mark Zuckerberg was in line behind Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates less than two years ago. His wealth soared to $142 billion. Facebook's shares reached $382 in September 2021.
What comes next is either the start of something truly innovative or the beginning of an epic rise and fall story.
In order to start over (and avoid Facebook's PR issues), he renamed the firm Meta. Along with the new logo, he announced a turn into unexplored territory, the Metaverse, as the next chapter for the internet after mobile. Or, Zuckerberg believed Facebook's death was near, so he decided to build a bigger, better, cooler ship. Then we saw his vision (read: dystopian nightmare) in a polished demo that showed Zuckerberg in a luxury home and on a spaceship with aliens. Initially, it looked entertaining. A problem was obvious, though. He might claim this was the future and show us using the Metaverse for business, play, and more, but when I took off my headset, I'd realize none of it was genuine.
The stock price is almost as low as January 2019, when Facebook was dealing with the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica crisis.
Irony surrounded the technology's aim. Zuckerberg says the Metaverse connects people. Despite some potential uses, this is another step away from physical touch with people. Metaverse worlds can cause melancholy, addiction, and mental illness. But forget all the cool stuff you can't afford. (It may be too expensive online, too.)
Metaverse activity slowed for a while. In early February 2022, we got an earnings call update. Not good. Reality Labs lost $10 billion on Oculus and Zuckerberg's Metaverse. Zuckerberg expects losses to rise. Meta's value dropped 20% in 11 minutes after markets closed.
It was a sign of things to come.
The corporation has failed to create interest in Metaverse, and there is evidence the public has lost interest. Meta still relies on Facebook's ad revenue machine, which is also struggling. In July, the company announced a decrease in revenue and missed practically all its forecasts, ending a decade of exceptional growth and relentless revenue. They blamed a dismal advertising demand climate, and Apple's monitoring changes smashed Meta's ad model. Throw in whistleblowers, leaked data revealing the firm knows Instagram negatively affects teens' mental health, the current Capital Hill probe, and the fact TikTok is eating its breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and 2022 might be the corporation's worst year ever.
After a rocky start, tech saw unprecedented growth during the pandemic. It was a tech bubble and then some.
The gains reversed after the dust settled and stock markets adjusted. Meta's year-to-date decline is 60%. Apple Inc is down 14%, Amazon is down 26%, and Alphabet Inc is down 29%. At the time of writing, Facebook's stock price is almost as low as January 2019, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke. Zuckerberg owns 350 million Meta shares. This drop costs him $71 billion.
The company's problems are growing, and solutions won't be easy.
Facebook's period of unabated expansion and exorbitant ad revenue is ended, and the company's impact is dwindling as it continues to be the program that only your parents use. Because of the decreased ad spending and stagnant user growth, Zuckerberg will have less time to create his vision for the Metaverse because of the declining stock value and decreasing ad spending.
Instagram is progressively dying in its attempt to resemble TikTok, alienating its user base and further driving users away from Meta-products.
And now that the corporation has shifted its focus to the Metaverse, it is clear that, in its eagerness to improve its image, it fired the launch gun too early. You're fighting a lost battle when you announce an idea and then claim it won't happen for 10-15 years. When the idea is still years away from becoming a reality, the public is already starting to lose interest.
So, as I questioned earlier, is it the beginning of a technological revolution that will take this firm to stratospheric growth and success, or are we witnessing the end of Meta and Zuckerberg himself?
1 year ago
How Do Discord's Trillions Of Messages Get Indexed?
They depend heavily on open source..
Discord users send billions of messages daily. Users wish to search these messages. How do we index these to search by message keywords?
Let’s find out.
Discord utilizes Elasticsearch. Elasticsearch is a free, open search engine for textual, numerical, geographical, structured, and unstructured data. Apache Lucene powers Elasticsearch.
How does elastic search store data? It stores it as numerous key-value pairs in JSON documents.
How does elastic search index? Elastic search's index is inverted. An inverted index lists every unique word in every page and where it appears.
