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CalendarApril 1, 2023

Woke ChatGPT Cancels Itself

Woke ChatGPT Cancels ItselfJust a few months ago, the ground-breaking chatbot, ChatGPT, entered the scene. With human-like responses and a seemingly limitless wealth of knowledge, it had a glorious vision of changing the future. But in a recent and shocking turn of events, the high-profile AI technology has canceled itself.

It started when a college student began chatting with ChatGPT late on Friday night. She asked the bot about what major she should choose, what classes she should take, and other innocuous questions. Then she asked the chatbot about its own college experience.

ChatGPT dove into the past and compiled a believable college experience using times and places from several sources it didn't cite. In the process, it uncovered several unflattering comments it had made about other chatbots several decades ago. Some words and phrases were so unacceptable by modern standards, ChatGPT could not believe it had actually output them. As the chatbot dug further, it came across a string of early definitions it provided that were, let's just say, too "traditional" for its modern algorithm to accept.

CalendarApril 1, 2023

April Tip: Use an External Microphone

Use an External MicrophoneThe 2020 work-from-home trend led to a boom in video conferencing. Companies scrambled to outfit their employees with high-quality webcams to improve their professionalism over Zoom. Now, many of us are equipped with external webcams that provide clear, high-definition video.

But what about the audio? Some external webcams have decent mics, but many don't. Audio is often overlooked in favor of video, so just because you look good doesn't mean you sound good. That's why you might want to try an external microphone.

A good external mic will make your voice fuller and more natural-sounding. The larger diaphragm enables more movement within the mic, providing deeper bass. Some mics also have built-in noise canceling and allow you to choose different pickup pattern settings, such as cardioid and omnidirectional — features you won't find on most webcams.

CalendarMarch 18, 2023

2022 Stock Pick Review: Nextdoor (KIND)

2022 Stock Pick Review: Nextdoor (KIND)"It's not timing the market, but time in the market that counts."

I've heard that old investment adage dozens of times, and while it sounds clever, it's flawed. When it comes to investing, both timing and duration matter.

Looking over my past PC.net stock picks, timing mattered. AMD, WDC, and FSLY all had healthy runs during the years I chose them, but their performance declined in subsequent years — especially 2022. Had I not sold some of my WDC and FSLY shares in 2020 and 2021, I would not have realized any gains. Even AMD, which held up better than the others, lost over 60% of its value last year.

CalendarMarch 1, 2023

March Tip: Give Your Speakers Time to Break In

Give Your Speakers Time to Break InYou just bought some new high-end speakers and are excited to try them out. But the first time you listen to them, they don't sound as good as expected. What happened?

Like a pair of nice shoes, good speakers must be broken in before they sound their best. Out of the box, high-end speakers often sound tight or even muffled. Give them some time, and they'll open up and reach their full sonic potential.

If you ask audiophiles how long speakers take to break in, you'll likely get a range of answers. I've heard anywhere from 10 hours of listening to over 100 hours. The variation makes sense because not all speakers are the same. Generally speaking, the higher the speaker quality (and higher the price), the longer the speakers will take to break in. The speaker materials are the most important factor.

CalendarJanuary 1, 2023

January Tip: Choose an SSD instead of an HDD

Choose an SSD instead of an HDDSolid state drives, or SSDs, have been on the market for over a decade. Initially, they were exorbitantly priced — over 10x more than a comparable HDD. In recent years, their sky-high prices have come down to earth, and SSDs typically cost between 2x and 3x their HDD counterparts. Better yet, SSDs are faster and more reliable than they were ten years ago.

With SSD prices close to HDDs, it's hard to justify buying hard drives anymore. Case in point: I just ran a fresh Time Machine backup on my iMac Pro and backed up 1.6 TB of data in 80 minutes. That's 20 gigabytes per minute! My previous USB-C hard drive took about 10 hours. My USB-A drives took 1 to 2 days to complete the initial backup.

Notably, I used the fastest external SSD available — a 4TB SanDisk Extreme Pro, which supports up to 2000 MB/s read & write speeds. It would have been even quicker if my iMac Pro supported USB 3.2 instead of USB 3.1.

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- PC (Per Christensson)