Navigating LLMs: Benefits and Drawbacks in June 2024

AI google history internet

LLMs have their limits, and where they excel makes a difference. As of June 2024, they continue to evolve. Anthrop\c Claude 3.5 works well for coding simple things with Python. It feels like the LLM has been heavily trained on existing code. Actually, it might be just as good in other applications as well. I wouldn’t know since I only use it for coding right now. Even on the paid plan, it has a message limit, which feels very 2023. So, I use the limited interaction where I get the highest benefit, which is coding. The artifact window is a great idea, and the speed of generation is appreciated. With gpt4o, I had to interleave work: make a request, switch to a different task while gpt4o sputtered out characters at Morse code speed. It probably runs on a colony of squids at the bottom of the Mariana Trench that OpenAI taught how to use Morse code with each arm.

And yes, an image like this I create with gpt4o. I don’t even know if Claude can do that. I don’t mind having multiple LLMs. I am gladly paying for both of them, as I do for search. Right now, I am very happy that there is more than one solution. I tried to use Google AI, but it was too complicated to figure out. To find the offering that fit mit my needs. And I am not aware of a key feature that I could only do with them. They already have all my email, read the entire Internet. If I can avoid it, I would not like to help them any further. Sure, if they were as good at coding as Claude, I would use them in a second. I have morals, but I cannot save the world single-handedly either.

One of the bigger fears I have is that LLMs might take the same turn that Google Search did. It was a great idea. It worked great, allowing for a phase of the Internet in the early 2000s that was very promising. Then it became what we suffer from today—a swamp. Barely functional. Generating around $150 profit for Google per user annually. Which means companies make more. Which means that I loose even more than that. The costs of using Google Search by being manipulated are much higher now than its benefits. The SEO world that Google Search presents is not a nice one. I happily give Kagi money to have some distance from that swamp.

obtaining Dow Jones index in Google Spreadsheet

economy google

In order to obtain todays dow jones index (DJIA) in a google spreadsheet one can use:


The quotes matter. Indexes would be for example:

.DJI Dow jones Index
.INX S&P 500
.IXIC Nasdaq Composite

Getting the dow for a specific date is a bit more involved. This worked for me, but there might be an easier way:

=index(GOOGLEFINANCE(".DJI", "price", to_date(DATEVALUE("11/26/2013"))),2,2)

The date (11/26/2013) was actually a cell reference.

Not related, yet interesting was this page that showed how relative popular search terms are.

Others yielded interesting insights. For instance it seems that Cars are a seasonal product. Even though people tend to use them every day, they care more for them in the months leading up to summer.

Other extremely seasonal terms include: Travel, Shopping, Real Estate, Jobs and Durable Goods.

gmail: do not send to spam and other filters


Recently GMail has – in my experience – more trouble with filtering spam: An average of 5 messages a day come through and end up in my inbox.

Much worse is that messages that are ham end up in the spam folder.

I added a file to get some of them automatically out of spam. Which worked, but has one drawback:

Messages that match my ‘ham filter’ but also match an older filter (think mailing list) started to show up in my inbox, and no longer in the folder, I mean label,
that the filter sets.

This feels as if the gmail ‘do not send to spam’ instruction actually does an ‘mark mail as non spam and send to folder inbox’.

Which is strange since messages can have a label AND be in the inbox.

The remedy seems to be filter order. I got the previous behavior back when I moved the ‘ham’ filter before the other filters.

I don’t think it is possible to arrange filters. Changing the order means deleting filters that should move to the end and creating them again.

google reader shows wrong content for feed

google internet technology

When adding the feed

to google reader the resulting page showed the wrong content, while the title is correct:

This seems to be a caching issues. The workaround was to simply alter the URL in a way that would not have any effect on the feed:

shows the expected content.

Dear Google …


Dear Google, I understand that one might feel sometimes the urge to rock the boat. That’s OK. google+ did not hurt. The black top bar is fine. Google Reader is a bit of a different story. But I’ll manage. But, please, please, pretty please: DO NOT let those people anywhere near gmail.

Just keep it working. As it is. It is great. No need for social features. No need for Buzz/Wave/whatever-you-fancy.

I’d be happy to give you even more money for it. Just don’t mess with it.