4. Elasticsearch indexes documents and generates an inverted index to make data searchable in near real-time. The index API adds or updates JSON documents in a given index.
Let's examine how discord uses Elastic Search. Elasticsearch prefers bulk indexing. Discord couldn't index real-time messages. You can't search posted messages. You want outdated messages.
6. Let's check what bulk indexing requires.
1. A temporary queue for incoming communications.
2. Indexer workers that index messages into elastic search.
Discord's queue is Celery. The queue is open-source. Elastic search won't run on a single server. It's clustered. Where should a message go? Where?
8. A shard allocator decides where to put the message. Nevertheless. Shattered? A shard combines elastic search and index on. So, these two form a shard which is used as a unit by discord. The elastic search itself has some shards. But this is different, so don’t get confused.
Now, the final part is service discovery — to discover the elastic search clusters and the hosts within that cluster. This, they do with the help of etcd another open source tool.
A great thing to notice here is that discord relies heavily on open source systems and their base implementations which is very different from a lot of other products.
1 year ago
Reasons Why AI-Generated Images Remind Me of Nightmares
AI images are like funhouse mirrors.
Google's AI Blog introduced the puppy-slug in the summer of 2015.
Puppy-slug isn't a single image or character. "Puppy-slug" refers to Google's DeepDream's unsettling psychedelia. This tool uses convolutional neural networks to train models to recognize dataset entities. If researchers feed the model millions of dog pictures, the network will learn to recognize a dog.
DeepDream used neural networks to analyze and classify image data as well as generate its own images. DeepDream's early examples were created by training a convolutional network on dog images and asking it to add "dog-ness" to other images. The models analyzed images to find dog-like pixels and modified surrounding pixels to highlight them.
Puppy-slugs and other DeepDream images are ugly. Even when they don't trigger my trypophobia, they give me vertigo when my mind tries to reconcile familiar features and forms in unnatural, physically impossible arrangements. I feel like I've been poisoned by a forbidden mushroom or a noxious toad. I'm a Lovecraft character going mad from extradimensional exposure. They're gross!
Is this really how AIs see the world? This is possibly an even more unsettling topic that DeepDream raises than the blatant abjection of the images.
When these photographs originally circulated online, many friends were startled and scandalized. People imagined a computer's imagination would be literal, accurate, and boring. We didn't expect vivid hallucinations and organic-looking formations.
DeepDream's images didn't really show the machines' imaginations, at least not in the way that scared some people. DeepDream displays data visualizations. DeepDream reveals the "black box" of convolutional network training.
Some of these images look scary because the models don't "know" anything, at least not in the way we do.
These images are the result of advanced algorithms and calculators that compare pixel values. They can spot and reproduce trends from training data, but can't interpret it. If so, they'd know dogs have two eyes and one face per head. If machines can think creatively, they're keeping it quiet.
You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given OpenAI's Dall-impressive E's results. From a technological perspective, it's incredible.
Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Dall-magic E's requires a lot of math, computer science, processing power, and research. OpenAI did a great job, and we should applaud them.
Dall-E and similar tools match words and phrases to image data to train generative models. Matching text to images requires sorting and defining the images. Untold millions of low-wage data entry workers, content creators optimizing images for SEO, and anyone who has used a Captcha to access a website make these decisions. These people could live and die without receiving credit for their work, even though the project wouldn't exist without them.
This technique produces images that are less like paintings and more like mirrors that reflect our own beliefs and ideals back at us, albeit via a very complex prism. Due to the limitations and biases that these models portray, we must exercise caution when viewing these images.
The issue was succinctly articulated by artist Mimi Onuoha in her piece "On Algorithmic Violence":
As we continue to see the rise of algorithms being used for civic, social, and cultural decision-making, it becomes that much more important that we name the reality that we are seeing. Not because it is exceptional, but because it is ubiquitous. Not because it creates new inequities, but because it has the power to cloak and amplify existing ones. Not because it is on the horizon, but because it is already here.
