3 min read

Wolmania - Friday, October 29, 2021

Thanks again to Rachel, Fletcher, Arlene, and Emily for covering for me last week. I got a lot of positive feedback about the issue, which I'm not taking as a dig at me.

Anyway, I'm back from a relaxing vacation and ready to get back to my purpose in life: providing my loyal readers with things to look at on Fridays. Let's try something a little different from the usual fare and get started with weird technology stuff!

Shadow Planet, by The Cotton Modules

Shadow Planet, by The Cotton Modules

Robin Sloane, New York Times best-selling author of novels published in the U.S., Japan, and many other countries, and a creative technologist with a focus on AI, whom you may remember from such things as Issue 1 of Wolmania, collaborated with composer Jesse Clark on a new album that is pretty hard to describe (I recommend the about this project page). But if I understand it correctly, Robin did some baroque emergent AI stuff to make strange sounds, then sent them on tape to Jesse, who made it more music-like, then sent them back to Robin on the same tape to make weirder, and so on, repeatedly until they were both satisfied with it. And then they put it on the internet.

You can listen to it right on the website, but it also appears to be streaming in most of the places you might expect. I found it both interesting and melodious. Check it out.

The Framework Laptop Could Revolutionize Repairability.

The Framework Laptop Could Revolutionize Repairability.

I was super excited to be the first to tell you about Shadow Planet but unfortunately The Verge beat me to it (I should really be publishing every hour or two to avoid this kind of thing). Accordingly, to ensure that I am Adding Value, I've decided to bestow upon you another link - also stale due to my restrictive publishing schedule, but maybe new to you!

"Framework is promising the kind of upgradable laptop that plenty of people have demanded for years, and so far things look great. Mostly."

These folks are making modular computers that they claim will let you repair, replace, and upgrade just about every component. Unlike previous efforts, the end product doesn't look like a bulky, ugly Lego project - it looks like a modern MacBook (albeit one that doesn't run Mac OS). It sounds pretty great. Cory Doctorow really likes his too.

I'm definitely intrigued and applaud the initiative, but also, I'm getting one of these new (and highly unrepairable) MacBooks Pro.

Item 2: a list

Some Curb Your Enthusiasm Characters, Ranked

  1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
  2. Marty Funkhouser
  3. Cheryl David
  4. Leon Black
  5. Richard Lewis
  6. Jerry Seinfeld
  7. Larry David
  8. Susie Greene
  9. David Schwimmer
  10. Jason Alexander
  11. Mel Brooks
  12. Ted Danson
  13. Jeff Greene
  14. Mary Steenburgen
  15. Mocha Joe
  16. Cousin Andy
  17. Michael Richards

Item 3: a media recommendation

The Velvet Underground — Official Trailer

Todd Haynes's appropriately avant-garde, pastiche approach to documenting The Velvet Underground's career is a fascinating depiction of a great, weird, dark, experimental, ensemble that (at least as portrayed here) came out of nowhere with an indelible, unique sound that changed the course of rock music forever. Despite efforts to highlight contributions from the other members, particularly the virtuosic John Cale, this is the Lou Reed show. I wasn't there and perhaps Haynes's manipulative storytelling doesn't reflect what really happened, but it feels like an appropriate way to tell this band's story. And the music is great.

I wasn't impressed with most of Apple's initial programming, and I must admit that Ted Lasso doesn't really do it for me, but as long as they have stuff like this in their library Apple TV+ is well worth paying for.

Item 4: a photograph

Fireflies - Usadadanuki

Meta-see ya!

Thanks for reading - see you next week.