Pretty Please.

gmail advanced search


I had no idea this exists: Google advanced search which I can see being very useful.

youtube videos in gmail

daily life google internet technology

Naturally my son wanted his own computer. He is 11 so isn’t it a birth right to have one? I only pointed to a stack of parts, being left overs from some upgrades and told that he could have one if we can put it together himself. He looked and me with this “Dad, I love you, but wtf is wrong with you + and what on earth have I done to deserve to be treated like this” look. He actually said “But I am eleven years old”. My reply was “yes, you are eleven years old”.

After a couple of days he realized that that I was serious about what I had said. Funny, since the previous 11 years might have given him a hint about that one. So he got the parts out. Had a good look at them, connected them in a way that made sense, connected them wrong, cursed, cried (of course not), asked questions and he ended up with:

I gave him a hand to put things in a case and everybody was happy.

But wait, there is the Internet, there is an eleven year old boy. An awesome one. But still!
I have not seen any software that would be able to protect my child from all the rotten stuff that is a couple clicks away on the internet.
The solution that we came up with works better I think. I explained my worries to him. He understood. I asked him if it would be
OK if I would look at where he goes at the net. He had no issues with that. Since Firefox stores visited URLs in sqlite and he
naturally runs an ubuntu machine this was easy to do. Each day that he used his computer I get an email from it that shows me
what he has been up to. He is totally aware of that and does not mind at all. And I never had anything to worry about.

Today was the first time that I saw in the end of such an email:

Which helps me quiet a great deal in what I have to do. Nice to see gmail getting better. With Buzz and Wave being what they are it became en vogue to bash google. It is nice to see that they continue to add nice features as well.

facebook login and the madness of crowds

google history internet

Readwrite web wrote about Facebook login

Which happened to bring them high in the google search results for “facebook login”.

Then facebook did a re design. I didn’t notice much difference. But some people got confused and looked for the “facebook login” on google. And as we all know
clicking on the first result is what one should do (not). Enough people were so convinced that what they actually saw was facebook they got very mad and left comments in this direction.

Two things become apparent:

Everybody has computers now. And I mean everybody.
And many people delegate everything (including their thinking) to google.

No wonder adsense scams are so profitable.

gmail backup

google linux

Over the last years I accumulated quiet a bit of mail in Gmail. It works, and I find it very inspiring to see its features grow while I keep all my data. But I also grew worried: What would happen if my mail should go away? I have paid google exactly zero for keeping all my email. There would be nothing I could do.

Turns out that it is possible to make a copy. Googles own Matt Cutts described it well

I found that these getmail parameters worked well for me:

type = SimpleIMAPSSLRetriever
server =
username =
password = PASSWORD
mailboxes = ("[Gmail]/All Mail",)

user = getmail
type = Maildir
path = /root/.getmail/

read_all = false
verbose = 2
received = true
delivered_to = true
message_log = /root/.getmail/gmail.log

It took a while. Actually days. It seems that you only get mail out at a slow data rate. Then there is a bandwidth limit. getmail failed after a while with:

getmailOperationError error (IMAP error ([ALERT] Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure)))

Just waiting a couple of hours took care of this. Having had the mail not backed up for 5 years it was quiet alright to wait 5 hours.

Another error occured with 5 mails. Getmail for instance would end with:

getmailOperationError error (IMAP error (command FETCH ('3049', '(RFC822)') returned NO))

And it would do so repeatedly with the same number. I assumed that something had gone awry with those mails. After pretending that the mail already had been retrieved via the oldmail-imap file getmail soldiered on.

Tragically at some point my connection went away. I had downloaded around 120,000 mails during that session.
Getmail updates the oldmail-imap file only when done (or cancelled via ctrl-C). So the next time it started I went to download the same mails again.

Even with that glitch things worked out. And I feel pretty good about having a copy of my mail now.

Having a secure copy of your data is never a bad idea.

Google Voice Invite


I have a couple Google Voice invites left. So far it has been working amazing. For instance do we route our 24/7 support number through it, and forward it to different people depending on the time of the day. That way people are awake when they answer. Google Voice has numerous other nice features. And best of all, they work very reliably.

If you like to get one of those invites then please get in touch.