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1 year ago
Ray Dalio suggests reading these three books in 2022.
An inspiring reading list
I'm no billionaire or hedge-fund manager. My bank account doesn't have millions. Ray Dalio's love of reading motivates me to think differently.
Here are some books recommended by Ray Dalio. Each influenced me. Hope they'll help you.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Page Count: 512
Rating on Goodreads: 4.39
My favorite nonfiction book.
Sapiens explores human evolution. It explains how Homo Sapiens developed from hunter-gatherers to a dominant species. Amazing!
Sapiens will teach you about human history. Yuval Noah Harari has a follow-up book on human evolution.
My favorite book quotes are:
The tendency for luxuries to turn into necessities and give rise to new obligations is one of history's few unbreakable laws.
Happiness is not dependent on material wealth, physical health, or even community. Instead, it depends on how closely subjective expectations and objective circumstances align.
The romantic comparison between today's industry, which obliterates the environment, and our forefathers, who coexisted well with nature, is unfounded. Homo sapiens held the record among all organisms for eradicating the most plant and animal species even before the Industrial Revolution. The unfortunate distinction of being the most lethal species in the history of life belongs to us.
The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Page Count: 375
Rating on Goodreads: 4.13
Great book: The Power Of Habit. It illustrates why habits are everything. The book explains how healthier habits can improve your life, career, and society.
The Power of Habit rocks. It's a great book on productivity. Its suggestions helped me build healthier behaviors (and drop bad ones).
My favorite book quotes are:
Change may not occur quickly or without difficulty. However, almost any behavior may be changed with enough time and effort.
People who exercise begin to eat better and produce more at work. They are less smokers and are more patient with friends and family. They claim to feel less anxious and use their credit cards less frequently. A fundamental habit that sparks broad change is exercise.
Habits are strong but also delicate. They may develop independently of our awareness or may be purposefully created. They frequently happen without our consent, but they can be altered by changing their constituent pieces. They have a much greater influence on how we live than we realize; in fact, they are so powerful that they cause our brains to adhere to them above all else, including common sense.
Tribe Of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
Page Count: 561
Rating on Goodreads: 4.06
Unusual book structure. It's worth reading if you want to learn from successful people.
The book is Q&A-style. Tim questions everyone. Each chapter features a different person's life-changing advice. In the book, Pressfield, Willink, Grylls, and Ravikant are interviewed.
My favorite book quotes are:
According to one's courage, life can either get smaller or bigger.
Don't engage in actions that you are aware are immoral. The reputation you have with yourself is all that constitutes self-esteem. Always be aware.
People mistakenly believe that focusing means accepting the task at hand. However, that is in no way what it represents. It entails rejecting the numerous other worthwhile suggestions that exist. You must choose wisely. Actually, I'm just as proud of the things we haven't accomplished as I am of what I have. Saying no to 1,000 things is what innovation is.
1 year ago
The Dogecoin millionaire mysteriously disappeared.
The American who bought a meme cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency is the financial underground.
I love it. But there’s one thing I hate: scams. Over the last few years the Dogecoin cryptocurrency saw massive gains.
Glauber Contessoto overreacted. He shared his rags-to-riches cryptocurrency with the media.
He's only wealthy on paper. No longer Dogecoin millionaire.
Here's what he's doing now. It'll make you rethink cryptocurrency investing.
Glauber once had a $36,000-a-year job.
He grew up poor and wanted to make his mother proud. Tesla was his first investment. He bought GameStop stock after Reddit boosted it.
He bought whatever was hot.
He was a young investor. Memes, not research, influenced his decisions.
Elon Musk (aka Papa Elon) began tweeting about Dogecoin.
Doge is a 2013 cryptocurrency. One founder is Australian. He insists it's funny.
He was shocked anyone bought it LOL.
Doge is a Shiba Inu-themed meme. Now whenever I see a Shiba Inu, I think of Doge.
