Special projects, research, and whatever else I might decide to post here...

Using LLM AI to simplify tasks

I've been using "AI" tools recently to help me solve complex problems and I think I've come to grips with the fact that LLM AI can be a useful tool in a lot of situations. A large language model (LLM) is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) program that can recognize and generate text, among other tasks. 

I'm kind of creative, but I find it far easier to let Google's ImageFX generate background images for album art or use ChatGPT or Gemini to create a script to assist with tasks. That doesn't, however, mean that you no longer need basic programming or HTML skills. 

For example, a few weeks back I decided to add a navigation menu to my For Glory and Joy Google Site. This navigation menu would use the current week number to correspond to the link of the weekly page. Simple calculation, current week number +1 and -1... easy. However, Google Sites is fairly limited in options for customization. While I had hoped that I could build something as a Google Apps Script, the option wasn't there. So, I quickly whipped up an embedded Spreadsheet to handle it. 

This solution worked, but it was kind of cumbersome and then I discovered that the "Embed code" option in Sites would allow for embedded Javascript. Javascript isn't for the feint of heart, but with my rudimentary coding skills and the help of ChatGPT or Gemini, I decided to give it a try. After trying a few queries in Gemini, I couldn't get their embed code to work - it didn't display anything on the page. ChatGPT suggestions worked, but I ran into trouble when their code wouldn't change the current date every day. 

Surprisingly, the same query I used in ChatGPT in Gemini still produced code that displayed a blank page. Comparing the two responses, helped me realize that Gemini left out a simple <body onload= statement in the HTML which explained the blank page. After tweaking some formatting I was able to hack together my new menu in the header and footer of my Google Site in a few days.

This amazes me... Javascript is a really complex language. With these LLM tools and a lot of searching the W3 schools Javascript tutorial, I was able to build (and understand) a working Javascript menu with only a few days experience. Color me impressed, LLM AI tools make this process so much easier. You can see that the Gemini code was more efficient, while the ChatGPT code gave me fits with the getWeekNumber(d) function that I could not get to update. Although, I wonder it that was due to my ChatGPT queries.

Side note.. the "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords" meme. Originated from a Simpson's episode referencing a film adaptation of the H.G. Wells story "Empire of the Ants". I find it funny that a story written in 1905 still impacts stories and events 120 years later. 

Dad wanted to modernize and add some excitement to this year's Duncan Family Reunion. So, I worked with him to create a Google Slideshow. We used simple family trees created at Family Echo and Dad highlighted our family's connection to Rochester, NY and the Jesse James Gang.

We will likely update this slideshow for next year's reunion too.

LInk: Duncan Reunion 2023 Slideshow

2023 Duncan Reunion

You have passwords for everything: your devices, your accounts (like banking, social media, and email), and the websites you visit. By using passphrases or strong passwords you can protect your devices and information. 

I used OpenAI prompts to create an Apps Script that generates passphrases that use modified terms from the NATO Phonetic Alphabet along with additional characters you can specify to make passphrases. 

MacOS Install

I have a Macbook Air that I intended to use as a computer for my wife, but discovered that the Thunderbolt port on it has failed, so it can't be hooked up to an external monitor. Oh well... I'll just reformat it and use it as just a spare laptop.

Go in and reformat the HDD through disk utility and... oops, accidentally deleted the recovery drive. Get stuck in Internet Recovery Mode and install... Yosemite? Ugh... that's a long process to get to Monterey.

Things went smoothly until attempting to install Homebrew. XCode Command Line Tools stalled. So, I tried xcode-select –install ... why is it saying it will take 9.5 hours to install??