Thinking about the artwork on the podcast today, and how I’d like to get something that isn’t procedurally generated. I used one of the early generative tools for it (forgot which one) when I was trying to get it launched, and while it helped, and I like it overall, I know the “look” of the generative art isn’t necessarily for everyone, and might be an active turnoff.

So, thinking of a couple different approaches:

  1. Photography (plus a little editing):

Take a picture, of something that roughly matches, and then process it so it keeps the same overall “feel”, but had a human involved in the steps rather than an automated tool.

Pros: not AI generated, original to me, own the copyright

Cons: at a certain level, what’s the point? What’s the difference between something that’s procedurally generated, and something that’s heavily processed? They’ll end up looking similar by the end of it, with the original barely recognizable. If one of the benefits of the generative tools is that they automate the work, as we’ve argued several times on both the podcast and on this page, then what’s wrong with using the tools?

  1. Contracted Work:

This would involve finding one of the many artists accepting commissions to create am icon, a logo, some splash art, something like that. I’m fine with this, even though the cost might scale, depending on what (or how much) I’m asking for. Licensing might be an issue, and terms of the agreement. Copyright to the artist, obviously.

Pros: something that looks good, created by a professional, business to an artist.

Cons: negotiations, cost, rights to the work. Obviously this gets done and happens all the time, but it’s still outside my experience. And the ability to change and modify the work for different contexts, like special podcast episodes, or for different places (Podcast v Youtube v here, frex).

I’m not against it, but I’m still a little wary.

  1. Self-created:

Using an art tool, like Canva, Moho, or something similar to create the work. This is what I’ve been using for everything aside from the banner and logo for the podcast. Again, not bad, but limited, especially with my artistic skills and Canva’s free options. I’m not 100% happy with the look of stuff that I’ve created. Maybe that’s a me thing, but I know it could be better as well.

Pros: Already started down the path, would have ownership of the material as well.

Cons: Doesn’t look great, kinda sends off an amatuerish or unprofessional vibe, cost could increase significantly to possible little effect (if the issue is with my “eye” or style more than the tools).

Could be (or “can” or “is”) a massive time sink, spending hours doing something outside my skillset where I could be working on the writing and recording. So, perhaps not the best use of my Friday nights?

And there may be other options I’m missing. But it feels like this is where I’m at at the moment with respect to the art for the blog, podcast, and YouTube channel.

I’m excited that there’s an opportunity to try new things with each of the above options. But I’m a little worried by each of them too.

I think the best way might be to explore each one in turn, and see which one gives me a result I’m most happy with (without breaking the bank, of course!).

I’ll link back here, and update, with examples of each as we give it a shot.

Recombinant Innovation

Was shared a link today, to a video showing off the newest Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra:

It’s fantastic technology, showing off the ability to translate (almost) live between Korean and English, functioning as a middle-man, or middleware, between the Sender and Receiver in the communication channel, reducing the overall noise in the system (in this case in the difficulty of two very different languages).

But in discussion today, we noted how simple some of the various components are: the translation, which exists already at both ends, Google translate, or any of a number of dedicated devices.

And this is the point: there are very few completely new things in the world. Most new things are combinations of existing things.

The interesting thing is how you put them together.

Hence, recombinant innovation.

The ability of these innovations to reduce friction (or appear to, at least; there can often be a dark side of it as well) can determine how well these tools get adopted. It depends on if people can see themselves using it.

And in this, the Youtube video above is very effective: we can readily picture ourselves in that situation needing to make a reservation at a restaurant, and deciding that this would work for us. And from there it’s a quick jump to see how we could use it in other areas of our lives. Talking with loved ones, or their families, and being able to speak directly (or with at most a quick pause), and share with them too.

There’s a lot of magic in our innovations. Let’s start the discussion.


Always wanted one. Something hands free to take a picture of what my eyes see on the open road.

Especially tonight, driving across the city with the snow falling.

It could be a beautiful sight, but the semis and oversized pickup trucks tend to make it a little more treacherous and hazardous than it needs to be.

Umm, yeah.

Anyhoo, safe home now.

The other reason for a dashcam is to catch the roadtrip images, as the twists and turns of the highway through the mountains reveals new sights with every bend in the road.

Can’t wait to show you some more.

Upcoming Trends

With CES wrapping up in Las Vegas this weekend, I’ve been seeing lots of reports of the new technologies that have been on display. I’ve never been, but I think it might be something to take in one of these years.

I want to find a decent article, and cover my commentary of it, but I haven’t quite seen one I want to use yet.

The Verge has some decent coverage here:

Which talks about the new Transparent TV from LG:

and I think that may be remarkable enough to talk about on it’s own.

But it’s been a long cold day, with the outside temp staying below -30 C for most of the day, and I’ve just been trying to keep warm. I’ll follow-up with a full write-up (and perhaps an episode if I’m inspired), and we’ll see what comes of it.

Snow day

In the midst of a bitter cold snap, with temperatures down to -30, dropping below -40 with the wind chill. Limiting travel to only the most essential, and staying warm as much as possible.

Still working on the website behind the scenes, and I’m starting to get the framework together, in addition to the material. Not sure we’ll do a full “launch”, but it’s definitely getting close.

The big sticking point is the artwork; a colleague mentioned a couple examples to mirror off of, so I may see what I can do with my (admittedly limited) image editing skills on Canva. Barring that, I may need to reach out to a professional and see what can be done.

But today was also a day to listen to some music:

This isn’t the most well known single by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, but this is one I grew up with.