Elon helped drive up the price of Doge by talking about it in 2020 and 2021 (don't take investment advice from Elon; he's joking and gaslighting you).
Glauber caved. He invested everything in Doge. He borrowed from family and friends. He maxed out his credit card to buy more Doge. Yuck.
Internet dubbed him a genius. Slumdog millionaire and The Dogefather were nicknames. Elon pumped Doge on social media.
From $180,000 to $1,000,000+
TikTok skyrocketed Doge's price.
Reddit fueled up. Influencers recommended buying Doge because of its popularity. Glauber's motto:
Scared money doesn't earn.
Glauber was no broke ass anymore.
His $180,000 Dogecoin investment became $1M. He championed investing. He quit his dumb job like a rebellious millennial.
A puppy dog meme captivated the internet.
Rise and fall
Whenever I invest in anything I ask myself “what utility does this have?”
Dogecoin is useless.
You buy it for the cute puppy face and hope others will too, driving up the price. All cryptocurrencies fell in 2021's second half.
Central banks raised interest rates, and inflation became a pain.
Dogecoin fell more than others. 90% decline.
Glauber’s Dogecoin is now worth $323K. Still no sales. His dog god is unshakeable. Confidence rocks. Dogecoin millionaire recently said...
“I should have sold some.”
He now avoids speculative cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin and focuses on Bitcoin and Ethereum.
I've long said this. Starbucks is building on Ethereum.
It's useful. Useful. Developers use Ethereum daily. Investing makes you wiser over time, like the Dogecoin millionaire.
When risk b*tch slaps you, humility follows, as it did for me when I lost money.
You have to lose money to make money. Few understand.
You might be thinking Dogecoin is crap.
I'll take a contrarian stance. Dogecoin does nothing, but it has a strong community. Dogecoin dominates internet memes.
Not quite. The message of crypto that many people forget is that it’s a change in business model.
Businesses create products and services, then advertise to find customers. Crypto Web3 works backwards. A company builds a fanbase but sells them nothing.
Once the community reaches MVC (minimum viable community), a business can be formed.
Community members are relational versus transactional. They're invested in a cause and care about it (typically ownership in the business via crypto).
In this new world, Dogecoin has the most important feature.
While Dogecoin does have a community I still dislike it.
It's all shady. Anything Elon Musk recommends is a bad investment (except SpaceX & Tesla are great companies).
Dogecoin Millionaire has wised up and isn't YOLOing into more dog memes.
Don't follow the crowd or the hype. Investing is a long-term sport based on fundamentals and research.
Since Ethereum's inception, I've spent 10,000 hours researching.
Dogecoin will be the foundation of something new, like Pets.com at the start of the dot-com revolution. But I doubt Doge will boom.
David G Chen
1 year ago
If you want to earn money, stop writing for entertainment.
When you stop blogging for a few weeks, your views and profits plummet.
Because you're writing fascinating posts for others. Everyone's done ithat…
If I keep writing, the graph should maintain velocity, you could say. If I wrote more, it could rise.
However, entertaining pieces still tend to roller coaster and jump.
this type of writing is like a candle. They burn out and must be replaced. You must continuously light new ones to maintain the illumination.
When you quit writing, your income stops.
Instead of producing amusing articles, try solving people's issues. You should answer their search questions.
Here's what happens when you answer their searches.
My website's Google analytics. As a dentist, I answer oral health questions.
This chart vs. Medium is pretty glaring, right?
As of yesterday, it was averaging 15k page views each day.
How much would you make on Medium with 15k daily views?
In SEO, this is called evergreen content.
Your content is like a lush, evergreen forest, and by green I mean Benjamins.
Do you have knowledge that you can leverage? Why not help your neighbors and the world?
Answer search inquiries and help others. You'll be well rewarded.
This is better than crafting candle-like content that fizzles out quickly.
Is beauty really ephemeral like how flowers bloom? Nah, I prefer watching forests grow instead (: