Day: September 9, 2005

  • Clone Wars Watchlist

    I hate Verizon with a burning passion hotter than a thousand fiery suns. It’s probably a good thing that they are no longer BBN’s parent company, otherwise I couldn’t rant about their complete and utter failure and incompetence when it comes to the handling of my DSL physical line.

    So, I am still having problems, which I have thoroughly documented in previous posts. In fact, I am still having the exact same problem I have had since before my install was officially completed: excessive capacitance tip-to-ring, which causes the modem to lose sync and my computer to (obviously) lose the connection.

    This past Saturday, I opened yet another trouble ticket with Speakeasy. I always have to go through them, because I don’t have a customer number with Covad, who in turn has to contact Verizon. As far as Verizon knows, I am merely “end user”, and as far as Covad knows, I am just an account number. I think this is part of the problem: the people I need to talk to are two degrees of customer service separation away from me.

    Two weeks ago I opened a trouble ticket, but Speakeasy just wanted me to get back to them if the problem recurred. Unfortunately my ticket was “resolved” after two days, since I didn’t get back to them because I didn’t lose my connection in that time. The modem started failing again a few days later. For all I know, it fails overnight all the time, but I’m not going to stay up all night just to see if it gets the green blinkies.

    Anyway, I got this current ticket escalated with Covad, and an ILEC technician (that would be a Verizon guy) actually came out to my building today and did “some tests” at the NID, aka the phone box. Naturally, he found nothing wrong, at which point Verizon closed Covad’s service ticket on my behalf. I am pretty sure that this is at least the second, if not the third time that a Verizon tech has come to my building, done something, and determined that nothing was wrong.

    It seems that Verizon does not understand the definition of the word “intermittent”. As in, sometimes there’s a problem, but most of the time it’s just fine. I am worried that I’m going to end up in some sort of boy-who-cried-wolf situation; I can certainly understand why Verizon wouldn’t want to keep sending techs to the same address when as far as they’re concerned there’s nothing wrong.

    Incidentally, a misspelling (why is that word so hard to spell?) of “intermittent” led to Dan and I having a conversation about an inter-mitten protocol. The physical layer would be yarn.

    Sam at Speakeasy has called me back now that my LJ rant is nearly complete. For the second time, both Speakeasy and Covad have performed loop tests that reveal the problem. This is at least the fourth time that Speakeasy has performed such tests. Every time, they get the correct (that is, the problem is detected) results, but apparently every time Verizon tests the line, it’s fine. Magical.

    At least Speakeasy has good hold music, mostly assorted alternative and classic rock, with a few weird ones thrown in. World, I guess. Sam reported that he got to listen to Kenny G while sitting on hold with Covad. Sam, whoever you are, thanks for taking that bullet.

    Unfortunately, Covad was either unable or unwilling to escalate my ticket further. I can’t whine to them directly, so I just have to hope that the Speakeasy customer service guys are being appropriately obnoxious. By tomorrow night I will hopefully know when Verizon has scheduled another service call, which of course won’t be able to happen until Monday.

    So. Much. Hatred.

  • Sunspot

    A small Yorkshire Terrier lies in a pet bed on a green upholstered chair in a sunny living room.

    I wish I could nap like Pike naps.

  • The Muppets Meet Murderbot

    For the last year and a half or so Andrle and I have been having a ton of fun as part of an online book club put together by my friend Tanya. Unlike most book clubs where you all read the same thing, we all just share things we love that we’ve been reading.

    One recommendation that kept coming up was The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, and I’m glad we finally ran with it and started reading them. We’ve been bingeing the last few weeks and they’re really, really great. Highly recommend (even though I’m only on Book 4.)

    Unsurprisingly another thing I’ve been reading about and thinking about a lot is the advent of Large Language Models, particularly as manifested by ChatGPT. My past work life as an NLP practitioner has me a mix of curious, envious, and highly suspicious of what these are and how they’re being used. In the short term I don’t mind using them as a toy that I can play with for the purpose of a joke, which is what this post is about.

    A recurring topic in this book club is how we might have the Muppets interpret a particular book, or how we might recast a movie with Muppets (but keep one human actor). This provides a lot of fun discussions, especially since I grew up regularly watching the classic Muppet movies on VHS recorded off of TV, and I really like musicals.

    That all brings me to some prompt iterating that I did to get ChatGPT to write the painfully cliché finale to a Muppet musical featuring Murderbot. (Apologies to both Henson and Wells.)

    Verse 1 (Murderbot):
    I used to be a killing machine,
    A rogue cyborg, feared and mean,
    But then I met the Muppets and Kermit,
    And learned what friendship truly meant.

    Verse 2 (Kermit):
    I'm just a simple frog, it's true,
    But I believe in friendship too,
    And when I met Murderbot, I knew,
    Together we could do something new.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    Verse 3 (Murderbot):
    I never wanted to be a tool,
    But that's all humans see in me, it's cruel,
    I used to dream of breaking free,
    From their endless schemes and greed.

    Verse 4 (Kermit):
    It's true, I'm always happy-go-lucky,
    But I've been through some tough times that were quite yucky,
    But now with Murderbot and the gang,
    I know our friendship will never hang.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    The past is gone, the future bright,
    With friends like these, we'll win the fight,
    Our love and trust will guide us through,
    Together we'll see this journey through.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    So let's raise our voices high,
    And let the world hear our battle cry,
    With Muppets and Murderbot side by side,
    We'll change the world and turn the tide.
    OpenAI. (2023, Mar. 16) [Iterative prompt conversation starting with “This Muppet movie is about a rogue cyborg traveling to different space stations and learning the power of friendship from the Muppets” and “I need some lyrics for the big finals. The music is big broadway style number about how the rogue cyborg doesn’t need to kill bad guys anymore because it has friends.” and then encouraging more dialogue between Kermit and Murderbot]

    Yes, I looked up recommendations on how to properly cite ChatGPT output.

    Overall the result was mildly amusing. I couldn’t get it to capture Murderbot’s signature style, presumably because while information about the novellas are in its model training, not enough text from the novellas are in there.

    I’m still not sure what useful things I could do with this kind of tool, but in the meantime, I can make it make silly songs.

  • Fox Ferocity

    Pike playing with a toy almost as big as he is.

  • Groomed Pike

    Tiny freshly groomed Yorkie sits on a teal couch wearing a monstera bow tie

    I love this little gentleman.

  • The Kale Wanter

    A small black and brown Yorkie stands on a cream rug in front of a brown cupboard begging for the bunch of lacinato kale in hand in the foreground.